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The News in Brief

Friday, April 26
Georgian President visits the United States

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili is paying a visit to the United States of America. Saakashvili has already attended the opening ceremony of the George Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. George Bush joked that his greatest achievement while U.S. President was that he could correctly pronounce Saakashvili's name.

During the visit to the US, Mikheil Saakashvili held a meeting with the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Over dinner the two officials discussed the process of Georgia`s integration into the NATO alliance and the recent developments in the country.

Photos depicting the President's meeting were published on his official Facebook webpage.

As part of his visit to the United States, Saakashvili will also meet with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry. (Rustavi 2)

Kote Kublashvili discourages proposed changes in the judiciary

Chairman of the Supreme Court Kote Kublashvili says the proposed changes in the judiciary under Georgia's current government will set "bad, undemocratic" precedents. He added that if the law is adopted by Parliament the court will obey.

"If such a thing [the proposed changes] happens in Georgia, it will set a very bad precedent and will lead to every new government changing someone or something in the courts." Kublasvili said.

Kublashvili believes that the final version of the Bill on General Courts, vetoed by the President, only partially reflects the opinion of the Venice Commission.

Commenting on the President's veto of the Bill on General Courts, Kublasvili said "the veto is the President's discretionary power and whatever the position of the Supreme Court, Parliament or the Prime Minister, the President has the right to veto any proposed law, and not a single official or a representative of the court can do anything against it.” (IPN)

Prime Minister hosts delegations from the Marshal and Bosh foundations

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili hosted delegations of the Marshal and Bosh Foundations visiting Georgia. Ivanishvili shared information about his visit to Strasbourg with the foreign visitors and spoke about the Georgian government's future plans. The Prime Minister also spoke about the upcoming presidential elections, the process of Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures and the strategy for regulating trade and economic relations with Russia.

Prime Minister also spoke about the situation in Georgia’s conflict regions and mentioned that it was necessary to regulate relations with Abkhaz and Ossetian people on diplomatic level.

Dieter Boden, who is the member of the aforementioned delegation, returned from Abkhazia a few days ago. (Rustavi 2)

Zurab Chkheidze assumes office of Shida Kartli governor

The Shida Kartli region has a new governor: Zurab Chkheidze. Chkheidze was previously the deputy governor of the region, assumed the office after the former governor Andro Barnovi was appointed the head of the President’s Administration. Andro Barnovi personally introduced the new governor to his staff. (Rustavi 2)

MIA categorically denies Izvestia's allegations

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia categorically denies information released by Izvestia regarding the preparation of Chechen terrorists in Georgia. According to the Interior Ministry, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev never visited Georgia.

The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs says that Grigol Chanturia, whose report is said to be the source of the Izvestia article, has never worked for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. (Front News)

Illegal firearms seized by police

The officers of Mestia Police Division of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Regional Main Division have seized illegal firearms. As a result of search activities held in the village of Nazra, law enforcers seized an AKC automatic weapon, Carrabin, one rifle, an F-1 type hand grenade, four cartridges and 60 magazines of different calibres. An investigation is currently underway. (IPN)

Court releases Irakli Absandze on bail

Tbilisi City Court declined the prosecutor’s motion to impose 2000 lari bail on journalist Irakli Absandze as a preventive measure. At the April 25th hearing, the judge considered the defense’s request to release the defendant on parole with the Liberali magazine editor Shorena Shaverdashvili and journalist Zviad Koridze as guarantors.

Irakli Absandze was detained because of a parcel he received from France. The parcel contained marijuana. He was charged according to Article 260, Part 1 of the Criminal Code of Georgia on Illicit Keeping and Shipment, Transfer or Sale of Drugs that is punishable by up to 11 years imprisonment. (Media.Ge)

Georgia's trade turnover with EU countries decreases by 11 percent

In January-March 2013, trade turnover between Georgia and the European Union amounted to $550 million, which is 11 percent less compared to the same period last year.

As Georgian Statistics Service reported on Thursday, during the first three months of 2013 Georgian exports to the EU totaled $97 million (8-percent decrease) and imports were $453 million (a 12-percent decrease).

According to the report, the share of EU countries in Georgia's foreign trade turnover amounted to 26 percent (compared to 27 percent for the same period in 2012), including 17 percent in exports (compared to 20 percent for the same period in 2012) and 29 percent in imports (compared to 30 percent for the same period in 2012).

Some 35 percent of the trade deficit (in January-March 2012, the figure was 34 percent) was trade turnover with the EU. (Trend)

Warm and dry weather is forecast for Georgia from April 27th

Warm and dry weather is forecast for Georgia for the week beginning April 27th.

According to the Monitoring and Forecast Centre, weather will brighten up today and temperatures will increase, though rain is still expected in western Georgia.

Dry weather will last until May 3rd. Average temperatures will be 29 degrees in western Georgia and 22 degrees in eastern Georgia. Temperatures will be 22-23 degrees in Tbilisi. (IPN)