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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 20
Georgia continues to enjoy media freedom – British Ambassador

As the Ambassador of Great Britain to Georgia said Georgian reporters in response to a question on the Rustavi 2 case, she is watching the process very closely. According to her, Georgia continues to have media freedom.

“All of us who care about this have been very impressed by the progress Georgia has made in democracy. We are following with great interest what is happening with the Rustavi 2 case.

“I and number of my colleagues are watching the case very closely, and we will be interested to see what happens this week. It is a court process, and whatever happens in the courts I think the most important thing is that Georgia continues to have media freedom, and that there is still space for voices across the political spectrum and different points of view to be heard in the Georgian media.

“Georgia is going to have elections in a year, which makes it all the more important for Georgia to prove once again that there really is democracy in the region,” the Ambassador of Great Britain told Georgian reporters.

Remittances in September down 33%

Remittances to Georgia in September went down 32.9 percent compared to last year, according to the latest monthly report by the National Bank.

Remittances, or money that individuals send home to relatives from particularly Russia and Europe, amounted to USD 88.6 million last month, according to the report published Friday.

The largest amount of money was transferred from Russia, at 44.5 percent. The second most significant source was the European Union with 25.7 percent, followed by the United States at 9.9 percent.

Among individual EU countries, Italy and Greece ranked highest with 10.2 and 7.5 percent, respectively, while Turkey accounted for 5.8 percent.

Last year, Greece was the most important source country of remittances from the EU, but its importance receded with the crisis this year.

In September, USD 13.8 million was transferred out of Georgia, compared to USD 14. 9 million in 2014.
(DF watch)

Police changes street drug testing rules in Georgia

A Georgian health sector official is praising a rule change which allowed police officers to conduct on-the-spot drug tests on individuals believed to be under the influence of drugs.

The head of Parliament’s Healthcare and Social Issues Committee, Dimitri Khundadze, has thanked Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs for changing the rules relating to drug testing individuals on alleged drug use.

As of September 30 police can no longer test an individual for drugs unless the individual showed suspicious signs of drug intoxication or was caught breaking the law.

Before September 30, police had the right to test anyone for alleged drug use.

Earlier this year, Khundadze addressed the Ministry and requested that they refine the rules, regulations, procedures and occasions when law enforcers were allowed to check ordinary citizens for alleged drug use.

He said 70 percent of the people stopped by police and taken for a drugs test had never used drugs. These random checks were costly and violated a person’s rights. He believed that the police should only have the right to conduct a test when there was suspicion or evidence that a person had taken drugs.

“On one hand, it was a violation of a person’s rights, and on the other hand the procedures were costly and required much money from the state budget,” Khundadze said.

Since the new rules came into effect police have only stopped and tested people they believed had consumed drugs, or others who were caught while committing an offence, such as causing a public disturbance, engaging in hooliganism, loitering and other activities.

Kyrgyz Republic delegation visited MIA

On 12-15 October, 2015 in the framework of the study visit, the delegation of the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) visited Georgia. The purpose of this visit was to become familiar with already-implemented reforms and experience in the terms of the fight against corruption.

On 15 October, the Kyrgyz delegation held a meeting with the representatives of corresponding subdivisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA Reforms and Development Agency, MIA Patrol Police Department, MIA LEPL Service Agency) with the aim of becoming acquainted with their activities and having the opportunity to share experiences.

In the framework of the above-mentioned meeting, the Kyrgyz delegation was informed about the implemented reforms in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the anti-corruption measures implemented in the system of the Ministry, the activities of MIA Patrol Police Department and MIA LEPL Service Agency.