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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 19
112 moves to emergency regime

112 Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has switched into emergency status.

The department is at full readiness for emergency work, as bad weather is in the forecast for the next three days throughout Georgia. The aim of the department is to render quick assistance to the population in need.

Lent starts from Monday

One of the most important fasting seasons for Orthodox Christians started on March 18. The first and the last weeks of Lent are especially strict. The purpose of Lent is to prepare the faithful for Easter. Observance of Lent is characterized by abstinence from meat and dairy products, intensified private and public prayer, self-examination, confession and repentance. This year Easter falls on May 5.
(Front News)

Georgian Defense Minister Visits Azerbaijan

Georgian Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, who is paying a two-day visit to Baku, met his Azerbaijani counterpart Colonel General Safar Abiyev and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the Georgian Defense Ministry (MOD) said on Monday. “Irakli Alasania stressed during the meeting with the Azerbaijani president that deepening cooperation with neighboring states represents one of the key priorities of Georgia's present government, which will contribute to stability in the region,” the MOD said. During the visit, Alasania also plans on meeting with Minister of the Defense Industry Yavar Jamalov. Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze is also visiting Baku on March 18-19.

Vano Merabishvili says the country is facing threat of separatism

Secretary General of the United National Movement (UNM) Vano Merabishvili said he is ready to put aside the party’s interests and cooperate with the ruling team for maintaining stability in the country. Merabishvili spoke about the possible threats from separatist activities in Javakheti Region in particular about the address of the Akhalkalaki city assembly, in which the MPs are demanding.

“During nine years we had been doing our best to uproot this issue from the schedule of the government`s work. Davit Rastkyan, who was the member of the previous assembly, was always trying to raise this issue, that is why in cooperation with other parties we succeeded and prevented these people from getting into the assembly,” Vano Merabishvili announced.
(Rustavi 2)

Businessman says Saakashvili’s regime should be prosecuted

Georgian businessman Levan Vasadze thinks that President Saakashvili and his team should be brought to justice. The businessman’s letter was published in Kviris Palitra newspaper, in which he reviews Saakashvili’s time in office and asserts these people should be prosecuted.

“These facts are sufficient for our government to try the former government, like it occurred with Hitler, Pinochet, Galtieri, Bignone and others. This is especially true when the representatives of this regime are continuing their criminal activities in the Georgian parliament by imposing standards of cynicism, falseness and demagogy,” Vasadze said in his letter.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgia at the Real Wine Fair in London

12 Georgian natural wine makers are participating in The Real Wine Fair in London, which is also being attended by the head of Georgia's National Wine Agency Levan Davitashvili. Georgian winemakers brought their inimitable brand of Georgian hospitality to Terroirs Wine Bar for one night. Terroirs is delighted to host its first Georgian “Supra”, where the meal will consist of wines from all the growers present and accompanying small dishes featuring a wide array of typical Georgian delicacies. The Real Wine Fair is an artisan growers’ event featuring small wine growers who work organically and/or bio-dynamically.
(Hvino News)

MPs Discuss Amendments to Law on Broadcasting

Parliament started discussing a package of legislative amendments to the law on broadcasting last week, which envisage measures for more financial transparency of broadcasters, reforming rule on the composition of public TV’s board of trustees and transforming Adjara TV’s status into a public broadcasting station. The bill has been initiated by the Georgian Dream coalition, based on a proposal that has long been pushed for by a group known as the Coalition for Media Advocacy.

MFA restores traditional Monday briefings

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has restored the practice of Monday traditional briefings, where the deputy ministers will report the details of the upcoming visits and meetings and sum up the ones of the previous weeks. At a March 18 briefing, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, Davit Zalkaniani, summed up last week’s political and diplomatic developments and reported the upcoming ones. He said in some of the European countries Georgia still did not have ambassadors as the president was abstaining from signing the appointment decrees. "The president and the minority say that Georgia has a European course and call on the people to join the demonstrations intended for the support to this course, but at the same time, the president has not signed the decrees on appointing ambassadors to leading European states,” Zalkaniani stated.
(Rustavi 2)

British analyst predict Georgia to become EU member in 20-25 years

British writer and historian Timothy Garton Ash was in Brussels on March 16 to take part in the German Marshall Fund's annual forum of influential North American and European political, corporate, and intellectual leaders to discuss Euro-Atlantic issues. He spoke to RFE/RL correspondent Rikard Jozwiak about the future of Europe.

The question: what does the future hold for the other countries in the region between the EU and Russia, such as Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia? The British writer answered as follows:

“I think long-term, the answers are easy. These are countries that the freer they become, the more they will want to belong to the European Union. When they fulfill the criteria of membership of the European Union, they will become members of the European Union. I would make a bet that in 20-25 [years] they will be members of the European Union.”