The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Tuesday, July 14
Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia ll thanks U.S. Ambassador

Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II has thanked U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland, who was attending a holy liturgy in the Svetitskhoveli temple, for his efforts in Georgia.

"We are pleased that the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland and his wife are attending the festive liturgy today. I warmly welcome them. The Ambassador’s term of office is expiring and he is soon to leave for America. We wish him good luck and offer him our thanks for assisting Georgia,”- he said.

The Patriarch congratulated everyone on the holiday Sthevetitskhovloba and asked God to grant joy and love to Georgia.

Plans for new spacious Tbilisi zoo presented

After being partly destroyed by a flood a month ago, Tbilisi Zoo will move into a new facility to be built on the shores of Tbilisi Sea Reservoir, the largest lake in the capital.

Reflecting on the future of the zoo, director Zurab Gurielidze and spokesperson Mzia Sharashidze said at a press conference Friday that the new facility will have a much larger area at its disposal; 47 acres compared to the 9 acres the old one had.

They said that foreign zoo experts have looked at the new site and all of them approved the place.

“It is not necessary to have the zoo in the centre of the city in order for people to visit it. The suburbs are well suited and quite near,” Sharashidze said.

Gurielidze said it will cost about USD 50-60 million to build the new zoo and the chosen blueprint was designed by an Irish company, which was the cheapest one that complied with the requirements.

He said it is not yet clear how the new zoo will be financed, but they are working with the government to find financing. No-one has so far contacted him or the zoo about billionaire and former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s promise to contribute, he added.

Much clean-up work still remains to be done at the old zoo, which lies in the city centre at a major traffic junction and was hit by a tsunami-like flood wave overnight June 13-14. It is not likely to reopen until September.

Tbilisi Zoo lost over half of its animals. Few of the predators survived. Some animals escaped from their cages and wandered about the city. Most of them were shot. A white tiger which managed to hide from sight attacked and killed a man at a warehouse a few days after the flood. It was killed.
(df watch)

Deputy Health Minister Gaioz Talakvadze resigns

Deputy Minister of Labor, Health and Social Protection Gaioz Talakvadze has left office. Deputy Health Minister Zaza Sopromadze has confirmed this information. According to him, Gaioz Talakvadze resigned several days ago on the basis of his personal request.

As reported, another job became the reason for leaving the post.

Gaioz Talakvadze was appointed as Deputy Health Minister on March 2, 2015. He was the head of Social Service Agency before being appointed on the post.

Parliamentary Inter-Faction Group endorsed the Action Plan of Open Parliament

The Inter-Faction group held the 5th sitting and endorsed the action plan. The plan envisages 18 obligations in terms of Parliamentary openness, mandatory to be implemented by the Parliament in 2015-2016. “We adopted the action plan, which is a step forward as not many countries have the action plan for Open Parliament. The IF group worked very intensively with NGOs. They provided us with interesting offers. The plan provides interesting paragraphs implementation of which will make Parliament more transparent and will simplify involvement of the citizens in Parliamentary activity to let them know what we do. In September, we will hold the forum, hosting the representatives of the Parliaments already practicing these programs. I suppose that our plan is one of the most interesting and comprehensive”, - MP Guguly. Magradze stated. The Head of Information Freedom Development Institute, L. Avalishvili thanked everyone developing the action plan. “I would like to thank Mrs. Magradze and everyone who actively participated in this process. We have submitted this plan to the Central Committee of Partnership Open Governance, represented with international organizations and Governments and they gave high evaluation to our plan and noted that it is one of the best”. The obligations include: possibility for the citizens to leave the comment upon legislation process; upload of the drafts on the web-page in easy-development format; simplification of accessibility to the documents for disabled; open and transparent governance standing council set up; development Code of Conduct etc. The Action Plan shall be submitted to the Bureau for ratification. The Action Plan has been developed within OGP. It is noteworthy that OGP is adopted by member state Parliaments. Endorsing the plan, Georgia becomes one of the leaders of OGP. The IF group, set up with the decree of the Speaker of February 12, 2015 is composed of 11 MPs: G. Magradze, T. Kordzaia, M. Vakhtangishvili, G. Kakhiani, G. Bukia, N. Goguadze, Kh. Gogorishvili, V. Lemonjava, D. Chavchanidze, G. Enukidze and K. Okriashvili. Georgian Open Parliament Working Group is engaged in group activity, which is composed of international and NGOs. The activity of the group is supported with EU funded program “Enhancement of Parliamentary Democracy System in Georgia”, implemented by UNDP by means of IDFI project.