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The News in Brief

Tuesday, November 5
Russia and Georgia to hold talks in Geneva Nov 5

A new round of Geneva talks will be held November 5-6. It is the 25th time the warring parties of the 2008 Russia-Georgian war will meet, and one of the main topics of discussion will be freedom of movement and the installation of barbed wire fences.

Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, Deputy Minister of Reintegration, says that Georgia will raise the issue of the humanitarian situation of the local population as a result of Russian soldiers installing barbed wire fences.

“Another major issue of our group is the issue of returning IDPs, and this will remain on our agenda,” the Reintegration Ministry’s press office quotes her saying.

Discussions will also deal with the problem of protecting human rights in the breakaway regions.

“We are leaving for Geneva with a business attitude and we will restate our proposal to solve humanitarian issues, including supplying Akhalgori with natural gas which will make the lives of local people a bit easier.”

The Geneva talks are one of the venues for contact between Georgia and Russia after the war in August 2008. It includes all the parties of the conflict, as well as representatives of the international community.

Russian soldiers in February 2013 started moving the border in villages next to South Ossetia. In recent months, they started installing barbed wire and fences, which led to houses, agricultural lands, irrigation and drinking water, and a cemetery ending up on the other side.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Family of the missing captain asking for assistance

The family of the captain of the freighter Stella, which sank in the Aegean Sea off the Greek island of Karpathos, is asking for assistance. According to the captain’s brother Irakli Tebidze, his brother is still missing, while other members of the crew are being questioned.

Five sailors - all nationals of Georgia -- were rescued. The captain, possibly also a Georgian, is missing. The search for him is underway. The ship without cargo was heading from the Turkish port of Aliaga to Cyprus and sent a distress signal some 19 nautical miles west of Karpathos. The Greek maritime authorities responded immediately and started a rescue operation. Rescuers spotted a boat with five Georgian sailors who were taken to hospital in Rhodes by helicopter.

Parliament Overrides Presidential Veto

Parliament overturned the presidential veto on a bill, which envisages setting a three-year probationary period for nearly recruited judges before their appointment for life.

The veto was overridden with 97 votes, seven more than the three-fifths majority (90) required for overturning a presidential veto.

The new constitution, which will go into effect after the inauguration of president-elect Giorgi Margvelashvili on November 17, envisages life appointment of newly recruited judges. Currently, sitting judges hold office for a ten-year term.

The constitutional provision, approved in 2010, also provides for the possibility of setting a trial period for judges of “not more than three years” before they take office for life. This provision also gave flexibility to lawmakers by saying that such a probationary period “may” be set.

On October 4 Parliament approved bill which sets three-year trial period for judges before their appointment for life. Detailed criteria and procedures based on which monitoring of judges should be carried out during the probationary period have to be developed. Monitoring, according to the bill, has to be carried out by the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), a body in charge of overseeing judicial system.

The outgoing President returned bill with remarks to the Parliament on October 28; according to president’s objections, he was against the trial period, because introduction of such regulations, he said, “will weaken judge’s independence” and make newly recruited judge vulnerable to political influence during the probationary period.

Georgia, Turkey to discuss joint management of customs checkpoints

A second meeting was held between the representatives of the Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trade and the Revenue Service of the Georgian Finance Ministry.

As the Revenue Service of the Georgian Finance Ministry told Trend on Friday, the Georgian side was headed by the head of the Revenue Service Lasha Khucishvili, and the Turkish side by the Deputy Minister of Customs and Trade, Ziya Altunyaldiz.

Guests congratulated the Georgian side on holding democratic presidential elections and noted the progress the country has made during its independence.

The sides discussed issues of joint management of customs checkpoints and related technical protocols.

Attention was paid to the efficient operation of the customs checkpoints on the Georgian-Turkish border, as well as to factors that hinder the functioning of work at these checkpoints.

The sides agreed to actively cooperate on issues of mutual recognition of authorized economic operators and development of new mechanisms for the exchange of information.

These meetings are held annually.

Mikheil Saakashvili continues to purchase of books for Presidential library

President Mikheil Saakashvili continues to purchase books for the Presidential library.

The President’s official website released video footage depicting how the President buys books during his working visits.

According to the President, the books are about design, architecture and political sciences.

“We have about 2000 books about design and architecture, while there is no other such large-scale library of political science and sociology in Georgia. There are very serious books about architecture. I cannot understand them well, but I know that they are good for the further development of Georgia. We were in several European countries and we brought hundreds of books. By the end of the year we will have about 5-6,000 books. 2000 out these were brought by people. These books are very expensive,” the President said.

Saakashvili said some people may say he abused power. “I am using the presidential plane to go everywhere for the last days,” the President said, noting he uses the plane for visits and at the same time he brings books.

Zaza Pachulia becomes best player of his NBA team

The NBA’s Georgian player Zaza Pachulia has been unstoppable for the last two games, earning the title of most valuable player of his team for the 2nd time. Continuing the trend might see him claim the award for the best 5th Man, although this might be prevented by the Georgian center being promoted to a starter, which he clearly deserves.
(Georgian News)