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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 12
Georgia to develop E-Governance

Georgian citizens will soon be able to access government services in a more convenient, efficient and transparent way, as the government has begun working on ways to improve electronic governance.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili led the first meeting of the Commission for Supporting E-Governance on Monday where the commission members discussed ways to develop technology driven governance in Georgia.

The Justice Ministry’s Data Exchange Agency presented an action plan and strategy for four years, from 2014 to 2018. The document, titled ‘Digital Georgia’ consisted of 11 priority areas.

The Commission agreed to work on the issue daily within working groups and submit a report to the Prime Minister once a month.

E-Governance is the application of information and communication technology for delivering government services and exchange of information communication transactions. It also covers integration of various stand-alone systems and services between government-to-citizens, government-to-business, and government-to-government. (Agenda.Ge)

Abashidze-Karasin meeting postponed again

The planned meeting between Georgian and Russian officials has been postponed for the second time.

Georgia’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin were initially due to meet on March 4-5 but this was postponed until March 14.

However, the meeting has been further postponed.

The Prime Minister’s press-office said Abashidze and Karasin spoke on the telephone and agreed to postpone the March 14 meeting to an unspecified time in the near future.

During the phone conversation, both sides reaffirmed the importance of continuing Russia-Georgia dialogue.

The exact date of the future meeting has not been specified although it will be held within the next several weeks, officials said. (Agenda.Ge)

Negotiations in Kazreti, the Georgian village on strike

Negotiations have started in a Georgian village where the population has been on strike to protest the treatment of workers in the gold mines. A mediator appointed by the Ministry of Health held a first round of negotiations in Kazreti in the southern part of Georgia. The strike which began February 14, aims at getting those mine workers who were fired their jobs back.

Workers also want improved working conditions, increased salaries and to replace the management of the company where they work.

Lawyer Irakli Kandashvili was selected to be mediator between the workers and RMG Gold, the company which owns the mines in Kazreti. The first round of negotiations was held in Kazreti on Monday, and was attended by representatives of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Paata Zhorzholiani from the Health Ministry and Beka Natsvlishvili from the government office.

Natsvlishvili said the government’s mediator will try to move the situation from protest to dialogue.

After meeting with workers, Kandashvili will meet with the representatives of RMG Gold in Tbilisi.

Workers’ demands are unchanged. They told journalists on Monday that they feel pessimistic about the mediated negotiations.

“They are rude people and I do not think a dialogue will result from this,” one of the rally participants said. People are continuing to protest outside at the entrance to the plant, holding posters and shouting slogans. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Government aims to promote population growth

Georgian parents of multiple children in regions where the population is declining will be offered a monthly allowance by the Government of Georgia.

This is one of a handful of new initiatives aimed at resolving demographic problems in Georgia.

A Government Commission involving local experts from a variety of fields has been founded to discuss and resolve a range of issues facing the community. It will be led by the Prime Minister of Georgia.

A working group was created at a meeting between Government members and representatives of the Demographic Revival Fund on Tuesday. Leading representatives from numerous sectors, including Health, Economy and Finance Ministries, Head of the Parliamentary Committee of Health and other invited experts will be members of the Commission.

The Commission is aimed with developing a state program to solve demographic issues in cooperation with the Demographic Revival Fund, and other non-governmental organizations and experts.

One of the ways to boost the population in rural areas was to give parents a monthly allowance. The initiative, by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, will see parents living in regions with a significant decline in birth rates receive a monthly allowance from the Government after having every third child.

The amount of aid will be 200 GEL in mountainous regions and 150 GEL in other areas.

The project will be implemented in six regions of the country in its first stage and will be launched on June 1 of this year. (Agenda.Ge)

Football teams fined after football fight

The host team of a football match that ended in a large-scale clash between fans and players is facing tough punishment including a large fine and match penalties.

Football club Torpedo must pay a fine of 18, 300 GEL and will hold its next five home matches at a neutral stadium, for its role in instigating the fight between its supporters and the opposition team – Tbilisi Dinamo.

This decision was made by the Georgian Football Federation Discipline Committee as a consequence of the hooliganism that took place in Kutaisi during a championship game between the Kutaisi Torpedo and Tbilisi Dinamo.

As a result of the mid-game fight, where the score was 2-0 in favor of Tbilisi "Dinamo”, the game was called-off early.

The committee also decided the cancelled game to be considered a 3-0 victory for the visiting team.

It is unclear whether the committee will allow Torpedo supporters to attend the next five games or not.

Tbilisi Dinamo was also punished for their role in the scrap. The committee ordered the team to pay a fine of 800 GEL as their supporters removed the stadium seats during the fight.

Torpedo fans started a fight during the second half of the match when the local team was losing 2-0.

After the clash between the supporters, 16 were arrested and others were injured, including players. (Agenda.Ge)