Thursday, September 25, 2008

Russian occupiers pressurising Georgian workers

Russian occupiers are pressurising the Georgian staff of the Engurhes and Vardnilhes Cascade companies, say their trade unions. The occupiers are demanding that they take Russian passports, which the staff concerned are unwilling to do.

Conference held concerning “On Occupied Territories”

On September 25 a conference was held in the Ombudsman’s office to discuss the new draft law “On Occupied Territories,” which is making its way through Parliament. The Georgian public defender and the Public Law Association organised the event.
Parliamentary Juridical Issues Committee Chairman Pavle Kublashvili, Assistant State Minister in Integration Issues Elene Tevdoradze, eminent jurists, lawyers and journalists attended the conference, alongside Georgian Parliament and State Chancellery staff, USA Embassy representatives and United Nations Association delegates.

New village being built

A new village is being built in the Gori Region, near the existing village of Shavshebi, where refugees from the Tskhinvali Region will be settled.
Up to 117 cottages will be built in total, one for each family. Nearly 290 persons are being employed in the construction, which should be complete in six weeks.
A representative of the Municipality Development Fund, Giorgi Kharabadze, has stated that GEL 27,000 will be spent on each cottage, and each will be provided with necessary furniture. The houses will occupy 600 sq.m of land and land plots for agricultural purposes will be allocated a bit later.
Six construction companies, Mshenebeli80, Imereti2000, Tbilmretsvmsheni, Erti-Ji, Oda, and Goni, are undertaking the project.

Paata Burchuladze’s charity fund holds event at the Sports Palace

The Paata Burchuladze Charity Fund held a grand concert in the Sports Palace on September 25. With the prayers and assistance of Patriarch Ilia II, the “Iavnana” fund and TBC Bank, a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem was held, dedicated to the memory of soldiers and civilians who died in the Russia-Georgia war.

World-renowned singers Luciana D'Intino (mezzo-soprano), Ramon Vargas (tenor) and Michele Crider (soprano) performed the concert. “Any grand theatre would dream of having these great stars perform together in concert,” Burchuladze stressed. Speaking before the concert, he explained that, “Our aim is to bring as many people to the concert as possible. This place can accommodate up to 8,000 people and every seat must be filled. There will be a candle for each person on their seat and we will light them during the Requiem.” Concert tickets cost GEL 3 and the proceeds will go to aid children orphaned by the war.

Container train completes first journey to Poti

A new container train has conducted its first journey to Poti direction from the Tbilisi cargo station.

The new Georgian Railway-designed train will transfer dry cargo between Tbilisi and Poti daily. It consists of 19 freight wagons.

Negative attitude of Russians towards USA, EU, Ukraine and Georgia hits new highs

The negative attitude of Russians towards the USA, EU, Ukraine and Georgia reached new levels in September, according to a survey undertaken by the Yuri Levada Analytical Centre on September 12-15 in 128 population centres in 46 regions of Russia.

75% of the survey respondents had a negative attitude towards Georgia, 67% towards the USA, 39% towards the EU and 53% towards Ukraine. Only 17% of the respondents declared they had a positive attitude towards Georgia, only 23% towards the USA, 45% towards the EU and 37% towards Ukraine.

The Yuri Levada Analytical Centre has been monitoring the attitude of population towards the USA since 1997, towards Georgia and Ukraine since 2001 and towards the EU since December 2003.

Hackers partially damage Parliament website

Hackers have partially damaged the website of the Parliament of Georgia. The link to the Healthcare Committee is now damaged and the details of the anti drug bill contained on the site are now unreadable.

The Healthcare Committee is unable to explain why this has happened, but confirms that the portal is being renewed and details of the anti drug bill will again be available on the site.

Abkhazian gang kidnaps eight Georgians

An Abkhazian gang has kidnapped eight Georgians from the village of Otobaia in the Gali region.
The party of eight civilians, four men and four women, had travelled to Otobaia from Zugdidi intending to gather nuts. They were attacked by the Abkhazian gang and subsequently kidnapped. The kidnappers demanded that Goderdzi Epelia be exchanged for the nut pickers. Although the women in the party were later released and returned to Georgian law enforcement officers the men are still held.
Goderdzi Epelia has been detained by Georgia for manufacturing and selling illegal drugs. Epelia’s brother is a member of the Gali Abkhazian militia, and it has been suggested that he organised this kidnapping. It is not known exactly where the hostages are being held, but it is believed they are in an isolator in Gali where they can be subjected to physical pressure.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Victor Yushchenko – what happened in Georgia cannot be repeated in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko has stated that the recent events in Georgia cannot be repeated in Ukraine. “I cannot imagine the Georgian scenario repeating itself in the Ukraine. Ukraine is not Georgia,” Yushchenko stated during his visit to the US. The Ukrainian President is cautious about the possibility of restoring Russian gas provision. “I’m not afraid, merely cautious about it,” Yushchenko stated. Russia ceased the provision of gas to Ukraine at the beginning of 2006.

EU Observers already in Shida Kartli

EU observers arrived in the Shida Kartli region early on September 24 and held a first meeting with the regional Governor, Lado Vardzelashvili. They will familiarise themselves with the current situation in Shida Kartli and decide before October 1 exactly where the full contingent of observers should be deployed.

At present 22 EU observers from Italy are in Georgia. The full mission will comprise a minimum of 200 observers. It will have so-called ‘rapid reaction bases’ in Tbilisi but have a brief to operate throughout Georgia, including in those territories occupied by Russia.

One of the main tasks of the European mission will be to ensure the full implementation of the Sarkozy six point ceasefire agreement.