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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 20
Georgia to develop action plan on completion process of border delimitation

The Georgian government should develop an action plan to complete the process of delimitation of borders. The new border management Strategy for 2014-2018 was approved by the government.

"Completion of demarcation and delimitation of the state border between Georgia and neighboring states is of great importance, since the delay in this process has a negative impact not only on the management of the state border , but also in the political, economic and social stability of the country and the region as a whole. In order to complete the demarcation and delimitation of the Georgian borders with Armenia, as well as Azerbaijan, for compliance with the fundamental interests of the state, the Georgian government should take effective measures for full implementation of border policy for the continuation of the process of demarcation and delimitation. The process of demarcation and delimitation of the Russian -Georgian border will continue after the de-occupation of Georgian territories," the Strategy said.

Furthermore, the document suggests the development of a new agreement on the border regime with Turkey. (Trend)

NATO Parliamentary Assembly to visit Georgia

On March 24-26 the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will visit Georgia. During the visit, members of the Georgia-NATO Inter-Parliamentary Council and the Political Committee will visit the NATO Liaison Office on March 24 and will hold a round table. The Alliance representatives will also hold meetings with the members of Georgia’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Georgia’s internal reforms, international security and NATO’s role, as well as Georgia’s role in regional stability will be discussed at the meeting.

Delegation members will meet with the Georgian officials, NGOs and independent experts as well.

The guests will also visit the Vaziani military base and will travel to the Georgia-Armenia border to monitor the efforts of the border police. They will also visit the EU Monitoring Mission office, after which a briefing will be held with regard to the Mission's mandate and activities. (InterPressNews)

Emergency services could become a united agency

Georgia’s first response emergency units could be united to create an Emergency Management Agency, led by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The country’s fire, ambulance, security and other emergency services could be combined to make it easier for Georgian citizens to access first response units and develop the quality of the services.

The government announced a reform that would create the Emergency Situation Reaction Unified System, aimed to establish a civil security system that will be implemented this year and next. This proposed change would become a reality if a Civil Security Bill, prepared by the Interior Ministry, was passed in Parliament.

The bill would see all levels of emergency units, including units in Georgia’s regional areas, to become part of the new united system. As a result, local emergency systems would close in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and other self-governing areas of Georgia. (Agenda.Ge)

Prosecutor’s bid to charge UNM MP blocked for now by conflicting provisions

Conflicting provisions in legislation makes it impossible for the Parliament to take any action in response to prosecutors’ request for the permission to press criminal charges against UNM lawmaker Roland Akhalaia, parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili said on Monday.

The Parliament will have to at first introduce legislative amendments in order to address existing conflict of norms, Usupashvili said in a written statement.

On the one hand the code of criminal procedure obligates the prosecutor’s office to seek Parliament’s permission to bring criminal charges against a lawmaker, but on the other hand legislation does not provide for procedures how the Parliament can do that.

But at the same time Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor “cannot launch criminal proceedings against a member of parliament without approval of the Parliament” as envisaged by articles 167 and 169 of the criminal procedure code.

Usupashvili said that “this absurd situation” was caused by amendments introduced to the code of criminal procedure in 2010 by the previous Parliament.

After the amendment the prosecutor’s office will be able to bring criminal charges against MP Akhalaia without seeking Parliament’s permission, but such amendment will not imply stripping of a lawmaker of his or her immunity and prosecutors will still be required to ask for Parliament’s authorization if they want to detain a lawmaker.

Prosecutor’s office requested for Parliament’s permission to initiate criminal charges against Roland Akhalaia on March 14; prosecutors claim he exceeded official powers while serving as chief prosecutor of Samegrelo region in 2009; MP Akhalaia denies charges. (Civil.Ge)

Dead fish found on shores of recreational lake near Tbilisi

A large number of dead fish have been discovered on the shores of Kumisi Lake.

Specialists at the National Food Agency claim the fish died due to a lack of water and oxygen.

Kumisi Lake is a popular place for anglers and lies about 20 km south of Tbilisi.

Specialists studied the situation in the lake and found that the fish did not die due to disease or poisoning, but lack of oxygen, the National Food Agency explained to InterPressNews.

According to Wikipedia, oxygen depletion is the most common cause of mass fish die-off. The level of oxygen dissolved in the water fluctuates over the course of a day due to factors such as weather, temperature, sunlight and the amount of living and dead plant and animal matter in the water.

The agency says an entrepreneur built a fish farm on the lake and managed to sell his fish before it died. The fish which was found dead was collected and buried with the attendance of agency representatives.

National agency representatives assure that the dead fish won’t make it to shops and markets, but it is not excluded that the local population may sell the dead fish.

A study of microbial levels, published in Journal of Water and Health in 2013, found that Kumisi Lake, a brackish body of water in an active agricultural area, had a high level of fecal indicators.

An illegal slaughterhouse was discovered in Kumisi earlier this year. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)