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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 13
Richard Norland attends conference on Political Party Financing and Women’s Participation in Politics

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland attended a roundtable on Political Party Funding and Women’s Participation in Political Life on March 12. The U.S. Government supports several projects that promote women’s political participation through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).The topics of the two-day conference included political party funding, lessons learned and models of funding, 2012 Parliamentary elections and women’s participation, and how to increase women’s political participation. Based on the discussions, the roundtable participants will develop recommendations with the broad participation of Georgian political parties, non-governmental organizations, government representatives, international donor and development agencies, experts and the Georgian media.

The conference represents a joint effort between the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD). (IPN)

Venice Commission report available to the public

The Venice Commission’s report on draft amendments to the Organic Law on Courts of General Jurisdiction of Georgia was published on March 11, where European experts discussed in detail all the amendments that have been initiated by the Government of Georgia to the Law on Courts of General Jurisdiction. The Venice Commission has offered recommendations to the Government of Georgia and focused on the issues that remain controversial. The members of the commission say the decision on accepting these recommendations is up to the government. (Rustavi 2)

Georgia to approve new strategy on migration

Georgia will soon adopt a new strategy on migration, Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani announced at a meeting dedicated to migration issues. The participants of the conference chaired by the minister discussed the migration strategy action plan, visa policy and the role of the non-governmental sector in the work of the commission, which was set to prepare the strategy document. “I want to thank the European Union for their assistance in this process. Our migration strategy should fit not only national interests, but European standards as well, in order to complete negotiations with the EU successfully,” Tea Tsulukiani said. (Rustavi 2)

One more person dies of H1N1

One more person has died of the H1N1 virus. According to the National Center for Disease Control, there are 293 laboratory-confirmed cases including 23 deaths.

Most of the victims ranged from 30 to 64 years-old. Two children under age 4 died and one from 5 to 14 years of age. One death was recorded in the 15 to 29 age group.

The national centre reports that the number of cases of the virus will decrease by late March. (IPN)

Coma – new Georgian film based on true story coming soon

Movie theaters across Georgia will soon premiere a new Georgian film titled Coma. The film directed by Archil Kavtaradze, is based on the true story of a young man – a character named Tite Gogia – imprisoned following a traffic accident. He discovers the reality of the inhumane treatment of prisoners. In parallel, a story runs in the hospital where victims of the traffic accident are recovering, with one of them in a coma. It’s their recovery that Gogia’s fate depends on. (Georgian News TV)

One wing of a block of apartments collapses in Tbilisi

One wing of a block of houses in the Vaziani district of Tbilisi has collapsed suddenly. Reportedly, the accident resulted in no casualties. However, several families were left homeless. Rescuers arrived at the ruined building and are now clearing the debris. People say IDPs lived in that block of the building too. They also say it is a damaged building and there is a danger that the rest of the block may also collapse. (Rustavi 2)

Erisioni returns from Moscow

Georgian dance and song ensemble Erisioni has returned from Moscow after touring several Russian cities including the capital. Supporters greeted the ensemble at Tbilisi international airport with ovations and posters. Some politicians and public figures objected to the concerts given by the ensemble in Russia. They said the concert in the Kremlin was a concert in the occupant country. (Rustavi 2)

Ankvab visits Moscow

Leader of breakaway Abkhazia, Alexander Ankvab, kicked-off his working visit to Moscow on Monday, the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress reported.

Ankvab is scheduled to meet Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on March 12, according to Kremlin.

Meanwhile in Abkhazia, Ankvab has recently faced an opposition protest rally following a decision of the breakaway region’s government to double electricity tariffs starting from January. During the rally in Sokhumi on February 28, the opposition called for the resignation of the government. Late last week, a special commission of the breakaway region’s legislative body recommended that the government increase electricity tariffs by no more than 15-20%. Ankvab accepted the proposal and the breakaway region’s government revised its earlier decision and set electricity fee per kilowatt for household at 40 kopeck instead of initial 60. (Civil.Ge)