National Movement doesn't have enough supporters-Manana Kobakhidze
Despite all the attempt of National Movement to show us a huge wave of its supporters, they couldn’t do that yesterday- One of the leader of Georgian Dream Manana Kobakhidze said it at press conference. As she added, it is unfortunate that some of the citizens have been paid by National Movement to take part in the protest rally.
As Manana Kobakhidze stated, everyone has a right to hold a demonstration but the motivation is always important. “When people take money to attend a demonstration this means that people need money,”-she said.
GLOBALink | Woman showcases impressive martial arts skills
A martial arts teacher in Gansu, China is known as a "wonder woman" for her impressive skills.
Zhang Hanliang hopes that by sharing her videos online, more people around the world can get to know about Chinese #KungFu.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigns
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia has resigned. He made his resignation statement at a special briefing at the government administration.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned citing disagreement with his party colleagues over the detention of Nika Melia, leader of UNM. This follows the Tbilisi City Court’s decision to send United National Movement’s Nika Melia, Chairperson of the largest opposition party, to pretrial detention.
“Unfortunately, I could not reach a common understanding on this matter with my team and decided to resign. I want to hope, that this step would contribute to reduced polarisation in our political space, since I believe that polarization and confrontation pose the greatest risks to our country’s future and economic development,” G. Gakharia stated.
G. Gakharia’s statement said that while Melia had “never respected the law” and called “for the storming of the Parliament” on June 20, the decision to detain him poses unacceptable risks, and unduly complicates the task of economic recovery and the management of pandemic.
Opposition Reject Election Results, Hit the Streets
Georgia’s major opposition parties, including the United National Movement of ex-President Saakashvili, European Georgia, Lelo, Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Labor Party, hit the streets on Sunday afternoon, rejecting the preliminary results of the October 31 parliamentary vote, that forecast the Georgian Dream to form a third consecutive government.
The opposition claims the Georgian Dream “usurped power,” and rigged the elections, citing, among others, discrepancies in a number of final vote tallies. The key local election watchdogs said they identified the discrepancies in some 7 or 8% of the summary protocols. The opposition politicians argue the united opposition forces garnered more votes in total than the incumbent ruling party.
Protesting the “stolen elections,” the opposition leaders and protesters are rallying towards the hilltop residence of GD leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, after blocking Rustaveli Avenue, the main thoroughfare of the Georgian capital, outside the Parliament.
In the meantime, Gigi Ugulava of the European Georgia party, announced the opposition parties will organize a large-scale rally on November 8.
Georgia held Saturday’s parliamentary vote under a significantly modified system, which changed the composition of 150-member parliament to 120 MPs elected through proportional, party-lists, and 30 elected as majoritarians (from 77/73 ratio) and set threshold at 1% of votes. According to the results of 98.86% precincts counted, Georgian Dream garnered 48,1% of proportional votes, while the United National Movement-led Strength in Unity bloc came second with 27.12%. European Georgia scored third with 3.77%.
Preliminary results also show GD victory in 13 single-mandate constituencies, while runoffs are expected in 17 districts, including in all 8 districts of the capital city of Tbilisi.
MP Irma Inashvili, leader of Kremlin-friendly Alliance of Patriots party, that is at odds with UNM and other opposition parties, also announced that today her party rejects the results, vowing to hold separate rallies.
The Visa Foundation Announces Grantee to Support COVID-19 Recovery in Central Europe (including Georgia), Middle East and Africa
Funds will support relief efforts being undertaken by the Red Cross
Tbilisi, May 13, 2020 – The Visa Foundation today announced its approval of a $1.6 million COVID-19 relief grant to the Red Cross to support their COVID-19 recovery programs across Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. The Red Cross is supporting the frontline response to the pandemic and providing critical services for vulnerable communities through public health and disaster relief services.
This grant is part of the Visa Foundation’s previously announced $210 million global commitment, with $10 million in COVID-19 relief focused on the emergency needs announced this week for organizations worldwide and another $200 million to address longer-term needs of the small and micro business community over the next five years. Globally, the Visa Foundation is providing $4.3 million in funding to support the Red Cross’ COVID-19 programs.
“Societies around the world have faced unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the outbreak placing immense strain on public health providers and other essential services,” said Andrew Torre, Regional President CEMEA, Visa. “We are incredibly grateful and inspired by the tireless work of all humanitarian organizations at this time, and are pleased the Visa Foundation grants will support the ongoing efforts of the Red Cross.”
Across the CEMEA region, COVID-19 has placed additional challenges on communities, with many already suffering the effects of poverty, insecurity, conflict or climate change. The grant to the Red Cross aims to provide much needed support to continue providing vital services across the region.
“We’re grateful for the amazing work humanitarian assistance organizations are providing to communities around the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, “ said Graham MacMillan, president of the Visa Foundation. “The Visa Foundation is proud to offer these grants to support these organizations’ mission-critical work during these perilous times.”
The forthcoming 5-year $200 million program will support small and micro businesses, with a focus on fostering women’s economic advancement, both of which will be critical to long-term economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This commitment expands the Visa Foundation’s long-standing support for small and micro businesses globally. Additional information on the Foundation’s grant and investment strategy will be shared in the coming months.
For more information:
- The Visa Foundation’s COVID-19 regional grantees: https://usa.visa.com/visa-everywhere/blog/bdp/2020/05/11/the-visa-foundation-1589219590276.html
- Visa Inc. COVID-19 response: https://usa.visa.com/visa-everywhere/blog/bdp/2020/04/03/visa-is-committed-1585927227688.html
- Visa Foundation $210 Million commitment to small and micro businesses and immediate COVID-19 relief: https://usa.visa.com/about-visa/newsroom/press-releases.releaseId.17066.html
About the Visa Foundation
The Visa Foundation seeks to support inclusive economies where individuals, businesses and communities can thrive. Through grantmaking and investing, the Foundation prioritizes the resilience and growth of micro and small businesses that benefit women. The Foundation also supports broader community needs and disaster response in times of crisis. The Visa Foundation is registered in the U.S. as a 501(c)3 entity. For more information, visit https://usa.visa.com/about-visa/philanthropy/visa-foundation.html.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa, visa.com.ge, facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE
World Bank Pledges $80 Million to Support Georgia’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
The World Bank will provide a $80 million financial support package to Georgia to help the Government’s efforts to mitigate and address the health and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is provided under the World Bank’s Fast Track Covid19 Facility (FTCF). The World Bank is also collaborating with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to provide an additional $100 million under a joint co-finance arrangement.
The objective is to finance measures that help prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide immediate social protection support to the most vulnerable. It is expected to benefit the population at large, and in particular, the infected people and at-risk populations such as the elderly and people with chronic conditions, as well as medical and emergency personnel. Health-related emergency COVID-19 response measures include case detection and confirmation, increased testing, as well as health system strengthening for case management.
In addition, the project will provide income support to the poor and vulnerable households by scaling-up of the Targeted Social Assistance program and providing temporary cash transfers to workers who lost jobs due to the pandemic.
“Through our rapid support we are helping save lives and protect the livelihoods of those impacted by the pandemic during this challenging time," said Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “We estimate that the total WBG financing package for Georgia COVID-19 response will be approximately $200 milion in new financing, in addition to the approximately $300 million funds in our pipeline for 2020-2021 for projects in support of broader development needs, such as digital connectivity and infrastructure”.
“I would especially like to note that our partners have been actively involved in the negotiations with the Government of Georgia since the very first days of the pandemic. Once again, I would like to thank them for that tremendous support,”- said Ivane Matchavariani, Minister of Finance of Georgia. “Furthermore, I would like to emphasize the role of the World Bank in the preparation of this program, as well as in the development of our country in general”.
This project is a part of World Bank’s broader support for the people of Georgia, and it is the first in the series of three lending operations to be rolled-out over the coming three months. The second upcoming operation will come in the form of additional financing to the existing Economic Management and Competitiveness Development Policy Operation (approved by World Bank's Board of Executive Directors on March 26, 2020), aiming to help the government cover the unanticipated financing gap and ensure Georgia’s progress in implementing reforms in areas critical for inclusive economic growth. The third is the upcoming Relief and Recovery for MSMEs and Jobs project, which intends to support the jobs agenda as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that have been affected by the pandemic.