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The News in Brief

Wednesday, February 19
Format of President’s February 21st speech to be different

Georgian Parliamentary Chairperson Davit Usupashvili said the content of the president’s annual address to Parliament scheduled on February 21st and the format of the event will be different from the previous years.

On Monday, Usupashvili met with President Giorgi Margvelashvili to discuss organizational issues.

“The constitutional model that took effect in November 2013 differently divided the powers between the President and the Prime Minster, also concerning the parliament,” Usupashvili said, stressing that the president is the head of the state and not the head of the executive government nowadays.

“The parliament used to host the head of the executive government – the president, who was responsible for the activity of all the ministers. His report of course had to touch all the issues that the executive government settles. This year, the president will come as the head of the state that is not a head of the government and is not responsible for the specific successes or questions that may be towards the government. This puts everyone – parliament and the president in a new reality,” Usupashvili explained.

The president will deliver a speech in the legislative body on 21 February at 14:00. The chairperson of parliament says that after the president’s speech, parliamentary debates will be held. (InterPressNews)

Website facilitates public communication with Georgian President

Online technology has made it easier for the Georgian public and the wider world to communicate with Georgia’s President.

Georgia’s President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, is one of 30 world leaders who have online profiles which enable the public to ask questions directly to the leader.

Other featured leaders include US President Barack Obama, France’s Francois Hollande, United Kingdom’s David Cameron, Germany’s Andrea Merkel, and even North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un.

Since joining online message service, Margvelashvili, has already received a number of online letters.

One of the latest messages read: "Mr. President, could you discuss the issue of decriminalizing of marijuana.” is recently created platform which enables citizens around the globe to reach out to their leaders with a personal message.

After leaving a message on the website, users can share them on different social networks and gain supporters for their ideas. This allows people make their voices heard.

Users can address a letter to any world leader. If the official is not featured on the website, will add the leader’s profile.

Currently, 30 world leaders have been sent messages from the public. There is no guarantee the world leaders will reply to every message. However, Margvelashvili’s press office said the president would at least, read all the messages addressed to him.

The messages are ranked on the online platform by the number of supporters each message received.

The site administration believed this was a method that would make communication between country leaders and their communities easier. (Agenda.Ge)

Topical issues of relations between Georgia and EU discussed

First Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia David Zalkaliani and Deputy Minister Tamar Beruchashvili held a meeting with the Ambassador of Latvia on Eastern Partnership issues Juris Poikans.

The parties discussed topical issues of relations between Georgia and the EU and the prospects of further development of cooperation. The results achieved by Georgia at the Vilnius summit and the ways of implementation of subsequent goals were discussed. The priorities of Georgian-EU cooperation in the period of Latvia's EU presidency (first half of 2015) were also discussed. The parties also paid attention to Georgian-NATO relations.

The discussions also touched upon the challenges of Georgian-Russian relations and negotiations in the Geneva format.

Poikans reiterated Latvia's firm support to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures. (Trend)

Firefighters on strike in Tbilisi, claim their boss is corrupt

16 firefighters in Tbilisi are on a strike to demand the resignation of the head of the emergency service, Temur Giorgadze.

The firefighters, who have been on strike for six days, claim that Giorgadze hires his friends and relatives, is corrupt and abuses powers.

They further claim he is forcing employees of the emergency service to do construction work at his house and villa.

The firefighters have put up tents outside the central branch of the emergency service on Saburtalo Street in Tbilisi. Five of them are on hunger strike. One of them has been taken to hospital several times, but returned and continued protesting.

Spokeswoman Nino Giorgobiani said Monday that the Ministry of Internal Affairs has questioned the firefighters about the claims they have made, but decided to not launch an investigation into the accusations against Temur Giorgadze or the emergency service.

Giorgadze claims that firefighters are doing it to discredit the emergency service. He demands that they present evidence to back up their accusations.

The emergency service chief says there are about 1200 people employed at the agency and 450 of them are firefighters. He said the protest does not interrupt the normal operation of the service. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Georgia to host international aviation conference in May

An aviation conference will be held in Georgia on May 18-20. The representatives of airports, airlines and travel agencies will attend the prestigious international event which is annually held by British organization UBM INFORMATION LIMITED.

Last November, United Airports of Georgia asked to conduct the aviation conference in Georgia.

Thanks to exclusive right obtained, Georgia, as a hostess country of the event will be able to promote its airports and attractive tourist sites. The United Airports of Georgia will deal with the issues of organizing the conference.

Contract value of the project is 150,000 Euros. About 250 representatives of leading airports and airlines from Europe, Asia, CIS and the Middle East will participate at the aviation conference to be held in Tbilisi. (Trend)