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The News in Brief

Tuesday, July 30
Saakashvili visits Singapore

President Saakashvili, who is visiting Singapore, met President Tony Tan on July 29 and discussed bilateral relations and deepening of cooperation, according to the Georgian president’s office.

It said in a press release: “Mikheil Saakashvili noted during a conversation with Tony Tan that the Singaporean model served as a guarantor of success for Georgian reforms.”

The Singaporean President’s Office said that Saakashvili paid “a courtesy call” to his Singaporean counterpart.

Accompanied by the President of Georgian Central Bank, Giorgi Kadagidze, and a group of UNM lawmakers, President Saakashvili also met Singapore’s Minister for National Development, Khaw Boon Wan.

Margvelashvili accepts offer to hold presidential debates

The Georgian Dream coalition’s presidential candidate, Giorgi Margvelashvili, accepted the offer from his competitor, Davit Bakradze from the National Movement, who invited him to a series of election debates. Margvelashvili told journalists on Monday that several presidential candidates also have expressed a desire to take part in the debates and that everyone must have an equal opportunity to explain their position. “The Georgian Dream will defend the common standards in this regard and we will not give anyone exclusivity, as everyone has the right to equally express their position,” he said. Davit Bakradze, the former Speaker of Parliament, said Saturday, that he would like to hold a series of debates with the Georgian Dream coalition’s candidate, and in his opinion the two major political blocs need to exclusively explain to people what they have to offer them. Georgia holds presidential election on October 27.

UNM sums up primaries

MP from the United National Movement, Irma Nadirashvili, has summed-up the primaries conducted by the opposition party to reveal their presidential candidate. Irma Nadirashvili said it was a novelty in Georgian politics, but not the first or the last one, as the party intended to carry out changes inside the party.

“It was an entirely new word in Georgian politics and for the first time the candidate for the president was revealed via primaries. This is not the first and the last step in this direction - the party is preparing for serious changes inside the party for internal democratic management of the organization. We have already nominated our candidate – Davit Bakradze,” Irma Nadirashvili said. She also mentioned the “obstructions” the party faced during the primaries campaigning in the regions, but in the end, she assessed the process as transparent.
(Rustavi 2)

Ilia II believes in return of IDPs to Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia II, hopes that the promises about the return of IDPs to Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be fulfilled by the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Patriarch Kirill has promised me that in the near future he will prepare a document that will consider the problem of Christianity in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and this document will also be supported by the president of Russia," Ilia II said during his interview with Channel 9.

According to him, President Putin told the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill that the issue of refugees from Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region will be considered separately, and special attention will be paid to this.

"They have promised me. By this the return of our refugees to their homes should start and all should be done for this. Putin is likely to fulfill his promise," Ilia II said.

A meeting of the heads of local churches with President Putin was held on July 25.

One soldier dies in weapon accident at Vaziani, Georgia

A soldier has died while examining a weapon at Vaziani military firing range on Thursday.

According to the Defense Ministry, Major Otelo Gulgbiani was injured and was immediately brought to the hospital, but despite doctors’ efforts he died. The major died at Ingorokva Hospital at about 19:00 on Thursday.This is the second accident since the change of government in Georgia in October 2012. Two soldiers have died while carrying out their duties under non-operational conditions.

A similar incident took place in December. Representatives of the Defense Ministry told DF Watch that such incidents are not frequent. Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania and military officials expressed their condolence to the family of deceased. Major Otelo Gulbiani had been serving in Georgia’s armed forces since 1992. He used to be an engineer at a Logistical Support command weapon and equipment maintenance base in the department of technical control at the Joint Staff of Georgia. The major was chairman of the unit to examine restored small arms at Vaziani military firing range.

Amendments made to the election legislation with the third reading

Amendments were made to the election legislation in the third reading in the Parliament of Georgia. According to the amendments, several bans have been imposed for the use of administrative resources. In addition, an official, who decides to run for presidency, will have to resign from his post. Another important amendment is that a presidential candidate that gets more that 10 % of votes will get 1million GEL from the budget to cover pre-election expenses.

Salome Katamadze takes second place at Jurmala contest New Wave 2013

Georgian singer Salome Katamadze took second place in New Wave 2013 contest of Jurmala. Roberto Kel Torres from Cuba became the winner of the musical competition leaving behind the Georgian singer with only one point. Vihn Khuat from Vietnam took the third place. The first day of the contest saw the singers performing world hits, the second day was dedicated to national songs, while on the third day contestants sang compositions specially made for New Wave 2013. Georgian singer Salome Katamadze performed a song by Rusa Morchiladze called "Change my life".

Sixteen representatives from twelve countries were taking part in the contest. The prize fund of the Contest is ˆ 100 000, ˆ 50 000 of which is for the winner, ˆ 30 000 for the second place and ˆ 20 000 for the third place. Special prizes have also been established by sponsors for the Audience Sympathy nomination.
(Georgian News)