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The News in Brief

Friday, March 23
Matthies: Tbilisi to have uninterrupted water supply by end of year

The entire population living within the old administrative borders of Tbilisi will have an uninterrupted water supply by the end of the year, announced Director General of Georgian Water and Power Joerg Matthies at a press conference yesterday.

The press conference was held on World Water Day, and the head of the company used that opportunity to summarize the work carried out on the city's water supply.

Mattties said that almost 90% of Tbilisi is supplied with drinking water. After the company’s privatization, an additional 20% of the city's population received improved service, at a cost of 25 million GEL. More rehabilitation work is planned, in order to provide the entire city with a constant supply of water. The company intends to invest 50 million GEL in the project.

Matthies says that households with water schedules will have to pay 2.40 GEL, and those with an uninterrupted water supply will have to pay 3.15 GEL.

The company plans rehabilitation work this year to improve current uninterrupted water supplies.

Last year, 200 km of pipe networks were rehabilitated, and rehabilitation of an 82 km network is planned for 2012.

Matthies noted that an uninterrupted water supply for newly-joined regions will arrive by the end of 2014, the same time as the re-metering process is finished.

He said that 20,000 customers have meters at this time, which ensures better usage of water resources. Tbilisi currently consumes more water than comparable European cities. Installing one meter costs the company 140 GEL, while a household pays 100 GEL. (Interpressnews)

Saakashvili interviewed by Egyptian TV

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was interviewed by one of Egypt's leading television stations, Al Hyat.

An interviewer put questions to the President about Georgian reforms (particularly police reform), Georgia-Russia relations, and the so-called "Arab Spring".

"We just started with the police because police are essential. We just fired all of them one day and for three or four months we were without police; we recruited people and we trained them very fast, gave them new equipment, new cars – I mean they did not have cars in the past – we gave them new uniforms, new guns, but the main thing was the respect of the public. Previous police were respected by 6% of the public... [the current institution] has 85-86% of [the public's] confidence," Saakashvili said.

The President was also asked about Vladimir Putin, and his return to the Russian presidency for a third term.

Saakashvili said Putin had never left the presidency, and the Georgian people have no illusions about that.

"Now this situation is better for us because before those people who wanted to believe illusions, they believed their own illusions, fine. Now they know at least that the game is open. But the main thing that is happening is that Russia, its society needs to modernize, and this is the guy who tells then 'I'll bring you back to the Soviet Union'. But there is no more Soviet Union, it's over, it's finished, it's dead, you cannot dig it up and bring it back to life. So that's why there is no future for this kind of approach," he remarked.

The President also reviewed the possibility of the spread of the Arab Spring, answering the journalist's questions for half an hour. (Rustavi 2)

Fire on Rustaveli Avenue

Rescue brigades evacuated inhabitants of a building situated at 14 Rustaveli Avenue.

A fire broke out on a workshop on the ground floor and spread to other rooms. Fifteen fire brigades localized the fire before extinguishing it completely. No casualties have been reported. (Rustavi 2)

Gilauri visits Lebanon

Prime Minister Nika Gilauri has paid a two-day visit to Lebanon. The Prime Minister’s press office reports that Gilauri met with President of Lebanon Michel Suleiman, Speaker of Parliament Nebih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The Prime Minister also met with Lebanese businessmen. (Interpressnews)

Kobalia holds meetings in London

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Vera Kobalia is paying an official visit to the United Kingdom. The Minister is holding meetings with representatives of the business and financial sectors, introducing them to the economic potential of Georgia.

Kobalia focused on the enhancement of trade and tourism between Georgia and the UK, proposing specific investment projects to British business authorities.

The projects were discussed at a meeting held with the Chamber of Commerce and Investment Agency. Kobalia gave detailed information about Georgian economic, tax, and other reforms. (Rustavi 2)

New Health Minister visits Imereti

Newly-appointed Minister of Health, Labour, and Social Affairs, Zurab Chiaberashvili, made his first visit as minister to Imereti yesterday.

Chiaberashvili viewed a new multi-profile medical centre in Samtredia, which has ultra-modern equipment and qualified personnel. He spoke with patients currently being treated at the hospital, which opened in December 2011.

During his visit to Samtredia, Chiaberashvili also met with a vulnerable family and introduced details of a new state insurance program. The family is one of the beneficiaries of the program. (Rustaviu 2)