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The News in Brief

Thursday, November 22
Giorgi Kandelaki - new government of Georgia suffered a complete fiasco in the international arena

Parliamentary minority leader, Giorgi Kandelaki, says the new government of Georgia has suffered a complete fiasco in the international arena. As Kandelaki said at the parliamentary session, he cannot recall any other government in the world that was given a yellow card by the international community so quickly. "I am not glad to say this, but gentlemen, you were given a yellow card," said Kandelaki. At the same time, the opposition MP criticized the new government because of its reaction to the international community's warning and called on them to pay due respect to the world leaders appeal. "Instead of taking the criticism into view, you continued detentions, which are assessed by the whole world as political arrests and have cast doubt on their views. This was a shameful reaction. Gentlemen, you cannot understand the difference between the West and Russia. If you do not want to live in a democracy – you may say so," said Kandelaki. (IPN)

Health Minister refuses reports about his resignation

Minister of Labour, Health and Social Care has denied the reports about his resignation. Davit Sergienko held a special briefing today to publicly deny the rumors, saying the wrong reports about his decision was the outcome of non-coordinated work between the ministry and media.

Sergienko explained that these rumors might have been caused by the overloaded schedule in which the ministry has been working during the past two weeks.

The minister's possible resignation was reported by Resonance newspaper yesterday. The article said that the government was hiding this information until the new candidate was selected. It also said that Sergienko seemed like it was not feasible to carry out the social projects included in the election campaign of the Georgian Dream coalition.

The minister also spoke about the problems of the vulnerable; Sergienko said for the next 6-7- months as a minimum, the ministry would cover the rent expenditures of over 1,000 vulnerable families. But afterwards, the government hopes that they will be able to address their housing problems on their own. (Rustavi 2)

TCC director and financial manager arrested

Director of the NCC construction company Gegi Kelbakiani and the financial manager of the same company Archil Chogoladze have been arrested after an eight-hour long interrogation Tuesday night.

The two are suspected of money laundering, which envisages imprisonment from 9 to 12 years. Kelbakiani and Chogoladze will be charged according to the third part of Article 194 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. Before founding TCC, Kelbakiani was the director general of the Tbilisi Water Company.

Law enforcement raided the office of the NCC yesterday and took away financial documents for investigation. (Rustavi 2)

Giorgi Kalandadze released without bail

Tbilisi City Court did not satisfy the mediation of the Prosecutor’s Office and released Giorgi Kalandadze, the former Chief of the Joint Staff, without bail.

The Prosecutor’s Office demanded that Giorgi Kalandadze be taken into custody.

After the trial, Kalandadze’s lawyer, Gogita Gabaidze, made a comment for journalists. According to him, the court did not satisfy the Prosecutor’s wishes, as Kalandadze had already been released on bail on November 9th and on the 13th. "The judge explained that the new charge was not a foundation for taking Kalandadze into custody," Gabaidze said.

The court’s decision may be appealed in the Court of Appeals within 48 hours.

Kalandadze’s family members and friends, including former interior minister Bacho Akhalaia’s wife, attended the trial. (IPN)

Tea Tsulukiani to pay her first visit to Council of Europe

Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani will pay her first visit to the Council of Europe on November 22-23. Meetings are scheduled with Council of Europe Secretary General, the Human Rights Commissioner and others. In the Human Rights European Court, Tea Tsulukiani will meet with judges and the chairman of the court. Tea Tsulukiani will discuss the new government’s plans in the human rights area. Future cooperation between the European Court and the Georgian government will also be discussed at the meeting. (IPN)

Three Georgian sailors freed by Brazilian judiciary

Three Georgian sailors, who were arrested in the process of a criminal investigation in Brazil, have been released. The Georgian nationals were arrested last August in connection with an accident, which occurred on a vessel sailing with a Panamanian flag– a gas container explosion killed another Georgian sailor on board. Local law enforcement officers arrested several members of the crew in suspicion of negligence while handling dangerous substances; three of them were Georgians. The investigation was in progress since their detention and only on November 19, the court recognized the three Georgian nationals as innocent. The freed sailors will leave for Georgia later. (Rustavi 2)

Miners rally outside the parliament in Kutaisi

Miners from the town of Tkibuli are rallying outside the parliament in Kutaisi. The protestors have declared their mistrust with the coal mine management and announced that the strike would continue until their demands are satisfied. The miners went on strike a few weeks ago. They are demanding an increase in their salaries, health insurance and the nullification of the short-term and verbal labor contracts. Protestors say they have already applied to the governmental commission and the Tkibuli single-mandate MP Eliso Chapidze and now they are waiting for their response. In addition, the protestors plan to arrive in Tbilisi and rally at the president`s administration. (Rustavi 2)