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The News in Brief

Friday, March 8
Bill Lifting Courtroom Media Restrictions Approved

On March 6th Parliament voted to lift restrictions on audio-video recordings and photography in Georgian courtrooms. Since 2007 audio-video recordings and photography have been banned in courtrooms with exceptions only possible if permitted by the presiding judge. Every person attending a trial will now have the right to make audio-visual recordings and take photography during the proceedings, according to new regulations. According to the amendments audio-visual recordings and photography in the corridors and yards of court buildings will also be permitted. (Civil.Ge)

Georgia to hold a joint military exercise with the U.S.A.

The Georgian-American military exercise "Fighting Spirit 2013" will take place in Georgia from March 11th to April 5th at the Vaziani military firing-ground, the Georgian Ministry of Defence has announced.

400 American marines will be taking part in the exercise. It will be held round-the-clock. This is the third such joint-exercise to be held in Georgia.

Soldiers of the 23rd battalion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade that returned from Afghanistan without any losses last year will take part in the exercise together with the Americans. (Trend)

Irakli Alasania visits Armenia

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania is visiting Armenia to discuss bilateral cooperation issues and future plans in the field of defense with his Armenian counterpart. An extended meeting is also scheduled between Armenian Defense Ministry representatives and Georgian delegation members. The Ministry of Defense delegation returns to Georgia on March 8th. (Front News)

Consultations on foreign policy document continues

Georgian lawmakers are continuing to consult about a document outlining Georgia’s foreign policy course. A draft of the document has been prepared by the Foreign Affairs Committee. However opposition lawmakers say they have corrections to make and demand the insertion of three key statements in it: Euro-Atlantic integration, continuation of non-recognition of the occupied territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and refusal to join any post-Soviet international organization. (Rustavi 2)

Interpol has begun the search for Givi Targamadze

According to the Russian media, Interpol has begun the search for Georgian politician Givi Targamadze. "Givi Targamadze has been on Interpol's Most Wanted List since March 1st.” a representative of the Interior Ministry of Russia stated.

Russian law enforcement agencies accuse Targamadze of organizing mass disorder in the Russian Federation in 2012. Last May a rally organized by the political opposition in Moscow ended in violent clashes between protesters and the police. Investigators say the clashes were organized by Udaltsov, Razvozzhayev and Lebedev during a meeting with Targamadze. (Front News)

President pays a visit to Greece

The President of Georgia is paying a two-day visit to Greece. Mikheil Saakashvili attended an official dinner where he met with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. The dinner was held in honor of the heads of the European People's Party, of which the United National Movement is a member. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian food may also return to the Russian market

In addition to Georgian wine and mineral water, Georgian food might also return to the Russia market. According to the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, a seven-member delegation of the Georgian Food Safety Agency will visit Russia. Russian and Georgian colleagues will discuss the export of Georgian products to Russia. After the talks Georgian fruit, vegetable, cheese, fish and other products might be allowed to be exported to Russia. (InterPressNews)

Davit Usupashvili to visit US by the end of the week

Georgian Parliamentary Chairperson Davit Usupashvili will visit the United States March 10th-16th. The timetable of the meeting has not been confirmed yet. This will be Usupashvili's first visit to the United States as Parliamentary Chairperson. (IPN)

Macedonian citizen detained for drug smuggling

Officers of the Criminal Police Department along with the Tbilisi Police Main Division have detained a 27 year-old Macedonian citizen for possession and smuggling of drugs, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs reports. The accused was arrested at the Sarpi border crossing between Turkey and Georgia with possession of 150 grams of marijuana.

Possession and smuggling of marijuana are a crime under Article 260 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. The accused faces 7-14 years imprisonment if convicted. (IPN)