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The News in Brief

Friday, January 25
Railway chief briefs for media

The Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the Georgian Railways Koka Guntsadze has accused the previous management of the company of possible collusion and embezzlement. Guntsadze spoke about the contract between the Georgian Railway and the Wagon Repair Factory, the terms of which have not been fulfilled yet though part of the fee has been paid. Guntsadze claims that according to the contract signed on July 7, 2012, the Wagon Repair Factory agreed to repair over 1,200 various types of tanks and wagons. Georgian Railways paid 50 percent of the fee (112 million GEL), in advance, though, only 35 repaired cars have been returned to Georgian Railways. Guntsadze suspects the Georgian Railways and the Repair Company carried out a kick-back deal. “We have a reasonable suspicions that this is a scheme of embezzling a very large amount of state funds as a result of a deal between the then management of the GR and the Repair Factory,” Guntsadze said before adding that relevant documents would be sent to the Chief Prosecutor’s office for investigation. (Rustavi 2)

Scuffles Break Out Between Protesters and Police in Batumi

Scuffles broke out between protesters and police in Batumi. As an InterPressNews correspondent reports, Koroli River Bridge, protesters who owe banks and private mortgagers marched across the Koroli River Bridge and demanded that the government allow them more time to pay their debts as well as assistance in paying their debts. The protesters attempted to close the road which resulted in a scuffle between them and police. 50 protesters were injured and had to call for medical aid.

Adjaran government representatives conducted negotiations with the protesters. As Sulkhan Okropiridze told the protesters, a special commission has been set up in the Adjaran government that will work on solving their problems. Patrol police have been mobilized. (IPN)

525 Prisoners Left Prisons Under Amnesty Project

2,383 convicts, including 175 political prisoners have left penitentiary facilities throughout Georgia as a result of the amnesty project, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance .The Ministry reports that on January 24th, 525 convicts were released according to the Georgian Amnesty Law.. The prisoners who have been granted amnesty will leave penitentiary facilities stage by stage. (IPN)

Davit Bakradze – Ruling Party Intends to Gather a Constitutional Majority by Summonsing MPs to Prosecutor’s office and Intimidation

Leader of the parliamentary opposition Davit Bakradze has stated that two MPs of the United National Movement (UNM) Tariel Londaridze and Kakha Butskhrikidze were summoned to the Prosecutor’s office for questioning. Bakradze told journalists in Strasbourg that this is direct political pressure on the MPs. “Direct pressure on parliamentary opposition members continues. Constitutional changes are coming soon and it seems that direct pressure on MPs, their intimidation, imprisonment, summonsing to the Prosecutor’s office is the way the majority intends to gather the votes necessary for constitutional changes.” Bakradze said.

He called on law enforcement bodies to follow the rules and procedures of summonsing the MPs for questioning. (IPN)

Genady Onishenko to Arrive in Georgia

Russia’s Chief Sanitary Doctor Genady Onishenko will visit Georgia, the Russian media reports. Onishenko stated he is going to visit Georgia to solve various issues regarding the export of Georgian wine and mineral water to the Russian market. Onishenko confirmed his readiness to visit Georgia after he meets with representatives of the Georgian delegation on February 4th in Moscow. The Georgian party sent the 7-member list of the delegation to Russia's sanitary service. The delegation will be led by the National Wine Agency’s Levan Davitashvili. (IPN)

Ex-minister breaks silence and returns to politics

Former Security Minister Valeri Khaburdzania plans to return to politics - he announced his intention in an interview with Alia newspaper. “I broke an 8 year-long silence, it means that I am back in politics,” Khaburdzania said. He also reviewed the current political situation in Georgia stressing that it was unacceptable to ignore Russia while determining Georgia’s foreign policy priorities. “The Russian factor cannot be artificially marginalized, especially, when its influence is very great. Governments should not be inventing chimeras like Euro-Atlantic unions, for short-term political comfort,” Khaburdzania said.

He confirmed his plans on returning to politics in a telephone interview with Rustavi 2 yesterday. (Rustavi 2)

Alasania’s ally says coalition is firm

“The Coalition is unified and this unity will be firm." member of the Free Democrats Party Victor Dolidze has said when commenting on the decision of the Prime Minister to dismiss Irakli Alasania from the position of the Vice Prime Minister. Victor Dolidze agrees with the Prime Minister that it is better if Irakli Alasania completely focuses on his work as the Minister of Defense. Georgian Dream coalition MP Zviad Dzidziguri says the definition made by the Prime Minister regarding his decision was sufficient. MP Davit Darchiashvili from the United National Movement has characterized the dismissal of Alasania as another political scandal in the government of Georgia, which reflects the situation of the ruling party. (Rustavi 2)