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The News in Brief

Monday, January 6
Government-Parliamentary majority to meet every Saturday

Weekly meetings between the government and the Parliamentary majority will take place on Saturdays.

The decision was made at a meeting at the Prime Ministerís office on January 4.

Leader of the Parliamentary majority from Georgian Dream, David Saganelidze, said it would be a rule for meetings to be held each Saturday.

According to him, the parties have discussed the Bills, which have to be agreed upon between the Government and Parliament.

"The self-Government Bill is among them, as well as issues connected with the elections code,Ē he said.

"We started the adjustment process of an exact number of the bills [which] Parliament has to start working on as soon as the sessions are renewed.

The Government-Parliamentary majority meeting lasted more than three hours.

Tender for procurement of 100 municipal buses disrupted

The tender announced by the Tbilisi Mayorís Office for the purchase of 100 municipal buses has been disrupted. The municipal officials say the failure to accomplish the tender was caused by the lack of required funds in the municipal budget and the failure of the city assembly to adopt the 2014 budget of Tbilisi.

The tender was announced on November 4, 2013. The municipal officials explain that the funds of the municipal budget lacks the funds intended for the purchase of the buses in the value proposed by the winning bidder company.

One of the bidders of the tender, the Golden Dragon Company, plans to file a lawsuit against the mayor`s office. The company is objecting to the termination of the tender, saying the mayor`s office disrupted the process of the tender deliberately to prevent their company from participating in it.
(Rustavi 2)

Convict dies of appendicitis

A 25 year-old inmate has died in the N19 Ksani prison as a result of appendicitis- human rights defender Nana Kakabadze has reported. Kakabadze says the prisoner had severe pains and asked for a transfer to the prison hospital, but the prison administration did not provide first aid to the convict. The man was serving his sentence for drug crime and had three months left to stay in prison.
(Rustavi 2)

Giorgi Donadze assumes office of National Folklore Center

Giorgi Donadze has been appointed the director of the National Folklore Center of Georgia. Minister of Culture and Monument Protection, Guram Odisharia made announced at the briefing on December 31st that the center would also have a council, which will provide consultations to the new director. The council will be staffed with famous folklorists. The newly formed council held the first meeting on January 3. The staff of the center has disapproved the decisions taken by the ministry.
(Rustavi 2)

Next Abashidze-Karasin meeting scheduled in Prague in February

The next meeting between representatives of Georgia and Russia will be held possibly at the end of February in Prague.

Zurab Abashidze, the prime ministerís special representative for relations with Russia, told Interpressnews that he and Gregory Karasin, the deputy foreign affairs minister of Russia, will discuss trade economy, transport, humanitarian-cultural issues as well as visa rules.

Abashidze said this is the first meeting after President Vladimir Putin spoke about the possibility of simplifying visa rules with Georgia. He said he had been discussing this issue with Karasin since their first meeting, but Russia never raised the issue about canceling visa rules for Georgia.

If Russia this time decides to cancel visa rules with Georgia, the government will welcome it. Georgia has already taken this step. That happened in spring 2012. A decision made by the National Movement government.

Abashidze said Russia already has simplified visa rules for transit traffic of goods.

President Vladimir Putin said December 19 that Russian government sees signals from the new government and he didnít exclude that Russia may cancel visa rules with Georgia.

Gregory Karasin and Zurab Abashidze have been meeting regularly after the changed of government in Georgia. This will be their sixth meeting. Last time they met was in November.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Four Georgian citizens die in Turkey

Four Georgian citizens have died from alcohol poisoning and three others are being treated in hospital after drinking homemade alcohol in Turkey.

The men were working at a construction site in Gebze, near Istanbul.

According to the latest information, four men were intoxicated and died after being poisoned from an alcoholic drink they made themselves.

Three other Georgian citizens are in a serious condition in hospital and are being treated with urgent medical care as a result of alcohol poisoning.

The Georgian citizens, who were construction workers in Gebze, immigrated from Samegrelo, West Georgia, to Turkey.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, the bodies of the four men will be transported back to Georgia on Monday.

Founder of Tabula dismantles statue of Stalin in Telavi

The Foundation for Civil Education, one of the founders of Tabula, has dismantled the statue of Stalin that was illegally erected in Telavi several months ago. The dismantling was carried out without any incident as fans of Stalin did not arrive at the site.

On 25 December, the Foundation for Civil Education won an electronic tender which was announced by the Telavi municipality on 2 December. No one else participated in the tender.

The Foundation for Civil Education dismantled the statue of Stalin for 634 GEL and cleaned up the territory.

Stalin's statue was erected on 1 September 2013 by the association Stalinists and veterans of war.