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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 18
Georgian edition of Georgian Times suspended

The Georgian edition of The Georgian Times will cease publication for an indefinite period, the President of the Georgian Times Media Holding Malkhaz Gulashvili stated yesterday.

”I, the President of The Georgian Times Media Holding, would like to underline that the motherland starts from the family and the protection of my family is my foremost obligation. After 17 years of uninterrupted production of The Georgian Times I am taking an unprecedented decision: The Georgian language edition of The Georgian Times will be suspended for an indefinite period. In the light of this act of violence and psychological pressure I cannot offer a free and unbiased newspaper to people. Freedom of speech in Georgia is in question,” Gulashvili stated.

He says that the English edition of The Georgian Times has the role of linking Georgia and foreign countries and will continue to be published. The Georgian Times online version in three languages will also continue. “All the journalists working for the Georgian language edition will retain their jobs and continue working,” Gulashvili stated.

Gulashvili stated that the decision is linked with an incident involving his son. “On March 13 my son Davit Gulashvili, who is 16 years old, and two of his friends, aged 16 and 18, were stopped by criminal police near my home in Vake, Tbilisi and warned: “Don’t run, or we will fire!” One police officer pointed a gun at the head of the 16-year-old adolescent, forced him out of a car and frisked him with one hand. He then frisked his two friends while other police officers thoroughly searched the car. Davit Gulashvili and his friends, who only had lighters in their pockets, obeyed the police instructions without murmur,” Gulashvili states. (Interpressnews)

Mikheil Saakashvili – Georgia is in a big fight for its existence

The President of Georgia has received information from members of the Government about the situation in their respective fields of responsibility. Prime Minister Nika Gilauri stated at yesterday’s Government session that savings of 12 million GEL had been carried out and this figure may rise to 20 million.

The President stated that it was necessary for each department to attract investments to rescue the economy. He said that this was vitally important for Georgia. “Georgia is in a big fight for its existence and the work of each department to attract investments and the coordination of this work is very important,” Mikheil Saakashvili said. The President called for the Ministers to improve discipline in their departments and stated that the state apparatus is effective but its effectiveness must not be reduced.

Saakashvili mentioned the instance when one of the diplomats of Georgia didn’t help tourism department workers transport artefacts brought into the country for an exhibition. He explained that representatives of the country must protect the interests of Georgian citizens and the business interests of the country abroad and if they don’t do it, they will be held responsible. (Interpressnews)

Teimuraz Iobidze receives new appointment

Teimuraz Iobidze has been appointed the head of the National Non-Custodial Punishment and Probation Service, established as part of the penitentiary reform process. He was previously head of the Economic Department of Sakaeronavigatsia.

Probation Minister Dmitri Shashkin stated that the probation system was designed to protect society. 24,000 people in the non-custodial probation system will now be involved in useful labour so that they can return to society unlikely to reoffend. He added that new staff have been specially selected to work for the service who have not worked in this system before.

Temur Iobidze must present his work plan in a week. (Interpressnews)

National Forum opens offices in Tbilisi districts

The leaders of the National Forum are holding meetings with the residents of various districts of the capital and outlining their plans to them. Yesterday leader of the party Kakha Shartava opened its Mtatsminda district branch.

The National Forum has declared its support for the planned April 9 demonstration which will demand the resignation of the President and early Presidential elections. (Rustavi 2)

Zurab Noghaideli slams the Government

Former Prime Minister and current leader of opposition party Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Noghaideli has slammed the Georgian President for his “inaccurate statements about friendly countries.” Zurab Noghaideli alleges that Mikheil Saakashvili has adversely affected relations with Ukraine and Armenia by making incorrect statements.

The former Prime Minister also disapproves of the decision of the regulatory commission to appoint a special representative to the Tbilisi gas provider Kaztransgas. Zurab Noghaideli urges political parties to unite around the idea of early Presidential elections. (Rustavi 2)