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The News in Brief

Tuesday, December 13
We will closely cooperate with NGOs – Irakli Kobakhidze

We plan to closely cooperate with non-governmental organizations in relation to all the issues referring to our democratic, economic and social development as well as foreign policy, - Parliamentary Head of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze has said after holding a meeting with NGOs.

According to Kobakhidze, many issues were discussed during the meeting.

“The meeting with NGO representatives was very interesting and important. We presented our plans to them, as well as a number of concrete initiatives. We have also agreed on future cooperation plans,” Kobakhidze told reporters.

Parliamentary majority representatives have been provided opinions and proposals of NGO representatives. The meeting was closed to the media.

EIB to Allocate EUR 450 million to Georgia

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will allocate 450 EUR million to Georgia through three loan agreements, the EIB and Georgian Prime Minister’s Office said.

A total of 250 EUR million will be allocated to finance new construction and upgrading of priority roads, 100 EUR million for the rehabilitation and upgrading of municipal infrastructure and a EUR 100 million intermediated loan to implement the projects of SMEs and midcap companies in the horticulture and wine sectors.

All the three agreements were signed on December 9 by Georgian Finance Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili and EIB Vice President Jan Vapaavuori.

Speaking at the government’s session later on the same day, PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili welcomed signing of the agreements as a high-level confirmation of “our partnership with the European Union.” According to the EIB, the loans are covered by the European Union’s comprehensive guarantee.

“Together with our European Commission partners, we will help to upgrade infrastructure in municipalities, extend the network and quality of roads important for better interconnectivity and trade opportunities of Georgia, as well as improved access to finance for companies operating in agriculture to support investments from the introduction of modern technologies from harvest to food production and marketing,” EIB Vice President Jan Vapaavuori said.

Protest for drug liberalization leads to detentions in Tbilisi

A protest against Georgia’s strict drug policy led to clashes with police and two people being detained in Tbilisi on Saturday.

Protesters gathered in front of the parliament building on Rustaveli Avenuein Tbilisi to demand a softer drug policy.

When the protesters decided to block the street, police moved in and dispersed them. Two activists were detained for resisting the police, which is an administrative offense. The detainees were released the next day.

The group behind the demonstration, the White Noise Movement, advocates the liberalization of drug use. It wants to decriminalize the use of drugs and replace the punishment-based approach with a health-care approach.

“The main demand of this rally is that the government must announce decriminalization as a declared direction for the drug liberalization process and immediately begin working on softening the punishment [for drug use],” White Noise Movement said in a statement.

The day of the protest was not chosen at random; December 10 is International Human Rights Day.

“This should be the day we end a ten year long repressive drug policy.”

Journalists spotted an MP from the Georgian Dream party, Levan Gogichaishvili, among the demonstrators, as well as politicians from opposition parties.

“They have lost this war, decriminalization is inevitable,” one of the activists said during the rally after the police arrested two participants.

The protesters who were detained will have their court hearing on December 29.
(DF watch)

Meteorologists say it will snow on December 15 in Tbilisi

Meteorologists say Tbilisi will see snow on December 15. As IPN has been informed there will be rain during the coming week in Georgia but it will change to snow on December 15.

Most of western Georgian and several eastern Georgian regions will see rain tomorrow, with temperature reaching 9-14 degrees in western Georgia and 7-14 degrees – in eastern part of the country.

Short showers are expected tomorrow and the day after tomorrow in Tbilisi. The capital city will see snow on December 15.

Meteorologists also say temperatures will drop.