Posts by DFWatch staff:

News

Georgia again opting for a people’s Independence Day celebration

by | May 23
Roses Square, May 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is preparing to celebrate Independence Day, May 26. Roses Square, where there usually are held exhibitions and organized different activities on this day, will be closed off to traffic this year from May 22 until May 26. President Mikheil Saakashvili

News

Construction project in Old Tbilisi causes outrage

by | May 23
Mirza_Shafi_Street

TBILISI, DFWatch--A massive construction project in the old part of Tbilisi has enraged the city’s inhabitants. This time, it is a construction project on Mirza Shafi Street, right behind Abanotubani, one of the oldest parts of the capital. There was a tender announced for projects

Europe

Georgia remains optimistic about getting visa-free travel to EU

by | May 22
tamar_beruchashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian government officials remain optimistic about visa liberalization with the EU, while EU officials say Georgia is not yet ready for visa free rules. The Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga opened yesterday, and even though there were hopes earlier,

Economy, News

Georgia govt backtracks on budget cuts

by | May 22
National_Bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a period of depreciation, Georgia’s national currency, lari, has started to stablize. The government has cancelled plans to drastically cut the budget. According to data from the National Bank, one USD is today worth 2.3234 laris. Due to the

News

‘2nd June’ group rally for legalization of marijuana

by | May 21
2nd_June_Dont_arrest_me

TBILISI, DFWatch--A movement demanding to decriminalize marijuana in Georgia plans to rally on June 2, in front of the government office. Campaigners have two demands: to stop jailing people for personal use of marijuana and to stop the use of forced random drug tests.

News

Rustavi road workers still on strike, decision expected Thursday

by | May 20
rustavi_highway_strike

TBILISI, DFWatch--Workers on a highway south of Tbilisi are still on strike, demanding a USD 4 per day pay rise, because of the rapid devaluation of the national currency over the half year. Efforts are now underway to try to negotiate with the Chinese company

News

Hazardous waste blamed on exiled ex-justice minister

by | May 20
thea_tsulukiani

TBILISI, DFWatch--The discovery of 25 tons of hazardous waste in the roof of the House of Justice in Tbilisi may lead to new charges against ex-Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili or his deputy. According to current Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani, the construction waste

Economy

IMF downgrades Georgia’s economic growth forecast to 2%

by | May 20
IMF_office

TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has further reduced its economic growth outlook for Georgia. According to the new IMF forecast for 2015 and 2016, Georgia will have 2 percent economic growth in 2015 and 3 percent in 2016, while

News

Over two thousand Georgians have been detained on disputed borders

by | May 19
dvani_razor_wire

TBILISI, DFWatch--2,117 Georgians have been detained by Russian border guards accused of crossing the border with Abkhazia or South Ossetia since 2009. The new figures were presented by Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and are based on data

News

Ombudsman calls for measures after man beats 3 children

by | May 19
ucha_nanuashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Defender warns that children are victims of domestic violence in Georgia, after a 25 year old man allegedly severely beat three children. The children, one of whom was his own and two were step-children, were taken to hospital. According

News

Russian general, wounded in 2008, appointed at Abkhazian army military command

by | May 19
Anatoly Khrulyov (Rossiya 1)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - One of commanders of Russian forces invading Georgia during August War in 2008, has been appointed as a Chief of the General Staff of the breakaway Abkhazia's army.

News

Georgian govt officials visiting Beijing, signalling closer cooperation

by | May 19
Davit_Saganelidze_in_Beijing

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is seeking closer relations with China. After a recent visit by a Chinese delegation to Georgia, a  parliamentary delegation with government members plan to visit China in about a week. Head of the delegation is Davit Saganelidze, MP from

Economy

Georgian government preparing almost USD 300 million budget cuts

by | May 18
giorgi_kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is preparing to drastically cut the state budget to deal with a 30 percent reduction in value of the national currency. Presenting the plans Monday, members of the ruling coalition said the budget will be cut by 500

In brief

One Georgian detained by Russian border guards near disputed region

by | May 18
Adzvi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards on Monday detained one more person near the village Adzvi, which borders with South Ossetia. The detainee is Grisha Balamtsarashvili (67), who was out in the field looking after cattle at the edge of the village, together with

News

Road workers on strike on Tbilisi-Rustavi highway

by | May 18
road_workers_strike_rustavi

TBILISI, DFWatch--A strike has broken out among workers on a new highway connecting Tbilisi with Rustavi, a town 20km to the south. Workers demand a ten lari (USD 4) pay rise from their current 20 lari (USD 8) per day. Their demand comes as a result of a 30 percent

News

33 year old Georgian from Pankisi dies in Syrian war

by | May 18
Mideast Syria

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Georgian from Pankisi has died in the war in Syria. Ibrahim Tsatiashvili, 33, left his home village Tsinubani two months ago. His relatives knew he was in Turkey. On Friday, they learned that he had died. It is not yet known whether

Minorities

Anti-homophobia day marked in secrecy in Tbilisi

by | May 17
May_17_2015_n01

TBILISI, DFWatch--When groups in Tbilisi wanted to mark the international day against homophobia May 17, they had to organize it in tightly-controlled secrecy and gather in silence. Time and location was secret, and everyone who showed up, including journalists

Economy

Money transfers in April, 2015 24% lower than previous year

by | May 16
National_Bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--Money transfers to and from Georgia fell by 24.4 percent in April 2015, compared to same month in the year before. According to the National Bank, the amount of money transfers last month was USD 91.1 million, which was USD 29.4 million less than

News

Two Georgian boys detained, released by South Ossetia

by | May 16
south_ossetia_border_sign_warning_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgians were detained by Russian border guards on Friday near the village Adzvi, near the delineation line around South Ossetia. The detainees were two young men, Lasha Tanashvili, 15 and Levan Kokoriani, 18, who were out looking

News

EBRD downgrades Georgia’s 2015 growth forecast to 2.5%

by | May 15
(Interpressnews)

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report published by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) predicts only 2.5 percent economic growth in Georgia in 2015. In January, the bank predicted 4.2 percent growth this year. The low growth prediction for Georgia

News

Kaladze: ‘National Bank could have monitored large bank transactions’

by | May 15
kakhi-kaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s vice prime minister claims the National Bank could have helped stabilize the lari by monitoring large bank transactions in and out of the country. Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze said this during an appearance on the talk show 2030

In brief

Heavy rain cuts electricity for 6,000 in eastern Georgia

by | May 15
downed_power_line_flood

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain caused problems for villagers and farmers in eastern Georgia, destroying their harvest and killing livestock. More than 6,000 people are without electricity. Among the affected areas are Pankisi, Akhmeta and Lagodekhi. The river Alazani

In brief

Port workers end strike in Poti

by | May 15
poti_strike

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ten-day strike among port workers has ended in Poti, in western Georgia. More than 600 workers demanded a 14 percent pay rise. In addition, they demanded an annual award, called a ‘13th paycheck,’ and to review the content of their collective

News

Informal Georgia-Russia talks may be expanded

by | May 14
grigory_karasin-

TBILISI, DFWatch--Informal talks between Georgia and Russia may be expanded from today’s one-on-one format, according to Russia’s deputy foreign minister. Georgian officials say the details of the proposal are being processed. Ria Novosti on Thursday quoted Russian

News

New Georgian defense minister vows to sign air defense deal with France

by | May 14
tina_khidasheli

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new defense minister in Georgia promises to sign a disputed military deal with France about air defense. Her predecessor Irakli Alasania claims the reason he was dismissed last November was that he wanted to go ahead with the same deal.

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade Jan-Apr was 13% lower than last year

by | May 13
car_market

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first four months of 2014 was 13 percent less than in the same period last year, according to preliminary figures published by the National Statistics Department, GeoStat. The turnover totaled USD 3,015

News

Fatal hotel fire raises questions about building safety standards

by | May 13
fire_fighters_batumi

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is facing another challenge - fire safety in buildings - after three boys died in a hotel fire in Kobuleti, a town on the Black Sea coast, a few days ago. Wednesday morning there was a fire at a café in Batumi. No-one

Politics

Georgia’s ruling coalition has lost half its support

by | May 13
NDI

ndiTBILISI, DFWatch--A new poll shows that the ruling coalition has lost almost half of its support since last year, while the National Movement has slightly increased its support. For other parties there is no significant change. If there were held a parliamentary

Economy

China and Georgia launch new cooperation in agriculture

by | May 13
Han_Changfu

TBILISI, DFWatch--China has gifted 245 units of tractors and other machinery to Georgia. The hardware, which also includes bulldozers, excavators, trucks and off-road vehicles, is worth about USD 10 million. Accepting this gift from one of Georgia’s top trading

News

Head of Georgia’s National Bank gets backing from EBRD president

by | May 13
EBRD-ის პრეზიდენტი  სუმა ჩაკრაბარტი საქართველოს „ეროვნული ბანკის“ საქმიანობას  დადებითად აფასებს

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) commends the head of the National Bank for conducting an exemplary monetary policy. The Georgian lari has tanked in recent months. The lari has gone down

News

Georgian president visits EU, NATO tops in Brussels

by | May 12
giorgi_margvelashvili_jens_stoltenberg

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU is allocating 150,000 euros for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili learned about this decision during his visit to Brussels during a meeting with EU's neighborhood commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Minorities

“This street is taken” – Tbilisi gay rights campaigners prepare for May 17

by | May 12
this_street_is_taken

TBILISI, DFWatch--“This street is taken - there’s no place for homophobia and transphobia here!” This is the slogan of another online campaign to prepare for the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), May 17. Behind the campaign stands

News

Stalin monument goes up and is taken down in Georgia

by | May 12
stalin-akura

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals in a village in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region installed a bust of Joseph Stalin on Victory Day, May 9. This was the third time someone put up a bust of the dictator in Akura since Victory Day, May 9, 2012. On the previous two occasions

News

Georgia denies reports that German company visited Abkhazia

by | May 12
sukhumi2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies reports in Abkhazian media that representatives of a German company visited the region. Media outlets in Sukhumi reported that representatives of an unspecified German company met with the de facto leaders

News

Jobs, high prices and poverty are now Georgians’ top concerns

by | May 12
woman sitting street

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians think jobs, higher prices and poverty are the three most important issues, according to a new opinion poll published by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Monday. Earlier, territorial integrity was the most important issue

Economy

Georgia’s wine export falls sharply

by | May 11
Georgian_wine_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s wine export was reduced by 58 percent in the first four months of 2015, compared to the same period last year. The reason is less sales to Russia (-76 percent) and Ukraine (-57 percent). From January through April, Georgia exported wine

News

Three children dead in hotel fire in Georgia

by | May 10
hotel_fire_kobuleti-

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is shaken by the death of three boys in a hotel fire Sunday morning. 45 people were rescued from Hotel Armazi in Kobuleti, a town on the Black Sea. Among the hotel’s inhabitants were 31 minors. The three boys who died were were 10 and 11 years

News

Uneasy victory day celebration in Tbilisi

by | May 10
war_jubilee

TBILISI, DFWatch--It was 70 years since Nazi-Germany was defeated Saturday, but in Tbilisi, people had difficulty to decide whether or how to celebrate it. In the end of the day, seven people were detained for hooliganism and resisting the police. Like in most

Politics

Georgian government wins confidence vote in parliament

by | May 9
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a week of political speculation, the ruling coalition declared confidence in the new government and its plan. The vote took place late at night on Friday, after MPs had been asking questions to cabinet members the whole day. There was some

News

Economy minister admits life has gotten tougher for Georgians

by | May 8
giorgi_kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The economy minister in Georgia has finally admitted that people’s conditions have worsened in recent weeks and months. But Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili follows his predecessor and godfather of this government in blaming the devaluation

News

Georgian leaders call on EU to deliver on visa-free travel

by | May 8
margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--On the background of rumors that Georgia, like other aspirant states Ukraine and Moldova will be disappointed on the upcoming Eastern Partnership Riga Summit the three highest officials of Georgia sent common letter to Donald Tusk

News

Georgian National Bank raises interest rates to deal with falling lari

by | May 7
National_Bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the second time this year, the National Bank has increased the refinancing rate by half a percentage point. The rate now stands at 5 percent. About 8,000 people will have higher interest rate on their loans because of the change. Economic

Politics

Georgian government will face vote of confidence on Friday

by | May 7
parliament_vote

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament will hold a vote of confidence about the new government May 8 at 13:00, by request of the speaker of parliament, who asked the president to schedule a special session at that time. The government has been pretending

In brief

Unloading of containers halted in Poti port as workers negotiate

by | May 6
poti_strike_2015-05-06

TBILISI, DFWatch--Unloading of containers and some other operations have been halted in the port in Poti due to a strike among workers. Most other types of operations are not affected by the strike, according to the company that runs the port. The strike began

News, Society

UN agency finds Georgian couples prefer to have boys

by | May 6
first_baby_a_girl_born_at_Patriarchy_maternity_ward_2011-03-03

TBILISI, DFWatch--46 percent of Georgian families would like to have a son instead of a daughter. Nine percent have the opposite preference, while women with partners or husbands admit they have had an abortion because of the sex of child. These are some

Politics

Parliament anxiously awaiting the president’s list for new government

by | May 6
davit_usupashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friday is the last day for the president to present parliament with his candidates for a new government. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili Tuesday evening warned President Giorgi Margvelashvili about the terms of the procedure by saying

In brief

Port workers on strike in Poti

by | May 6
port_workers_strike_poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Workers at the port in Poti went on strike Sunday, demanding a 14 percent pay rise. The workers gave their bosses ten days to comply with their demand, otherwise they threatened to completely paralyze the functioning of the port. On Tuesday, the term expired,

News

Court further prolongs detention of former mayor

by | May 6
gigi_ugulava

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Tbilisi decided Tuesday that the former mayor and Saakashvili confidante Gigi Ugulava must remain in detention. Tuesday’s decision by Tbilisi City Court regarding Ugulava is strongly challenged by the National Movement, the former ruling

Sport

Eight detained in Georgia for match-fixing

by | May 5
football_match_turkey_georgia_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia detained eight persons on Tuesday for match-fixing. Some of the detainees are football (soccer) players. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the detainees include the president of the football club Stu Tbilisi,

News

Georgia-Armenia row brewing over contacts with separatists

by | May 5
anatoly_bibilov

TBILISI, DFWatch--A diplomatic row is brewing between Georgia and Armenia after the speaker of Armenian parliament met with the de facto parliament speaker of South Ossetia. Yesterday, Russian media reported that there had been a meeting between the speaker

In brief

Georgia’s economy minister says lari will soon recover

by | May 5
giorgi_kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia's national currency lari is continues to fall in value, the economy minister assures the public that the fall will not continue and calls on journalists not to speculate. Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said Monday that there

News

Ivanishvili criticizes president for postponing ministers’ appointments

by | May 4
bidzina_ivanishvili_2030

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili again criticized the president and leading NGOs on Sunday, on the talk show 2030, aired on his son Bera’s TV channel GDS. The program was first broadcast a few weeks ago. Ivanishvili has since used

News

Georgian film director Rezo Chkheidze dies at age 88

by | May 4
rezo_chkheidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The famous Georgian film director Revaz (Rezo) Chkheidze has died in Tbilisi at age 88. Rezo Chkheidze rose to fame in the Soviet Union for his iconic 1964 World War 2 black-and-white drama Father of a Soldier, with a powerful performance by Sergo

News

Still no answer to Georgia’s request to Azerbaijan regarding Saakashvili

by | May 3
(Facebook)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Prosecutor General’s Office told DF Watch that they still haven’t received a response from Azerbaijan to a request to extradite former President Mikheil Saakashvili. Last week, Saakashvili visited Baku to participate in a political

In brief

Armed bank robber caught in Tbilisi, might have been a customer

by | May 3
procredit_bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--An armed man robbed a bank in Tbilisi on Saturday. The crime took place at about 10:45 in the morning at a branch of ProCredit Bank at 54 Chavchavadze Avenue in the Vake district. No-one was injured. According to witnesses,

Youth

May Day rally in Tbilisi focused on dangerous work conditions

by | May 2
1_May_parliament_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Youth activists marched through the streets of the Georgian capital on Friday to mark the International Workers' Day and protest against intolerable work conditions. There were demonstrations and gatherings several places in Tbilisi on May 1, separately organized

Politics

Georgian PM appoints more western-oriented new ministers

by | May 1
irakli_gharibashvili3

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili named three new ministers on Friday, two of whom are members of the Republican Party, which is regarded as a more western-oriented coalition member. The nominations are made against the backdrop

News

Georgian government relaunches plan to split the Interior Ministry

by | May 1
moduli_building

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has announced the start of long-awaited reform of the powerful Interior Ministry. It is formally known as the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), and was created during Saakashvili when the counterintelligence

News

Ivanishvili again blames National Bank for Georgia’s currency woes

by | Apr 30
bidzina_ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Businessman and retired politician Bidzina Ivanishvili has again blamed the National Bank for not helping to prevent a drop in the Georgian lari. “I suspect that the National Bank is still acting inadequately,” he told journalists on Thursday.

Youth

Placebo and Archive will play at Tbilisi Open Air festival

by | Apr 30
Tbilisi open air 2013 - Deep Purple

TBILISI, DFWatch--The two English bands Placebo and Archive are headliners at this year's Tbilisi Open Air festival, to be held by a lake near the capital July 3 to 7. Tickets sales have started for the festival, which has been organized every year since 2009 by the AlterVision Group.

Economy

ERBD to support female entrepreneurs in Georgia

by | Apr 30
clothes_market

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) has announced a new 45 million euros program to support women entrepreneurs in eastern European countries including Georgia. The program is called 'Women in Business' and will involve ERBD

Sport

Georgian team wins women’s world chess championship

by | Apr 30
Georgia_women_chess_team_2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The World Women’s Team Chess Championship 2015 was won by Georgia, with Russia and China in second and third place, respectively. The Georgian team consisted of Bela Khotenashvili, Meri Arabidze, Nino Batsiashvili, Lela Javakhishvili

News

Azerbaijan hosts Saakashvili, rejects Georgia’s extradition request

by | Apr 30
mikheil_saakashvili_ilham_aliyev

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has asked Azerbaijan to detain ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili during a visit to the neighbor country. Saakashvili has had a meeting with the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. According to local media, Azerbaijan's

Politics

Georgian PM: Resignations are part of ‘healthy political process’

by | Apr 29
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili says the resignations of two ministers, triggering a new vote of confidence, is a ‘healthy political process.’ There will be no more replacements, he added. A third of the ministers have now been changed since

News

Sports minister resigns, new confidence vote imminent

by | Apr 29
30896_30896_309824__MG_1768

TBILISI, DFWatch--Seventh minister of Irakli Garibashvili government left on Wednesday that means the PM have to seek approval of the entire cabinet from the parliament. Levan Kipiani, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, announced his resignation at a press

News

Another minister resigns in Georgia

by | Apr 29
elguja_khokrishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The environment minister resigned in Georgia on Tuesday. Elguja Khokrishvili explained that he needs to spend time with his family, which is living abroad. Khokrishvili is the second minister to resign this month, after the minister of regional development

News

Georgian government notes falling crime level

by | Apr 28
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--The crime level want down by more than 15 percent in the first three months of 2015 compared to last year, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). The share of crimes that were solved improved to more than 52 percent. According

Politics

Ivanishvili claims the president has joined the opposition

by | Apr 28
bidzina_ivanishvili_on_Imedi_TV_2015-01-28_

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili claims the president he handpicked has in fact become part of the opposition to the government coalition. He said this on his own show 2030 on GDS, a TV channel belonging to his rapper son Bera.

Minorities

Locals in Terjola threaten to start protests against Jehovah’s Witnesses

by | Apr 27
terjola_kingdom_hall

TBILISI, DFWatch--Jehovah’s Witnesses in Georgia claim that they are being discriminated against on religious grounds in Terjola, western Georgia. The conflict started about a year ago. Locals Orthodox Christians are against the construction of a new Kingdom Hall

News

Ivanishvili slams NGO’s head and president’s adviser

by | Apr 27
Bidzina Ivanishvili

Tbilisi, DFWatch - During his TV talk show, former prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, once again slammed the head of a local NGO and the president's adviser, accusing them of following the political agenda of the United National Movement.

News

Greece upholds decision to reject Data Akhalaia extradition

by | Apr 26
data_akhalaia

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Greek Supreme Court has upheld a decision by a lower court to reject an extradition request for Data Akhalaia, a former head of Georgia's domestic intelligence agency. The Supreme Court

News

Group demands criminal investigation of prehistoric site’s destruction

by | Apr 26
Sakdrisi mining site. (Photo taken by Green Fist.)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - An advocacy group in Georgia has asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to launch an investigation into an explosion which destroyed an ancient gold mine on December 13.

News

Georgia celebrates Independence Day without military parade

by | Apr 25
Independence Day, 2014 (DFWatch)

Tbilisi, DFwatch - The Georgian government continues distancing itself from its predesessors’ military bravade as it announces, third year in a row, that Independence Day celebrations will go on without a military parade.

Minorities

Armenians rallied at Turkish embassy in Tbilisi

by | Apr 24
Ethnic Armenians demand from Turkey and the government of Georgia to recognize Armenian genocide (DFWatch)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Ethnic Armenians in Georgia on Friday gathered at the embassy of Turkey in Tbilisi demanding to recognize almost all-out extermination of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire in early 20th century as a Genocide.

News

Georgia partners with Gilead Sciences for mass trials of hepatitis C medicine

by | Apr 24
Georgia signed agreement with Gilead Sciences (Health Ministry Photo)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has launched a project aimed at assisting people with hepatitis C after signing an agreement with the American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences on April 21. The government claims

News

Belarusian president calls on Georgia to join Russian ‘family’

by | Apr 24
ალექსანდრე ლუკაშენკო (მარცხნივ) და გიორგი მარგველაშვილი (პრესსამსახურის ფოტო)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Thursday called on Georgia to live in a ‘common family’ with Belarus and Russia. “Europe’s last dictator” said he has never been to Georgia before, except Abkhazia, one of two Georgian regions

News

Lukashenko has arrived in Tbilisi

by | Apr 23
ალექსანდრე ლუკაშენკო (მარცხნივ) და ირაკლი ღარიბაშვილი (პრესსამსახურის ფოტო)

TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Belarus, who is on a first visit to Georgia, arrived in Tbilisi the day before official meetings, which are planned for April 23-24. Even though the flight between Minsk and Tbilisi is over four hours, he arrived a day before with his

Sport

Top Georgian football team disqualified because it is broke

by | Apr 23
Zestaponi_FC

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Football Federation (GFF) has banned one of the country's top teams from taking party in national championships after it stayed away from a match due to financial problems. GFF decided this after Zestaponi FC violated the rules

Economy

Low-cost airlines queuing up to enter Georgian market

by | Apr 23
wizzair_plane

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several low cost airlines are looking to enter the Georgian market, according to the Ministry of Economy. Prospective new carriers include Ryanair, EasyJet, Air Berlin, and the Greek company Ellinair. According to the ministry, Ellinair applied to the

News

Georgian PM blasts media for ‘hysteria’ about recruitment for IS

by | Apr 22
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili scolded the media on Tuesday for their coverage of Pankisi youth who become radicalized and join Islamic State in Syria. The media have shown an ‘unnatural hysteria’ about this problem, which

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade fell 10% Jan-Mar compared to ’14

by | Apr 22
Rustavi_car_market_-_rustavi.ge_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first three months of 2015 was 10 percent less than in the same period last year. The foreign trade turnover in January-March, 2015 was USD 2,279 million, according to the new report of Georgia’s National

News

New showdown over location of presidential palace

by | Apr 21
Avlabari_residence

TBILISI, DFWatch--Refurbishment work in a building intended as a new presidential palace is now finished and this has sparked a new round of bickering between the president and the government.  The minister of regional development and infrastructure stated during

In brief

Regional development minister resigns in Georgia

by | Apr 21
davit_shavliashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A minister in the Georgian government resigned on Tuesday. Not much is known about why Davit Shavliashvili decided to resign as regional development and infrastructure, but a notice from the ministry said it was for health reasons.

Background

Georgian speaker visits Ukraine, but have Kiev-Tbilisi ties weakened?

by | Apr 20
davit_usupashvili_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia’s speaker of parliament visits Kiev, political analysts in Tbilisi are watching for signs of how strong the bond is between the two governments. Speaker Davit Usupashvili is accompanied by parliament members Tedo Japaridze and Tinatin

Society

Tbilisians rallied against terrorism

by | Apr 20
assyrian03

TBILISI, DFWatch--A protest against terrorism was held on Sunday in Tbilisi and several other towns in Georgia to show support for the refugees persecuted by Islamic State.   A call went out on Facebook a few days in advance for people to meet outside the old parliament

News

Two dead as crane collapses at Norwegian hydropower project

by | Apr 20
broken_crane_Didadjara

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons died and one is in hospital with injuries after an accident at a construction site for a hydropower facility in Khulo, southwest in Georgia Friday night. The two who died are Paata Iakobadze, a Georgian citizen, and Ahmed Chakmak,

News

Georgian volunteer soldier dies in Ukraine

by | Apr 19
giorgi_janelidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian volunteer soldier was killed in Ukraine on April 18, fighting for the extreme right wing Azov battalion. Giorgi Janelidze died during mine clearance work near the coastal town Shirokine. The other fighters came under fire as they

News

Georgia toughens anti-terror legislation to include recruitment for IS

by | Apr 18
Mideast Syria

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is to make it a crime to be a member of a terrorist organization or take part in a paramilitary group in another country. The law was drafted after calls for the government to do more to stop the flow of youth joining the war in Syria.

News

Saakashvili party boycotts parliament after ex-official’s suicide attempt

by | Apr 18
zurab_japaridze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of Mikheil Saakashvili’s party deliberately disrupted Friday’s parliamentary session because of a former official's suicide attempt the day before. The former special unit’s representative who attempted to commit suicide is detained

News

Merabishvili promises revenge

by | Apr 17
vano_merabishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Interior Minister and ally of Mikheil Saakashvil promises to take revenge for every official involved in the detention of former government officials. “I will personally punish them. I will hold each of them responsible personally.” Vano Merabishvili,

Economy

Money transfers to Georgia down 24% in March compared to ’14

by | Apr 17
National_Bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--The amount of money transfers to Georgia in March fell by 23.5 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a report by the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). The amount of money transfers in March was USD 92.2 million, which is USD

News

Two Austrian climbers found dead in Georgia

by | Apr 17
kazbegi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Austrian climbers were found dead on Thursday in a mountain region in Georgia. The two apparently froze to death. The two tourists, a man and a woman, camped near the hill for several days. They left the camp on Wednesday to head

News

Armenian member of Georgia’s parliament calls for recognition of genocide

by | Apr 17
Samvel_Petrosian

TBILISI, DFWatch--An ethnic Armenian parliamentarian in the Georgian parliament calls the assembly to formally recognize the Armenian genocide, which began a century ago in Turkey. Ethnic Azerbaijani MPs are against, arguing that it is not a matter for the Georgian

News

Georgian PM: We can’t stop youth from joining IS

by | Apr 16
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili says the government is not capable of preventing Pankisi youth from joining the war in Syria. There have been many reports lately that young men from the Pankisi Gorge in the north of Georgia have left

News

Interpol snubbed Georgian prosecutors in Adeishvili case

by | Apr 15
zurab_adeishvili-

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interpol did not ask Georgian prosecutors for additional information before deciding to call off the search for a former justice minister. Yesterday, the story broke that Interpol no longer has a so-called red notice on its webpage seeking the arrest

News

Interpol cancels red notice for Georgia’s former justice minister

by | Apr 14
zurab_adeishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interpol has revoked a red notice seeking the arrest and extradition of Georgia’s former Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili. Last year, the organization announced an international search for Adeishvili, along with former Defense Minister

In brief

Georgia’s president pardons 78 prisoners for Easter

by | Apr 14
Prison_No_8_Gldani

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Tuesday pardoned 78 prisoners in connection with Easter. Zviad Koridze, Head of the President’s Pardon Commission, said at a press conference that 57 prisoners will be released from jail today. The remaining 21 had their

News

Two Pankisi youth turned IS fighters call home from Syria: ‘We are fine’

by | Apr 14
(კახეთის საინფორმაციო ცენტრი)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian boys who recently went to Syria to join Islamic State have called their parents in Pankisi Gorge and sent home their first picture. Muslim Kushtanashvili (16) and Ramzan Baghakashvili (18) said they are fine and haven’t seen any fighting

Society

Tbilisi celebrates Orthodox Easter

by | Apr 13
government_in_Easter_2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Easter was celebrated in Tbilisi as usual this year, despite bad weather. People visit the graves of their relatives on the first or second day of Easter. Christianity was declared state religion in Georgia in 4th century and as the eastern

News

Man dies in traditional Easter ball game

by | Apr 13
leloburti

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died during a traditional Easter ball game in a small village in Georgia's Guria region on Sunday. The victim was Gocha Pirtskhalaishvili, of about 50 years. Doctors believe the cause of death was shortness of breath. He died while participating

News

Gas explosion killed woman, damaged houses in Tbilisi

by | Apr 13
gldani_apartment_explosion

TBILISI, DFWatch--An explosion allegedly caused by a gas leak killed a 65 year old woman in Tbilisi Sunday morning. The explosion demolished the eighth floor of a building in Gldani, a district in northern part of the capital, and killed Zoia Kalandarishvili,

In brief

Suspect in murder of two policemen placed in pre-trial detention

by | Apr 11
tbilisi_city_court

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Saturday placed a man suspected of murdering two policemen in pre-trial detention. The defense did not object to the Prosecutor General’s Office request for detention. The suspect Shalva Abuladze and his lawyer said

In brief

Georgian president visits Pope Francis

by | Apr 11
giorgi_margvelashvili_pope_francis

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president Friday met with Pope Francis in Rome. President Giorgi Margvelashvili afterward summed up the meeting as a ‘very important’ one for Georgia. He said he told the pontiff about security issues, the situation in the Caucasus

News

Government declares ‘ruthless’ policy toward crime

by | Apr 10
irakli_gharibashvili--

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a man suspected of killing two policemen evaded arrest for almost a week, Georgia's prime minister says that government will be ‘ruthless toward crime’. The announcement came after several law-enforcement ministers have talked about tougher

News

Georgia arrests suspected police killer after nearly week-long manhunt

by | Apr 10
shalva_abuladze_arrest

TBILISI, DFWatch--The suspect in the murder of two policemen, who was subject to a search by not only the police, but also counterintelligence, was apprehended near his hometown in an abandoned house on Friday. The Interior Ministry confirmed this on Friday.

News

Georgia signs deal with UK consultancy firm to reform its health system

by | Apr 10
DSC_0128_copy

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has signed an agreement with a British consultancy firm to reform the country's healthcare system. The goal of the agreement with Global Alliance for Health and Social Compact Ltd is to bring Georgia's health system in line with European

News

Georgia remembers 1989, when people stood up for independence

by | Apr 9
irakli_gharibashvili_9_April

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia today marks the restoration of independence in 1991. It is also a day of commemoration of an independence rally two years prior which was violently dispersed, resulting in twenty deaths. After becoming independent in 1918, Georgia

News

Four Nigerian students found dead in Tbilisi

by | Apr 9
nigerian_students_dead_rustavi2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four Nigerian students were found dead in a Tbilisi apartment Wednesday night, apparently from gas poisoning due to a faulty water heater. Three of them were students at Tbilisi State Medical University and one at Georgia’s University. Their bodies were found

NGO news

Activist group appeals against surveillance legislation in Constitutional Court

by | Apr 9
(DF Watch)

Tbilisi, DFWatch--NGOs in Georgia have revived their campaign This Affects You Too, and are launching a lawsuit against the Ministry of Internal Affairs for having direct access to communication operators’ networks and, thus, having ability to eavesdrop on citizens unchecked.

Security

Georgia’s defense minister says new anti-aircraft system is on schedule

by | Apr 9
mindia_janelidze2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze explained in parliament Wednesday that a defense deal with France has not been put on hold. His predecessor Irakli Alasania accused the government of halting the planned installation of new air

News

Lukashenko visits Georgia April 23

by | Apr 8
President Lukashenko (Press office)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, is visiting Georgia for the first time ever on April 23-24 to meet his Georgian counterpart, Giorgi Margvelashvili, as well as the prime minister and other officials. Mr Lukashenko’s visit to Georgia was planned back in February, when he first

News

Tbilisi naming ten more streets after women

by | Apr 8
nato_vachnadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi is making an effort to correct the gender imbalance in its street names, by changing the names of ten streets, naming them after famous women. There are about 1,200 streets in the capital, 1,120 of which are named after men, according

In brief

High winds caused power cut in Batumi

by | Apr 8
strong_wind_batumi

TBILISI, DFWatch--High winds injured two people in Batumi and left 4,000 households in the Adjara region without power on Tuesday. In Batumi, strong wind blew down a tree which fell onto a nearby building with three people inside, two of whom were slightly injured.

In brief

Village evacuated after liquid oxygen leak

by | Apr 7
MIA photo of accident

TBILISI, DFWatch--A village was evacuated in Imereti in western Georgia Monday night, after a leak of liquid oxygen from an overturned truck. The truck overturned in a sharp bend, according to the Interior Ministry. It was carrying a large amount of liquid oxygen.

News

Former embassy building on Atoneli Street will not be sold

by | Apr 7
atoneli_street

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's government has decided not to sell a stately building in the center of Tbilisi that was meant to be a presidential residence and once served as the US embassy. The building on Atoneli Street near Freedom Square was on a list

News

Georgia to expand police powers after ex-convict’s shooting rampage

by | Apr 7
policeman

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is considering expanding police powers after a former convict killed a policeman and evaded capture. It is not known in what way the powers of the police might be increased. The Saakashvili regime started increasing

News

Swiss company Geotest to provide landslide monitoring in Georgia

by | Apr 7
Geotest_landslide_monitoring_Devdoraki

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is installing a monitoring system in Dariali Valley in the northern part of Georgia, which will provide a few minutes' warning in case of landslide. Last summer, the valley was hit by several massive landslides that

News

Murder suspect was released by parole board in November, 2013

by | Apr 6
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--The man suspected of killing two police officers was pardoned in November, 2013, because the parole board thought he had put hid criminal past behind him. Gedevan Popkhadze from the parole board said the members were sure that the suspect

News

Pankisi locals demand the return of youth who went to Syria

by | Apr 6
pankisi_council_of_elders_meeting_April2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals in Pankisi Gorge in northeast Georgia demand the return of two boys who allegedly went to Syria to join Islamc State. The Council of Elders, an informal mediation body in Pankisi, on Monday met to discuss what to do after Muslim

News

Manhunt on police murderer underway in Georgia

by | Apr 6
103725(1)saiti

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Law enforcement bodies in Georgia are engaged in a large-scale hunt for a man suspected of murdering one policeman and wounding several others. On Sunday, the Prosecutor General’s Office released a photo of the suspect asking for the public's assistance in locating him,

In brief

Two more Pankisi youth leave Georgia to join IS in Syria

by | Apr 5
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian boys, one 18 and the other younger, have allegedly left the country to become fighers for Islamic State in Syria, acording to locals. The two were attending tenth and eleventh grade at a school in the village Omalo, in Pankisi Gorge.

News

Georgian PM campaigning for mining in ancient gold mine

by | Apr 4
sakdrisi_artifacts

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Friday defended the destruction of an ancient gold mine, arguing that locals need the jobs. Appearing with employees of RMG Gold at the municipal building in Marneuli, a town south of the capital,

Politics

Georgian minister says defense deal with France not called off

by | Apr 4
mindia_janelidze2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s defense minister denies allegations by his predecessor that negotiations with France about a defense deal have ended. But the French ambassador to Georgia claims Georgia has not signed any air defense deal with France.

Politics

Free Democrats lose its members in Tbilisi City Council

by | Apr 4
giorgi_muskhelishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania’s party have withdrawn as a faction in the city council. The reason, they explain, is ‘incompatibility’ with his party, the Free Democrats. The Free Democrats Party was a member

News

Alasania details how air defense treaty with France was stopped

by | Apr 3
irakli_alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania accuses the government of having failed to implement an air defense treaty with France and proposes setting up a parliamentary investigation commission to look into it. Alasania Friday

In brief

Moldovan detained in Georgia for using ATM skimmer

by | Apr 3
liberty_bank_service_center

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Friday detained a Moldovan citizen for using an ATM skimmer to illegally obtain money. The suspect installed a so-called ATM skimmer, a barely noticeable device installed in the card reading slot of the machine which copies information

News

Ivanishvili vows justice for murdered businessman in funeral speech

by | Apr 3
bidzina_ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Thursday spoke in the funeral of businessman Besik Khardziani, who was murdered at his house a few days ago. He promised that those responsible will be held to account in accordance

In brief

Two veterinarians accused of fraud, approved unchecked meat

by | Apr 2
deserters_market

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s Investigative Service on Thursday detained two veterinarians in Tbilisi for fraud that allowed potentially dangerous meat to get through to consumers. Veterinarians Khvicha Bichiashvili and Mamuka Mzhavanadze are charged with

Politics

Georgian Dream losing support according to IRI poll

by | Apr 1
IRI

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's governing coalition has lost support, while the former ruling party has gained, according to the latest poll by International Republican Institute (IRI), published Wednesday. If there were held parliamentary elections next Sunday,

In brief

New figures confirm upward trend of Georgia’s population

by | Apr 1
natural_growth_Georgia_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--New figures show that Georgia's increase in population continued an upward trend in 2014, but the growth rate is still barely above zero. The number of live births minus the number of deaths, which scientists call the natural increase, was 11,548 in 2014.

Economy

New Georgian plant may produce parts for Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier

by | Mar 31
irakli_kovzanadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--An Israeli company plans to build a new factory in Georgia with the goal of producing parts for Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier passenger planes. The construction of the 'high tech and modern' aviation plant will begin in three months, Economy

News

Georgian government absent as president delivers annual speech

by | Mar 31
giorgi_margvelashvili_annual_address_2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--When the Georgian president held his state of the nation speech in parliament on Tuesday, the government and the prime minister were absent - again. This is the second time the government has snubbed President Giorgi Margvelashvili. The same

News

Georgian president swears in one more ‘rebel judge’

by | Mar 31
merab_turava

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Monday marked the appointment of one more 'rebel judge' to a top level position the country's court system. Merab Turava was sworn in as a new member of the Constitutional Court at a ceremony in Batumi attended

News

High winds tore off roofs in northwestern Georgia

by | Mar 30
weather

TBILISI, DFWatch--High winds damaged several villages in the northwestern part of Georgia on Monday. A reporter for Interpressnews said there are houses without roof in six villages Kveda Chkhorotsku, Lesichine, Akhuti, Nakiani, Kirtskhi and Zumi; totalling

In brief

Fake priests detained in Georgia

by | Mar 30
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained four fake priests who apparently falsified documents in order to get visa for the Schengen area. The young men are accused of forging documents that make them out to be clerics in the influential Georgian Church.

News

Family of Turtle Lake murder victim claims UNM member did it

by | Mar 29
kus-tba

TBILISI, DFWatch--A businessman who accused the National Movement government of seizing his property at Turtle Lake was shot to death Saturday morning. Besik Khardziani was hit by several gunshots, also to his head, near his house in Tbilisi. He was taken to hospital

News

Givi Targamadze questioned about police leaks

by | Mar 28
givi_targamadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--MP Givi Targamadze was Saturday questioned for nine hours in a case related to the leaking of information from the Interior Ministry. More than a week ago, a Georgian Interior Ministry employee was fired for allegedly handing over secret information

News

NATO holds democracy conference in Tbilisi

by | Mar 28
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO organized a two-day international conference in Tbilisi on Thursday and Friday, hosting Georgian, Armenian and Turkish politicians, and U.S. political and economic analysts. The local US embassy and Open Society also helped organize the conference,

Minorities

Batumi synagogue back to Jewish community after 86 years

by | Mar 27
batumi_synagogue

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s State Agency on Religious Issues on Thursday decided to transfer ownership of the Batumi synagogue to the Jewish community. The Jewish community has been requesting ownership and usage rights to the oldest synagogue in the city,

Economy

WizzAir ending flights between Georgia and Ukraine

by | Mar 27
wizzair_plane

TBILISI, DFWatch--WizzAir is ending flights between Georgia and Ukraine from April 20 because the company WizzAir Ukraine is being dissolved. “This decision was made, with regret, due to the ongoing instability in Eastern Ukraine, the devaluation and volatility

Media

Two TV hosts in Georgia accuse govt coalition of pressure

by | Mar 26
inga_grigolia

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two hosts on the TV channel Imedi accuse the government of trying to put pressure on them, while the company’s management distances themselves from the statements made by their own journalists.

News

Deputy defense minister questioned in the ‘cables case’

by | Mar 26
zaza_broladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office on Wednesday questioned former Deputy Defense Minister Zaza Broladze for nine hours in connection with the 'cables case', for which the Defense Minister Irakli Alasania was sacked last year. As he left the building after

News

Relatives of woman who died in childbirth rally outside clinic

by | Mar 25
batumi_maternity_clinic

TBILISI, DFWatch--Relatives of a pregnant woman died in childbirth rallied outside the hospital in Batumi on Wednesday. Another pregnant woman died at the same hospital about a month ago. Relatives of Maia Verdzadze (29) blame the doctor for her death.

News

Georgia begins treatment of 5,000 hepatitis C patients

by | Mar 25
sergeenko

TBILISI, DFWatch--One month from now, Georgia begins an ambitious government program to treat 5,000 hepatitis C patients. The program starts on April 21, and is focused on those patients who need treatment the most. Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said

Minorities

Adjara government finds solution to overcrowded mosque

by | Mar 25
batumi

BATUMI, DFWatch--The local government in Batumi, Georgia, is buying two buildings for local Muslims, to try to solve the decades-long problem with an overcrowded mosque. There is only one mosque in Batumi, and it is unable to accommodate all the

News

Dangerous parasite found in meat at Tbilisi kindergarten

by | Mar 24
meat

TBILISI, DFWatch--A dangerous parasite of the type sarcoysistis has been found in meat at a kindergarten in Tbilisi. The parasite was found by the National Food Agency, which is doing checks following the recent discovery of dangerous semi-prepared food. Sarcocystis -

News

Home-made drug use reduced by 90% in Georgia

by | Mar 23
prescription_drugs_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The use of home-made drugs and import of new psychotropic substances has decreased by over 90 percent since 2013, according to the latest annual report by the US State Department. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2015

Economy

Georgia wants to be a springboard for Chinese trade with Europe

by | Mar 23
kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia wants to use its free trade access to the EU to become a springboard for Chinese trade with Europe. Last year, Georgia signed an association agreement with the EU. Included was what’s called a deep and comprehensive free

News

Ivanishvili: Georgians don’t forget as easily as UNM thinks

by | Mar 23
Bidzina Ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians don’t want Saakashvili's party back, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili predicted Sunday. He appeared as one of the guests in the talk show ‘2030’ on his son’s TV channel GDS. Saturday, the National Movement

News

Activists ‘disinfect’ square after Saakashvili party’s rally

by | Mar 22
disinfection_chancellery_2015-03-22

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists Sunday ‘disinfected’ a square in Tbilisi where the National Movement had rallied the day before. “We think they left behind bits of their unhealthy ideological views. Therefore  we decided to conduct a disinfection," Irakli Kipiani told

In brief

Traffic restrictions eased in Georgia

by | Mar 22
gudauri-kobi-road

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a few days of restrictions, Gudauri-Kobi road in northern Georgia is now open for traffic. But all kinds of vehicles must use snow chains on the Gudauri-Kobi road due to snow and ice, according to the Roads Department. Vehicles

News

Saakashvili supporters rally in Tbilisi against the government

by | Mar 21
national_movement_rally_2015-03-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tens of thousands of people rallied in Tbilisi on Saturday, demanding the government’s resignation. People came to Tbilisi from faraway Samegrelo, Adjara and other regions. Many arrived by bus. Organizers also

News

Saakashvili’s party preparing anti-government rally today

by | Mar 21
UNM_supporters_2015-03-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement, Georgia’s former ruling party, is preparing an anti-government rally in Tbilisi today. The party, which was voted out of power in 2012, is demonstrating against the government’s economic policy, and calling on the government to step down.

News

Tbilisi NGOs launch petition against GD member’s ‘anti-Western statements’

by | Mar 21
gogi_topadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Some of the most influential non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia on Friday launched a petition against anti-western statements recently made by members of the ruling coalition. A few days ago, a businessman who is leader

News

Court acquits former Saakashvili ally

by | Mar 20
roland_akhalaia_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Friday acquitted a close ally of former president Saakashviili for abuse of powers while serving as a chief prosecutor of a region in the west of Georgia. Parliament member Roland Akhalaia used to be chief prosecutor

News

Georgian parliament approves new chief justice

by | Mar 20
margvelashvili-gvenetadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Friday approved Nino Gvenetadze as new head of the Supreme Court by 88 votes against 0. President Giorgi Margvelashvili selected Gvenetadze from 28 prospective candidates. Gvenetadze was a Supreme Court

News

Ten police employees fired in Georgia for leaking information

by | Mar 20
givi_targamadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--An employee of the Georgian Interior Ministry was sacked Thursday because he allegedly had been handing over secret information to parliament member Givi Targamadze from the National Movement. Nine other police employees were also fired

News

27 year old woman killed by ‘jealous’ co-worker

by | Mar 20
murder_in_Bodbiskhevi_

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 36 year old man shot and killed a 27 year old woman and afterward took his own life in the village Bodbiskhevi in eastern Georgia, International Center of Kakheti (ICK) reports. The news service does not specify when the murder happened.

In brief

Convicted murderer may be free one day after president converts sentence

by | Mar 19
geguti prison camp

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Margvelashvili on Thursday converted the sentence of a man so he will no longer need to spend the rest of his life behind bars. The head of the president’s pardon commission Zviad Koridze said the most serious crime the prisoner

Society

Georgia to allow teenagers to test for HIV without parents knowing

by | Mar 19
AIDS_HIV_blood_test

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is to allow teenagers between 14 and 18 years to test themselves for HIV without permission from their parents or guardian. This is an initiative by the health committee in parliament, which will amend the law on patient rights.

News

Georgian and Russian diplomats clash over new South Ossetia treaty

by | Mar 19
ministry_of_foreign_affairs

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian and Georgian diplomats meeting in Geneva for regular talks clashed over a new treaty Russia signed yesterday with the breakaway region South Ossetia. At the latest round of talks, which ended on Wednesday, Georgia brought up the

News

South Ossetia signs treaty on ‘alliance and integration’ with Russia

by | Mar 18
leonid_tibilov_vladimir_putin2_2015-03-18

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia, was in Moscow on Wednesday and signed a new treaty on alliance and integration with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Georgia, EU, NATO and the United States protested against

News

Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan launch geopolitically important pipeline project

by | Mar 18
Ilham_Aliyev_Recep_Tayyip_Erdogan_Giorgi_Margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The presidents of Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan have agreed to start construction of a natural gas pipeline which will bypass Russia and reduce Europe's energy dependence on Russia. The ceremony was held in Kars, a Turkish city near

Youth

40,000 have registered for entrance exams to study in Georgia

by | Mar 18
entrance_exams

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 40,000 candidates will try to pass the national exams this summer, in order to enter universities in Georgia. According to the National Assessment and Examinations Center (NAEC), registration for exams in 2015 finished on Tuesday.

News

Warning: Dangerous food products on sale in Georgia

by | Mar 18
khinkali_National_Food_Agency

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Food Agency warns against buying and eating many semi-processed food products after finding that they are contaminated by listeria and salmonella. The agency warns against semi-processed food products from the following companies:

News

Georgian consul in Turkey accused by newspaper of beating woman

by | Mar 18
Irakli_Asashvili_Larisa_Berezina

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian consul in Istanbul denies a report in a Turkish newspaper that he beat a woman working for him as a stylist. The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported Monday that Consul Irakli Asashvili beat the Moldavian stylist Larisa Berezina at her house,

Politics

Georgia to hold by-election in Martvili as parliament member passes away

by | Mar 17
janashia_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--There will be this a by-election in one election district in Georgia to elect a replacement for a majoritarian member of parliament who passed away. Nauli Janashia, 68, represented Martvili, a town in the western Samegrelo region,

News

Court acquits pathologist on trial in Georgian PM’s 2005 death

by | Mar 17
levan_chachua_

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia has acquitted a forensic expert who was on trial for negligence in connection with the death of a prime minister in 2005. Levan Chachua sat almost nine months in detention, accused of not noticing marks of violence on the body

In brief

Traffic update: Still restrictions on some mountain roads

by | Mar 17
road_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic is prohibited for all kinds of vehicles along the Gudauri-Kobi road section in northern Georgia due to intense snow and wind. The Roads Department also warns that it is not allowed to stop on 134km-135km of the Stepantsminda-Larsi

Economy

Money transfers to Georgia fell 22% in February

by | Mar 17
National_Bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--The amount of money transfers to Georgia in February fell by 21.7 percent compared to same period last year, according to a new report by the National Bank. The total amount of incoming transfers in February was USD 82.0 million laris;

News

Georgian govt coalition party: ‘Joining NATO now may bring problems’

by | Mar 16
giorgi_topadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of a party that is member of the ruling coalition says that joining NATO doesn’t have to be a priority for Georgia, because the alliance doesn’t plan to accept Georgia and it may also bring problems for the country to join NATO now.

News

Ivanishvili show goes live on Georgian TV with praise of GD government

by | Mar 16
bidzina_ivanishvili_GDS_2015-03-15

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Sunday appeared on his new political commentary show ‘2030’ on GDS, a TV channel run by his son Bera. The businessmen quit politics a year ago and started the non-governmental organization

News

Former Tbilisi mayor must stay in detention longer than maximum term

by | Mar 16
ugulava_court_hearing

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Tbilisi ruled Sunday that a former mayor and close ally of Mikheil Saakashvili must stay in prison on aggravated charges recently presented by prosecutors. The ruling in Tbilisi City Court came not long before ex-Mayor Gigi

News

UNM, GD supporters clashed in Zugdidi

by | Mar 15
Clashes resulted number of injured (Maestro)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement (UNM) and the ruling Georgian Dream coalition clashed in Zugdidi, western Georgia, resulted in injuries and bitter mutual accusations less than a week before the former plans

In brief

Restrictions on roads in some mountain areas in Georgia

by | Mar 15
snow_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are traffic restrictions on the Ninotsminda road, which leads to the border with Armenia. Restrictions are in effect along the 94km-100km section of the road, where trailers, half-trailers and vehicles with more than 30 seats are

News

Georgia modifies charges against five ex-officials including Saakashvili

by | Mar 14
mikheil_saakashvili_turkish_border_aug_2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office on Saturday modified the charges against five former high officials, including ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili. In Saakashvili’s and former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili’s cases, the charges

News

Public Defender asks to investigate possible mistreatment by police

by | Mar 14
ucha_nanuashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Defender in Georgia has asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate an instance of alleged mistreatment by police. A prisoner at Kutaisi (“No 2”) prison told Public Defender’s staff about the incident, which took place

News

Ian C. Kelly nominated as new U.S. Ambassador to Georgia

by | Mar 13
Ian_C_Kelly

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ian C. Kelly has been nominated as new U.S. Ambassador to Georgia. Kelly is the U.S. State Department’s diplomat in residence at the University of Illinois at Chicago. If confirmed, he will replace Richard Norland, the current ambassador.

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade in Jan-Feb fell 9%

by | Mar 13
trailers_Sarpi_customs

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first two months of 2015 fell by 9 percent compared to the same period last year. This is indicated by new preliminary data published by the National Statistics Department (Geostat). The total foreign trade

Politics

Georgian parliament again fails to hold crisis session

by | Mar 13
parliament

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament again failed to hold an extraordinary session about how to tackle a drastic drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. Again, the reason for cancelling the plenary session was that parliament members from the governing

News

New ski resort to open in Svaneti

by | Mar 13
tetnuldi_ski_lift

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new ski resort is to open in the Svaneti region in the northwest of Georgia. The facility in Tetnuldi will open for tourists from December, 2015, according to the government’s press office. It will have the longest ski slope in South Caucasus

In brief

Activists clash at Interior Ministry building

by | Mar 13
kakha_kukava

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of a small Georgian opposition party was detained by police for hooliganism on Thursday. The incident took place at an Interior Ministry building in the capital Tbilisi. Kakha Kukava, leader of Free Georgia, was there for some business, when

Youth

Six detained in clashes outside parliament in Tbilisi

by | Mar 12
Lado_Sadghobelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people were detained during clashes at a rally against the government’s economic policy outside the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Thursday. Free Zone, an activists group which supports the National Movement, demonstrated

News

Georgia to supply Abkhazia with power as Inguri Dam closes for maintenance

by | Mar 12
enguri_dam_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Abkhaz and Georgian representatives met Thursday to discuss the closing of Europe’s largest hydroelectric dam, Inguri, for several months to carry out maintenance work. The power station is located partly on Georgia-controlled territory

Economy

Foreign investments up 39% in 2014

by | Mar 12
Sinohydro_Corp_Tbilisi-Rustavi_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--Direct foreign investments in Georgia in 2014 was 39 percent more in 2014 than it was in 2013, according to a new preliminary report of the National Statistics Department (Geostat). The amount of the investments in 2014 was USD

News

University tower in Batumi sold for USD 25 million

by | Mar 12
university_tower_batumi

TBILISI, DFWatch--A disputed tower building in Batumi, Georgia, was sold on auction on Wednesday. The tower was meant to be a technical university, an initiative of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, but the idea stranded. The building was criticized

Minorities

Sexuality conference goes ahead without incident

by | Mar 11
(DF Watch)

TBILISI, DFWatch--A conference about sexuality went ahead without interruption in Tbilisi on Wednesday, despite an announced protest by conservatives. The conference was organized by Identoba, a group which works against discrimination on the basis of sexual

News

Georgia denies that financial dispute delayed Czech parliament’s ratification

by | Mar 11
kakhi_kaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia denies the veracity of a report that the Czech parliament has postponed the ratification of Georgia’s association agreement with the EU because of a dispute about a fine to a large Czech energy company in Georgia. A few days ago,

Politics

Parliament meets Friday for crisis session

by | Mar 11
margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Tuesday called a special parliamentary session dedicated to the monetary crisis in the country on March 13 at 12:00. The president’s administration published a decree signed by Giorgi Margvelashvili, which specifies

News

Georgia and China sign new economic agreement

by | Mar 10
giorgi_kvirikashvili_signed_economic_agreement_china

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili signed a new economic agreement with China on Monday, during a visit to the country. From the Chinese side, the agreement was signed by Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng. The agreement

News

Georgian battalion leaves for Afghanistan

by | Mar 10
31th_infantry_battalion_leaves_for_afghanistan_2015-03-10

TBILISI, DFWatch--A farewell ceremony was held at Vaziani military base Monday for one hundred Georgian soldiers who are departing for Afghanistan. The soldiers, who come from the 31th infantry battalion, are to take part in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission,

News

Crisis session in parliament this week

by | Mar 10
Free_Democrats_and_Giorgi_Margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Monday decided to call a special session of parliament to let the government face its critics after the national currency dropped thirty percent. Free Democrats MP Irakli Chikovani announced the decision after a meeting

In brief

Georgia detains man for distributing counterfeit US dollars

by | Mar 9
Cash

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was detained in Georgia on Monday, accused of distributing counterfeit money. According to the Finance Ministry’s investigative service, the accused imported a large amount of counterfeit US dollars and sold it among Georgian citizens. The amount

Minorities

No signs that Mokhe commission has done anything yet

by | Mar 9
fgg

TBILISI, DFWatch--The conflict between Christians and Muslims continues in a village in southern Georgia. A commission created in December to solve the dispute appears to have done nothing so far. Muslims in Mokhe demonstrated in February against the appointment

News

Man accused of attacking journalist released on bail

by | Mar 8
tbilisi_city_court

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Saturday released on bail a man suspected of beating a photojournalist and damaging his camera on March 4. The suspect, who is around 21 years old, was released on a 3,000 laris (about USD 1,500) bail pending the first

Minorities

Women’s representation in Georgia unchanged for over a decade

by | Mar 8
eka_beselia_pirveli_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The percentage of women in local government has remained unchanged for the last fourteen years, according to campaigners. There are currently 11 percent women in city and municipal assemblies. In the previous period, there were 10 percent

In brief

Names of two Georgians killed in New Jersey car crash released

by | Mar 8
Identities of the dead students will be released by the Ministry of Defense after notification of their families in Georgia.

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Ministry of Defense released names of the two Georgian students at the US military academy in New Jersey killed during a car crash. The two died soon after Saturday midnight, after 9 am Tbilisi time.

In brief

Two Georgian military students in the US died in car crash

by | Mar 8
ministry_of_foreign_affairs

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian students at military academy in New Jersey died in a car accident soon after Saturday midnight, at about 9 am Tbilisi time. The identity of the two, both in their early 20s, will be released by the Ministry of Defense after notification of their families in Georgia.

News

Three life prisoners get sentence converted to 20 years

by | Mar 7
gldani-prison-guard-tower

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three female prisoners who were in for life on Friday had their sentences converted to fixed term. The decision was announced by Zviad Koridze, head of the president’s pardon commission; one of two such bodies in Georgia. Instead of life,

News

Margvelashvili considering parliament session about currency crisis

by | Mar 7
nodar_khaduri

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Margvelashvili is reconsidering the idea of having a special parliament session to discuss the crisis sparked by an over 30% drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. At the height of panic a few weeks ago, the president

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