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The News in Brief

Thursday, April 15
Opposition parties object to absence of Georgian inscriptions on signboards

The leaders of the Conservative Party and People's Party, Zviad Dzidziguri and Koba Davitashvili, walked along Rustaveli Avenue on the Day of the Mother Tongue yesterday and protested that sign boards and other inscriptions on the buildings there were mostly in English.

The leaders of the two parties, which are the members of the National Council, called upon City Hall to amend the regulations and make it obligatory to erect signs in Georgian. Zviad Dzidziguri said that the National Council would do this after winning the local elections.

Koba Davitashvili said that in the same way Georgia faced a threat from the Russian language during the Soviet era today it is threatened by the English language. "Today we are celebrating the Day of the Mother Tongue. 32 years ago the Georgian people rallied in defence of the Georgian language. Today no one is fighting against our language but if you walk along Rustaveli Avenue you will see very few Georgian inscriptions on signboards. We are not against English inscriptions, but they must be put alongside Georgian ones," Davitashvili said.

The Labour Party asserts that the Georgian language is in danger. Giorgi Gugava of the party held a briefing yesterday and said that the fact that the Georgian language was in danger was further proof that the independence of Georgia was a sham. He accused the "anti-Georgian" Government of intending to turn the country into an English-speaking state and declare English the official language.

Gugava responded to the President's statement that 1,000 native English speakers would be invited to Georgia to teach the language to Georgian pupils. Gugava disapproved of this idea and said that the "mission" of the Government was to replace the mother language with English one and carry out English cultural expansion in Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

Mikheil Saakashvili talks about simulated Chronicle programme in US

Mikheil Saakashvili has talked about the Imedi TV simulated Chronicle programme in an interview with US Public Radio.

Journalist Robert Siegel asked the President if he had known in advance that such a programme was being made. He said everybody knew it was going to be broadcast because the station had been advertising it all week. "However, I would have been crazy to approve it because in that broadcast it said that the Georgian Army had betrayed it country and I had been killed."

Asked whether the programme had been designed to create public panic and depict the opposition as pro-Russian, Saakashvili said that the people depicted in the programme were not standing in the elections. Besides, Saakasvhili said: "TV stations fight for ratings. This is all about advertising money. We have a small market, there'shuge competition." (Interpressnews)

Varshalomidze satisfied with meeting with Government members

Levan Varshalomidze, Chair of the Government of Adjara Autonomous Republic, was satisfied with yesterday’s meeting with Georgian Government members. He said after the meeting that all problematic issues related to the region had been resolved. He added that meetings with the central Government would be held once a quarter.

Varshlomidze denied that there was any conflict between himself and Prime Minister Nika Gilauri. Gilauri did not attend yesterday’s meeting.

Levan Varshalomidze demanded the delegation of more authority to Adjara a few days ago. He said that Adjara Ministries could not take the simplest decisions without getting a signature from a Tbilisi bureaucrat unknown to them. He said that he had been sending letters to Prime Minister Nika Gilauri about this since 2009, but had not received a response. (Interpressnews)

French MPs say their visit is aimed at studying the situation in Georgia

Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Giorgi Tsereteli, has met Members of the French Senate and Members of its National Assembly. The major issues they discussed were bilateral cooperation between Georgia and France and the occupation of Georgian territory by Russia. Discussion was also held about the forthcoming local elections and the democratic reforms taking place in the country.

The French Parliamentarians said that the purpose of their visit is to study the present situation in Georgia so that France can help Georgia resolve its problems. The delegation will prepare a special report about the visit and hand it to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of France.

After the meeting Deputy Chairman of Parliament Giorgi Tsereteli told journalists that "France bears a special responsibility towards this issue as a participant of the talks which produced the ceasefire agreement in 2008. The principal issue is that the whole of Europe and France should do more to ensure that Russia fulfils its responsibilities and the de-occupation of Georgian territory takes place. In documents being created now everything will be given its proper name: ethnic cleansing will be called ethnic cleansing and occupation – occupation," Tsereteli said. He noted that the Parliament of France can play an important role in resolving the above-mentioned issues. (Interpressnews)

One person is reported dead in explosion in Lilo district

Preliminary reports say that one person has died in an explosion in a block of flats in the Lilo district. The explosion took place at about 13:00 yesterday. A 15-year girl died as a result.

It was reported that gas had exploded in the house. However Temur Giorgadze, head of the Emergency Service, told Interpressnews that gas had not caused the explosion. "The TV set exploded. Why, we don't yet know," he said.

Investigators are working on the spot and will deliver a conclusion in about a week.

Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava was expected to attend the scene. Temur Grigalashvili, Governor of Isani-Samgori district, has done so. He told Interpressnews that "the administration of the district will help the family if it asks." (Interpressnews)