ADB expresses support to the Government’s four-point reform plan

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 14 June 2016 15:12

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) expresses support to the government's four-point reform plan - the Excutive Directors of the ADB noted in their conversation with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili at today's meeting. The Head of the Government thanked Asian Development Bank for the support and noted that Georgia appreciates ADB's assistance in terms of development of the infrastructure in the country, budget support and preferential allocation of financial resources.
During the meeting the sides discussed in detail the four-point reform plan, development of infrastructure projects and the education reform. Representatives of the Asian Development Bank expressed their readiness to assist Georgia to strengthen its role as a transport corridor, as well as in terms of reforming the system of vocational education.
The Asian Development Bank is a development partner with the biggest portfolio in Georgia. ADB supports of infrastructure investment projects, it has also approved the three-year program budget support and provides a variety of technical assistance programs.
The sides underscored the importance of the visit of the Executive Directors of the Asian Development Bank and noted that such a high-profile ADB delegation has visited Georgia for the first time.
7 Executive Directors of the Asian Development Bank and the alternative Director have undertaken a three-day visit to Georgia. The delegation, led by the executive director of ADB Board of Directors, Zhongjing Wang, included Executive Directors of ADB's board of directors - Matthew Fox, Gaudencio Hernandez, Jr., Philaslak Yukkasemwong, Mapa Pathirana, Michael Strauss, Sarafjon Sheraliev. The meeting with the Prime Minister also attended by the Director of the ADB's resident mission to Georgia Yesim Elhan-Kayalar, ADB's Deputy Permanent Representative in Georgia George Kiziria, and the first Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili, Minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri, Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Nodar Javakhishvili, Prime Minister's assistant, the Secretary of the Economic Council George Gakharia, Deputy Minister of Finance David Lezhava and Deputy Minister of the Regional Development Ilia Darchiashvili.

UNICEF calls on the government to take decisive steps to combat child poverty- Sascha Graumann

Published in Society
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 14:36

According to the special representative of UNICEF to Georgia Sascha Graumann every fourth child lives under the subsistence minimum in Georgia. He commented on the report of Public Defender which includes information about children’s rights in Georgia.
“I want to remind the government of Georgia to fulfill its obligations. Moreover, every fourth child lives below the subsistence minimum here. UNICEF calls on the government to take decisive steps to combat child poverty. Georgia is not in the list of poorest countries in Europe and Asia but however, the situation is difficult. The government should take effective measures in health care, education, food term..”-Sascha Graumann said.

No information about additional consultations between the President and Government of Goergia

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 14:40

No information the additional consultations will be held between the President and Government of Georgia on the election issue. The administrations claim that the Prime Minister and the President have not yet discussed this issue.
As it is known, the political parties and non-government organizations ask for additional consultations before the elections. Giorgi Kvirikashvili asked to Giorgi Margvelashvili the new decree to be issued in July.

Moldova - the opposition against government

Published in Interview
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 16:21

Presidential elections are scheduled for end of March 2016 in Moldova. The election campaign has not started in the country yet. There is a political and economic crisis in Moldova at the moment that could grow into a general protest movement. The detention of former Prime Minister Vlad Filat, who is suspected of involvement in the disappearance of $1bn from three Moldovan private banks, gave impetus to the beginning of the protests, led by leaders of Moldovan political parties. The scandal has thrown Moldova into economic and political chaos. In recent weeks thousands of people have protested in the centre of Moldova's capital Chisinau, demanding that the government and top civil servants resign. The situation is very complicated leading politicians and experts to predicting a very "hot" spring.

Political forces of the country are anticipating the plenary session of Parliament. It is possible for the opposition forces to try destabilizing the situation. The situation is aggravated by the fact, that the present political part of the society is divided in two parts - the position and the opposition.

Today the authorities ("Democratic" and the “Liberal Democratic Party") actively support the pro-European course and spare no effort to implement it. The opposition is represented in Moldova in the face of "communists" and "socialists". They are lobbying to intensify of relations with Russia and join the "Eurasian Union".
The population of Moldova, which is roughly equal to the population of Georgia, is divided into two parts. Most of the population supports European integration, and the minority (mainly Russian-speaking population), with old-fashioned stubbornness, continues to look towards Moscow.

"The situation in the country is difficult today. The disappearance of one billion dollars from the private banking sector had a negative impact on the economy. This financial fraud involving some senior officials of the country (that are currently in detention), caused a fair discontent of the population of Moldova. Some took political forces took advantage of this situation and came together to started protesting", - said in an interview to "Newsday Georgia", Moldova’s Justice Minister Vladimir Cebotari.
According to him, of the three political groups that stand out in Moldova, two ("Socialist Party" led by Igor Dodon and the "Our Party", led by Renato Usati) are supported by the Russian Federation. The third party - public platform "Dignity and truth" (leader Andrea Nestase), is financed by brothers Victor and Viorel Tsopy, who are hiding from Moldova investigators in Germany. "The purpose of all these political parties is to hold early parliamentary elections and to come to power", - V. Cebotari said.

According to the minister, despite this the government is not afraid of difficulties, the Cabinet members are working with double effort. The main challenge facing them is to return people's trust. "We try to take into account the wishes of the entire population, and not just some political forces, that are ruled solely by their desire to come to power through destabilization. We know the problems of our people and try to solve them. Therefore, the Government of Moldova will continue to work on the course of reform, which aims to improve the lives of people", - the Minister of Justice said.

According to the Parliamentary Secretary of the parliamentary faction to "Democratic Party" Serghei Sirbu, Moldovan opposition has always criticized the authorities and always fought for the seizure of power. Today's parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition does the same thing. These parties were created just for the purpose of fighting for power. For us, this is not new. "It is important to ensure that the opposition acts within the law. This is why there are parliamentary and presidential elections. If they earn the trust of voters and the majority of the population supports them in the future legal elections, they will come to power in full compliance with the law", - S. Sirbu said.

According to him, the authorities do not agree to an extension beyond the constitution and will always defend the constitution, which is the guarantor of the country's independence and stability and will act within the framework of the existing law. In addition, current government is well aware of the situation and is doing everything in order to restore justice. "A criminal case and investigation are underway. Regarding the billion the state has returned deposits to people who had savings in those banks, where the money disappeared from. All this means that regarding this the case, the state takes responsibility will do everything necessary to improve the situation", - said the head of the parliamentary faction "Democratic Party".

In return, the opposition accuses authorities of activities aimed at the formation of totalitarian regime and an attempt to establish control over the media space. As the leader of the "Socialists", Igor Dodon said, they hold a protest against the current administration and the oligarch Vladimir Plahatnyuk: "Today Plahatnyuk and his power is supported by the West. Their motive is to prevent pro-Russian forces from coming to power.  But we are warning the West that if the y turn a blind eye on corruption, waste of money, lawlessness than the pro-Russian forces and I. Dodon will come to power. People's faith in the Western allies significantly decreased in recent years. It used to be 70 percent and now is down to 30. If this continues then the number could drop to around 10 percent", - I. Dodon said. Moreover, to determine the geopolitical orientation, according to the "Socialists" leader, the better choice is to hold a referendum in which the people will decide themselves  who they prefers to be  with - the European Union or the "Eurasian Union".

According to another opposition leader, Beltc (Moldova) mayor and chairman of the "Our Party" Renato Usati, Moldova of today is owned by the major oligarch Vladimir Plahatnyuk. "The country is currently one large enterprise called "Moldova'', where 98 percent belongs to Plahatnyuk, and the remaining two percent to the citizens of the country. When they say that it is necessary to fight against the oligarchs, we have  to slightly correct the statement. Not the oligarchs, but the one oligarch", - she said.

According to the mayor of Beltc (Moldova), for the first time in history Moldova is in the hands of two political parties with different positions, that are united against authorities and are preparing for a decisive battle. "We must do what is necessary for the Moldovan people. Therefore, when the power will elect president, we will start the decisive battle, even if it will be my last fight. But as an ordinary citizen of this country I will say that I myself contributed to the victory over this authority", - the chairman of the "Our Party” said. 

It should be also noted that a number of oppositional political parties (for example pro-Western party "Action meters solidarity", which leader is the former Minister of Education Maia Sandu), are also against the government. As she says, it is quite obvious that the government failed to protect the interests of its own people. This party will try to participate in the changing of the political class. "Today, the political structures are abducted by the "Democratic Party "and one of its leaders, Vladimir Plahatnyuk. We do not agree with the ideas of pro-Russian parties, but we are also fighting against corruption and corrupt officials. Our party believes in European values and is focused only on the West. If we can come to power on this platform, we will be guided by the principles of human rights and other democratic values", - said Maia Sandu.

 According to her, the implementation of the tasks that they are trying to accomplish, is completely consistent with the desire of the Moldovan people. "Earlier, people did not know what is known today. People do not trust the authorities, who pretend to be the pro-Western politicians", - she said. When one party and one man single-handedly rules the official power structures, it contains a great threat for the democracy, she said.
Despite this, Maia Sandu believes that the new leadership of the country should be given some time to see how it will perform and only then make decisions affecting  future plans.

It should also be noted that the pro-Russian forces in Moldova have become quite influential in the past year - "The Communist Party", for instance, came into power. Explaining this phenomenon, the political expert, director of the European Institute for Political Studies Viorel Cibotaru, says: "The Republic of Moldova has a rather complicated society in the sense that we, in contrast to other former Soviet republics, have the so-called " post-Soviet syndrome" or "post-Soviet nostalgia". All this reflects on the majority of population supporting pro-Russian forces in the election. Today they are a force to be reckoned with", - the expert said.

However, according to him, if you look at the situation from the other side, you will see that Moldova does not have another alternative than to be a member the unified European family. Moreover, Moldova has always been a European country. ''Temporarily, we had been  occupied by Russia and it lasted for a certain time. However we consider ourselves closer to Italians, French, Portuguese, not to mention Rumanians, than to Russians. Unfortunately, a major part of Moldovan society is still under the influence of pro-Russian mentality", - said Viorel Cibotaru.

In conclusion, we can say for a fact that despite a number of difficulties, we still see a desire of the authorities in today's Moldova to continue democratic processes and reforms. Moldova, just like Georgia, will become a full member of the European family.

Avtandil Otinashvili

SES DEPLOYS SATMED E-HEALTH PLATFORM AND LAUNCHES FIRST MARITIME VSATS ON FRIENDSHIP FLOATING HOSPITALS IN BANGLADESH

Published in World
Monday, 07 March 2016 13:52

FRIENDSHIP inaugurates state-of-the-art e-health platform and maritime VSATs aboard its Floating Hospitals to provide quality healthcare services
LUXEMBOURG/JAMALPUR, 7 March 2016 - SES S.A. (NYSE Euronext FRIENDSHIP Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), a world-leading satellite operator, and FRIENDSHIP, a non-governmental organisation, along with the technical assistance of Square Informatix (Bangladesh) Ltd, launched the first state-of-the-art Maritime VSATs on three of FRIENDSHIP’s floating hospital ships – Lifebuoy Friendship Hospital, Emirates Friendship Hospital and Rongdhonu Friendship (formerly the Rainbow Warrior II) Hospital.
SATMED, the newly deployed satellite-based e-health platform, will enable FRIENDSHIP to establish communications with national and international doctors from remote areas, to provide medical counselling to marginalised communities through telemedicine and to exchange medical knowledge with local doctors. SATMED is an IT enabled cloud infrastructure accessible around the globe that facilitates data exchanges between professionals and medical frameworks such as electronic medical records and teleradiology systems. The platform is an open, flexible and affordable solution that perfectly fits SES’s range of satellite based e-activities.
The project is funded by the Luxembourg Government and implemented in cooperation with SES Techcom Services and e-Medical Communication (eMC).
“The SATMED project is a great illustration of a true partnership between governments, the private sector and NGOs. Mutual trust and collaboration can enable innovative steps forward, and lead to deep benefits that impact directly on the beneficiaries,” said Runa Khan, Founder and Executive Director of FRIENDSHIP in Bangladesh. “SATMED gives us a tool by which we are able to bring in specialised services of e-learning, special doctors, specialised back office resources, decisions of problems and ethical decisions, all this can be centralised and the same message can be given organisation wide,” she added.
“After implementing SATMED platform tools and services, the ship hospitals – via satellite connectivity – will be able to support and facilitate work in the areas of e-care, e-learning, e-surveillance, e-health management, and digital imaging,” said  Gerhard Bethscheider, Managing Director of SES Techcom Services. “The SATMED platform makes e-health available, accessible and easy to use, with a goal to increase efficiency in healthcare and in-field health quality for FRIENDSHIP (the medical community) especially in remote isolated areas,” he concluded.
“At the end of the inauguration ceremony, two European doctors consulted with patients from the remote island known as chars through teleconferencing directly from Europe,” said Marc Elvinger, Chairman, FRIENDSHIP Luxembourg. “Without FRIENDSHIP’s innovative healthcare model and the SATMED connectivity, such a facility would have been simply inconceivable to the poor marginalised people of this country.”
SATMED Newsroom: http://www.ses.com/satmed-friendship-bangladesh
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About SES
SES (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) is the world-leading satellite operator with a fleet of more than 50 geostationary satellites. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators and business and governmental organisations worldwide.
SES stands for long-lasting business relationships, high-quality service and excellence in the satellite industry. The culturally diverse regional teams of SES are located around the globe and work closely with customers to meet their specific satellite bandwidth and service requirements.
SES holds a participation in O3b Networks, a next generation satellite network combining the reach of satellite with the speed of fibre.
Further information available at: www.ses.com.

About FRIENDSHIP Bangladesh
Founded by Runa Khan, FRIENDSHIP has been working since 2002 to address the needs of the most remote, marginalised and climate-change affected communities in Bangladesh. FRIENDSHIP started its journey with the innovative concept of a floating hospital to bring healthcare where there was none.  It has progressively developed a comprehensive and reliable three-tier healthcare delivery system composed of three hospital ships, a large number of static and mobile satellite clinics and hundreds of community based Medic-Aides.
Today, FRIENDSHIP serves over 500,000 beneficiaries per month with interventions not only in Healthcare but also in Education, Disaster Management and Infrastructure Development, Sustainable Economic Development, Good Governance, and Cultural Preservation.

Discrimination against religious minorities and LGBT on the rise, law enforcement deficient in Georgia, says the Council of Europe anti-racism Commission

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 01 March 2016 16:27

Strasbourg, 01.03.2016 – The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its fourth report on Georgia, analysing recent developments and outstanding issues, and providing recommendations to the authorities. The Georgian Government’s observations were published together with the report (see also the Georgian version of the report)
“Despite certain progress achieved by Georgia on anti-discrimination policies and legislation, hate speech and violence against some ethnic and religious minorities, as well as LGBT persons have increased over the past years, and the authorities’ response has not been sufficient,” says Christian Ahlund, ECRI’s Chair.
Hate speech and physical attacks against some minorities, such as Muslims, are on the rise; and there is a general homo- and transphobic climate in Georgian society.
Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said: “Intolerance and discrimination against LGBT persons must be stopped in Georgia, and across Europe. The judiciary and law enforcement agencies have a key role to play. When violent crimes are being investigated, homophobic motivations must considered from the outset.”
The report welcomed a number of positive developments, such as the amendments to the Criminal Code making racist motivation an aggravating circumstance; enacting in 2014 the Law on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination; the adoption of the National Human Rights Strategy with a focus on freedom of religion and protection of minorities; as well as the implementation of other national policies promoting tolerance and civic integration.
However, not all sorts of manifestations of and support for racism are criminalised in Georgia, and there is no legislation to suppress the public financing of, or to ban or dissolve, racist political parties or organisations. It is also not possible to initiate court cases concerning racial discrimination without referring to a specific victim.
The authorities’ response has not been adequate, the report says, and there is not an effective system for monitoring hate speech. Intolerant comments, in particular of islamophobic and homophobic nature, are increasingly present in the media and in the political discourse, ECRI noted. Since its previous report, no hate speech case has been prosecuted as no legal basis existed. Investigations have only been launched when a specific threat of violence was involved.
In several cases of attacks due to religious intolerance, the police did not properly safeguard the rights of minorities. Similarly, the right of LGBT organisations to hold peaceful public events was not sufficiently defended.
In the area of integration, positive measures to improve the quality of minority education and reduce socio-economic exclusion of historical ethnic minorities have not been sufficient: textbooks need to be improved and teachers better trained.
ECRI has made several recommendations to the authorities. The following two require prompt implementation and will be reviewed by ECRI in two years’ time:

·         set up a specialised unit within the police to deal specifically with racist and homo/transphobic hate crime;

·         scale up the support for the Council of Religions, in particular by the State Agency for Religious Issues which should utilise the Council’s expertise in order to tackle the problem of religious intolerance.

The report, including Government observations, was prepared following ECRI’s visit to Georgia in March 2015 [Press release] and takes account of developments up to 17 June 2015.

“Government Closed Rustavi 2” – Nika Gvaramia

Published in Politics
Thursday, 01 October 2015 15:39

The director of Rustavi 2 Nika Gvaramia held a briefing.

“Government closed Rustavi 2,” – Gvaramia said. He also stressed, that the Georgian government made everuthing to close one of the most famous TVs in Geogia. “We are on ari right now, but it doesn’t mean that we still are open. We have  no more resources, all shares  were seized by Tbilis City Court,”- Nika GVaramia said.

Georgian Parliament to host Open Government Partnership’s Legislative Openness Working Group Conference

Published in Politics
Monday, 14 September 2015 14:49

The OGP LOWG is to be held on September 14-15. The two-day forum “Openness Obligation: the Parliamentary Action Plans, Standards and Tools” aims at consideration of the progress by the WG in terms of legislative openness, including development of Open Parliament action plans and Open Parliamentary Data International norms and standards establishment aspects.

The conference will be attended by the legislative and executive representatives of various countries, civil society leaders, including the high rank Parliamentary Delegations from Georgia, Albania, Armenia, Croatia, Brazil, Latvia, Lithuania, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine, and participated by up to 70 foreign delegates from up to 20 countries.

The bilateral meetings of the guest delegations are scheduled within the conference. The conference is co-organized by the LOWG. The two-day working meeting is being held within GLOW and is the conclusive event. It is the one-week call on to the civil society and the Parliaments to facilitate to the legislative openness.

The conference is supported by the USAID, GIZ, KohoVolit, EU, UNDP, TI, IDFI and US Embassy.

Irakli Garibashvili will announce Government changes today

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 10:17

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili will announce the Georgian Government changes today at 11:00.

Reports claim, that Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili will be replaced by Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili, while Tbilisi Vice Mayor Dimitri Kumsishvili will be appointed as Minister of Economy. As for Tamar Beruchashvili, she may replace State Minister for European Integration Issues Davit Bakradze, which will return to diplomacy again.

Page 5 of 5

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