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The News in Brief

Friday, May 3
Parliament overturns presidential veto

Parliament overturned a presidential veto on changes to the Law on General Courts on Wednesday.

91 MPs voted to overturn the veto, while 26 MPs were against. The minimum number of votes necessary to overturn President Saakashvili's veto was 89.

President Saakashvili vetoed changes to the law on the formation of the Council of Justice. The Georgian Parliament recently changed the formula for selecting members for Georgia's highest judicial body by depriving the president the right to nominate candidates.

According to Chairman of Parliament David Usupashvili, after overturning the presidential veto the law will return to the President for his signature but if he doesn't sign it within two weeks, it will be signed by the Speaker and enter into law.

The president will then be able to challenge the decision in the Constitutional Court. (Trend)

Parliament Commission to probe into GNCC established

On May 1st Parliament has established an ad hoc investigative commission to probe into the activities of the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC). MP Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party from the Georgian Dream coalition chairs the commission.

The twelve-member commission, half of whose seats are held by Georgian Dream MPs, was established for a period of three months.

Parliament voted in favor of setting up an investigative commission in early March to look into “serious allegations” against GNCC.

GNCC is responsible for issuing licenses for broadcasting and electronic communications activities and overseeing this sector.

Georgian Dream lawmaker Zurab Tkemaladze, was largely responsible for setting up the committee. Tkemaladze said in March that the parliamentary probe into GNCC stemmed from complaints received from some communication service provider companies, including Akhtel and Akhali Kselebi. The committee will investigatge allegations of abuse of powers, forging of documents, failure to enforce court rulings and GNCC members' conflict of interests.

GNCC consists of five members, selected by Parliament for a five-year term. (Civil.Ge)

EUMM welcomes release of juveniles following use of hotline

The EU Monitoring Mission welcomes the release of five juveniles who were held in Tskhinvali for crossing the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) in the Sachkhere region.

EUMM used the hotline immediately after receiving information on May 1st about the juveniles' arrest, which took place in Ergneti earlier that day.

Although the detention of juveniles is rare along the ABL, the EUMM would like to call on all sides to safeguard the best interests of children in the conflict affected population. (IPN)

President meets with one of the authors of the Magnitsky Act.

As part of his official visit to the United States, President Mikheil Saakashvili met with U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, one of the authors of the Magnitsky Act. The main topic of conversation concerned the current political situation in Georgia. During the meeting Senator Cardin expressed interest in Georgia’s foreign policy and its integration process with NATO. In addition Saakashvili and Cardin talked about the importance of an independent judiciary and discussed regional security issues. (Info 9)

Anadolu Group to boost investment in Georgia

Anadolu Group of Turkey is considering investing in Georgian hydroelectric power in addition to the $600 million it has already committed, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Kakha Kaladze said. The government signed a memorandum of understanding on increased investment after Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili met Anadolu officials in Davos in January, Kaladze told reporters in Tbilisi on Thursday.

Tugban Izzet Aksoy, head of Anadolu Industry Holding’s energy group, said in April that the company was "seriously looking" into new investment opportunities in the field of Georgian energy production. The company plans to build a 150-megawatt hydroelectric power plant at a cost of about $300 million, Aksoy said.

Anadolu has already made plans to build new plants with a capacity of 400 megawatts to 500 megawatts, Kaladze said. (Bloomberg)

Koba Davitashvili starts to gather signatures

Parliamentary Majority member Koba Davitashvili has begun to gather signatures for a proposed initiative. 200,000 signatures are needed to hold a referendum on whether gambling should be banned in Georgia. The referendum is necessary since Parliament voted down Davitashvili's proposed initiative on banning gambling in Georgia.

“I believe that a majority of the Georgian population will vote to ban gambling." Davitashvili said. (IPN)

Roads Department has a new head

Davit Shavliashvili has been appointed as the new head of the Georgian Roads Department. Previously, Shavliashvili headed the Natural Resources Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. (IPN)

Government forms a new commission for infrastructure problems

The Georgian government has set up a new commission to solve infrastructure development problems. The commission will work to identify problems in the implementation of infrastructure projects and determine solutions.

The Minister of Infrastructure and Regional development introduced the goals of the commission to media. He said the commission will look into unfinished road construction, water works and municipal buildings.

The commission will pay particular attention to the construction of the new Parliament Building in Kutaisi. (Rustavi 2)

May 2013 – German language month

May of 2013 has been announced as the international month of the German language. The Embassies of Germany, Austria and Switzerland in Georgia will promote the use of German through various cultural events and programs. Being one of the most used languages throughout the Europe, German is the mother tongue for close to 100 million people worldwide. The joint events of the three embassies aim at increasing interest in the German language among the Georgian people. Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze will be at various German Language Month events. For all of May people can join discussions, exhibitions, workshops, participate in competitions and enjoy films in German. For the schedule, please visit (The Messenger)