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The News in Brief

Monday, July 29
UNM loses Tbilisi City Council chairmanship

Zaal Samadashvili, UNM member and chairman of the Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo), was voted out on July 26, less than a month after UNM lost the majority in the capital city’s Sakrebulo.

The UNM council did not participate in the July 26 session of the Sakrebulo.

Although the UNM lost majority in Sakrebulo after 16 of its members quit the party since last year’s parliamentary elections, no political group within the Sakrebulo, including those affiliated with the Georgian Dream, holds the majority in the city council right now.

Later on the same day when Samadashvili was voted out, a former UNM member, Irakli Shikhiashvili, was elected by most of the non-UNM members of Sakrebulo as the new chairman of the Tbilisi City Council.

One of the GD council members, Guliko Zumbadze, who is a member of the Republican Party, refused to support Shikhiashvili – a position not shared by other 24 members, who now form the new majority in the Sakrebulo.

Also on July 26 new chairpersons of Sakrebulo’s 13 commissions were elected – posts previously held by UNM members, who were voted out on July 19.

Parliament bomb scare false alarm

A 71-year-old man has been detained for triggering a false bomb alert, which forced suspension of a parliamentary session and evacuation of the Parliament building in Kutaisi, police said.

The Parliament building was evacuated, sealed off by the police and inspected by security officers, including bomb experts after the bomb threat was made via phone, when a caller told the 112 emergency call center that explosive were planted in the Parliament building.

Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili, told MPs before adjourning the session that there was a high probability that the threat was false.

The man, who is suspected of making the false bomb alert, is a resident of Kutaisi, according to the Interior Ministry.

Increase of compensation for families of fallen soldiers approved

Parliament passed a legislative amendment with its third and final reading on July 25, according to which if a soldier dies in combat in international missions, the family will receive one-time payment of GEL 100,000 (about USD 60,400).

Currently the compensation is set at GEL 15,000 (about USD 9,060).

According to same amendments, families of all those soldiers, who died as a result of service during the armed conflicts for Georgia's territorial integrity, which also includes the conflicts of early 1990s, as well as families of those soldiers who died while performing duty in international missions, will receive monthly pension “not exceeding” GEL 500 from 2014.

The initiative to increase compensation was first announced by Defense Minister Irakli Alasania one week after seven Georgian soldiers were killed in a truck bomb attack on their base in the southern Afghan province of Helmand on June 6, 2013.

Economy Minister named as Deputy PM

PM Ivanishvili named Minister of Economic Development, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as deputy prime minister on July 26.

The post was previously held by former Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili, who is the GD’s presidential candidate and who resigned from minister’s post last week as he prepares for election campaign.

Before Margvelashvili, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania held the post of deputy PM till January, 2013.

Another Deputy PM in Ivanishvili’s government is Kakha Kaladze, who holds energy minister’s post.

Saakashvili expresses his regret over the tragic accident in Spain

Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili expresses his regret over the tragic accident in Spain.

“I was shaken by the tragedy accident which took place near Santiago de Compostela, Spain, where dozens of people were killed. I would like to assure you at this moment of sadness that the entire country of Georgia shares your pain and prays for the souls of the deceased,” says the letter of condolences of the President.

At least 78 people have been killed in the passenger train derailment in north-western Spain on Wednesday. According to the BBC, more than 140 were hurt, 36 seriously, after all eight carriages of the Madrid to Ferrol train came off the tracks near Santiago de Compostela.

Media reports say the train may have been travelling at more than twice the speed limit around a curve.

It is one of Spain's worst ever train crashes.
(Front News)

Amount of damage caused by torrential rain made public in Georgia

According to Georgian Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, David Narmania, the damage caused by torrential rain in the country hit 5.5 million lari. "We received a message from the municipalities that the local commissions together with our services finished counting the damage," he added. "Yesterday I said that the damage had reached 4 million lari, but this figure increased. We will submit the data as of July 26. The order will be made in electronic form on Monday. The damage in western Georgia hit 4 million lari, plus the damage in Dusheti and Pshavi, as well as the funds for the rehabilitation of roads to the amount of 1.5 million lari."

As a result of torrential rain in Samegrelo in the west of Georgia, two districts - Tsalenjikha and Zugdidi were flooded.

According to the Georgian media, around 20 villages were flooded in these areas; roads and houses were flooded in those areas of Georgia. The crops were destroyed.

Ilia II meets with Vladimir Putin

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin accepted the leaders and representatives of different churches in the Kremlin.

The meeting was held in the frames of the celebration of the 1,025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia. 14 persons of high spiritual rank of the Georgian Orthodox Church along with the Georgian Patriarch attended this meeting.

The Russian president addressed the audience and focused on the confrontation of different religious confessions.

“In many regions, especially in the Middle East and North Africa confrontations are becoming more and more intensive. Religious rights of minorities, including Orthodox Christians, are violated. This problem needs special attention from the international community. Our country continues to walk on the path to resolve conflict through political means. Particular importance is attached to cooperation in this matter. Local churches’ support is very important too," said Putin.
(Front News)