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July 10 - 16, 2015

WEEKLY

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Georgia Today 24 p.

ISSUE No.774

Pr oduce in Geor gia Produce Georgia Assists Hundr eds of Hundreds Enter prises in Fir st Year Enterprises First

IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE

OP-ED

Geor gia and Georgia Tur kmenistan Co y urkmenistan Coy on Ener gy Energ Specula tion Speculation Irking Russia? Relations between the two post-Soviet states may well be in transit towards a new energy relationship. P.17

BUSINESS HEADLINES

PASHA Bank’ s Shur gaia Bank’s Shurg Appointed as a Geor gian Georgian Stoc k Ex chang e Stock Exc hange Super visor Supervisor P.11 GU AM to Simplify GUAM Customs Contr ol Control Four th Ann ual Gender ourth Annual Equality Awar ds Held ards in Tbilisi

P.11

P.14

Hotel Kiparis Awaits You P.12 FLIGHT SCHEDULE

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One year of success has passed since the Georgian Government first launched its Produce in Georgia program to encourage new entrepreneurs and stimulate local production. P.13

Spanish Tourists Attac ked near Attack s Zugdidi: P olice and Doctor Police Doctors Accused of Misconduct While the Georgian Government markets the country as Eastern Europe’s top tourist destination, it looks like all may not be well for foreigners here. P.8

Educa tion Ministr y Education Ministry Pr esents Sc hool Presents School Readiness Pr ogram ffor or Pro 5-Y ear -Olds 5-Year ear-Olds New Law to give young children the opportunity to mature, in all developmental areas, prior to starting school. P.15

Oil Prices – the Ef Efffect on Geor gia Georgia

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2

POLITICS

JULY 10 - 16

Geor gians Inf luential in Georgians Influential Ukr aine P olice R ef or m Ukraine Police Ref efor orm

Washington P ost Claims of Post Gr owing Pr o-R ussian Vibe in Gro Pro-R o-Russian Geor gia ar e Weakl yF ounded Georgia are eakly Founded By Zviad Adzinbaia

New Patrol Police in Ukraine.

By Zviad Adzinbaia Ukraine’s leaders watched on as Kyiv’s new traffic police force underwent its initiation ceremony in Kyiv on July 4 with euronews reporting that officials were hopeful that as many as 2,000 new recruits would be able to clean up what is traditionally one of the country’s most corrupt institutions. The new officers will be trained by their counterparts from the US, Canada and Japan, and will be paid more than their predecessors. Eka Zguladze, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs stated: “The salary of a new recruit starts at 8,000 hryvnias (342 euros). It is not millions, but it is something on which you can live and sustain your family. We hope that there will be very few incidents of corruption. What is corruption? It’s a crime, simple, full-stop.” The new Ukrainian police officers hope they will benefit from a similar approach undertaken by Georgia in the 2000s. “In Georgia, police salaries increased 15 times during the reforms. I hope the same thing will happen in Ukraine. But today it is very important to change what’s happening in the country, so that people and the police will be friends and work together,” stated Zguladze. At this stage, 2,000 new police officers will be patrolling the streets of Kyiv.

The reform, according to the information, will be completed by the end of 2016 if enough funds are raised. As Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s President, wrote on his Facebook page, the new officers will be stationed in the in cities of Lviv, Kharkiv and Odessa. The presentation of the new police officers was staged in Kyiv by the highest officials of Ukraine including the President, PM and Interior Minister Zguladze, who has been in office since the end of 2014 tasked with supervising the police reform in Ukraine. Several days ago, Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgian ex-president and a governor of Odessa district said that Californian police will train Odessa’s officers. “Within the framework of Odessa’s anti-corruption measures, the U.S. government agreed to provide funds for the salaries of the new team of [Mikhail] Saakashvili,” - the Governor himself posted on his Facebook page after he met with the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. Police reform was one of the most significant breakthroughs in Saakashvili’s reign as president and even his fiercest critics would concede that this was successful. Ukraine now seeks to mirror Georgia’s success in this regard but it will be some time before the reform will bear fruit in an institution notoriously rife with corruption.

American newspaper the Washington Post has published an article speculating about potentially growing proRussia support in Georgia. “TBILISI, Georgia — in this fiercely pro-Western nation that fought a brief war with Russia in 2008, few thought the Kremlin could ever regain a toehold. But with the West backing away from Georgia’s path to E.U. and NATO membership after a year of conflict in Ukraine, pro-Russian sentiments are on the rise,” The Washington Post wrote on 4 July. “The former Soviet nation’s leaders are warning that Russia may yet prevail if Georgia is shut out from Western clubs. Wary of further provoking Russia, Western politicians have quashed talk of NATO and the European Union expanding eastward anytime soon. Russia has stepped into the vacuum, increasing its presence by opening Georgianlanguage outlets of its state-owned news network and deepening investments in the energy industry and other key sectors,” the article reads. Overall, the article carries negative perceptions of Georgia’s western aspirations echoing the same rhetoric of Euro-skeptics in the country. The article mentions Georgia’s efforts to integrate with the West however, Georgian troops in Afghanistan, democratization processes, combating corruption and other unprecedented achievements by the country failed to convince the author. Moreover, the article notes Russia’s Fifth Column and the likes of

Archil Chkoidze who openly support Georgia’s entry in Russia’s Eurasian Union. Instead of seeing European integration as a possibility, the analysis seems to view this as unrealistic in the long run. “Neither Ukraine or Georgia are currently on a path to NATO membership”, said a statement President by Obama before the Minsk agreement of 2015. Clearly, some of the western states are afraid of a backlash from Russia which can explain their occasionally weak stance. For Georgia and Ukraine, though, this cannot be regarded as an authentic argument to prove that Georgian people has opted for Russia or that Russian nostalgia prevails here. Moreover, the author forgets the Georgian youth, professionals, uncorrupted people and the new generation in general, who see the west as an unalterable future path for Georgia. At the same time, the article includes quotes from David Bakradze, the state minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, who says Georgia’s as-

pirations are irreversible: “We don’t have time to be disappointed.” Among many opinions garnered, the article cites Kakhetian small businessman Jemal Veliashvili who warns “Stop meddling with Russia.” According to Veliashvili, his business had tripled since the trade ban was lifted. The reality speaks differently, and the hopes of reopening Russian market for Georgian businesses have faded as the unpredictable country creates artificial obstacles. Additionally, the main format proposed by the Georgian Government (2012), the Karasin-Abashidze talks in Prague, is currently viewed as being on the brink of failure. The article succeeded in winning attention but its claims of a sea-change in Georgian attitudes toward its northern neighbor with which it was at war less than seven years ago, is far-fetched and based on slender grounds. In reality, Georgians may not back their government on many things but the European aspirations it pursues are still widely supported.

NATO Secr etar y Gener al: R ussia Big gest Secretar etary General: Russia Bigg Thr ea or Ukr aine gia and Moldo va hrea eatt ffor Ukraine aine,, Geor Georgia Moldov

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General.

By Zviad Adzinbaia

HA VE YOUR HAIR CUT AT OUR SAL ON HAVE SALON AND GET HAIR DIA GNOSTIC AS A GIFT! DIAGNOSTIC

“Russia is ready to use force against its neighbors,” said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General to Deutsche Welle, a German news broadcaster, about NATO’s defensive stance. “Everything we do is defensive. We are protecting the allies. Russia is behaving aggressively. The annexation of Crimea is an aggressive behavior. Russia continues providing separatists in eastern Ukraine with modern weapons, anti-aircraft systems, sends troops there – this is an act of aggression. We protect our allies, Russia uses force to redraw the borders and destabilize Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said, according to DW. “Russia is ready to use force against Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Russia more often mentions nuclear weapons as part of its defense strategy,” Stoltenberg notes, adding that NATO is responding to new security challenges in

a defensive way, which is proportionate and in line with the alliance’s international commitments. “We have increased the preparedness and readiness of our forces. We have strengthened our military presence on the eastern borders of the alliance. We have decided to set up a network of smaller headquarters in the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania. We have also stepped up our air patrols and presence in the eastern countries of the alliance in response to Russia’s behavior,” he noted. In addition, Moscow now has a better-equipped and better-prepared army, he added. “What is more, they conduct unexpected maneuvers to conceal aggressive actions against its neighbors. That is how Crimea was annexed,” he added. Therefore, by addressing these threats, NATO has been strengthening its military capabilities, being unprecedented since the

end of the Cold War, according to Stoltenberg. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has released a new National Military Strategy, the first update to that document since 2011, saying the US is facing near-peer adversaries like Russia and China while simultaneously having to handle diffuse militant groups like the Islamic State. “Since the last National Military Strategy was published in 2011, global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative military advantage has begun to erode,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey wrote in his introduction to the strategy document. The strategy specifically calls out Russia among China, Iran and North Korea as aggressive threats to global peace. “Hybrid conflicts” — not just the Islamic State, but forces such as the Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine — are likely to expand” – reads the strategy.


4

LAW

JULY 10 - 16

Decher t OnPoint: Recent Developments in Cor porate Gover nance

Dechert Georgia, through the contribution of partners Archil Giorgadze and Nicola Mariani, joined by senior associates Ruslan Akhalaia and Irakli Sokolovski, as well as Ana Kostava and Ana Kochiashvili, is partnering with Georgia Today on a regular section of the paper which will provide updated information regarding significant legal changes and developments in Georgia. In particular, we will highlight significant issues which may impact businesses operating in Georgia. Dechert’s Tbilisi office combines local service and full corporate, tax and finance support with the global knowledge that comes with being part of a worldwide legal practice. Dechert Georgia is the Tbilisi branch of Dechert LLP, an international law firm that focuses on core transactional and litigation practices, providing worldclass services to major corporations, financial institutions and private funds worldwide. With more than 900 Lawyers in our global practice groups working in 27 offices across Europe, the CIS, Asia, the Middle East and the United States, Dechert has the resources to deliver seamless, high quality legal services to clients worldwide. For more information, please visit www.dechert.com or contact Nicola Mariani at nicola.mariani@dechert.com. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS – CORPORATE GOVERNANCE The Supreme Court of Georgia (the “Court”) recently published two important decisions on cases brought by the LEPL Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia (the “Revenue Service”) against directors and shareholders of limited liability companies. Both cases concerned the potential tax liabilities of limited liability companies. This edition of OnPoint reviews and analyzes one of these Decisions (the “Decision”) and its implications for the business community at large.

FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES The Revenue Service assessed additional taxes and tax penalties on a limited liability company (the “Company”) which was found liable for tax evasion. Due to its financial situation, the Company was not able to pay the additional taxes and tax penalties to the Revenue Service. The directors and shareholders (the “Respondents”) of the Company were later found guilty by the Batumi City Court on charges of intentional tax evasion, for which additional taxes and tax liabilities where assessed on the Company. The Revenue Service brought a civil suit against the Respondents claiming that, despite the Company’s limited liability status, they were responsible for paying the tax liabilities of the Company as compensation for damages sustained by the Revenue Service due to the non-

payment of taxes by the Company. JUDGMENT OF THE COURT The Court ruled that, under certain limited and specific circumstances, the directors and shareholders of the Company may be personally responsible for the tax liabilities of the Company. The Court further clarified that in the case at hand the Respondents were responsible and liable for the taxes and tax penalties assessed on the Company if the Company was proved to be financially unable to pay such taxes and penalties. SHAREHOLDERS’ LIABILITY The Court confirmed that under the Law on Entrepreneurs a limited liability company is a separate legal person from its shareholders, and therefore such company is solely responsible for its own debts, including its tax liabilities. The Court, however, further noted that shareholders can be held liable for the underlying company’s debts if the shareholders abuse the limited liability nature of the Company by implementing a tax scheme. In reference to this principle, the Court ruled as follows: when a company is used as a tool for acquiring undeclared income and the clear objective of the shareholders is to evade tax obligations, the nature of the limited liability company is abused, i.e. if the privilege of the limited liability inherent in the legal entity is used to avoid liability toward third parties and, effectively, to damage them, then the shareholders may be held liable for the debts (including taxes) of the company. On the basis of this reasoning the Court confirmed that one of the shareholders of the Company, which was actively involved in the management of the Company and was deemed to have used the Company to shield itself from incurring liabilities, was liable for the debts, including the outstanding tax liabilities, of the Company. DIRECTOR’S LIABILITY According to the Law on Entrepreneurs the director of a limited liability company owes fiduciary duties (i.e. duty of loyalty) to the shareholders of the company, including the duty of care. According to this principle, the director is obliged

to take care of the company as any reasonable person in the same position would do, and act in good faith to ensure that such action is in the company’s best interests. This, according to the Court, implies that the director should reject the instructions of the shareholders if such rejection is a better course of action for the Company. One additional note the Court made in its Decision was that the director’s duty of care towards the Company includes proper fulfillment of the Company’s tax obligations. The Court also specified that the director ’s duty to increase the Company’s profitability must not be un-

derstood to include the right of the director to resort to tax evasion. The Court also clearly ruled that in cases when a director violates said duties, the Revenue Service may bring civil action against the director and claim reimbursement of the Company’s tax liabilities on the basis of the director’s personal property. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY The above described decision of the Court is a very important development in Georgia. Too often, the Georgian business community assumes that shareholders are immune from the tax liabilities of

a company and that the Revenue Service may not claim tax liability of a company from the company’s shareholders; moreover, the business community often assumes that a director must always follow the shareholders instructions and that the director is on the safe side if he/she follows such instructions. The Court, however, clearly debunked such assumptions. Given the fact that the Decision was rendered by the Supreme Court and was made in a case involving the Revenue Service, we may expect the Revenue Service initiating similar proceedings against other shareholders and directors. So, whatever was readily assumed about separation of a company’s liabilities (including tax liabilities) from the personal liabilities of the directors and shareholders can no longer be assumed and the directors and shareholders of limited liability companies should take into account the personal implications of engaging their companies in certain tax planning schemes.

*** Note: this article does not constitute legal advice. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional legal advisors concerning specific circumstances for your business.

SOCIETY

Fir e near Cher nob yl Ma y Fire Chernob nobyl May Incr ease R adia tion Le vels Increase Radia adiation Lev

Photo of the Chernobyl Forest provided by www.forumdaily.com

By Eka Karsaulidze Ukrainian rescuers are struggling to cope with fires that have been raging in the Chernobyl Forest in the Chernobyl exclusion zone since June 29. The fire, fed by dry grass and tree roots, came about due to a period of hot, dry weather. The area of the fire was at one point up to 130 hectares, though this has been reduced to 5.2 hectares in which the fire

10 Galaktion Street

is still ongoing. The State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine recorded on July 1that radiation was ‘excessive’ in some areas of the blaze. Head of the Ukrainian Ecological League, Tatiana Timochko, said that the dry vegetation and tree root systems were burning in a ground-level fire which affected the top layer of soil where the radionuclides are.

“The ash is carried by wind over long distances and creates the danger of radiation spreading over large areas. Then the ash residues get deposited on plants and soil and in water. Of course, these concentrations may be approximately equal to the maximum permissible parameters at large distances from the fire epicenter. But it is a serious threat for the surrounding area,” she highlighted on July 8. The Minister of Emergency Situations of Russia, Vladimir Puchkov, said that there is no excess of radiation near the Ukrainian border. According to Puchkov, Russia is using every available radiation monitoring system and also monitoring the situation from space. “We provide all the necessary information about radiation to people around the clock,” he said. The Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus also announced a normal radiation level near their border with Ukraine. Weather forecasters predict that high temperatures will continue until Saturday followed by an overcast period with a slight drop in temperature. Intermittent rain is expected to contribute to extinguishing the fire.

Tel: (995 32) 2 45 08 08 E-mail: info@peoplescafe.ge


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ECONOMY

JULY 10 - 16

The Galt & Taggart Research team comprises Georgian and Azerbaijani finance and economic experts who have broad experience of covering the macro and corporate sectors of the two countries. Our current product offering includes Georgian and Azerbaijan macroeconomic research, Georgian sector research, and fixed income corporate research. For free access to Galt & Taggart Research, please visit gtresearch.ge or contact us at gt@gt.ge.

Oil Prices – the Ef fect on Georgia By Tamara Kurdadze and Nino Papava Crude oil prices have tumbled from $112 per barrel in June 2014 to $57 in the beginning of July. The drop can be attributed to a handful of key reasons. On the demand side, weaker economic growth in Asia and the ongoing weakness in Europe have facilitated the drop in oil prices. The gradual shift toward more energy-efficient vehicles has also weighed on demand for oil. On the supply side, domestic production in the United States has nearly doubled over the last six years, owing largely to new capabilities in shale oil. The spike in US domestic supply has drastically reduced the need for imported oil, which now must be diverted elsewhere. OPEC – the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – has further exacerbated the resulting glut on the world markets by refusing to decrease production. Their rationale rests on experience – the last time they propped up the oil price by reducing output in the 1980s, they lost both revenues and market share to competing producers. This time, OPEC has in fact increased its production. As this article goes to print, talks are underway in Vienna between Iran and

Exhibit 1: Average monthly price for crude oil, US$/barrel, 2014-2015

Source: Geostat

Source: Bloomberg *July 2015 crude oil price calculated as the average price over July 1-6, 2015

six world powers – the US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany. Iran’s nuclear programme – the topic of discussion in Vienna – has been the cause of far-reaching western sanctions on the country. If the negotiators reach an agreement by the self-imposed deadline of July 7th through 9th, sanctions on Iranian crude oil exports will be lifted, hitting the already oversupplied market

with up to 700,000 barrels per day. According to International Energy Agency analysts, oil prices might tumble down to US$15/barrel if the sanctions on Iran are lifted. The primary effect of lower oil prices is a transfer of resources from oil-producing to oil-consuming countries. In 2015, an estimated US$ 1.6 trillion will change hands from the former to the lat-

POLITICS

Ale xander K vitashvili Lea ves Of Alexander Kvitashvili Leav Offfice of Ukr aine’ s Health Minister Ukraine’ aine’s

Alexander Kvitashvili, the now-ex Minister of Health of Ukraine. Photo from www.rbc.ua

By Steven Jones Alexander Kvitashvili, Ukraine’s Health Minister, has left his office after several months of efforts to reform Ukraine’s healthcare system. Kvitashvili insists that the resignation was his own decision. As one of several Georgians leading reforms in Ukraine’s modernization, Kvitashvili was believed to lead the county’s most sensitive sector, its healthcare system. “I came to Ukraine to carry out reforms. We are now ready to do this. Everything is ready. We have changed the procurement system. We are following a transparent, normal, civilized path. I understand that many people working in the

Exhibit 2: Georgian imports of oil and oil products in US$ ‘000, 2014-2015

healthcare system are losing income. But this is Ukraine’s first and last chance to carry out healthcare reform,” Kvitashvili stated. The rampant corruption which has widely permeated into the system had made Ukraine’s healthcare sector very unhealthy, as had happened in Georgia years before. However, a solution to the Ukrainian problem was not to be found by the Georgian technocrat. “The newly formed Government of Ukraine gave credit to Georgian technocrat to be officially involved in the process of reforming the health sector in the country, which recently underwent the dramatic events for its European future. Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko,

proposed the candidacy of Kvitashvili, stating that successful reformer in Georgia could also make the same progress in Ukraine”- Georgia Today wrote about Kvitashvili back in December 2014. Ukraine’s President Poroshenko believed in the need for reforms and sharing international experience, which prompted the appointment of Kvitashvili among other Georgian reformers. Having fronted one of the key sectors in developing Georgia in 2008-10, Kvitashvili carried out some drastic reforms in the sphere, such as modernizing and building new hospitals in different regions of Georgia, improving health care and building foundations to successfully implement the general healthcare policy, which currently operates in Georgia. The well-educated Kvitashvili has worked for the United Nations Development Program, United Methodist Committee on Relief, International Fund of the Georgian NGO - Curatio, and the East-West Institute. At different times, he has also consulted various international organizations based in Azerbaijan, Latvia, Ukraine, Armenia, and Greece on education, healthcare and social securityrelated issues. After resigning from the position of Minister, he served as a Rector of TSU from December 2010 until June 2013. Currently, the resigned Kvitashvili says he is to assist his successor, a new Minister, as the Georgian reformer has unique experience which can still benefit Ukraine.

ter in terms of savings on oil imports. For the world economy, the net effect is supposed to be positive, as wealth is transferred to consumers, who are more likely to spend it. How well does Georgia fare in this new reality? At first glance, it benefits from lower oil prices as it imports 100% of its consumption. The country has already saved almost US$ 100mn on its oil import bill in the first five months of 2015, which amounts to 28% savings compared to the same period a year ago. These savings can be used on goods and services that can fuel economic growth. Furthermore, lower oil prices restrain inflationary pressures in the face of currency depreciation. However, a closer look reveals vulnerabilities, as Georgia has significant ties with oil-producing countries hard hit by the lower oil prices, such as Russia and Azerbaijan. Moreover, the Russian slowdown, resulting from a confluence of low oil prices and sanctions, has impacted other CIS countries. As these economies, which are major Georgian trading partners, have been battered, Georgia has experienced negative spillover effects. Two key areas of direct exposure, which have been negatively affected, are exports and re-

mittances, while tourist arrivals have held up well. In 5M15, exports fell by 46% y/y to CIS countries. The most significant drops have been to Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, where exports have roughly halved. Remittances decreased by 42.2% y/y from Russia, the largest contributor with close to 40% of total remittances. In the short term, the negative effects have outweighed the savings from a lower import bill for Georgia. However, in the medium to long term, Georgia should come out a winner. Firstly, it is generally understood that agriculture benefits more from lower oil prices than does manufacturing. With agriculture making up around 30% of Georgian exports, the potential benefits are clear. And secondly, Georgia has already demonstrated its adaptability and resilience following the Russian embargo in 2006. If the lower oil prices are here to stay and the current reduced level of exports to CIS countries is the new normal, we hope that there will be sufficient stimulus for a new wave of diversification of export markets. Proper implementation of DCFTA regulations and a continued improvement of the business environment will play an essential role in these endeavors.


8

POLITICS

JULY 10 - 16

Government: Dialogue with Private Sector is Essential for EU Integration By Baia Dzagnidze Aiming to assist Georgian and Moldovan businesses and governments to achieve more coordinated dialogue on potential costs and benefits in the EU integration process, the PMC Research Center, with the support of International Visegrad Fund, hosted a two-day knowledge-sharing workshop on July 2-3. The workshop presented the experiences of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary (Visegrad countries) accumulated in the process of creating effective platforms for dialogue between the public and private sectors. Davit Bakradze, the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, highlighted in his welcoming speech that Georgia and Moldova are in a very important but at the same time very demanding process of implementation of the Association Agreement and DCFTA, as both countries transform their legislation and modernize their economies in the pursuit of EU approval.

“Good collaboration and partnership with the private sector is essential in this process and [from our side] we actively cooperate with them in planning and monitoring of the process of implementation. Right from the beginning when AA entered into force, we [the office] involved civil society, NGOs, business society, trade unions into planning process of our annual action plans,” he explained. Boris Iarochevitch, the EU Deputy Ambassador to Georgia, noted that AA implementation will be a long and demanding process. “The government and parliament are working hard on passing and implementing a number of laws, it will take a long time as the DCFT is a road map of 7-8 years with hundreds of pieces of legislation to be passed and implemented. And as the EU, we always insist on wide consultation with all the stakeholders before the laws are passed, as well as insist on impact assessment being done by the government or the Parliament for each piece of legislation,” he stated.

Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of the Center of EU Studies at GFSIS, Mikleil Janelidze, the Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ivan Miklos, ex-Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Slovakia and George Welton, Executive Director of AmCham.

The workshop included several panels on various topics where government agencies, business associations, experts, international organizations and donors talked about the prospects and challenges for Moldova and Georgia, export, intellectual property rights, agriculture and food safety and measures to support SMEs. Mikheil Janelidze, the Deputy

How the New European Neighborhood Policy Could Reflect on Georgia By Nino Japarashvili On July 6-8 the European Parliament’s plenary session took place in Strasburg. Among many important topics, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) discussed the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP); with a draft report on the review of the ENP presented at the session. “We need to rethink our approach and put our partnership on a new footing,” said Johaness Hann, Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement, who took the part in the EP debate. The European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004 with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighborhood. This framework is proposed to the 16 of EU’s closest neighbors out of which ten are southern neighbors, covered by a sub-initiate Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED), and another six, Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, uniting postcommunist states, including Georgia, into one policy framework. With the emergence of new security threats from Russia on EU’s eastern border, and the rise of extremist movements in the southern neighborhood, the

Photo of the European Parliament, taken from presspack.rte.ie

European Commission launched a consultation process on the review of the ENP in March 2015. The draft report discussed by the MEPs in Strasburg, shows the potential features of EU’s new neighborhood policy. Differentiation - the report stresses that differentiation should take place not only between Eastern and Southern partners but also among the ENP countries themselves and develop into a more tailor-made and flexible policy framework able to adapt to the diversity that exists. Neighbors of neighbors –this notion is the biggest novelty of the new ENP. The report underlines the importance of ensuring that the ENP is part of the EU’s broader external policy and of taking into account the other strategic players that have influence on the neighborhood –

the ‘neighbors of neighbors’. Security dimension – the paper acknowledges that security and stability are basic concerns in the neighborhood and that current developments in the region call for a strong security component in the ENP, which has regrettably been missing to date. The new ENP, if updated according to the above mentioned features, will impact the EU’s approach towards Georgia. In comparison with earlier years, in the frames of the new policy, Georgia will not be assessed by the EU together with the other five post-communist states. Instead the EU will take an individual case-by-case policy approach. The new ENP will also make a difference with regards to the Russian factor. While the EU ignored Russian threats earlier, the new EU policy towards Georgia will be shaped with the Russian factor taken into consideration. Overall, the EU’s involvement in Georgia will be modified according to the existing security dilemmas. The commission consultation phase of the debate on the ENP has come to an end with institutions already having consulted stakeholders such as the EU member states, partner countries, civil society organizations, business, local and regional governments.

Greece Debt Crisis: The People Say “No” to EU Bailout By Nini Gegidze Partying on the streets of Athens overnight spelled out a Europe-wide hangover on Monday, after more than 61 percent of Greeks voted to reject tough economic bailout conditions. The final result in the referendum, published by the Interior Ministry, was 61.3% “No”, to 38.7% who voted “Yes”. Greece’s governing Syriza party had been campaigning for a “No” vote, saying the bailout terms were humiliating. Their opponents warned that this could see Greece ejected from the Eurozone, and a summit of Eurozone heads of state was called for Tuesday. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday evening that Greeks had voted for a “Europe of solidarity and democracy”. While the poll marked a victory for Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, it threatened to further jeopardize the nation’s crippled economy as well as the future of the European currency. All eyes now are on the European Central Bank to see whether it will maintain emergency funding for Greek lenders. The bank’s policy makers are expected to meet on Monday and if the

Partying on the streets of Athens overnight spelled out a Europe-wide hangover on Monday, after more than 61 percent of Greeks voted to reject tough economic bailout conditions.

funding is suspended, Greek banks will need to repay it quickly — which could be mean the country crashes out of the Eurozone. Eurozone finance ministers say they expect to hear new proposals from Greece after the country voted to reject the terms of a bailout. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her French counterpart Francois Hollande also called on Greece to make “serious” proposals. Meanwhile, Greek banks stayed closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. They had been due to reopen on Tuesday but the head of the Greek Banking Association, Louka Katseli, said the period had been extended following talks

on Monday. “I really hope that the Greek Government - if it wants to enter negotiations again - will accept that the other 18 member states of the Euro can’t just go along with an unconditional haircut, “ said Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany’s Vice-Chancellor. At an earlier news conference in Brussels, the European Commission Vice-President for the Euro, Valdis Dombrovskis, said the Greek government needed to be “responsible and honest” with its people about the potential consequences of the decisions it was facing. But he said the stability of the eurozone was not in question, adding: “We have everything we need to manage the situation.”

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development talked about the export potential of Georgia and stated that the country needs to be export-oriented. “We see our future in the industries which are export oriented. We are a small market and it has no sense to be closed market. All the industries that currently are operating, as well as those which will develop in

the future should be export oriented and competitive on world scale,” he explained. “Slovakia’s experience proved that dialog between private and public sector is essential to get the most benefits of EU economic integration and to provide successful reforms and changes that increase economic growth and convergence,” stated Ivan Miklos, the ex-Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Slovakia. “From our experience we would highly recommend intensive formal and informal dialog and communication between government and public in general, including representatives of employers, employees and NGOs,” he continued. George Welton, the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce stated that the DCFTA gives Georgia a huge growth opportunity (22% of its exports are exported to the EU), structural opportunities because of its location and the chance to westernize its business activities is preferable to the alternatives seen in the region.

SOCIETY

Spanish Tourists Attacked near Zugdidi: Police and Doctors Accused of Misconduct By Christian Smith While the Georgian Government keeps marketing the country as Eastern Europe’s top tourist destination, it looks like all is not well for foreigners here. On the night of June 23 to 24, 2015, two Spanish tourists, I.L. and J.G., were attacked and severely beaten while traveling from Mestia to Kazbegi, which involved spending a day near the area of Zugdidi city. They decided to visit the hot springs there but found the place blocked off for construction works. They were then redirected by locals to a place where they [the locals] had “diverted the hot springs to meet the course of a cold spring in a natural pool”. The two decided to camp on a field near the spot. According to I.L., nothing seemed out of place during the day and they fell asleep at around 11 pm only to be woken up in the dead of night by a rainfall of thumping sounds on the tent. “Suddenly, we started feeling and hearing hits on the tent, and we woke up alarmed and shouting. I thought it might be a cow that was in the field that night, walking over the tent – that seemed to me the only explanation for the overwhelming weight that we felt pressing down on us.” J.G. quickly realized that it was an attack when heavier hits started to impact on the tent, which eventually broke, and J.G. took the brunt of the attack with several blows to the head as he tried to stand up. When he managed to pull his head through the now broken tent he was able to see the distant silhouette of a tall, thin and slightly long-haired male running away towards the main road. “We don’t know if they left because they saw J.G. finally standing up, or because they just ran out of stones. A terrifying silence was constant throughout the attack: we heard no shouts, no talking and no laughter. Only the brutal hits one after the other… We knew that it had to be more than one person, because of the frequency of the hits,” I.L. told Georgia Today. After an excruciatingly painful trip across the field, I.L. and J.G. made it to the nearest house and called for help. An ambulance arrived shortly and they were taken to Zugdidi Hospital, where, after undergoing several tests, they were told no bones were broken. J.G.’s left leg and right hand were immobilized in halfcasts, while I.L.’s “mobility was not heavily compromised”. At around 9 am, I.L. went to the police station to provide an account of the events. I.L. says the attitude of the police was very hostile and unprofessional. The translator, “whose command of

J.G., hospitalized following an unprovoked attack near Zugdidi.

English was questionable”, altered numerous facts about the attack and later stated that these were unimportant. The pair was later denied a copy of their own statement under the claim that it is illegal in Georgia. Georgia Today has since been told by a representative of the House of Law that it is in fact the legal obligation of the police force to hand over a copy of a statement to the giver of that statement if requested to do so. “The legal significance of this is frankly alarming: if we ever went to trial and the police happened to produce a fake copy of our statement, saying whatever other thing they want it to say, we have no way to prove them wrong,” said I.L. To make matters worse, after arriving in Tbilisi, tests at MediClub Georgia revealed that J.G. had fractures in both his left leg and right arm, despite the claims to the opposite of the doctors in Zugdidi hospital, who also failed to give him a herapin shot, so risking “a potentially deadly case of thrombosis.” According to J.G. and I.L., it seems that the police are not even investigating the case and they suspect that the detectives know who the attackers are but are secretly trying to have the case closed. “On our way back to Tbilisi we stopped in Chitatskaro to thank the neighbors that helped us, and they told us that no policemen had showed up after the incident to ask any questions. They were even surprised at the idea of stones being thrown at us, which means that no one had even remotely talked to them about the attack,” said I.L. Georgia Today contacted the Ministry of Internal Affairs for more information but was told that no file has been recorded under the classification of ‘attack’ which means that either the Zugdidi police filed the case under a different classification, or chose not to file a report at all.


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Produce in Georgia Assists Hundreds of Enterprises in First Year P.13

Business

PASHA Bank’s Shurgaia Appointed as a Georgian Stock Exchange Supervisor Board Member of PASHA Bank Supervisory Board, Nikoloz Shurgaia, has been appointed as a member of the Georgian Stock Exchange Supervisory Board by the General Meeting of Membershareholders. The Georgian Stock Exchange (GSE) is the only organized securities market in Georgia. Designed and established with the help of USAID and operating within the legal framework drafted with the assistance of American experts, GSE complies with global best practices in securities trading and offers an efficient investment facility to both local and foreign investors. The automated trading system of GSE can accommodate thousands of securities that may be traded by brokers from the workstations on the GSE floor or remotely from their offices. As of June 1, 2015, 129 companies were traded on GSE, with a total market capitalization of USD 0.880 billion and an average daily turnover of USD 587.55. Nikoloz Shurgaia received his bachelor’s degree in Finance and Credit at Tbilisi State University in 1995. In 2004 he obtained his Master of Business Administration Degree at London Business School. He began his career at the United Georgian Bank working as a loan officer in 1994, and was later promoted to the following positions: Head of Mortgage Division; Deputy Director, Lending; Director, International Relations; and Director, Corporate and Retail Lending. In 2004, Mr. Shurgaia moved to Moscow and joined ABN AMRO BANK as Assistant Vice President, Integrated Energy Group. From 2005, he began working as a Principal Banker at EBRD, London. From 2008 to 2009 he worked for VTB Bank (Georgia) as the Chief Executive Officer.

GUAM to Simplify Customs Control

Flags of the GUAM member countries.

Board Member of PASHA Bank Supervisory Board, Nikoloz Shurgaia, has been appointed as a member of the Georgian Stock Exchange Supervisory Board.

He continued his career at Belarusky Narodny Bank as Executive Chairman, while he simultaneously served the Bank of Georgia as Deputy CEO. From 2012 to 2014, Mr. Shurgaia worked in Azerbaijan for Rabitabank as a Chairman of the Management Board and since 2011, Mr. Shurgaia has worked as an Independent Advisor and Entrepreneur in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Mr. Nikoloz Shurgaia was appointed a Member of the Supervisory Board of PASHA Bank on January 31, 2015.

Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown to Promote Timeshare Ownership Service in Georgia

Cushman & Wakefield |Veritas Brown have begun to promote timeshare and fractional ownership opportunities in Georgia. International company RCI (Resort Condominiums International) in cooperation with Wyndham Hotel Group, who plan to open three new hotels in the country, will provide this service line in Georgia with Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown providing support to market this innovative and unique opportunity. Fractional ownership enables several unrelated parties to share in, and mitigate the risk of, ownership of a high-value tangible asset, such as a jet, yacht or real estate. One of the main incentives for a fractional purchase is the ability to share the costs of maintaining an asset that will not be used full time by a sole owner As for timeshare, it is an arrangement that grants the right to several joint owners to use a property as a holiday home under a time-sharing scheme. The affiliation fee in the timeshare and fractional ownership system is $15,000. Nina Kipiani, Head of Country and Director at Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown talked to Georgia Today about the project: “Cushman & Wakefield|Veritas Brown has been active in the Georgian market for three years. Apart from standard real estate consultancy services we also provide a bespoke hospitality advice. Our company

Fourth Annual Gender Equality Awards Held in Tbilisi P.14

has strong ties to all the world’s main hotel operators. We are happy to support RCI and Wyndham Hotel Group to establish and promote this new residential real estate system in Georgia. A timeshare is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each sharer is allotted a period of time (typically one week per year, and almost always the same time every year) in which they may use the property. A co-owner can exchange their allocated time either internally or externally for thousands of other resorts worldwide. For example, if you own a 5-week period on a real estate in one resort zone, it can be exchanged for another country’s resort real estate corresponding to the same value. RCI oversees the system by controlling more than 100 hotels throughout the world and timeshare real estate. Their interest in Georgian tourism is huge and they believe in its potential. They plan to research the country’s main summer and winter resorts, specifically the real estate market, and proceed accordingly. We will be joining them in promoting this service line.” Ali Egilmez, Affiliate Manager of RCI, explained the advantages of timeshare ownership: “In timeshare ownership people don’t need to buy an entire property for a second home but only for the time they need it. As we spend just 2 or 3 weeks per year on vacation it is not necessary to buy a whole house for such short periods of time. In this case, all clients need to buy is a piece of inventory for a resort,” – said Egilmez, adding that timeshare resorts are most suited to middle class families with children. RCI includes 100 countries where the timeshare system can be utilized. It now adds Georgia to the list.

Members of GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) discussed the draft protocol for the implementation of the Facilitate Trade and Transport (FTT) project in Baku on July 8. According to the head of the Customs Co-operation of the Department of International Relations of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, Oleg Semenenko, this protocol will create favorable conditions for the development of foreign trade and transport facilitation. “Mutual recognition of the results of customs controls will help to accelerate customs procedures and their simplification,” said Semenenko. He also mentioned that at present the protocol requires some minor corrections, after which it will be submitted for final discussion. “It is very important to recognize the separate

customs inspection results due to the fact that some member countries of GUAM have no direct borders,” said Valeri Chechelashvili, Secretary General of GUAM. The main topics of the FTT are: legislation improvement and harmonization, GUAM countries’ borders and customs empowerment; the fight against terrorism, cross-border crime, smuggling and violation of customs regulations and illegal migration; the harmonization of border and customs control and their clearance according to international standards; intellectual property protection; and information system creation. These aim to will reduce the border control time and increase efficiency while improving the quality of staff checkpoints and ensuring the interoperability of transit systems.


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BUSINESS

JULY 10 - 16

David Sergeenko: Implementation of Primary Health Care Reform is Underway The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Social Affairs plans to reform the Primary Healthcare service in the near future, Minister David Sergeenko announced during a conference on the Hepatitis C Elimination Program at the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. According to Minister Sergeenko, together with the Universal Healthcare and Hepatitis C elimination programs, his ministry plans to focus on improv-

ing Primary Healthcare. “Our first step was to develop the Universal Healthcare and Hepatitis C Elimination programs and to date we have launched both of them successfully. At this stage, I can tell you that now one of our main goals is to improve primary healthcare,” Sergeenko said. “To this end we have been in active consultation with the international consulting group ‘Global Alliance’.”

Hotel Sympatia

Dr. Jean-Elie Malkin: Unique Chance to Fight and Eradicate Hepatitis C On July 4, the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health hosted an event on behalf of the Hepatitis C Elimination Program. The name of the conference which was attended by many international experts from France was “The Way Forward”. President of the ‘Global Alliance’, Jean Elie Malkin, talked about the importance of this event, and said it emphasized the elimination of Hepatitis C as one of the priorities for the government, because this epidemic has been shown to be a huge prob-

lem throughout Georgia. “The Georgian Government emphasizes this is a first step to improve the whole health system,” said Dr, Malkin, assessing the Hepatitis C elimination program as a key priority to improving the whole health system in Georgia for the benefit of population. Dr. Malkin also stressed the fact that, after the elimination of Hepatitis C, the next step will be a reform of Primary Health Care. He expressed the full support of ‘Global Alliance’ in this program.

Raising Awareness: Meet Young Ambassador Jorjoliani By Nini Gegidze Georgia Today met Ioseb Jorjoliani, a recently appointed a Young Ambassador of Georgia to the United States. Ioseb is an exchange student at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) who is in the middle of his sophomore year. He is extremely excited about the new opportunity and sees it as the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. “I have always wanted to serve my country and assist it on its way to future success. As a Governmental Scholar I already had a huge responsibility to maintain a high academic GPA for my governmental scholarship. However, this project of young ambassadors created a direct opportunity for me to play a real role in

my country’s development.” He heard about the Young Ambassador program through a Georgian woman from Voice of America, a broadcast institution, where he interned last summer. He said, of applying for the project: “The application was seven pages long and at first I felt lazy to complete it but of course by the deadline I sent my seven page project with its financial plan and all additional documentations to the Ministry.” He then went on to talk about the project: “The project lasts a year. 140 students aged 18 to 29 applied from 10 different countries. They finally selected only ten. I waited for two weeks and finally they woke me up at 7 am.” Ioseb said questions followed about his project as well as a sec-

Ioseb Jorjoliani, a recently appointed a Young Ambassador of Georgia to the United States.

ond interview. Now, with this new appointment, Ioseb will have to complete a project that raises awareness of Georgian culture and life. He said: “I have to organize a Georgian Youth Forum in which Georgian students will gather and discuss the relative world events in relation to Georgia. The government also wants to create a fellowship of Georgia’s friends which will include American and other international students who express interest in Georgian culture.” Ioseb is an active member of the W&NJR community. He hosts a global news radio show in WNJR, plays on the Rugby team and is the special events and activities coordinator for the W&J International House.

Hotel Kiparis Awaits You By Beqa Kirtava If you’re planning to avoid this year’s scorching summer days in Tbilisi by paying a trip to one of Georgia’s most beautiful sea resorts like Kobuleti, you are in luck. Hotel Kiparis (#218 Aghmashenbeli Ave.) has just opened its doors to anyone who wishes to make this holiday season truly delightful. The location for Hotel Kiparis was specifically chosen to be both very close to the sea and easy to get to by public transport. The hotel consists of two buildings which combine a total of 64 rooms, including several semisuites and two large suites. The local amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, 2 cafebars, free Wi-Fi access and a res-

taurant serving both Georgian and European dishes. “Hotel Kiparis is a place where the soothing atmosphere enables our guests to spend a truly pleasing summer holiday with their families. We have just finished working on our spacious

garden, which is a perfect place to relax and where you’ll be able to see numerous extremely beautiful and rare exotic plants,” said Dali Metreveli, Hotel Kiparis Marketing Manager in an exclusive interview with Georgia Today. “We have big plans for the

future and will constantly strive to make our visitors’ stay even more enjoyable. Hotel Kiparis will soon have a large conference room, special kids’ center with a video gaming room and animation entertainment alongside live evening shows.” The hotel’s administration also plans to offer guests tours around the region, where foreigners will have the chance to see the most interesting sights of Batumi and Kutaisi. So, whether you’re planning to dive into the world of entertainment or let go of all the hassle, Hotel Kiparis, with its customer-friendly prices, makes a perfect holiday stay for the whole family. Don’t miss out and get a taste of Kobuleti this summer.

4, V. Daraselia Str. Tbilisi, Georgia

Hotel’s network “Sympatia”

Tel: (995 32) 2 99 55 88, 2 37 05 90 Tel./Fax: (995 32) 2 37 62 63 www.sympatia.ge E-mail: contact@sympatia.ge

Car Rent Tel: 599 16 16 70

from 35 euro

Nissan pathfinder – 2004, 4X4, AT

Mercedes-Benz Viano – 2004

per day Tours to all directions of Georgia (with driver and Guide) for 4 person from 40 euro.

Toyota RAV 4 – 2000, 4X4, AT


BUSINESS Pr oduce in Geor gia Assists Hundr eds Produce Georgia Hundreds of Enter prises in Fir st Year Enterprises First By Tako Svanidze One year has passed since the Georgian Government first launched its Produce in Georgia program to encourage new entrepreneurs and stimulate local production. The Head of the Georgian Government, Irakli Garibashvili, and the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, summed up the achievements the program so far at exhibition center Expo-Georgia on June 7. The Prime Minister highlighted that, since launching the program, more than 130 enterprises had been funded, and over 600 revamped. During the last year, 90 new projects were undertaken under the program with a collective investment of $252 million, providing jobs for more than 5,000 people. “Today, more than 130 enterprises are funded and more than 600 enterprises are further supported. We invested a total of 900 million GEL in the agriculture sector during the past two years,” the Prime Minister said. David Bardavelidze’s pet’s furniture and accessories business is among the hundreds of new projects implemented within the Produce in Georgia program, enabling him to export goods in European Union member countries. “Traditionally, such products are produced in China and from there are imported into Europe. In our case, we are exclusively cooperating with a German company and managing export into EU member countries. We are competitive with the Chinese market, because, unlike other Asian countries, we do not pay 12 percent import taxes. Today, we are producing 20 million Gel ($8, 929,000) worth of products and we plan to gradually increase this amount up to 100 million Gel,” Bardavelidze said. The Prime Minister highlighted that the program supports any entrepreneur who decides to create a new industrial and agriculture enterprise. In this case, the Government has been offering three type of assistance: financial, infrastructure accessibility and consulting service. Within the program, entrepreneurs have to pay only 1-2 percent of a preferential loan, as the Government covers 10 percent of the interest cost. The credit line for those involved in industrial production enterprises ranges from

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili speaking at the Expo-Georgia summary of Produce In Georgia.

$150,000 to $2 million. In terms of infrastructure accessibility, which means real estate assistance, program beneficiaries are either granted real estate with an amortized price, which is state property, or the building is ‘sold’ to the applicant for a symbolic 1 (one) Lari ($ 0.44). “When you’re going to start a new business, start-up funding is the most difficult part,” said Mamia Motsradze, owner of the Energy Georgia company. “Due to high risks banks don’t trust you to give back the money, or offer loans with a high interest rate. Thanks to the [Produce in Georgia] project, we have an interest rate of 1-2 percent. Challenges are always there, but I’m sure everything can be accomplished.”. Locally produced VS Import Garibashvili announced that the Georgian Government had set a goal to gradually replace imported agricultural goods with locally produced alternatives. “I had conversations with the leaders of our neighboring countries who have successfully promoted local production and development programs. They have followed the path for years and have had good results. They have strong agricultural and industry sectors. Establishing such enterprises creates jobs for many Georgian people. This is one of the main tasks of our Government,” Garibashvili said. “I want to emphasize that we are not against imports. On the contrary, we

welcome foreign companies to Georgia, but for us the main concern is the development of local industry and the creation of new jobs for our citizens,” he added. The Georgian PM stated that government officials are going to hold talks with persons who have obtained licenses to extract the country’s natural resources. “The waste of our natural resources has taken place over the past twenty years. As a consequence, we have hundreds of licenses issued for unique resources, which, unfortunately, are not used. This happens because these people seized the state resources through different persons’ lobbying efforts at the time and these resources go unused today. This is a crime. No one has the right not to use the country’s resources and to reserve them only for personal interests,” Garibashvili said, adding that it was shameful that so many Georgian citizens were living in poverty. “We can start to implement projects together with enterprises. Produce in Georgia and cheap Agro-Credit programs provided by the state are everything an entrepreneur could ask for. Within the program entrepreneurs have to pay only 1-2 percent of a loan, as we cover 10 percent,” Garibashvili said. The Prime Minister also announced that several components will be added to the program for its further development.

JULY 10 - 16

13

High Time to Care about Cyber Security By Beqa Kirtava “Cyber Security,” a term which would have undoubtedly drawn a surprised response of “what!?” just a decade ago, is gradually turning into a buzzworthy topic in Georgia, with more and more attention being directed towards the cyber threats that the country faces. Earlier this month a special regional workshop on cyber security was held in Georgia, bringing together more than 50 representatives of 18 countries. The two-day event was organized by the Data Exchange Agency (DEA), within the framework of NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) program. According to the Head of the DEA, Irakli Gvenetadze, the project served as “the first time NATO has participated in such a high-level workshop in Georgia”. The aforementioned event, amongst many others, is a logical continuation of Georgia’s stance against cybercrime, which was publicly declared in 2012 when the country ratified the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Convention on Cybercrime (2001).

country. For instance, in 2011, CERT.GOV.GE* discovered a botnet control server that had hacked ema.gov.ge; presa.ge; psnews.ge; cei.ge and several other Georgian websites. If the local incidents don’t set a proper example of the importance of cyber security, we could look back at one of the most talked-about cyber-attacks of recent history – the 2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) hack. Numerous accusations have been made about the above-mentioned crime, including the involvement of North Korea, former SPE employees and even current workers of the company. Whichever the case, one thing is for sure, the hack resulted in the leak of Sony employees’ personal information (pictures, emails and salary figures), as well as copies of previously unreleased films, ending up costing the corporation a whopping total financial loss of 14 billion Yen ($170 million). While the rest of the world seems to be at its peak of cyber-awareness, Georgia still has a long way to go. The fact that the Convention on Cybercrime was

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the steps towards making Georgian legislation more coherent with the Cybercrime Convention were taken in 2008-2009 and, today, Georgia is actively cooperating with Estonia and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in order to “increase capacities of the Georgian MIA operative units in the process of combating cybercrime and the seizure of digital evidence.” One may ask why the Government of Georgia suddenly took an interest in cyber security issues in 2008 while such motivation seemed almost nonexistent before. The reason for this was the Russian-Georgian war of the same year, when the local websites came under a number of serious cyber-attacks from Russia, closing down numerous governmental and non-governmental webpages. Since then, many other similar cyber-attacks were launched against the

ratified 11 years after its creation gives a pretty clear picture of how far behind the country is. However, the recent numerous projects regarding the challenges, including the regional workshop, Aleksandre Chikaidze’s discussions about cyber security with his Spanish counterpart earlier this year, and DEA’s increasing contribution to the fight against cybercrime, gives much promise to a country still dipping its toes tentatively into the digital era. * “CERT.GOV.GE operates under Data Exchange Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia and is responsible for handling critical incidents that occur within Georgian Governmental Networks and critical infrastructure. CERT.GOV.GE started its operations in January, 2011. Since the National CERT does not operate in Georgia at this moment, CERT.GOV.GE handles all critical computer incidents which occur in the country.” (Source: DEA)

Ufa Hosts BRICS and SCO

By Eka Karsaulidze

The Greek crisis, Ukraine and the expected lifting of sanctions against Iran are just some of the topics that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are discussing at the BRICS summit in Ufa on July 8-10. In total, Ufa City, Russia, will witness the bringing together of heads of state and government of nearly two dozen countries, as well as the heads of seven international organizations. The summit is expected to involve the signing of a number of important documents as well as many bilateral meetings. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has already met with Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff and President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. It is significant that Belarus and a number of countries outside the BRICS are very interested in this platform and sent their representatives to Ufa. It is quite understandable – it is an event with the participation of leaders of the biggest and fastest-growing emerging markets.

Photo of the BRICS center, from www.bashinform.ru.

Energy efficiency and the economic situation are among the top issues being

discussed at the BRICS summit with BRICS’ heads planning on talking about

expanding trade and investment ties. Vladimir Putin and Chinese President

Xi Jinping talked about the interface of the Silk Road and the EEU. Gui Congyou, Deputy Director General of China’s Foreign Ministry Department of European and Central Asian Affairs, said that China is preparing for big investments in Russia. Oil and gas mastering in Russia is one of the priorities for China. “Besides oil and gas, we are ready to invest in the Russian economy, including in infrastructure development in social projects fields, such as affordable housing for people,” Congyou said. Experts agree that the BRICS has gradually been transformed by changing the format of dialogue to a coordination structure, so becoming a platform for concrete actions. International security topics also will be in the spotlight, in particular the situation in Ukraine and the problem of international terrorism. Leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – are to meet today, Friday July 10. Keep up-to-date with the latest developments on www.georgiatoday.ge


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BUSINESS

Fourth Annual Gender Equality Awards Held in Tbilisi

President Giorgi Margvelashvili presents Nutsa Abramishvili from Schuchmann Winery with the Best Woman Entrepreneur Award.

By Meri Taliashvili On July 6th, the fourth national contest of Gender Equality Awards was held in Georgia with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili as a special guest. The event was organized by the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government of Sweden in order to enhance Gender Equality in Georgia. Before the winners were awarded, Shombi Sharp, acting Head of the UNDP in Georgia awarded President Margvelashvili with a special award for his contribution to gender equality issues. The main award was granted by the Georgian President himself to Nutsa Abramishvili from Schuchmann Winery for the Best Woman Entrepreneur Award. The President went on to address the attending guests and in his speech mentioned Georgia’s accomplishments towards the issue. “Georgia has gone a long way to ensuring gender equality in political, economic and social life. And yet we are determined to build a society where everyone will be able to enjoy their rights and exercise their choices without any discrimination,” said President Margvelashvili. Shombi Sharp clearly expressed the meaning and the importance of gender equality at the award

ceremony: “Today we celebrate the fourth Gender Equality Awards in Georgia. We of the United Nations and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are joining forces with the Gender Equality Council and Government of Sweden under the special participation of the President of Georgia to highlight the importance of gender equality both because gender equality is a human right, a woman’s right, but also because it is the foundation of social, economic and democratic development in every country worldwide. And the message is clear – gender equality in business and politics and also protection for women and girls, means a more prosperous Georgia for all,” Sharp said. Manana Kobakhidze, Chair of the Gender Equality Council and the First Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia noted that despite Georgia’s achievements in gender equality it still needs more gender equality. “Georgia needs more gender equality in political life and in business. I am sure we are moving in the right direction and we will to achieve significant progress in this particular area,” she said. The Gender Equality Winners of 2015 are: Grand Award for Gender Equality – Kula; Woman Entrepreneur Award – Nutsa Abramishvili (Schuchmann Winery); Gender Balance at the Executive Level - Personal Data Protection Bureau, Policy and Management Consultancy Group; Best Innovative Gender Policy - GTS Electronics; Special Recognition for Gender Awareness Trainings - Zurab Zhvania School of Public Administration; Special Recognition for Female Empowerment Programme – Geocell; Special Recognition for Gender Budget Implementation - Ozurgeti City Hall; Special Recognition for Supporting Women Entrepreneurship - Cooperative Alvani; Special Recognition for Supporting Women in Leadership - Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel.


SOCIETY Educa tion Ministr y Pr esents Sc hool Education Ministry Presents School or 5-Y ear -Olds Readiness Pr ogram ffor Pro 5-Year ear-Olds By Katie Ruth Davies UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Science presented a new preschool program to media and education specialists this week which aims to give young children the opportunity to mature, in all developmental areas, another year prior to starting school as well as to learn skills that will enable them to achieve success in the education system. Early childhood education is of paramount importance for every child as it lays the foundation for further growth and development. Investment in early childhood development improves not only the health, learning and protection of young children, but also economic growth in the country over the medium and long term. “International studies have shown that a child who has preschool education is less likely to drop out from school and three times more likely to end up in the top 10 percent of the 14 year olds in school achievement,” said Sascha Graumann, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “As adults, they have higher earnings and are less likely to depend on social assistance. “Investment in Early Childhood Development impacts not only the health, wellbeing and protection of young children but also contributes to the economic growth of the country and, according to some studies, it contributes to up to seven times a return on investment in the long term.” Children up to the age of six learn best in environments which encourage play and nurture strong relationships between the child and the educator and between the school and the family, and which provide an abundance of play and learning material, as well as a mix of structured and unstructured activities. The main idea of the School Readiness Program is: - to promote learning by play and individual approach so that children’s individual needs and interests are better considered; - to support the development of socio-emotional and critical thinking skills that will help children to be prepared for the challenges of the schooling year where the learning process is more structured, considering obedience to new types of rules; - to realize the potential of every child based on his/her development, age, interests and needs and to create equal opportunities for all children throughout Georgia. The recent Public Defender’s Office Monitoring Report on Preschool Institutions (2015) identified systemic flaws in the areas of quality, access and violation of children’s rights in the preschool education sector. Psychological violence against children was observed in 70 percent of the monitored preschool institutions, while cases of physical violence against children were revealed in 40 percent of institutions. Only 20 percent of institutions had safe and adequate infrastructure and physical environment. The report also emphasizes the low qualification of the teaching workforce, which is negatively reflected in their ability to provide child-centered inclusive education. These major issues emphasize the importance of introducing a legal framework that creates a stronger system to improve the preschool education sector. “The Law on Early and Pre-school Education is in its draft form at present and will create a legal framework for the School Readiness Program,” said Eka Beselia, Member of Parliament. The Law is expected to be submitted to Parliament in the autumn session. “Pre-school education is not currently functioning as it should,” Beselia lamented. “Children need to be better prepared for school. There should be one

JULY 10 - 16

15

Messa ge ffor or Wor ld Messag orld Popula tion Da opulation Day y Dr ba tunde Osotimehin Dr.. Ba Baba batunde United Na tions Under -Secr etar y-Gener al Nations Under-Secr -Secretar etary-Gener y-General and UNFP A Ex ecuti ve Dir ector UNFPA Executi ecutiv Director

Photo from pixabay.com

standard across the board. The report [Public Defender’s Office Monitoring Report on Preschool Institutions (2015)] is a hard pill to swallow but these are issues which are being dealt with, and dealt with quickly.” It is important that in addition to municipal monitoring, the relevant central agencies monitor the implementation of the education, sanitation and hygiene, infrastructure, and nutrition standards. Classroom sizes should not exceed the range of 15-22 children respectively for different age groups, and to this aim the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office, represented at the press conference by Deputy Mayor Irakli Lekvinadze, announced the planned opening of six new kindergartens in the Tbilisi Municipality by autumn in hopes that the many children currently without placement opportunities will at last be allowed access to the kindergarten system. Tamar Sanikidze, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia highlighted the voucher aspect of the new program whereby those kindergartens unable to accommodate children could allocate free access vouchers to parents to register their children in private kindergartens, funded by the Ministry of Education and Science. It is not clear at this time, however, how exactly it will be decided who will receive such vouchers. “We are not a Ministry for experimentation with risks,” Minister Sanikidze said. “The necessary infrastructure is in place to make this program work.” She refuted the direct responsibility of the Ministry, however, when questioned on the readiness of regional kindergartens, some of whom, with over 40 children in a class to two care-givers, are clearly not ready for the extra responsibility of a structured pre-school system. “Since July last year UNICEF has been supporting the Ministry of Education and Science [of Georgia] to develop the School Readiness curriculum based on Early Learning and Development Standards, a School Readiness manual and activity book for educators, and training modules to ensure teachers are ready to support the children,” said UNICEF’s Graumann. “It is important that municipalities understand and introduce the program at the local level. For the successful implementation of the program overall monitoring should stay with the Ministry of Education and Science. All chil-

dren should have equal opportunities to enjoy a free and universal School Readiness Program that will help them to better succeed in school.” A further issue of contention is the status of kindergarten caregivers, pointed out by Member of Parliament, Gia Jorjoliani, who emphasized that the minimum remuneration of kindergarten teachers should equate to the minimum salary of primary school teachers to reflect their training. Minister Sanikidze confirmed that there are plans in this direction. This author, being the mother of three young children, two of whom are currently in the state kindergarten system with one the right age to be eligible for the new pre-school program, has high hopes for the future, though low expectations of how soon the developments will realistically and effectively take place.

11 July 2015 A recent United Nations report warns that the number of forcibly displaced people has risen to a record number – almost 60 million at the end of 2014. Among these, most women and adolescent girls face particular threats as a result of the absence of health and other essential services that they need. Even under normal conditions, reproductive health complications are a leading cause of death and illness among women of childbearing age. In humanitarian situations, an estimated one in five women and adolescent girls are likely to be pregnant. As skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care often become unavailable, pregnant women’s and girls’ vulnerability to death and injury is further exacerbated. Women and adolescent girls also face much greater risk of abuse, sexual exploitation, violence and forced marriage during conflicts and natural disasters. In addition, many women who survive a crisis become heads of household, with the sole responsibility of caring for their children. They often have to overcome immense obstacles to provide health and care for children, the sick, the injured and the elderly, and bear the heaviest burden of relief and reconstruction. As a result, they may neglect their own needs as they care for others. The complex emergencies we are responding to include protracted conflicts, made worse by poor or failed governance, the consequences of climate change, and the engagement of extremist groups claiming territory, resources and power. That is why the theme of this World Population Day, “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies”, is intended to highlight the special needs of women and adolescent girls during conflicts and humanitarian disasters. One of the priorities of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is to empower and safeguard the well-being of women, adolescent girls, and young people and address their specific needs and concerns. We work closely with

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin United Nations Under-SecretaryGeneral and UNFPA Executive Director

governments, the United Nations system, local partners and others on disaster preparedness to ensure that reproductive health is integrated into emergency responses. UNFPA deploys hygiene kits, obstetric and contraceptive supplies, trained personnel and other support to vulnerable populations. It also works to ensure the needs of women, adolescent girls and young people are served through both an emergency and the reconstruction phase. Our aim is to ensure that women’s and adolescent girls’ right to sexual and reproductive health is protected and their safety is ensured. On this World Population Day, we call on the international community to redouble efforts to protect the health and rights of women and girls. We must enable women, adolescent girls and young people to play their full role in peace talks, peace building and recovery, and to ensure that governments comply with international law and bring perpetrators of sexual violence to justice. By prioritizing health, rights and the full participation of women, adolescent girls and young people in public life, we increase our prospects for a more just, stable and peaceful world.

Ageing Policy in Georgia On July 7, 2015, a conference Ageing Policy in Georgia took place at the Cinema Hall of the Parliament of Georgia, in Tbilisi. The conference was designed to support integration of ageing-related issues into public policies and programmes, in order to advance the country’s sustainable development. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) supported the development of the comprehensive Road Map for Mainstreaming Ageing in Georgia, which represents a solid ground and a significant step towards the development of the action plan on Ageing. Opening remarks at the conference were delivered by Mr. Dimitri Khundadze, Chairperson of the Healthcare and Social Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia; Ms. Lela Bakradze, Assistant Representative, UNFPA Georgia Country Office; Ms. Vitalija Gaucaite Wittich, Chief of the Population Unit, Statistical Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE); Mr. David Smith, Chief of Party, USAID/Good Governance Initiative in Georgia (GGI); and Ms. Tamar Chiburdanidze, Chairperson of the De-

mographic Renaissance Foundation of Georgia. Participants of the conference – Members of the Health and Social Issues Committee of the Parliament and other MPs, leadership and the representatives of relevant Ministries, academia, the United Nations Agencies and International and non-governmental organizations discussed the current situation regarding ageing in Georgia, identified needs and discussed on-going, as well as upcoming activities in Georgia. The Framework of Actions for the follow up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD PoA) Beyond 2014 and its recommendations were also presented to the audience. At the end of the conference, the

participants developed and adopted the Resolution, which provides recommendations on further steps for integrating ageing-related issues into all the government policies and programmes. The conference was organized through the initiative of the Healthcare and Social Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Office in Georgia, USAID/Good Governance Initiative in Georgia, and the Demographic Renaissance Foundation of Georgia. After the conference a photography exhibition Take Care of Time: “Ageing in Georgia seen through the eyes of its older citizens” opened in the Queen Tamar Hall of the Parliament of Georgia.


SOCIETY CULTURE

Tbilisi Open Air

By George Abashvili

Another year, another Tbilisi Open Air festival: this time near the Tbilisi Sea with warm weather accompanying many massively popular bands and musicians such as Placebo, Archive, Black Label Society, Beth Hart, The BearFox, and Zemfira, playing to a varied audience throughout the five-day festival, July 3-7. This year’s Tbilisi Open Air was bigger than ever with more than 70 musicians playing live and delivering on their promise to provide an incredible and unforgettable experience for the twenty thousand strong crowd. The Festival had two main stages on which artists played nonstop. Rock and Pop music shifted to Electronic when midnight came, and shifted back to Rock and Pop in the morning. Each day had its own genre, from Pop Rock to Progressive Rock to Heavy Metal to Blues to Alternative Rock. Sticking with Open Air tradition, aside from the popular bands, new musicians were welcomed to try and pave their way to fame as “Newcomers.” This year it was particularly interesting to see some new bands choose to play supposedly “dead” Punk music- very popular back in the 70s and then again in the late 1990s and early 2000s with “Pop Punk” when bands such as “The Clash” and “Sex Pistols” revolution-

ized the music industry. Perhaps the next “The Clash” was playing on the stage of this year’s Tbilisi Open Airwe saw it first! “Placebo” unsurprisingly earned the most attention this year, playing both old and new compositions and delivering with energy. As always, the band took special care of its listeners and asked them to “look after your brothers and sisters around you, give each other space and let each other breath. Let’s enjoy this evening without any casualties!” The organizers noted on facebook that apparently “Placebo” will be donating half of their fee from the festival to the people affected by the flood of 13 June. Another internationally famous band, “Archive,” said that they were pleasantly

shocked by the audience and their excitement and expressed their wish to play in Tbilisi again soon. The Tbilisi Open Air festival has been around since 2009. It has a broad appeal, entertaining everyone from hipsters to goths, all there to break free from everyday life. After all, music does break us free, just as the Open Air organizers told the audience: “This year’s Open Air confirmed that the festival is going to get bigger and bigger every year. It was one of the best five days and thank you all for contributing and being so beautiful. Thank you very much and we promise you that we won’t stop growing and bringing you more beautiful music. We love you! Remember, music breaks you free!”

Geor gia and Tur kmenistan Georgia urkmenistan Co y on Ener gy Specula tion Coy Energ Speculation

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow met his Georgian counterpart Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Last week the central streets of Tbilisi were decorated with national flags of Turkmenistan and Georgia as the capital of Georgia hosted a high-ranking delegation from the Central Asian state. Similar to the visit of Vladimer Lukashenko, President of Belarus, the visit of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was not announced in advance, stirring speculation that some kind of sensational declaration was to be made. Alas, it was not to be. The declaration summarizing the visit, which was signed at the President’s Avlabari residence, clearly showed that Georgia and Turkmenistan have a long way to go in their cooperation. However, it was clearly felt that the official Ashgabat delegation led by President Berdimuhamedow started a new energy dialogue. At the concluding press conference, President Berdimuhamedow’s responses indicated that gas, which goes to the west via Russia, might soon change route and go via the BakuCeyhan pipeline. Back in the 1990s, Georgia’s second president Eduard Shevardnadze tried to convince then Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov of the benefits of transiting gas via Georgia, avoiding Russia. Although Shevardnadze toiled to convince his Turkmen counterpart to give up the multi-million Russian deal. However, it

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AmCham and US Embassy Cele br ate 239th Celebr bra US Independence Day

The BearFox - Live at Tbilisi Open Air 2015.

OP-ED

By Zaza Jgharkava

JULY 10 - 16

was obvious that operating the new energy corridor was much more beneficial for Turkmenistan. Back then, President Berdimuhamedow’s predecessor refused to worsen relations with Russia. In the recent visit, President Berdimuhamedow had a detailed discussion about the gas pipeline with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. However, after the end of the meeting, neither Prime Minister Garibashvili nor President Berdimuhamedow spoke about the issue, offering only general phrases, which touched upon modernization of transit corridors. However, in the joint declaration, for the first time it was written that citizens of Turkmenistan and Georgia are “brother nations” and that deepening relations between their peoples is also of strategic importance. Moreover, it was written in the declaration that Georgia will provide full support to Turkmenistan in the transit corridor issue. Turkmenistan meanwhile promised that during voting at the United Nations, it will support the return of Georgian IDPs to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After signing the declaration, President Berdimuhamedow brought flowers to the memorial of those who died fighting for territorial integrity. This gesture clearly implied a diminishing harmony between Ashgabat and Moscow and it also suggested that Georgian-Turkmen relations, which were once quite tense

because of consumed gas debts, are improving. In only two years, the debt of consumed gas exceeded $400 million. Georgian thermo electric power stations used to work fully on Turkmen gas, which increased the amount of debt even more. Of the debt accumulated in 19911993, Turkmenistan wrote off $50 million in 1999 and out of the remaining $350 million President Niyazov agreed to write off only part, which was used to repair the Turkmen Su-25 at the Tbilisi Aviation Factory. Since 1999, the debt to Turkmenistan has been gradually paid back through repairing Turkmenistan’s aircraft at Tbilaviamsheni and by sending sugar and other Georgian products to Turkmenistan. The debt decreased to $193 million and during the rule of President Saakashvili, in 2006, it was fully covered. The epoch of Turkmen gas, which was provided to Georgia by the Russian company “Itera”, is now over and the political elite appeared to have forgotten Turkmenistan altogether. However, assessing the unexpected recent visit of Turkmenistan’s president to Georgia, all observers came to the conclusion that President Berdimuhamedow’s visit was not merely a symbolic gesture and that relations between the two post-Soviet states may well be in transit towards a new energy relationship, one that would seriously irk Russia.

AmCham's Michael Cowgill and Ambassador Richard Norland at the annual American Independence Day picnic, 2015.

By Meri Taliashvili On July 4th , the US Embassy together with the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia celebrated the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A picnic party was organized during which American, Georgian and international families gathered together to celebrate US Independence Day. The party included a barbeque, entertainment activities, toys for children, live music and games. The party ended with a fantastic display of fireworks. Half the proceeds raised from ticket sales went to support the flood disaster relief. Michael Cowgill, the Vice-President of AmCham of Georgia, explained the meaning of July 4th. “On behalf of the American Chamber of Commerce and the US Embassy, we would to welcome everybody to the Fourth of July picnic. We hold it every year but this year there are two reasons. One, we want to get American and Georgian and other nationalities together to have fun and, second, we really want to celebrate the American Independence. This is a symbol of a free world and for everyone who struggles for freedom,” said Cowgill. US ambassador Richard Norland noted the significance of the day and thanked Georgians for their wellwishes. “This is a particularly significant day as it will be my last 4th of July as US ambassador in Georgia- I’ll be leaving in about two weeks. The significance of the American Chamber of Commerce being here and the work that it does makes it a very strong part of Georgia’s economic development and US-Georgia relations. We’re pleased to see that each year the involvement of the American business community gets stronger, as does discussion about free trade with Georgia. I want to thank all Georgians who wished us well on our

Independence Day and say: our Independence Day is Georgian’s Independence Day!” said Ambassador Norland. Richard Norland was appointed as a US ambassador in 2012 and finished his ambassadorial tenure this summer. American congress representatives also joined the party and spoke about US-Georgia relations. Republican Congressman Peter Roskam from Illinois spoke about US-Georgia’s close economic relations and reaffirmed US support for Georgia against Russian aggression. “It is great to be here with the US Embassy, celebrating US Independence Day and celebrating Georgian democracy as well. The ties between Georgia and the United States are very, very close. We are part of a bipartisan delegation here to honor Georgia and to make those ties deeper, deeper and deeper. The commercial relationship, the trade relationship, the relationship with the US, the Chamber of Commerce and American businesses are strong and should be stronger to draw the two economies closer together. Georgia is at the front line of freedom and is pushing back hard against Russian aggression and we are here to stand with Georgia and deepen the ties with the United States.” Democrat Congressman David Price from North Carolina: “We are impressed with many aspects of Georgian democracy. One of the most impressive is the vigorous parliament in which the parties are represented and in which vigorous debates take place,” said Price. On July 4th, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Thomas Jefferson Declaration of Independence and thirteen colonies declared a new, independent nation - the United States of America. Since that day the nation has celebrated Independence Day annually on every 4th of July with carnivals, fireworks, picnics, parades, concerts, barbecues, fairs, baseball games, and political ceremonies.

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CULTURE

JULY 10 - 16

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Photo Exhibition De picts WW1 Thr ough Geor gian Ey es Depicts hrough Georgian Eyes

By Maka Lomadze The Georgian National Gallery is hosting an exhibition of female amateur photographer Nino Jorjadze, dedicated to the centenary of the First World War. For the first time, the residents of Tbilisi will see this unique material, including photos, diaries and other documents from the family archives, restored by the Georgian National Museum. The book “WWI in the Eyes of a Georgian Woman” has also published. The exhibition displays significant events during WWI, military actions, historical persons and different ethnographic groups. Jorjadze had a western education and became a member of the International Red Cross as soon as WWI broke out. Thus, Nino, as young aristocrat woman, became a thorough docu-

mentarian of the brutal times of the Caucasian front, depicting battles of Sarikamish, Kars, Begliahet, Bitlis, Karakamis, Nazik and Anis-Kala. She can be perceived as a creative person and a photo historian who played a pivotal role in the development of Georgian photography. “The archive displays the history of a Georgian military aristocrat who was on military service in the Russian Empire and creates a photo chronicle of the Caucasian front during the First World War that is important on historical and ethnographic, social and cultural grounds. Employees of the Dmitry Ermakov photo archive department of the Georgian National Museum carried out conservation work on the photo collection. Well-known Georgian writer Aka Morchiladze worked on the Georgian

translation of the diaries written in Russian. It is gratifying that this unique archive has gained interest abroad and the exhibition already has been invited to Switzerland,” Davit Lortkipanidze, Director General of the Georgian National Museum stated. “I have always wanted to realize this project, as Nino Jorjadze was a close relative of my husband. She was single and lived with my mother-in-law. I am happy that at last, as a dedication to the centenary of WWI, the exhibition is open,” Tamar Lortkipanidze, author of the project told Georgia Today. The extracts from Nino’s diaries are particularly enlightening including this example: “11 November. My window overlooks the mortuary which brings melancholy. Every day the abandoned, lonely soldiers are brought. That’s hideous. There are 25 unburied dead bodies in the mortuary. 12 of them have been lying there for two weeks now. No gravediggers, not enough people. This is nothing else but barbarism not being able to pay a last tribute to the deceased.” Jorjadze writes that she does not approve of quitting the front even in a dangerous situation, as she thinks that the sisters should be everywhere where they are needed. She also scolds those who do not look after the diseased and only attend to the wounded, as if the latter were “a tasty piece of cake”. Jorjadze is full of protest. She depicts, when, at last, the Russians decide to feed the wounded Turks. “They are given porridge with lard. It’s really barbaric. First of all, their stomachs cannot digest the lard and everybody is down with dysentery and then how can you

feed prisoners with the food that is forbidden by their religion?” In another excerpt, she attacks the bureaucracy interfering with her work. “10 January. We do not change the bed sheets for the wounded unless they are badly torn or too filthy. We were cadging for shirts for a long time, but did not get any. And here one of the functionaries said: ‘I do have 1000 shirts, but I don’t know under which article they fall’. Paper kills all that’s alive, doesn’t allow one to do the job.” The amateur photographer also exhibited a sense of humor, even amid such depressing and frustrating times: “Gen-

eral B. arrived. The buildings are being swept, the roads sanded. Now the meetings will start again for the serious, important cause of rendering the aid to patients; these meetings are like comic operas. They just act with words. People are dying like flies. There are often cases of mental derangement.” The funds raised from the sale of the books will be entirely donated to a foundation for those who suffered from the recent Tbilisi flood. The supporters of the project are the Ministry of Culture and Monuments’ Protection and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

MAGIC MIKE XXL (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 11:45 Ticket price: 7:50 – 8.50 Lari

IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81

pictures of David Kakabadze (18891952) and Lado Gudiashvili (18961980) together with sculptures of Iakob Nikoladze (1876-1951) and photographs from the National Archives of Georgia and Iakob Nikoladze House-Museum depicting the sculptor’s life and creative work.

WHAT'S ON IN TBILISI THEATRE MOVEMENT THEATRE Address: 182, Aghmashenebeli Ave., Mushthaid park Telephone: 599 555 260 July 10, 11, 12 IGI (HE) Jemal Karchkhadze Directed by Kakha Bakuradze Composer: Sandro Nikoladze Choreographers: Giorgi Gongadze and Lasha Robakidze Scenography: Anuka Murvanidze Dolls: Irakli Khoshtaria Start time: 20:30 Ticket price: From15 Lari CINEMA AMIRANI CINEMA Address: 36 Kostava St. Telephone: 299 99 55 www.kinoafisha.ge July 10-16 INSIDE OUT Directed by Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen Cast: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama Language: English Start time: 17:30 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari MINIONS 3D Directed by Colin Trevorrow Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: English Start time: 19:50 Language: Russian Start time: 12:30, 14:40, 17:20, 19:40, 22:00 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari TERMINATOR GENESIS Directed by Alan Taylor Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 16:30, 19:40, 22:30 Ticket price: 9:50 – 12.50 Lari

MAGIC MIKE XXL Directed by Gregory Jacobs Cast: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music Language: Russian Start time: 12:00 Ticket price: 7:50 – 8.50 Lari RUSTAVELI CINEMA Address: 5 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 255 50 00 www.kinoafisha.ge JURASSIC WORLD Directed by Colin Trevorrow Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Language: Russian Start time: 16:00, 19:30 Ticket price: 8.50 – 10.50 Lari POLTERGEIST Directed by Gil Kenan Cast: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements Genre: Horror, Thriller Language: Russian Start time: 22:30 Ticket price: 11.50 – 12.50 Lari LOST IN KARASTAN Directed by Ben Hopkins Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, MyAnna Buring, Noah Taylor Genre: Comedy Language: Russian Start time: 16:00 Ticket price: 9.50 – 10.50 Lari MINIONS 3D (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 12:00, 14:20, 17:00, 20:00, 22:15 Ticket price: 7.50 – 12.50 Lari TERMINATOR GENESIS (Info Above) Language: Russian Start time: 14:20, 17:05, 19:50, 22:40 Ticket price: 8:50 – 12.50 Lari

MUSEUM MUSEUM OF SOVIET OCCUPATION Address: 1 Rustaveli ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22 The exhibition is dedicated to the history of the anti-occupational, nationalliberation movement of Georgia and to the victims of the Soviet political repression throughout this period. SIMON JANASHIA MUSEUM OF GEORGIA Address: 3 Rustaveli Ave. Telephone: 2 99 80 22 "ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE" June 27 – October 31 “GEORGIANS IN WORLD WAR II” IS AN EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORY OVER FASCISM. The exposition will showcase at least 250 little-known items from the collections of the Georgian National Museum, including the private letters of Georgian combatants, certificates, greeting cards, medals, orders, and weaponry such as guns, pistols, machine-guns, assault rifles, etc. made in the USSR and Nazi Germany. One of the most distinguished artifacts are a greeting letter from Simon Chikovani addressed to General-colonel Konstantine Leselidze, the orders of Konstantine Leselidze, General Janjgava’s medal of honor, uniforms of Georgian generals and officers, and the unique flags of Georgian partisans who were fighting in France and Italy. Visitors will have a chance to see the private pipe of Joseph Stalin and an ivory vase specially made for his 50th birthday.

SERGO PARAJANOVI – “21ST CENTURY DREAM” IOSEB GRISHASHVILI TBILISI HISTORY MUSEUM - KARVASLA Address: 8 Sioni St. Telephone: 2 98 22 81 SERGO PARAJANOVI - 21ST CENTURY DREAM” The exhibition is dedicated to Sergo Parajanovi’s art which was born due to the multicultural traditions of Tbilisi. The project aims to expose the innovative prospect of the diverse and creative inheritance of Sergo Parajanov in order to expand international artistic dialogue between Georgian and Ukrainian artists. GALLERY THE NATIONAL GALLERY Address: 11 Rustaveli Ave. www.museum.ge June 17- July 17 THE EXHIBITION “THE CAUCASUS FRONT THROUGH NINO JORJADZE’S CAMERA LENS” IS DEDICATED TO THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF WWI. Nino Jorjadze was the first Georgian woman photographer who created photo series about WWI that reflect a diverse and thematically rich history. For the first time at the exposition visitors will have the chance to see Nino Jorjadze’s photos, letters, diaries, documents and personal items from the Caucasus Front in 19141918. Also on display are photos from the family archives, which were restored by the Georgian National Museum’s photo-paper conservation laboratory. PIROSMANI’S 150TH The National Gallery is hosting

GAMREKELI GALLERY Address: 14 Ingorokva St. July 2-15 OLEG TIMCHENKO’S SOLO EXHIBITION CULMINATION MUSIC ARTAREA Address: 10 Dodo Abashidze st. July 10 LIVE@TWILIGHT PRESENTS: MISHO URUSHADZE FEAT. AMIKO / MOKU T (LIVE) Start time: 21:00 MTKVARZE July 10 RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY PRESENTS DASHA RUSH, A.TABUKASHVILI, ZURKIN, ZITTO Main Room: Dasha Rush (DJ Set) / Fullpanda Records, Berlin, DE A. Tabukashvili Visuals by Giorgi Mozgovoi Small Room: Zurkin ZITTO Start time: 21:00 Ticket price: 10 Lari MUSHTAIDI PARK Address: 182 Agmashenebeli ave. Telephone: 599 01 55 67 July 15 VALERIAN SHIUKASHVILI CONCERT TO SUPPORT CHILDREN WITH CANCER Start time: 20:30


SOCIETY

JULY 10 - 16

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Hearse by Candlelight: Zugdidi-Etseri By Tony Hanmer (I’ll have more to write soon following from last week’s mountain herding article, which is now what you might call a Developing Story. For now, this interlude.) This place, these people, seem steeped in death, I thought yet again when I heard the news. I was in warm Zugdidi and had just finished some shopping for the latest phase of house renovation and for the shop. This time it was going to be awkward as well as tragic: the dead was my driver’s brother, in hospital not far away, the cause a non-life-threatening medical issue which he had simply ignored and kept quiet about until the then necessary operation was too late. My copious shop stock-up purchases and I would have to travel back up with the corpse and the wailing. As I look back over the numerous funerals and other death rituals in which it has been my dubious but necessary privilege to partake as a villager in Svaneti, a form emerges. It’s the shape of a necklace, but not one of precious stones; more like lumps of coal strung on barbed wire; and it’s nearly complete. I have been at almost every part, now including the procession of the body from hospital to home, as well as too many pre- and postfuneral events and the great sad day it-

self. The only thing I lack to finish my grisly collection will be attending someone as they actually die. I suppose I can wait for this. There is a lot more to Svaneti, but death is one of its seemingly more present realities, alongside glorious landscape beauty and the differences brought by every season, the towers and treasures, the lovely people. Lovely until they die, and then they become human-parodying husks, same as everyone else. The first mini-feast today was where the Svaneti drivers from Zugdidi gather, near the “Svan Tower”: wine, bread and tinned fish on a thin sheet of plywood.

Then we were off, my bags and boxes surreally encircling the coffin in the back of the minivan. The sister, sister-in-law and her young daughter (mercifully sleeping, wrung out by the day’s emotions) sat right beside the coffin, while the brother drove, he and his wife weeping (she all the more as he still had to concentrate on his task). Another unspecified relative sat next to me in the front. He held a long fat Orthodox candle, putting it into a plastic cup when the hot wax got to be enough on his hands. The candle stayed lit the whole way; something to do with the departed’s entry into heaven, I think. I wasn’t both-

ered by having a dead body in the car; it was inside the coffin anyway, with the lid on. It was just the emotional outpouring which was hard. Single, too young in his early fifties, and his passing completely unnecessary. I likely have the last photos taken of him, as he and his nephew had helped plough our potato field by oxen in mid-spring, with me documenting. Now I know a little of how the people feel who accompany the Olympic Flame as it travels from Greece to wherever in the world every two years: or do I? We stopped several times on the way, as friends and relatives heard the news and wanted to pay respects. The first stop was about halfway up, someone waiting outside a roadside cafe. Then a small car, which had come down about 40 km just to meet us, its driver and passengers men, all sobbing. A minivan full of the village’s men was next, a bit closer to home. Each time we stopped, the men exited, brief toasts were made, the sis-

ter-in-law poured out her anguish in a loud voice. Near the dead man’s home, they took his coffin out to carry it to his poor waiting elderly mother by hand. His teenage nephew drove me and my goods home, and we were done for the day. Now the body will be on display (refrigerated) in a room filled with wailing women, until funeral day, just under a week from now. Everyone who comes will be able to eat and drink to the memory of the departed. The biggest feast will be on the day of the funeral, once the procession has carried the coffin to the local hamlet’s cemetery and buried it. Then, every Saturday until the ormotsi (40 days from death feast), another feast. Ormotsi, and then tslistavi, a year after death, to wrap it up formally. All contributed to financially by everyone who takes part (hopefully 100%), and labor-wise the same. Do you see where my feeling comes from, that Svaneti is focused on death?

Tony Hanmer runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1000 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/ . He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri: www.facebook.com/hanmer.house.svaneti

Tune in to OKFM!

Radio OKFM interviewing Georgian celebrity Kristi Kipshidze.

OKFM 104.7 has entered the Georgian radio space with a much anticipated boom, and is set to be on air 24/7 providing listeners with tasteful music and a satisfying mix of interesting and entertaining news stories. The radio opened on July 8th. According to George Sharashidze, the founder of Radio OKFM, the information aired through it will be mainly based on celebrity news. “We hope that OKFM will become a very popular radio station for Georgian listeners. The radio is contemporary in its format and so its listeners are also expected to be contemporary. Such an audience offers very attractive and interesting marketing potential for many

organizations and advertisers,” said Sharashidze. The editors at OK! Magazine, once again aiming to grab readers’ interest, have created a website for the magazine on which loyal readers will be able to get full information. Nino Ioseliani, Editor-in-Chief of OK! Magazine took some time out from the opening ceremony, which was attended by a number of Georgian celebrities and public figures, to talk to Georgia Today: “Today, we are celebrating the radio OKFM’s opening. We have high hopes that the radio will be enjoyable for listeners and we’re confident it will become a favorite,” she said.

Waste Mana gement, Ne w Lif estyle Manag New Lifestyle Forty families in the Saguramo settlement for internally displaced people are learning how to manage and process solid waste. Three separation bins have been installed in the village to sort the household waste and prepare it for processing. The residents also receive assistance in composting organic waste and producing fertilizers for their agriculture plots. Through the practical local work that benefits small communities, the initiative promotes the European model of waste management and contributes to enhancing environmental governance in Georgia. The project is supported by the European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Georgia, in cooperation with the Regional Development and Social Support

Centre and Coop Georgia. Andreja Skerl, Policy Officer of the European Commission; Nino Antadze of UNDP in Georgia; and representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Georgia, visited the Saguramo settlement on 3 July. They met with the local residents and saw the progress of the waste management project.


SPORTS

JULY 10 - 16

23

Authorities Braced for Super Cup Ticket Scramble By Alastair Watt Football and Tbilisi city authorities are confident that the long-delayed and calamity-plagued sale of coveted tickets for the UEFA Super Cup will pass peacefully after putting in place numerous security measures. Following a short briefing at the Georgian Football Federation HQ on July 7, it was announced that 22,000 tickets for the Super Cup match to be played between Barcelona and Sevilla on August 11, will go on sale from 9am on Sunday 12 July at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium. A video was then released on Youtube on July 9 by the Georgian Football Federation (GFF) providing a virtual reality run through of how ticket sales will operate. The process appears well-organized and relatively professional, compared to the ill-fated online sales which caused the organizers much embarrassment. When the online sale was attempted, well over 100,000 residents of Georgia were virtually queuing for the most sought-after tickets perhaps in the country’s history. Only a very fortunate few do not remain ticketless and the desire to see the current Barcelona side, arguably the club’s greatest ever ensemble, has not dissipated. If anything, it has intensified. With nowhere in Georgia more than a day’s journey from Tbilisi, there is no reason why this vast number of willing ticket-buyers will not be replicated on Sunday. Indeed, the (largely negative) publicity the Super Cup has been getting could in fact increase the number of those willing to queue. Moreover, for older generations, the online sale may have been unattractive or inaccessible. The physical sale opens the door to anyone with an ID card. When the announcement was made the previous week that tickets would be sold physically, many predicted chaos at the ticket booths. Georgian football supporter Andro Atoev, now living in Poland, was not convinced that the authorities had given the idea their full consideration. “I am not sure they have had a proper look at this. This will not be fun to watch. In Georgia a line of 5 in a grocery store usually ends with a mild argument. And that is a grocery store where you are guaranteed to get your product when your turn comes. Imagine thousands of angry people in the one place. Bad idea,” said Atoev, whose

voice of concern was far from alone. Nevertheless, such fears appear to have been heeded by GFF, the city authorities and the Ministry of Internal Affairs as the ticket sales are to be heavily policed. Queuing fans, according to the aforementioned instructional video, will be penned in Vake Park which is roughly adjacent to the Mikheil

If they all do so, then that will be exactly 5,500 happy customers, with the count of disappointed customers surpassing that several-fold. In GFF’s advisory video, which depicts a blissfully calm scene unlikely to be replicated on Sunday, it reassures queuing fans that their safety will be protected by the Ministry of Internal

The management of ticket sales has been widely criticized by fans both inside and outside of Georgia and biletebi.ge has announced that it expects to be on the receiving end of UEFA punishment for its failure to fulfill its ticket selling assignment, for which it had been granted a reported $45,000. Meskhi Stadium. Stewards will then let through people fifty at a time, to walk up the steps to Chavchavadze Avenue where they will be escorted along the 300 meter walk to the stadium ticket booths. Everyone will need to present their identification card to a steward before proceeding to the ticket booths where a maximum of four tickets will be sold per person. It is likely that most of those queuing will buy the maximum amount.

Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9. See answers in the next issue

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Affairs. They also reveal that the queuing area will be fitted with bio-toilets and water stations to keep people hydrated. In addition, the emergency services and first aid crews will be on hand. The implication is clear – the authorities expect unrest. In the virtual serenity of the video, they seem to have reached a practical solution. However, there are two key variables which will determine how peacefully this will pass.

First, when will people start queuing? Although the sales begin at 9am on Sunday, people are likely to be queuing long before that. Overnight camping cannot be ruled out, and when word spreads of early queue-goers, it may not be long before thousands follow suit. Will police disperse campers and earlycomers? The earlier this starts, the more difficult it will be to control. Second, how many people will brave the queue? This is very difficult to predict but, clearly, the number of people queuing will far exceed the number of tickets available. There is a guarantee of disappointment and how people react when the “sold out” signs go up, particularly if they have been queuing in the summer heat for many hours, will be important. Promises will have been made to sons, daughters, brothers, fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, wives, girlfriends etc. Going home emptyhanded will not be worth contemplating for some. But, breaking the news that Lionel Messi, Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez and co. will be playing in your city, but you won’t be going, is a speech that several thousand people need to be preparing. Initially, 30,000 tickets were to be sold

online from June 22, however exclusive ticket sellers biletebi.ge’s website was quickly overwhelmed and crashed after selling less than 100 tickets. UEFA then agreed to divide the sale in two, with one allocation reserved for Georgian residents and the other for international sales. However, a second attempt by biletebi.ge to sell tickets on June 30 proved largely unsuccessful with fewer than 2,000 tickets sold in 24 hours. The following day, the international sale did take place and was apparently successful, with a further 4,300 tickets sold. The management of ticket sales has been widely criticized by fans both inside and outside of Georgia and biletebi.ge has announced that it expects to be on the receiving end of UEFA punishment for its failure to fulfill its ticket selling assignment, for which it had been granted a reported $45,000. Biletebi.ge announced via Facebook on July 8 that it had begun a process of refunding hundreds of customers who had paid for tickets but not received them. The responses on the page were typically ferocious with some disappointed customers alleging corruption and tickets being sold covertly, an accusation the company swiftly denied.


GENERAL MANAGER - George Sharashidze BUSINESS MANAGER - Iva Merabishvili

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF - Katie Ruth Davies COPY EDITOR - Alastair Watt JOURNALISTS: Zviad Adzinbaia, Joseph Alexander Smith, Joseph Larsen, Katie Ruth Davies, Beqa Kirtava, Alastair Watt, Tony Hanmer, Eka Karsaulidze, Baia Dzaginadze, Zaza Jgharkava, Meri Taliashvili, Teona Surmava, Ana Lomtadze, Maka Bibilashvili, Nino Melikishvili, Nina Ioseliani, Tatia Megeneishvili, Karen Tovmasyan, Nino Gegidze, Dimitri Dolaberidze, Nino Japarashvili, Maka Lomadze, Tamar Svanidze, George Abashvili, David Lolishvili. PHOTOGRAPHER: Zviad Nikolaishvili TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Misha Mchedlishvili CIRCULATION MANAGERS: David Kerdikashvili, David Djandjgava

Address: 1 Melikishvili Str. Tbilisi, 0179, Georgia Tel.: (995 32) 229 59 19, 294 55 24 Advertising, Subscription: 597 970444; 597 955565 E-mail: marketing@georgiatoday.ge MARKETING MANAGER: Mako Burduli

Reproducing material, photos and advertisements without prior editorial permission is strictly forbidden. The author is responsible for all material. Rights of authors are preserved. The newspaper is registered in Mtatsminda district court. Reg. # 06/4-309

Issue #774  

July 10-16, 2015

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