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The News in Brief

Friday, July 5
Presidential election date changed back to October 27th

The date of the presidential election has been changed again and set for Sunday, October 27th after having been initially set for Thursday, October 31st.

On July 3rd NGO's called on President Saakashvili to change the date to a weekend to encourage higher voter turnout, including among Georgians living abroad.

After he was asked to change the date, President Saakashvili said that he was not "fixated" on any particular date and added that he instructed his chief of administration Andro Barnovi to meet with NGO representatives. (Civil.Ge)

UNM accused of embezzling over 5 million GEL

The State Audit Office (SAO) has accused the United National Movement (UNM) of embezzling several million from the state budget. At a special briefing on Thursday officials from the SAO gave details about the UNM's alleged misconduct during last year's parliamentary election campaign. The SAO examined the financial activities of the party in that period and discovered that UNM embezzled funds allocated from the state budget for a government-funded employment program.

"In 2012, the social service agency within the employment program signed employment contracts with 21,837 persons who were involved in election campaigning. The goals of the employment program were ignored and the funds allocated for it were used for election campaigning by the UNM." a representative of the State Audit Office said.

The SAO has no authority to launch investigation; therefore the documents will be sent to the Prosecutor`s Office for investigation. (Rustavi 2)

Georgia slips two positions in the Global Innovation Index

Georgia has dropped two places on the Global Innovation Index (GII). In 2012 Georgia was 71st but this year Georgia is 73rd. Armenia occupies 59th place and Azerbaijan 105th place on the list of 142 countries. The Global Innovation Index is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The Global Innovation Index measures seven components: institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs and creative outputs.

Switzerland is in first place, like last year, Sweden is in second, and after are Great Britain, the Netherlands and U.S. (Front News)

Another member of the UNM leaves the party

Another member of the Tbilisi City Assembly National Movement faction has left the party. As InterPressNews reports David Tsereteli has left the United National Movement. Davit Tsereteli is also chairperson of the Tbilisi City Assembly Urban planning commission. (InterPressNews)

President signs amendments to the Labour Code

President Saakashvili signed amendments to the Georgian Labour Code on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Justice Sandro Baramidze posted on Facebook. Baramidze reports that the law will be published in the legislative paper and will take effect upon publishing. After long debates and discussions, Parliament adopted amendments to the labour code on June 13th. Businessmen and certain MP's were the main opponents of the proposed amendments. "We managed to reach a consensus and adopted a labour code that will protect the interests of both sides– employer and employee," a Georgian Dream statement reads. (IPN)

Georgian Economy Minister deems 6% economic growth unrealistic

Georgian Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has described annual 6% economic growth as unrealistic. "In my opinion achieving 6% annual economic growth is unrealistic. But to achieve 4.5-5% growth is possible. To do this requires certain prerequisites, including the need to stop the negative PR that has spread around the world." Kvirikashvili said.

"For our part we are doing everything to improve the efficiency of the government in this direction. Yesterday I had a meeting with the economic team, and we took steps to neutralize these disturbing factors." Kvirikashvili said. (Trend)

Georgian film nominated for European Parliament’s prize

The film Long Bright Days, directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, has been nominated for the Lux Prize sponsored by the European Parliament. The announcement was made by Vice President of the European Parliament Oldrich Vlasak at the Karlovy Vary International Film in the Czech Republic.

Each year the Committee on Education and Culture of the European Parliament elects a 16-strong jury to nominate films for the Lux Prize. The jury includes such well-known representatives of the film industry such as Marion Doring, Per Ericsson, Christophe Leparc.

Out of the 10 nominated films three finalists will be chosen on July 23rd. The three films will be translated into 24 European languages and shown in 28 European countries.

The Lux Prize winner will be announced in Strasbourg in December 2013.

The premiere of Long Bright Days was held at the Berlin International Film Festival, where the film won the prize from the International Association of Arthouse Cinemas. It also won two prizes at the Hong Kong Film Festival. (Trend)