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Compiled by Londa Mindiashvili
Friday, March 27
Bus drivers threaten strike

Rezonansi writes that public transport drivers have demanded to meet the Mayor of Tbilisi and urged him to fulfill their demands. Tbilisi Bus Ltd. drivers held their protest action three days ago.

According to Lavrenti Alania, the head of the bus drivers’ trade union, they demanded that Gigi Ugulava improve their social and working conditions and prevent them being ‘blackmailed and victimized’ by the general inspection. They also complained that there are no toilets, dining rooms or rest rooms for drivers.

The drivers also demand the resignation of Tbilisi Bus Ltd. Director Besik Natadze. The protesting drivers say that if their demands are not met they will hold continual protest actions.

Machavariani admits mistake

Rezonansi reports that Mikheil Machavariani, the Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, has admitted to making a mistake.

Machavariani said that he, as well as many other Members of Parliament, thought that if they increased the tax for slot clubs this would reduce their numbers.

“We made the right decision, although I was against doing this, but as we see, the Law Minister was right and I was wrong,” stated Machavariani, adding that after January when the tax was increased the gaming business expanded, something which does not make him happy.

40 Picassos to be exhibited in Georgia

Akhali Toba writes that a Pablo Picasso exhibition will be held in Georgia from 30 May to 6 September at the Georgian National Museum. The paintings will come to Georgia from Vezelay, in France.

The Georgian National Museum confirmed that 2009 has been declared the Year of Pablo Picasso and his paintings will be exhibited in many of the world’s most famous museums. 40 of his paintings will be exhibited in Sighnaghi Historical and Ethnographical Museum from 30 May to 23 June, in the Georgian National Museum from 28 June to 2 August and in Batumi State Museum from 8 August to 6 September.

Improvement in wine sector is unimaginable without Russian market - Gamkrelidze

Akhali Taoba reports that Davit Gamkrelidze, a leader of the Alliance for Georgia, has told the residents of Telavi while meeting them that “The improvement of the viticulture situation is unimaginable without the Russian market.”

“The Government deceives people when it says that losing the Russian market did not have any serious influence on the Georgian economy as they substituted it with European and American markets. The Government’s policy of paying people to cut down their vines is the consequence of losing the Russian market. If we want to save viticulture, which is the main source of income for Kakhetian people, we should be allowed to enter the Russian market again,” Gamkrelidze told Hereti, a regional broadcasting company.