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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 11
Georgian Dream pre-election campaign staff to be headed by Energy Minister

Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze was approved as the head of the Georgian Dream coalition’s pre-election campaign staff. The Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council Irina Imerlishvili said after the meeting of the political council of the coalition on March 10 that the main issues discussed at the political council were the election of local governments, which will be held June 15, the new code on local government, other political issues, as well as events in Ukraine. The formation of an election staff will be discussed at the next meeting.

George Volsky, the leader of the Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia parliamentary faction, said that Kaladze will present the schedule of pre-election staff work in the coming days.

Organizations in the campaign “This concerns you – they are still listening” ready to meet MIA top officials

The organizations involved in the campaign “this concerns you – they are still listening” are ready to meet with the MIA top officials regarding the legislative proposals on secret wiretapping.

“Considering the Minister Aleksandre Tchikaidze’s statement, we are ready to meet the top officials to exchange views on the legislative proposal on secret surveillance,” they said in a statement, stressing that the law regulating secret taping must not be created by the agreements of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and citizens, but according to the 8th Article of the convention created by the European court of Human Rights.

The campaign started on March 6 aims at protecting the right to privacy and act against illegal wire-taping and listening. After the 2012 Parliamentary elections, the ruling coalition has not carried out any systemic change and the law enforcement bodies still have unlimited access to the data of the communication operators.

Minister of Internal Affairs Aleksandre Tchikaidze said the illegal taping is not being carried out. The minister explained that consultations are underway regarding the issues related to the secret tapping.

“We will agree on the legal changes that will be acceptable for us and the citizens of Georgia,” the minister said.

Villagers and government reach agreement

Adjarian villagers who on Saturday protested construction of a hydro-power plant and were dispersed by the police achieved agreement with the government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. Negotiations started at 03:00 am in the morning on Sunday and lasted for hours. Archil Khabadze, head of Adjara’s government attended the negotiations.

Otar Iakobadze, one of the protesters from the village of Ghurta, told Interpressnews that the agreement implies compensation for any loss caused by construction of the power station by the government.

Villagers also plan to start legal disputes with the help of environmental NGOs to stop the construction work altogether. They also plan to hold peaceful rally in order to remind about their demands to the government.

Meanwhile the Interior Ministry launched criminal law investigation for the incident which took place on Saturday in Ghurta.

Witnesses claim police beat protesters, including women. People from five villages nearby argue that the construction will inevitably damage the fragile mountainous environment of the site and cause immense harm through landslides that are already rife in the area. Landslides largely due to deforestation have caused thousands of environmental migrants from mountainous Adjara and claimed dozens of lives in the past decades.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Four tourists die in avalanche in Georgia

Four tourists have died in an avalanche in Ushguli, a village in the Upper Svaneti region of Georgia. According to the local government in Mestia, two German and two French tourists have died. One French tourist survived. His health is not in danger.

The avalanche took place on March 6 in Ushguli. According to Neli Naveriani, Deputy Gamgebeli of Mestia, the tourists were warned about the risk of avalanches.

The bodies of the dead tourists have been taken to Mestia. The five tourists were skiing in Ushguli-Kvemo Svaneti.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Georgia to allocate over $ 11 million for thermal screen system

Some 20 million lari will be provided by the Georgian Government for the creation of a thermal screen system. The decision was made at the meeting of the Economic Council under the Georgian Prime Minister on March 10.

The project, which to be implemented by the Delta Scientific-Technical Center, will reduce the damage to agriculture arising from hail by 85-95 percent, according to the government press service.

Furthermore, Council members were presented with an action plan at the meeting envisaging creation of satellite internet points in mountainous villages and points of free WI-FI in tourist areas in parallel with laying telecommunications lines within the construction of road infrastructure, as well as encouraging small and medium-sized ISPs in regions, and efficient use of existing telecommunications infrastructure.

The Economic Council chaired by the Georgian prime minister also approved a draft law on free trade and competition.

Georgian Davit Kiria becomes World Champion in Kickboxing

Davit Kiria knocked out Andy Ristie in the fifth and final round of their Lightweight title fight at GLORY 14 on 8 March, which was aired via tape delay on Spike TV.

The GLORY Lightweight title - the first in the promotion's history - was up for grabs on Saturday afternoon at Arena Zagreb between the GLORY 13 tournament winner Andy Ristie and the No.3-ranked Davit Kiria.

"I do not remember honestly the fight was a war," Kiria told MMAmania after the fight's conclusion. "I am very happy. Special thank you to my trainers, my supporters, my country. I am very happy."

Visibly exhausted after the five-round battle, the new champion was longing to be with his significant other and ecstatic that he fulfilled a childhood dream.

"My girlfriend is here," he said. "I want to hug and kiss her. I’m very happy for a very long time because I was nine when I started training and from that day, this was my dream and it came true."
(Georgian News)