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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 5
Pregnant woman dies of H1N1 in Georgia

One more person has died of H1N1 in Georgia. The victim was pregnant. According to Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control, 258 cases were registered in all. 18 out of the registered patients died of the virus. Two of the victims were children under the age of 4.

The National Center for Disease Control says the peak of the infection has already passed, though they said patients should be careful and go a doctor at the very first symptoms of the virus.

2.1% Annual deflation in February

Inflation dipped by 2.1% on an annual basis in February after a 1.6% deflation in January, Geostat said on Monday.

On a monthly basis, prices decreased by 0.3% in February.

There was a 7% y/y decline in prices in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels in February.

Prices on food and non-alcoholic beverages were down by 3.3% y/y in February and transportation prices decreased by 1.3%.

Prices on healthcare services increased 2.4% y/y and prices on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products went up by 1.3% y/y in February, according to Geostat.

In February the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) further reduced its key rate by 50 basis points to 4.75% – the lowest rate since January 2008, when Georgia’s central bank set the monthly refinancing rate.

Bill proposes move of intelligence service

The Georgian Dream parliamentary majority has initiated legislative amendments, which, if approved, will transfer the Intelligence Service from the president to the government’s subordination and give the PM authority to appoint the head of the National Forensics Bureau.

The Intelligence Service, which has 160 personnel and GEL 5 million funding this year, is in charge of identifying and assessing “foreign threats and risks” and providing the country’s political leadership with intelligence assessments and information.

Under the existing law, the Intelligence Service directly reports to the president and the National Security Council (NSC), which is at the president’s administration. The proposed legislative amendment, if approved, will require the agency report to the Prime Minister and NSC.

The head of the Intelligence Service will be appointed by the PM, instead of the president, according to the proposal. It also proposes to make head of the agency a senior intelligence advisor to the PM and not to the president as it is now. According to the proposal, the agency should gather and provide intelligence information to the PM, instead of the President.

Mikheil Saakashvili arrives at the State Chancellery in his own electric car

Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili has arrived at the State Chancellery in his electric car.

However, he was not driving the car, an InterpressNews correspondent reports.

President Saakashvili was accompanied by a convoy of vehicles from the State Guard Special Service. The convoy included about 7 cars.

Over 8,000 inmates amnestied

According to the data of March 3, 2013 the number of amnestied inmates reached 8,078. This number includes 175 political detainees, 327 females, 7,730 males and 21 – underage males. The Law on Amnesty was adopted in December 21, 2012 and it went into force on January 13, 2013.

Erisioni will perform Georgian dances at the Kremlin

Jemal Chkuaseli, Art Director of the song and dance company Erisioni, says heavy snow has prevented the company from leaving to Moscow. However, Airzena airlines will ensure their flight on Tuesday morning. Replying to the negative comments referring to the scheduled trip, Chkuaseli said “their politics is art.”

“Let them not mix sport and art,” he said. Erisioni will have concerts in different towns of Russia including the concert hall of the Kremlin in the capital Moscow. The Georgian company will return on March 12th.
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