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The News in Brief

Friday, July 9
John Bass: Georgia is still issue of dispute between Russia and United States

The US administration’s position is quite clear and Georgia is still an issue of difference between the US and the Russian Federation. US Ambassador to Georgia John Bass stated this while commenting on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s response to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’ statements during her visit to Georgia on July 5.

John Bass said that the US administration’s position is quite clear and Georgia is still an issue of difference between US and the Russian Federation. “What I would say is that Secretary Clinton’s statement stands for itself, she has chosen to characterise the circumstances here in Georgia as she has, and it's quite clear, as you see from this exchange, that we continue to hold this strong position,” John Bass said. (Prime News)

Public Defender to submit report to Parliament only once a year

Under a proposed amendment to the Law on the Public Defender the Ombudsmen will deliver a report to the Parliament of Georgia only once a year.

Under current legislation a report on the human rights situation in the country is submitted to the Parliament twice a year, in March and October. The proposed amendment stipulates that the Ombudsman will deliver a report in March of each calendar year.

The authors of the bill are Chiora Taktakishvili, Pavle Kublashvili and Kakha Anjaparidze. (Prime News)

French frigate to stay in Batumi until July 11

The Jean de Vienne, an F70 type anti-submarine frigate of the French Marine Nationale, sailed into Batumi port on Thursday morning.

The Georgian side arranged a greeting ceremony, which Mayor of Batumi Robert Chkhaidze, the commanders of the local coastguard and representatives of the French Embassy in Georgia attended. The national anthems of the two partner countries were performed at the ceremony. Later the military attache of the French Embassy in Georgia, Vice-Colonel Jean-Luc Theus, and captain of the frigate Laurent Henner were hosted by Chair of the Adjara Autonomous Republic's Government Levan Varshalomidze and other members of it.

This is this ship's first visit to Batumi port, though other French Navy frigates enter Georgian waters frequently. During the visit a friendly football match will be held between the crew of the frigate and officers of the coastguard department in the Marina sport complex. The Jean de Vienne will stay in Batumi until July 11, but before departure French sailors will conduct joint exercises with coastguard officers on July 9 and 11. (Rustavi 2)

Footballer arrested for money extortion

Tbilisi Main Police Department and the Counter-Terrorist Centre of the Interior Ministry have arrested famous Georgian footballer Giorgi Demetradze on suspicion of money extortion. Two other persons, Davit Gagnidze and Kakha Misireli, have also been arrested for alleged involvement in this crime.

Reportedly, the police took 40,700 dollar from the detainees, which they had extorted from Davit Peikrishvili. Peikrishvili had won 140,000 dollars from a personal bet during the World Cup. Police say Demetradze and the other suspects had contact with a former convict, Vato Kipiani, who had left Georgia after being released from prison. Kipiani contacted Davit Gagnidze, Giorgi Demetradze and Kakha Misireli and tried to extort the won sum from Peikrishvili via blackmail and intimidation as a 'tax for a criminal network'.

Vato Kipiani will be charged in absentia, the others will be tried here in Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

Labour Party sends address to Venice Commission

The Labour Party has sent a letter to the Venice Commission demanding that political and financial sanctions be taken against President Saakashvili and his team. Kakha Dzagania said at a briefing that the opposition party objects to the constitutional amendments which will allow Saakashvili to continue to rule the country as Prime Minister. Dzagania said such amendments would equal the legalisation of Saakashvili's dictatorship.

Kakha Dzagania expressed his hope that the Venice Commission will encourage democratic processes in Georgia and support the initiative of the Labour Party, which includes inserting a legal norm into the constitution which would prevent Presidents becoming a Prime Minister, Speaker or Court Chair after their terms expre. (Rustavi 2)

Famous Georgian composer Bidzina Kvernadze dies at 82

Famous Georgian composer Bidzina Kvernadze died yesterday after a long illness. The work of the great composer covered all genres of music- movie, theatre, ballet, opera, orchestral compositions, piano concertos and modern songs.

Bidzina Kvernadze was born on July 29, 1918 in the city of Sighnaghi. In 1979 the composer was decorated with the title of Georgian Public Artist, in 1981 he eceived the Zakaria Paliashvili prize and in 1985 the Shota Rustaveli Prize. In 1996 Bidzina Kvernadze became an honorary resident of Tbilisi. In 1998, the composer was awarded the Honour Prize. (Rustavi 2)