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The News in Brief

Monday, March 11
MPs vote down proposed fiscal amnesty

The Georgian Dream parliamentary majority voted down a package of bills proposed by President Saakashvili, which envisaged writing off unpaid taxes, legalization of previously undeclared income, and amnesty for over two dozen economic crimes and the decriminalization of some economic offenses on March 7.

The bill envisaged writing off all unpaid taxes accumulated before January of 2013 and banning the authorities to probe into amnestied tax evasion cases.

Davit Usupashvili to hold first official meetings as a parliament chairman in US

Davit Usupashvili will hold his first official meetings as the parliament chairman in the US and will meet with representatives of the executive and legislative branches of the government. “Meetings will be held within the department of state, as well as with representatives of the security council. About 25 meetings are scheduled in Congress,” Usupashvili said before departing.

Onishenko comments on the date of his visit to Georgia

The head of the Russian Federal Supervisory Agency for Consumer Goods Quality, said he has been invited to Georgia. “As for the date of the visit, I do not rule out that it takes place in the foreseeable future,” Onishenko told Interfax News. Onishenko said he received an invitation from Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II. “I accepted it with gratitude and respect, despite the developments of the events. The date of the visit will depend on many external circumstances, including the situation in Georgia,” Onishenko said, adding that it is impossible to overstate the role of Ilia II in the modern history of Georgia.

“He has an immensely positive attitude, directed at the nation’s consolidation, its choices and is based on the great and historical experience of the Georgian nation,” Onishenko said.

European MPs send open letter to PM

Some members of the European Parliament appealed to the Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, in an open letter, urging him not to destroy the European dreams of Georgia.

As noted in its circulation, the PM has recently written a letter to the president clearly showing that the situation in Georgia is becoming alarming. MEPs call on the Georgia’s PM to stop putting pressure on the court, the public broadcaster, members of self-government and the parliamentary minority, adding that if the actions undertaken within the last period violate democratic standards resulting in a decrease of the level of democracy in Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili will be the one responsible for the failure of the European perspective of the country.

This letter was posted on the official Twitter page of the member of the European People's Party, Polish MEP Krzysztof Lisek. A letter is signed by members of the European People's Party: Gunnar Hiokmark, Krzysztof Lisek, Vytautas Landsbergis, Jerzy Buzek, Elmar Brok, Joachim Zeler and others.

Parliament to probe into GNCC

Lawmakers voted on March 7 to set up an ad-hoc parliamentary investigative commission to look into “serious allegations” against the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC).

The GNCC is charged with the issuing licenses for broadcasting and electronic communications activities and overseeing the sector.

The probe would focus into the persisting “serious allegations” against GNCC, involving the alleged abuse of powers, forging of documents, failure to enforce court rulings and the conflict of interest of GNCC members.

Some GPB staff applies to parliament

Over 500 employees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) have signed the petition to the parliament. The same document will be sent to the Council of Europe, the European Union of Broadcasters and other international organizations. Chairperson of the supervisory board of the GPB, Levan Gakheladze, thinks the parliament chairperson and other lawmakers should have showed their interest into the position of the board first of all and makes statements in the frames of law.

“In such a conflict situation, which is inside the GPB today, lawmakers should have met with part of the GPB staff in the first place, instead of meeting with the GPB board to learn the motivation of their decisions. Afterwards they make statements that the dialogue was good indeed and the process should be speeded up,” Gakheladze said.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgia victory dedicated to the former captain of the Georgian team

The Georgian national rugby team beat Spain 61 to 18 in the European Nations Cup’s fourth round match at the Tbilisi Mikheil Meskhi Stadium. The Georgian team enjoyed full advantage during the game and scored on 8 tries, 3 free-kicks and 6 conversions. Tries were scored by Merab Sharikadze, Lasha Khmaladze, Irakli Machkhaneli, Vasil Kakovin, Dimitri Basilaia and Tamaz Mtchedlidze. Their opponents only managed two tries in the second half, along with one conversion. Their first half efforts included two free kicks. The victory was dedicated to the former captain of the Georgian team, who is one of its most remarkable players of recent years, Irakli Abuseridze. The game against the Spanish served as his farewell performance for the national team.
(Georgian News TV)