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The News in Brief

Wednesday, July 20
Georgian Parliament scraps anti-smoking bill

The Parliament of Georgia rejected a bill on Monday to bring in stricter control of tobacco products.

Resistance to the bill within the governing coalition stemmed from the belief that it will create problems for business.

Lela Sturua, spokesperson for the National Center for Disease Control, told DF Watch that the government disliked the amendments which would prohibit smoking at restaurants and force all facilities to allocate a smoking area by 2018.

An amendment to the law on advertising, prohibiting all commercials for tobacco products was also proposed.

The bill would ‘radically’ increase the fine for smoking in a prohibited area. The fine for this is currently 20 lari.

It suggested strengthening the enforcement mechanisms of anti-smoking policies. The Health Ministry’s regulating body would be responsible for monitoring offences under its area of responsibility, which restaurants, cafes and other places would be under supervision of other ministries.

In 2013, then-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili - who put together the ruling Georgian Dream coalition - introduced a 5-year action plan with the aim of introducing stricter control on tobacco products. However, for the past three years nothing has changed.

Sturua told DFWatch that the regulations would only have become stricter if Parliament had passed the amendments, because the current regulations lack an enforcement mechanism.

Ivanishvili presented statistics showing that tobacco kills about 6 million people annually, 600,000 of whom die from second-hand smoke; a total of 1.2 billion people are addicted to smoking worldwide. In Georgia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 9,000-11,000 people die from smoking each year.

A survey conducted by WHO in 2010 showed that 30.3 percent of Georgians smoke (55.5 percent of men, 4.8 percent of women). (DF watch)

No country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty – Federica Mogherini

“No country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty,” Federica Mogherini said, noting that Turkey was a member of the Council of Europe and a signatory to the European convention on human rights, which bans capital punishment.

According to Mogherini, the democratic and legitimate institutions needed to be protected, today we will say, together with the ministers, that this obviously doesn’t meant that the rule of law and the system of checks and balances in the country doesn’t count.

‘On the contrary, it needs to be protected for the sake of the country itself. So we will send a strong message on that,’ she has remarked.

Turkey said the government might discuss the issue of re-introducing death penalty after the rebellions tried to arrange coup on July 16. (IPN)

Tbilisi hosts third round of Georgia-China free trade talks

Georgia and China are starting the third round of negotiations to establish a free trade regime and facilitate increased business and trade turnover between both nations.

The latest round of talks will be held in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi later this month, announced Georgia’s Ministry of Economy today.

During the second round of negotiations held in Beijing, China in May this year, Georgian and Chinese officials agreed free trade talks should be completed by the end of 2016 and the deals should come into force in early 2017.

The first round of talks was held in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi on February 22-23, 2016.

A free trade deal with China will be extremely beneficial for Georgia as it will facilitate increased business and trade turnover between the nations, said the Georgian Government.

Through the deal Georgia will be able to export its products to China – a market of 1.4 billion customers - without additional customs fees.

When the negotiations are complete and an agreement has been reached, Georgia will be the first country in the region to have this type of deal with China. (