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The News in Brief

Friday, October 18
New details revealed in Zhvania case

New details have been revealed in the case around the death of the former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, says the brother of the late PM.

“There is very important evidence in the case which had been hidden till now. This evidence became available to the family after the investigation was reopened. These details will serve as evidence in reassessing the cause of death." Giorgi Zhvania said.

Zhvania has not ruled out the late PM’s body being exhumed. According to Zhvania, all necessary procedures will be carried out in the interests of the investigation. Zurab Zhvania and Raul Usupov were found dead in an apartment in Tbilisi on February 3, 2005. The official cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas leak but many people have questioned the initial investigation's findings. (InterPressNews)

Government cites pressing issues for residents living along the South Ossetia administrative border

About 20 million lari will be needed to address the pressing infrastructure needs of dozens of villages located in the immediate vicinity of the South Ossetian administrative boundary line, a governmental commission said on Wednesday.

The group assessing the situation is an ad hoc governmental commission in charge of addressing the urgent needs of the population living in villages adjacent to

"dividing lines" – a term used by the Ministry for Reintegration in reference to the administrative boundary lines of the breakaway regions.

The commission was established on October 1st and is co-chaired by Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Davit Narmania and Minister for Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili.

The commission has visited up to 40 villages located along the administrative boundary line with South Ossetia in recent days.

The development of natural gas distribution network, the installation of individual electricity meters for households and providing locals with firewood for heating this winter were identified as the most urgent needs by the commission.

According to the Georgian authorities, the total length of fences built by Russian soldiers along the administrative boundary line has reached 35 kilometers. The process, the Georgian government says, has affected around 65 families.

At the moment the process of building fences has stopped but Minister for Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili says: “We have no illusions; Russia is expected to resume it.” (Civil.Ge)

CEC abolishes strict regulations on photo and video filming at voting precincts

On October 16th, the Central Election Commission (CEC) reviewed the resolution regulating procedures of photo and video filming at voting precincts on Election Day.

According to the Commission’s decision, Paragraph 25 of Article 25 of the Election Code of Georgia, which bans “photo and video shooting of the polling booth in polling places” has been removed. The Commission also decided to abolish the provision in the resolution according to which a person leaving the polling station cannot reenter the polling station.

Paragraph 2 of Article 2 will be edited in the following way: “For any person the minimum distance for photo and video filming shall be no less than three meters from the subject/object of filming, except for polling places which do not allow for a three-meter distance. Under those circumstances the filming spot shall be determined by the PEC chairperson.”

NGOs and journalists had been calling for amending the restrictions on photo and video filming. CEC adopted the controversial resolution a week prior to the parliamentary elections in 2012. (Media.Ge)

Ugulava: Kezerashvili charged with several counts for being my friend

Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava has said he is not aware of the details of the detention of former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili.

"Davit Kezerashvili is my friend. Our friendship did not begin in politics and will not end on this basis either. I am not aware of the details [of his detention] and cannot say either what France's decision will be on his extradition. However in earlier cases the French courts have denied extradition to Georgia." Gigi Ugulava told journalists on October 16th.

The Tbilisi mayor suggested that Kezerashvili, who is charged with several counts, including involvement in the so-called Rike and Imedi TV cases, was arrested because of his friendship with Ugulava.

The former defense minister of Georgia was detained in France on October 14th. According to the Interior Ministry of Georgia, Kezerashvili is charged with several counts, including receiving large bribes, violating customs laws, money laundering and receiving illegal payments.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Georgia is now preparing extradition documents. (Tabula)

McDonald’s on Marjanishvili reopens

Popular fast food chain McDonald’s has opened its renovated Tbilisi branch on Marjanishvili Square, with the staff stating the updated design, interior and exterior are aimed at creating a place where customers feel comfortable.

McDonald’s staff hosted kids from the Gldani House for Homeless Children on the opening event. Alongside employees the children were served by the president and the director general.

With more than thirty-three thousand branches and sixty-eight million daily customers worldwide, McDonald's promises its customers in Georgia more locations and novelties. (Georgian News)