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Issue #760

03.04.15 - 09.04.15

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Dechert OnPoint: The Law of Georgia on Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons

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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 world-class 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.

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House of Cards: Petrov vs Putin

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Author:  Joseph Larsen

Netflix’s House of Cards is the current darling of American television. With three seasons now on the books, the juicy political soap opera is heavy on cynicism, intrigue and murder. At the center is a nauseatingly charming Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, an ambitious politician bent on conniving his way to the top.

Seasons I and II chronicled Underwood’s rise to power. By the third installment he is already in the saddle as President, and the plotlines are much more topical.

For instance, ample attention is paid to relations between the United States and Russia. Major screen time is afforded to Russian President Viktor Petrov, played by Danish actor Lars Mikkelson, a fictionalization of Vladimir Putin. The parallels are obvious: strongman persona, booming voice, no time for mincing words. But the differences are more substantial. Most notably, Petrov is charming, even likeable. Too likeable, actually.

The script was written prior to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, before Putin’s reputation in the West had fully crystallized into the thuggish character he is now. But Petrov is a much more sympathetic character than the real-life Putin, even before the recent geopolitical drama.

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Germanwings Crash: An Analysis of Cause and Effect

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Author:  Teona Surmava

On March 24, 2015, a Germanwings plane carrying 150 passengers crashed in the French Alps flying from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.

Germanwings is a low-cost airline owned by Germany’s main carrier Lufthansa. The Airbus A320 that carried 16 German school children among the passengers, crashed after an eight-minute descent from 38,000 feet. French air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane at 10:53 a.m., when the plane was flying at 6,000 feet. The plane crashed in the Alps shortly afterwards.

The “black box” flight recorder was found and deciphered. Officials say the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 intentionally crashed the plane. “We at Lufthansa are speechless that this aircraft was deliberately crashed by the co-pilot,” said Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa. The co-pilot of the plane has been identified as 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz, a German who grew up in the Rhineland town of Montabaur. Lubitz had passed all medical and security checks and there had never been any doubt that he was fit, said Lufthanca CEO. However, former Air France pilot Jean Serrat mentioned that “there is no inquiry into your personal lives or religious views; it is all about technical capabilities and medical things.”

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Black Sea Duty Free Offers Incredible Prices

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Black Sea Duty Free opened two years ago and offers diplomats living in Georgia the best value, with prices on some products up to 70% cheaper than on the domestic retail market. “Our prices are not only much cheaper than on the Georgian retail market, but also between 15%-20% cheaper than our duty-free competitors,” says Carlos Berrio Navarro, Marketing coordinator at Black Sea Duty Free.

“We offer everything from excellent Australian wine from $7 to the very exclusive Richard Hennessy Cognac, as well as everything in between,” adds Berrio Navarro. For special occasions and parties, the shop offers gift packs of popular spirits as well as the most varied selection in Georgia of Georgian wine, chacha and Brandy.

Q: Could you tell us about your duty free shop?

A: We opened our duty-free shop two years ago on Mtshketa Street in Vake, in very close proximity to UN Circle. We offer all the top spirits, wines and champagnes, fragrances, Dead Sea cosmetics and chocolates. We also have another shop in the town of Gori to service EUMM monitors.

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Playing Online Games to Build Peace

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A computer game which aims to promote the inter-ethnic engagement of young people separated and divided by conflict was introduced by NGO Elva Community Engagement on April 1 at Europe House. Peace Park, an online area where players must work together make the stay of park visitors happy and peaceful, was financed by the UNDP and European Union.

Evla Community created the game in consultation with Georgian and international experts in conflict resolution and online gaming. Georgian game development company Storm Bringer Studio played a main role in developing the game, together with US game designer Mark Rein Hagen. Testing of the game was carried out in Tbilisi, Zugdidi, Kutaisi, Gali, Sokhumi and Ochamchire.

Within a few months of being active, the Peace Park project has turned out to be extremely effective, providing a secure neighborhood for youth to interact online and share a common interest: computer games.

At the presentation, attended by the Head of the UNDP, Niels Scott; the Deputy Head of the EU, Boris Iarochevitch; alongside Elva Community representatives and other important guests, Mark Rein Hagen, the game designer, spoke about his work on the project.

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112 Available for All

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Author:  Eka Karsaulidze

The emergency hotline 112 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has launched SMS and video call connection for those who cannot hear or speak. A new service for people with hearing and speech impairments has been available 24/7 throughout Georgia since March 27.

One of the main purposes of emergency hotline 112, since inception in 2012, has been the opportunity to be accessible to everyone. But people with disabilities throughout this time were not able to use this service.

From now on, people with hearing and speech impairments can message the emergency medical service, Patrol Police and Fire/Rescue and video calls via Skype will be taken by Georgian Sign Language Operators.

In Europe, the concept of SMS and video calls to emergency hotlines is already well known and widely tested. 18 countries operate an SMS service while video call is currently available in six countries. Only three countries currently offer both services: the Czech Republic, France and Malta. Now, the three are joined by Georgia.

For six months, 112 has been actively involved in the service’s launching process. At the first stage, they carried out a working visit to Ireland, which is one of the most advanced countries in this field. There, 112 employees were able to get acquainted with the SMS service’s work for people with disabilities as well as attending extensive trainings, seminars, tests and implementation studies of the technical processes.

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EU Mobile Info Centre Begins its Travels around Georgia

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Author:  Eka Karsaulidze

The EU Mobile Info Centre, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia’s information campaign on wheels, launched its 2015 tour on March 31 with the aim of providing Georgian citizens with easy access to information about co-operation between Georgia and the European Union. During the year, The EU Mobile Info Centre is going to visit more than 140 schools and meet with youth, students and the rural population.

The EU Mobile Info Centers tour started with Tserovani School №3. Tserovani, with an IDP population of 6,433 representing 1,954 displaced families, is the largest of the 38 settlements built by the Georgian Government to house families who were displaced by the August 2008 war. So providing information about the EU activities in this region is most important for the future of this new generation in particular.

“The population here naturally knows and is informed about EU activities, but the details which were presented today will be very helpful, especially for the younger members. And the Municipality will always support such events,” said Gocha Zeikidze, Deputy Governor of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region of Georgia.

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Policy Forum Discusses Ways to Improve Teaching Quality

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Author:  Beqa Kirtava

The Georgian Ministry of Education and Science, in cooperation with UNICEF, the Embassy of Estonia in Georgia and the World Bank has organized a new policy forum, during which ways of improving teacher education and professional development, increasing efficiency of the teacher workforce, and enhancing the status of the teaching profession are being discussed.

The numerous attendees include international experts, national policy makers, education specialists and international donors, who will all provide vital recommendations and solutions regarding the issues related to teacher development in the country.

The support of UNICEF and the Estonian Government has helped the Ministry of Education and Science to make significant improvements in terms of increasing teaching quality. At the same time, it is recognized that gradual and continual developments are needed in order to ensure that teachers are well-qualified and maximally effective.

“The Government of Georgia needs to take more decisive actions towards further improvements in teaching quality and system efficiency. Good teachers mean good students and good students make an efficient and competitive workforce that contributes to the country’s economy and is essential for its growth and development,” said Sascha Graumann, UNICEF Representative in Georgia.

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