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The News in Brief

Monday, August 19
Large part of Ureki resort flooded after heavy rains

A large part of Ureki resort has been flooded after heavy rains. The InterPressNews regional correspondent reported that the landslide created obstacles for traffic in the center of Ureki.

According to Ozurgeti Governor Kote Sharashenidze, rescuers had been trying to assist the population all night long. Because the shortage of help, the governor is asking for assistance from the neighboring regions.Sharashenidze says a special commission will be set up for calculation of the loss.

Georgian President vetoes amendments to law ‘On Higher Education’

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has vetoed a bill amending the law 'On Higher Education'. As reported on Friday, the administration of President Saakashvili believes that the amendments to the Act might result in serious problems in the education system.

On August 6, the Georgian parliament adopted amendments to the Law 'On Higher Education'.

The primary version of the bill introduced changes to the principle of appointment of the acting rector. It implied that the rector was to be appointed by the prime minister (not the government), and had to serve until the election of a new rector by the academic council of the university. Representatives of the former ruling United National Movement, a group of university professors and students as well as individual members of the majority of the Georgian Parliament, represented by the Georgian Dream Coalition, voted against the draft law.

According to the draft law adopted by the Parliament, the acting rector was to be appointed by the Electoral College.

Under the amendments, a candidate for the post of the university rector is required to have a Ph.D. or its academic equivalent. The amendment also established rules for calculating the payment to rectors, heads of administrations, heads of degree provision services and deans.

In addition, the amendment provided for the reorganization of the legal entity of public law "the National Center for Examination" under the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. In the case of the entry of the bill into force, the agency would have been called "The National Center for Examinations and Assessments".

OSCE presidential election observers to arrive in Georgia on Sep. 16

24 long-term and 300 short-term OSCE observers will arrive in Georgia on September 16. According to Georgia's Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze, they will become acquainted with the situation on September 16-19, and hold a press conference assessing the pre-election situation on September 19. After the announcement of the date of the presidential elections, the Georgian Foreign Ministry has appealed to all international organizations involved in the election observation, Foreign Minister said. "We have requested that they send observation missions, including OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

The Minister noted that the participation of as many observers as possible is very important for the government, as its main task lies in conducting fair and transparent elections in accordance with international standards. "We, on the other hand, have assured them of all possible support to enable them to undertake their functions without problems. Hopefully, this will be the last test of democracy," Maya Panjikidze said. The presidential elections in Georgia are scheduled for October 27.

Former Speaker of Georgia’s Supreme Council joins presidential race

Former Speaker of the Supreme Council of Georgia in the administration of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, leader of the Union of Traditionalists, Akaki Asatiani, has started his battle for the presidency and hopes for fair conditions during the elections."Based on the current situation, the reality requires me to take part in the presidential elections. Together we must develop solutions to problems and try to implement them. Unfortunately, I have not yet heard of this from any of the presidential candidates," he said at a press conference on Friday. Asatiani plans to start an active campaign in September. He will submit an application to the CEC next week.

Georgia, Russia resume international automobile communication

Georgia and Russia have resumed international automobile communication. The decision was taken at a meeting of representatives of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, which was held in Moscow on August 6-7. According to the Ministry of Economy of Georgia, the purpose of the visit was the resumption of international freight and passenger road traffic between countries according to the needs. At the meeting, the Georgian side raised the issue of the need for the simplification of the visa regime for Georgian drivers. From the Russian side, consent was obtained to ensure that this matter will be settled favorably in the near future. At this stage, the parties have exchanged 500 permits for the transport of goods in 2013, which will give the opportunity to Georgian carriers to transport cargo in the direction of Russia. In addition, the parties agreed to exchange permits for the transport of goods to a third country. The meeting also agreed on the resumption of regular bus service between the cities of Russia and Georgia, which had been interrupted since 2006.

Georgia, Israel sign agreement on cooperation in security

Georgian Interior Minister, Irakli Garibashvili, met with the Minister of Public Security of Israel, Yitzhak Aaranovich. The sides discussed the existing cooperation between the ministries as well as future plans, Gerogia's Ministry of Internal Affairs told Trend on Thursday. During the meeting, a joint statement was signed by the governments of Georgia and Israel on cooperation in the field of public security and the fight against crime. Yitzhak Aaranovich is on an official visit to Georgia. During the visit, the Israeli delegation will visit training facilities at the Department of Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and visit a demonstration event. Guests will also visit the 112 emergency operational control centres. The visit ended on August 18.