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The News in Brief

Monday, April 22
Three officers of the military police arrested

Prosecutor`s office has arrested three officers of the military police, who insulted three locals in the village of Tsikhitsdziri, Adjara Region, on April 14. Reportedly, the dispute started with religious motives and grew into a brawl - the military police officers insulted the locals and beat them. Eyewitnesses say the officers threatened them with guns and even shot in the air.

The officers were dismissed by the Defense Ministry and the prosecutor`s office launched an investigation into the crime. Reportedly, the officers were arrested , however, the prosecutor`s office has made no official statement about the fact.
(Rustavi 2)

Powers of KazTransGas-Tbilisi’s manager from Georgia extended until June 1

The powers of a manager from Georgia, appointed to KazTransGas,Tbilisi were extended until June 1. The decision was made by the Georgian National Electricity Regulatory Commission. It is unclear whether the Kazakh management will return to the company. Negotiations between Tbilisi and Astana on this occasion will be held by late May 2013. It should be recalled that the Georgian special manager to KazTransGas-Tbilisi was appointed in 2009 due to the company's high debt amounting to $80 million. The Kazakh side has repeatedly voiced its desire to regain management of the company engaged in the gas distribution in Tbilisi.

Does Ivanishvili plan to change the foreign policy towards Russia?

Alexey Pushkov, chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma says that they will ask Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili whether he plans or not to change the foreign policy towards Russia. According to the Russian media, Alexey Pushkov told journalists about it.

"We are going to ask him questions about how ready he is to change the foreign policy towards Russia, because the new government’s statements and announcements which were made by Saakashvili in this regard are the same. We want to understand what will be the changes that will give us reason to believe that there is a possibility of improving relations with Georgia,” Alexey Pushkov said.

Bidzina Ivanishvili will deliver a speech at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on April 23. After the address, Ivanishvili will answer the questions of the members of the PACE.
(Front News)

Georgian Energy Minister discusses EU prospects with Vice-President of the European Commission

Minister of Energy of Georgia Kakha Kaladze held a meeting with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Fabricio Barbosa, Director General of the Energy Association Genesio Kopacz and a representative of the EU in Georgia Philip Dimitrov.

According to the Ministry of Energy for Georgia on Friday, during the meeting, the parties discussed the prospects for Georgia's accession to the Energy Association.

Kaladze noted that integration into Euro-Atlantic organizations is extremely important for Georgia. Moreover he said integration into the European Union is the cornerstone of the development of the country.

In early 2013, Georgia applied for membership of this organization. This has to have a positive impact on improving the investment environment of the country which in turn, helps to attract investment in this sector.

One of the priorities of the Energy Association is the work on the development of renewable energy sources.

Georgia asks for World Bank support in developing anti-monopoly law

Georgian Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri and Economy Minister Georgi Kvirikashvili are on a working visit to Washington to attend the annual meeting of the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund.

Within the visit, the ministers met with members of the World Bank's financial sector development management group.

Kvirikashvili told journalists on Friday that the Georgian side appealed to the leadership of the World Bank with a request to provide consultations in the development of anti-monopoly laws.

At the meeting, Georgia's efforts to restore economic relations with Russia were also supported.

Labor Code Amendments Passed with First Reading

Parliament passed with 75 votes its first reading on April 19 amendments to the labor code, which, the government says, aims at revamping the existing “overly unfair” labor legislation.

Deputy Justice Minister, Alexander Baramidze, who presented the draft to lawmakers, said that amendments were a result of a six-month long process, involving consultations with all the stakeholders from local trade unions, civil society organizations and business lobby groups to the International Labour Organization.

“The goal was and is to secure reasonable a balance in employer-employee relations,” he said. “The existing code, that we have now, disregards this balance completely. What we have now is actually non-labor code with employees having almost no rights and employers having all the rights; what we have now is abnormal and it was one of the pre-election campaign promises of the Georgian Dream coalition to amend this code.”

Lawmakers from the parliamentary minority group were absent during the discussions of the draft in the Parliament on April 19 as at the time they were at the UNM’s outdoor rally in Tbilisi center.

MIA says former government collected illicit recordings

Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) Irakli Gharibashvili says that the former government was involved in collecting of illicit recordings not only about their political opponents and public figures, but also about their teammates. Irakli Gharibashvili told TV Company "Imedi” that investigation is underway regarding this issue, after which MIA will act within the framework of law and destroy illicit recordings depicting private lives of people.
(Front News)