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The News in Brief

Thursday, August 8
Georgian PM: No preconditions for meeting with Russian president

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is "not a very distant, but not a very close." Ivanishvili stated in an interview with the Moscow office of Voice of America, there are no preconditions for the meeting yet, despite his willingness.

"More positive and refined bilateral relations are needed for the meeting to take place. Moreover, it takes time, but we fully express our willingness and desire for this," Ivanishvili said.

He also noted that the new Georgian authorities have achieved a lot in the process of normalization of relations with Russia and he hopes that the visa system with Russia will be simplified or even abolished in the near future.

"We could establish trade relations with Russia over a short period of time and this process can be developed. Moreover, I believe this may be followed by the resumption of regular flights, the simplification of the visa system with Russia, or even its abolition," Ivanishvili said. (Trend)

Georgian parties to receive one-off funding before presidential election

On Tuesday the Georgian parliament adopted amendments to the Organic Law on Political Unions of Citizens on the first reading. According to the amendments, 18 parties in Georgia will receive funding. Parliamentary parties will receive about $180,000 a year and the non-parliamentary parties will get about $90,000. Some 91 MPs voted for this decision and none against. Some 14 qualified and four unqualified election subjects will receive a one-off financial payment before the presidential election. This decision was signed by 20 political parties. (Trend)

Georgian opposition demands constitution strengthens traditional marriage

The opposition faction in the Georgian parliament, the Christian-Democratic Movement, has begun collecting signatures for an amendment to the Constitution in support of traditional marriage, the leader of the movement, candidate for Georgian President, Georgi Targamadze, said in briefing on Wednesday.

"Such an amendment to the Constitution will be the most robust state legal mechanism for protecting the traditional family. I hope that the Georgian population will support us in spite of nationality and worship and together we will become the guarantors of the country based on tradition. Every Georgian citizen has a duty to offer his support to this initiative by a personal signature.

"Therefore, I believe that we will collect significantly more signatures than required by law," Targamadze noted.

"The state recognizes and support marriage only between a man and a woman, based on equality," the leader of the movement said.

The collection of signatures in support of this amendment to the Georgian Constitution may begin in near future. In total, around 200,000 signatures are required, which should be collected in four months. (Trend)

Georgian, Russian Federation scientists to work on joint project

Georgian and Russian Federation scientists will work on a project studying the endemic types of plague among rodents. According to the Head of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia Amiran Gamkrelidze, the agreement on joint work on this project will be signed in the near future.

As is already known, Georgian and Russian journalists visited the laboratory named after Lugar. The invitation for viewing the lab was repeatedly sent by Gamkrelidze to the Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russian Federation, Gennady Onishchenko.

"We have launched a joint Russian, Georgian project with one of the scientific institutions which is under Onishchenko's directive. A three-year agreement on a general scientific project is being prepared which will focus on endemic types of plague and its strains among rodents," Gamkrelidze stated. (Trend)

Sympathy for Georgia in Russia increases; majority still in favor of Abkhazian, South Ossetian independence

Sympathy for Georgia in Russia has increased, but the majority is in favor of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, this according to the survey of the Levada Center.

According to Interfax, 48% of respondents have a positive attitude towards Georgia, while 40% of respondents have negative.

The survey was conducted in late July in 45 regions and 130 urban areas of Russia. 1,600 respondents were surveyed in total. Sociologists note that the dynamics are positive. In 2011, 37% of Russian respondents had a positive attitude towards Georgia, in 2012 - 42% and now 48% of respondents have a positive attitude towards Georgia. (Front News)

Bill Suspending Foreclosures Shelved

The Georgian Dream parliamentary majority has further delayed the process of adopting a controversial bill regarding the temporary suspension of mortgage foreclosures and opted instead to elaborate a package of bills, which, according to parliament speaker, is expected to be tabled in September and which will try to provide a more comprehensive solution to the problem.

“Parliament and the government continue intensive work over this issue. As it was expected, this issue turned out to be much more complex and complicated than just the problem of group of people [who face foreclosures]. So active work is underway in the Justice Ministry and other government agencies in which parliament members are also involved, and a package of bills will be created by September to address these kind of issues in order to minimize the emergence of such grave situations in the future,” parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said on August 6.

“While tackling one problem, we should not create new ones for our citizens, we should protect right of private property and show caution about the predictability and sustainability of our banking system.

On July 25, parliament passed with its first reading the bill, which was sponsored by 49 GD lawmakers, envisaging the suspension of the foreclosure of private homes of individuals with defaulted mortgage loans until February 1, 2014. But its further approval was delayed after PM Ivanishvili criticized the bill on July 26. (Civil.Ge)