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The News in Brief

Thursday, February 14
Usupashvili, Bakradze cautiously optimistic over ongoing talks

Parliamentary chairman Davit Usupashvili and leader of the UNM parliamentary minority Davit Bakradze, said after their meeting late on February 12 that ongoing negotiations had not yet produced any tangible progress, but both have expressed hope that an ongoing “good working process” would lead to solid results.

“There are issues on which it is possible to get our positions closer and work is underway in this direction,” Usupashvili said after the meeting with Bakradze, which was a follow-up to his meeting with President Saakashvili on February 11 which was also attended by Bakradze.

Bakradze said the main goal now is to get the positions closer, because there are huge differences in the views of the two sides. He said the sides have a good chance to achieve a major agreement that will positively reflect on Georgian society and the country. Expressing the UNM’s readiness for cooperation and reasonable compromises, Bakradze said they will also defend all those points that the UNM finds important for the country’s interests.

“I do not want to sound excessively optimistic; the process is not yet over, but I can repeat that it is a very good working process,” Bakradze added. (Civil.Ge)

World Radio Day 2013

February 13 is World Radio Day — a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio to promote the access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves.

As radio continues to evolve in the digital age, it remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide. This multi-purpose medium can help people, including youth, to engage in discussions on topics that affect them. It can save lives during natural or human-made disasters; and it provides journalists with a platform to report facts and tell their stories.

UNESCO encourages all countries to celebrate World Radio Day by planning activities in partnership with regional, national and international broadcasters, non-governmental organizations, the media and the public.

Throughout these web pages, you will find a wealth of resources that you can use free-of-charge and without copyright restrictions to help plan your World Radio Day event. (UNESCO)

800 Employees of Khashuri Railway Department go on strike

Over 800 employees of the Khashuri railway department went on strike. InterPressNews reports that the striking workers demand an increase in salary and the restoration of the allowances that existed years ago.

Head of the railway department Zaza Chkoidze says that the department leadership will not be able to meet the striking workers till Friday. He calls on the employees to resume work. The protesters refused and continue to strike outside the Khashuri railway station. (IPN)

8 New Confirmed H1N1 Cases in Georgia

8 new confirmed H1N1 cases have been revealed, the National Centre of Disease Control and Public Health informed InterPressNews.

Head of the centre’s Infectious Disease Department, Khatuna Zakhashvili, says that there are 80 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu. Three patients have died.

Zakhashvili noted that seasonal flu cases have increased. It is the fourth week of the flu virus outbreak. She said the flu season will presumably be over by the end of February. (IPN)

"I was the president that represented the state, but now I represent the people"

Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili said that as the president he represented the state, but now he represents the people. At a meeting with residents of the village of Naniani, in the Gurjaani region, Saakashvili said he is visiting all regions of Georgia– not to hold rallies, but to receive feedback from the people and listen to their complaints. “Before, I was a president that represented the government… the state. Now my main goal is to represent you,” the president said. (Front News)

New gas tariff may be enforced from March

The reduced tariff on natural gas may be enforced from March instead of February, as it was announced by the minister of energy a month ago. Kakha Kaladze spoke about the government`s new tariff policy at the political talk-show Position on Rustavi 2 on Tuesday.

Kaladze says the consultations with the gas distributor companies are still underway and the exact date that the new tariff will be enforced will be announced in a few days. (Rustavi 2)

The Defense Ministry has released photographs showing the condition of Kutaisi and Senaki bases

The Defense Ministry of Georgia has released photographs showing the condition of the military bases in Kutaisi and Senaki.

Defense Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania visited the bases of Kutaisi’s III Infantry Brigade and Senaki’s II Infantry Brigade and became familiar with the infrastructural problems of the military bases and living conditions of the military.

The defense minister pointed out that the infrastructure of the Kutaisi III Infantry Brigade is in an extremely bad condition. "These sums were not spent in a transparent way. There was no controlling mechanism of the budget. It turned out that the huge sums amounting to over GEL 5.5 billion, which were allocated to the MoD throughout the past years, were not spent for the army and for enhancement of defense capabilities. Now the situation is changing, but it will not improve overnight. We have a long-term plan how to change the infrastructure and to transform the armed forces. We will maintain all that was well-made and we will thank everybody for that” said Alasania.

Under the Minister’s directive, a special commission was set up in order to study the situation on the bases. The work group has already inspected the existing infrastructural problems and elaborated a long-term plan aiming to create favorable conditions for the soldiers. (Front News)

Journalists recognized

Delegation of the European Union to Georgia named the three best journalists throughout the country in three categories: the best investigative/opinion article; best TV and/or Radio coverage and the best webpage/blog/social media.

Journalist Maia Edilashvili of Georgia Today, an English weekly newspaper, was awarded for her opinion article “Georgia’s New Government to Reform Competition Policy”. Davit Usupashvili, Speaker of Parliament of Georgia personally awarded her with the prize, expressing hope that this new initiative of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia will become a tradition. Two other journalists also received awards.