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The News in Brief

Monday, May 13
UNM MPs hospitalized after restaurant fistfight

Two lawmakers from UNM parliamentary minority, Davit Sakvarelidze and Giorgi Vashadze, as well as ex-governor of the Samegrelo region, Zaza Gorozia, were treated in the hospital after suffering injuries following a fistfight in a restaurant in Tbilisi Friday night.

A man said to be involved in the fistfight from an opposite side also required medical treatment after the incident.

According to a doctor, MP Sakvarelidze suffered a concussion, broken nose and an injury to his hand; MP Vashadze had an injury to his head and Gorozia suffered broken bones in his hand; all three were discharged from the hospital.

UNM lawmaker, Levan Bezhashvili, told journalists outside a hospital in Tbilisi, where his colleagues were treated, that “the criminal attack” against UNM representatives was “politically motivated”.

One of the two men, involved in the incident from the opposite side, told journalists that a verbal altercation, which then grew into the fistfight, started after his female companion was “insulted” by the head of one of the Tbilisi district's administrations, who was accompanying UNM lawmakers.

The Interior Ministry said on Sunday that the police launched an investigation into the hooliganism case.

It said that at about midnight a verbal altercation between visitors of La Truffe restaurant grew into a brawl, which, according to witness accounts, lasted for about 10-15 minutes.

Wanted MP Givi Targamadze Returns to Georgia

Georgian parliamentarian Givi Targamadze, who is on a wanted persons list in Russia, arrived in Tbilisi from Vilnius on Saturday. Targamadze told reporters he needed three months "to get justice."

"It was difficult to be outside of Georgia for three months," Targamadze said, adding that he has proved to the Russian authorities that the request for his search "does not apply to Europe."

"Now I intend to get actively involved in Georgia's political life," the parliamentarian said.

In March, Russian law enforcement agencies put Targamadze on an international wanted persons list for organizing riots in Moscow's Bolotnaya Square. Targamadze says Interpol has no intention of arresting him. The Georgian prosecutors said they currently have no grounds to detain Targamadze.
(Prensa Latina)

Georgian, Turkish Defence Ministers meet in Istanbul

Georgian Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, met his Turkish counterpart Ismet Y?lmaz on the sidelines of 11th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) in Istanbul on May 10.

“The two defense ministers discussed bilateral cooperation issues in the defense sphere and future plans,” the Georgian Ministry of Defense said. “Turkish-Georgia bilateral military relation includes a wide range of cooperation, including military education, logistics, military-technical and other fields.”

Before his trip to Turkey, Alasania said that he was going to discuss potential “joint projects” with Turkey in the defense industry sphere. There was no word specifically on this issue in the Georgian MoD’s press release.

On the sideline of IDEF 2013 in Istanbul, the Georgian Defense Minister also met a delegation from Sri Lanka, the Georgian MoD said without providing details.

Draft amendment on marijuana decriminalization initiated at parliament

Legal punishment for the persons using marijuana may be weakened or annulled according to the draft amendments to the Criminal Code of Georgia, which has already been initiated at the parliament. The discussion of marijuana decriminalization will be joined by corresponding experts, lawmakers say. According to the chairperson of the human rights committee, MP Eka Beselia, the discussion on weakening punishing measures and decriminalizing of the marijuana crime is underway. However, it does not mean that the government is encouraging using marijuana. She also did not rule out the privileges to touch other kinds of drugs, which are not included in the convention of the UNO.
(Rustavi 2)

Khaburdzania plans to run in self-government elections

Former security minister of the Shevardnadze government, Valeri Khaburdzania, who recently arrived in Georgia from Moscow during the Easter holidays, says he is going to start an active political life, but not prior to the presidential elections, but before the elections of the self-governments. Khaburdzania has not selected a name for his political organization, but he is sure that it will include the word Tergdaleulebi (a revolutionary democratic school of social thought in the 1860’s and 1870’s in Georgia). Tergdaleulebi is a Georgian term that literally means “one who has drunk the waters of the Terek.” That is, one who has been to Russia.

Khaburdzania plans to hold the presentation of his party in autumn. The party will run in the self-government elections independently. In addition, Khaburdzania does not rule out cooperating with those political parties who are loyal to Russia`s policy. Khaburdzania says the consultations with possible partners have already been launched.
(Rustavi 2)

UN special rapporteur to get acquainted with situation on IDPs

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons will visit Tbilisi on June 10-14, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze told journalists on Friday.

"The UN representative will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the situation and then provide detailed information on the situation of refugees in Georgia to the Human Rights Council," Panjikidze said.

According to official data, in Georgia 500,000 people cannot return to their homes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

New modern agro-industrial complex opens in Georgia

First Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, David Shervashizhe, attended the opening of an agro-industrial complex in Badiauri village situated in the Sagarejo municipality.

The complex includes a dairy plant producing different varieties of cheese, the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia reported on Friday. The agro-industrial complex also has a modern refrigeration system that is capable of taking 250 tons of fruit and vegetables, as well as a machinery section opened under the agricultural program. The equipment mobilized by the section has processed 500 hectares of land. The complex also has a shop where one can buy the cheese produced at the venture.

“Our goal is stimulation of small farmers and entrepreneurs. We hope that within the scope of preferential agricultural loans, such small enterprises will be opened in all municipalities," Shervashizhe said.