Posts by DFWatch staff:

News

Five people killed as minibus crashes with car

by | Feb 12
marani_train_crashed_with_minibus

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people were killed in a car crash in eastern Georgia Thursday evening. Several people are injured, two of them are in a serious condition. The accident took place in the village Badiauri, near Sagarejo. A minibus smashed into a small

Environment

UNM activists join environmentalists in stopping Ivanishvili’s tree-moving

by | Feb 11
old-tree-roots

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people were detained Wednesday during a rally in Tsikhisdziri on the Black Sea coast near Kobuleti. They were protesting against the removal of three giant old trees which they suspect will be hauled by boat 40km up the coast

News

Detainees’s rights frequently violated, report finds

by | Feb 11
uniInc

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report suggests that a number of rights are violated when people are detained. They are not read their rights and have problems getting an interpreter and a lawyer during their first questioning. These are the findings in a new

Media

Georgian Public Broadcaster fires TV host without explanation

by | Feb 11
eka_mishveladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A TV host on the Georgian Public Broadcaster says she was fired without explanation and plans to sue her employer. Eka Mishveladze, one of the hosts on Channel 1, says her open-ended contract was terminated with no explanation and she

News

Interior Ministry answers critics about hidden cameras in police cars

by | Feb 10
ministry_of_internal_affairs

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Interior Ministry on Wednesday explained a proposal to place video cameras in unmarked police cars, which was criticized the day before. “Recently, the media have purposely replicated the opinions of the so-called

Minorities

Different versions of murder tell of divide in mixed Shia Sunni village

by | Feb 10
featured

TBILISI, DFWatch--A picture of a young man hangs in the yard of the Shia mosque in Ponichala, a suburb of Tbilisi known as Soghanlughi, or Soğanlıq in Azeri language. A note is attached to it, saying: ‘Your blood will annihilate Wahhabism and wash it off this land’.

News

Should unmarked police cars be equipped with video cameras?

by | Feb 10
police_line

TBILISI, DFWatch--A proposal to put cameras in unmarked police cars and use video recordings to fine drivers for traffic violations is met with suspicion in Georgia. According to the bill, police will be entitled to install secret video cameras in unmarked patrol

Minorities

LGBT organisations distance themselves from same-sex marriage initiative

by | Feb 10
Invisible Protest for May 17, 2014, Tbilisi, Georgia (DFWatch)

Tbilisi, DFWatch - LGBT rights organisations condemn Giorgi Tatishvili’s initiative for same-sex marriages as a provocation and accuse pro-Russian political and radical religious forces of interference. On 27 January, Giorgi Tatishvili, an activist

Economy

Georgia’s wine export up 13% in January

by | Feb 9
wine_glasses

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia exported 13 percent more wine in January, compared to the same period last year. According to the National Wine Agency, Georgia exported wine to 19 countries around the world. 1,521,802 bottles were exported, worth USD 2.62 million.

News

Georgia and Iran may resume visa-free travel

by | Feb 9
iran georgia flags

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Iran are considering reopening mutual visa-free travel for each other’s citizens, according to the Georgian prime minister. Such an arrangement existed between January 2011 and summer of 2013, until Georgia cancelled

News

Tbilisi airport will get new terminal building

by | Feb 9
tbilisi-airport

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new terminal building will be built at Tbilisi Airport, due to an increase in passenger numbers. The new terminal will be finished within an year. Giorgi Molodinashvili, Deputy Director of the Georgia’s Airports Union, told DF Watch that in spring,

Security

Georgia’s NATO accession debate too much focused on MAP: Minister

by | Feb 8
tina_khidasheli

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian defense minister says there has been too much focus on her country being approved for a formalized plan toward NATO membership, called a MAP, since the alliance can accept Georgia as a member directly, she argues. NATO

In brief

Swine flu claims its tenth victim in Georgia

by | Feb 8
zugdidi_hospital

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 36 year old man died in Georgia on Saturday after having contracted the H1N1 virus. He became the tenth victim of the swine flu outbreak. The deceased was from Gali in Abkhazia, and had come to Zugdidi to receive medical treatment.

In brief

Tbilisi airport to close runway during daytime for four months

by | Feb 6
Tbilisi_airport_planes

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi international will be closed during daytime for four months, starting from March 1, 2016, due to maintenance work on the runway. During dayttime, scheduled flights will either be cancelled or delayed. According to preliminary

Media

Maestro TV staff reject new owner and start new channel

by | Feb 6
maestro_building

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian TV company Maestro has been taken over by two brothers, one a rock singer and the other a former presidential candidate, but staff won’t let them into the building. Maestro’s majority owner is now Giorgi Gachechiladze, a rock singer

Minorities

Kist man claims ethnically motivated assault by Akhmeta police

by | Feb 6
aslani

Tbilisi, DFWatch - 24-years-old Aslan Tsutsashvili from Pankisi valley accuses Akhmeta police of physical assault on ethnic grounds. The incident allegedly

Minorities

Muslims in Batumi present 12,000 signatures in support of new mosque

by | Feb 5
Orta_Jame_mosque_Batumi_2014-04-25

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims gathered at the Orta Jame mosque in Batumi on Thursday and presented over 12,000 signatures in support of constructing a new mosque. Orta Jame is the only mosque in Batumi, Georgia’s second largest city, and it has been overcrowded

News

Georgia sending team to investigate sexual misconduct in CAR

by | Feb 5
defense_ministry

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian military police is preparing to send a team to the Central African Republic to investigate alleged sexual crimes committed there by Georgian soldiers. Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli said Wednesday that investigators require some

News

Transgender woman found dead in Tbilisi

by | Feb 5
remembrance_trans_2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A transgender woman was found dead in her apartment in Tbilisi on Thursday. She had apparently suffocated due to a gas leak. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) confirmed the death of Bianka Shigurova and said an investigation has been

In brief

Director of construction company accused of embezzling 600,000 USD

by | Feb 4
Zahesi_bridge

TBILISI, DFWatch--The director of a construction company was detained on Thursday accused of embezzlement of more than 1.5 million laris. According to the Finance Ministry’s investigation service, the company Construction-Commercial Corporation

News

Demonstration, comments, apologies follow MP’s Down’s syndrome slur

by | Feb 4
parliament  tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Gogi Topadze’s use of handicapist language provoked reaction from Georgia’s top politicians and a demonstration in Tbilisi’s center. MP Gogi Topadze’s use of Down’s syndrome as a term of abuse provoked a variety of reactions

In brief

Swine flu claims its ninth victim in Georgia

by | Feb 4
laboratory

TBILISI, DFWatch--Swine flu has claimed its ninth death in Georgia, according to National Center for Disease Control (NCDC). A young woman died two days ago in the Adjara region in the southwest of Georgia, and laboratory tests confirmed that she

News

Topadze’s use of Down’s syndrome as term of abuse stuns parliament

by | Feb 4
gogi_topadze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian parliament member Wednesday used Down’s syndrome as a term of abuse. Gogi Topadze, previously known for his praise of Stalin a few months ago, claimed that the president in his national address compared the Georgian

Roads update

Road closed north of Gudauri

by | Feb 4
gudauri_police_car_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--The S-3 road between the winter resort Gudauri and the village Kobi is closed due to high winds and poor visibility. Between Aragvispiri and Gudauri, and between Kobi and the Russian border at Larsi, trailers, semi-trailers and vehicles with

News

Eighth person dies of swine flu in Georgia

by | Feb 3
ambulance_hospital

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s eighth swine flu victim was a young man who had an accompanying disease. Amiran Gamkrelidze, director of the National Center of the Disease Control (NCDC), said the man died because he received treatment too late.

News

Parliament will consider making it a crime to offend religious feelings

by | Feb 3
eka_beselia_pirveli_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia might bring in a new law that makes it a crime to offend ‘religious feelings’. A member of parliament from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition has submitted a bill in parliament which was supported by the human rights committee. The bill

News

Georgian, Armenian Ministers of Defense sign cooperation agreement

by | Feb 3
1111

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Minister of Defence conducted a series of meetings with Armenia’s prominent politicians and commented on issues linked to Armenian–Georgian cooperation. Minister of Defense of Georgia Tinatin Khidasheli concluded her three-day

News

Georgia may amend Constitution to bar same-sex marriage

by | Feb 2
tomaradze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A controversy is brewing in Georgia over whether it should be written into the Constitution that a marriage is union between a man and a woman. The idea has been around at least since former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili suggested it in March

Politics

Georgian president will hold annual address to parliament on February 3

by | Feb 2
margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president’s annual state of the nation address will be delivered at the opening of the spring session of parliament on February 3. Giorgi Kverenchkhiadze, who is parliamentary secretary for President Giorgi Margvelashvili,

Elections

Georgian Dream wins with 70% of votes in Gardabani by-election

by | Feb 1
election_gardabani

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream coalition won the by-local election in Gardabani on Thursday. The election was necessary to find a replacement for Garsevan Nioradze, the recently deceased gamgebeli or head of municipality of Gardabani,

News

Georgia’s seventh swine flu victim did not have a chronic disease

by | Feb 1
mask_virus_h1n1

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man who died of swine in Georgia on Saturday did not suffer from any other disease. But there is no reason to panic, authorities say. “Unfortunately, we had one case when the virus resulted in the death of an almost healthy person,

News

Tbilisi Opera House reopened as protesters decry ‘Soviet’ style event

by | Feb 1
tbilisi_opera_opening_performance_2016_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Tbilisi Opera House was reopened Sunday after more than five years of rehabilitation works, protesters decried that the first performance was invitation-only. Protesters who had gathered at the entrance did not like the policy to not have tickets

News

Georgian soldiers accused of sexual misconduct in CAR

by | Jan 31
defense_ministry

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Defense Ministry has suspended six of its staff, including the deputy head of the joint military staff, pending an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by Georgian soldiers in the Central African Republic. Three girls in the Central

News

Georgian president visits valley Lavrov claims is IS training area

by | Jan 30
giorgi_margvelashvili_pankisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s president visited the Pankisi valley on Saturday, a few days after Russia’s foreign minister claimed that Islamic State militants are being trained there. Locals in Duisi, one of the villages in Pankisi in the northeast of Georgia, welcomed

News

5 dead, 6 injured in car crash

by | Jan 30
rikoti_traffic_accident_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people died and six were seriously injured in a car crash in northwestern Georgia on Friday. Two cars, a Ford and an Opel, crashed between the villages Lia and Jvari near Tsalenjikha in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti. The accident happened

News

Human Rights Watch finds indications of political persecution in Georgia

by | Jan 29
Saakashvili_library_paintbombed

TBILISI, DFWatch--In its latest world report, Human Rights Watch draws attention to a number of alleged violations in Georgia, including political persecution, pressure on the media and ill treatment. The first chapter on Georgia in the World Report 2016

News

Nearly 500 schools closed in Georgia due to weather and swine flu

by | Jan 28
closed_kindergarten_tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--468 schools are closed in Georgia on Thursday, according to the Ministry of Education. 267 schools are closed because of the swine flu outbreak and 201 are closed due to bad weather, mostly problems related to snow. “In order to prevent the spreading of the virus,

News

International Criminal Court approves 2008 war crimes probe

by | Jan 28
fatou_bensouda

TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved an investigation into alleged war crimes in the war between Russia and Georgia in 2008. The decision was made by the judges Joyce Aluoch, Cuno Tarfusser and Peter Kovacs. Prosecutor

News

Georgia to supply armored medevac vehicles to Saudi Arabia

by | Jan 27
didgori

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will supply Saudi Arabia with about 100 armored medical evacuation vehicles. Tuesday, the company Delta announced that it had won a tender announced by the Defense Ministry of Saudi Arabia, and the total value of the vehicles

News

Over 100 confirmed swine flu cases in Georgia

by | Jan 27
laboratory

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are 111 laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1, which causes swine flu. Four cases of the H3N2 virus have also been confirmed, the National Center of Disease Control said on Wednesday. Last week, the estimated infection

Security

Lavrov claims IS fighters are being trained in Georgia

by | Jan 27
Sergey-Lavrov

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that Islamic State fighters are being trained in the Pankisi valley in northern Georgia which was one of the reasons why Russia introduced stricter visa rules for Georgians. On Tuesday, Tbilisi

News

Schools, roads closed after heavy snowfall

by | Jan 26
batumi_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--Schools are closed in several municipalities in Georgia from Tuesday due to heavy snowfall. The Adjara region in the southwest of Georgia is particularly affected. According to Deputy Education Minister Lia Gigauri, all schools are closed

Economy

Georgian lari reaches historic low of 2.49 against USD

by | Jan 26
georgian_lari

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian national currency on Monday reached a new historic low of 2.4923 lari for one US dollar. The price of dollars in exchange booths and banks was more than 2.53 laris. On January 23, one US dollar was 2.4694. Since the lari was introduced

News

German expert to help save 900 years old tree at Erekle II’s palace

by | Jan 25
plane_tree_telavi_erekle_ii

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 900 years old plane tree next to the palace of King Erekle II (1762-98) is slowly dying, and the local municipality of Telavi is calling on the assistance of a German expert to help save it. In Telavi, seat of the 18th century king of Kartli

News

Georgian-born IS militant dies in Syria

by | Jan 25
Khvicha_Gobadze_and_Mikhad_Turkoshvili_ICK

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian citizen from Adjara who theratened his home country in an online video in November has died in Syria. The militant Khvicha Gobadze’s death was confirmed by his family, as well as the State Security Service. The Security Service did not offer

Roads update

On Telavi shortcut, drivers are required to use snow chains

by | Jan 25
gudauri_police_car_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--On the SH-38 between Verona and Shuamta, the shortest way between Tbilisi and Telavi, vehicles without four-wheel drive are required to use snow chains due to ice and snow. Heavy vehicles must be equipped with snow chains on the Tbilisi

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade went down 13% in 2015

by | Jan 24
ferro zestaponi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover in 2015 was 13 percent less than in 2014, excluding the unofficial economy. The trade with other countries amounted to USD 9.928 million, according to preliminary figures from the Georgian National Statistics Office (GeoStat).

Roads update

E-60 closed for heavy vehicles in Rikoti due to snow

by | Jan 24
rikoti

TBILISI, DFWatch--The E-60 is closed for heavy vehicles between Chumateleti and Khevi due to ice and heavy snowfall but other vehicles may pass freely. On the S-3 betwen Gudauri and Kobi near the Russian border, traffic is prohibited for all types of vehicles.

News

Fourth victim of swine flu in Georgia had H3N2 strain

by | Jan 23
amiran_gamkrelidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died of swine flu in Georgia on Thursday. He became the fourth victim of the disease in the last ten days. The middle aged man was suffering from a chronic lung disease. He was infected with the H3N2 virus, while the previous

Society

Health minister offers hospital own car to deal with swine flu

by | Jan 22
hospital_bed_mask

TBILISI, DFWatch--3,800 people in Tbilisi called the emergency number 112 only on Thursday as fear spread about the swine flu outbreak which has infected 9,000 people so far. Three people have died after being infected with the H1N1 virus that causes swine flu.

Roads update

S-7 open for traffic in north of Georgia near Russian border

by | Jan 22
plowing_snow_on_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--Trailers, semi-trailers and vehicles with more than 30 seats are now allowed to drive between Gudauri and Kobi on the S-7 road near Russian border. But due to snow and ice, large vehicles must be equipped with snow chains. According

News

Georgian police don skis to patrol winter resorts

by | Jan 22
ski_patrol_police_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--The police in Georgia has a new pilot project: ski patrol. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the ski patrol will observe people who are skiing at winter resorts and make sure they are following the rules. The policemen on skis will pay attention

News

Laid off Chiatura miners demand help from government

by | Jan 22
chiatura_miners_protest_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mine workers in Chiatura, a town in western Georgia, are protesting against a decision by their employer, Georgian Manganese, to halt mining work for four months due to failing demand. The workers have been temporarily laid off for

News

Third person dies of swine flu in Georgia – 9,000 now infected

by | Jan 21
AIDS_HIV_blood_test

TBILISI, DFWatch--A third person has died of swine flu in Georgia. The 68 year old patient suffered from a chronic disease, like the previous two victims of the H1N1 virus, and died in a hospital in Zugdidi on Thursday. The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said Thursday that are currently about 9,000 people in Georgia who have the virus, a considerable increase from the 3,000 estimate last Friday. But according to the center, the spread of the virus has not yet reached the level of an epidemic. 95 percent of those infected are currently undergoing medical treatment in their homes. NCDC spokesperson Paata Imnadze told Interpressnews that the third victim, who died on Thursday, was a woman who came from Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia to receive treatment. Health travels from Abkhazia has become a common practice in recent years, as it is closer and cheaper than seeking treatment in Russia.

News

Red Cross to host talks on missing persons in Georgian breakaway region

by | Jan 21
IPRM_2016-01-20

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of Georgia and the breakaway republic South Ossetia will hold talks about missing persons under the auspices of the International Red Cross. David Sanakoyev, who represents the de facto republic, announced

News

Swine flu claims second victim in Georgia

by | Jan 21
Kutaisi_hospital

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more person died of swine flu in Georgia on Wednesday. The middle aged man spent one day at the hospital before passing away. He was suffering from a separate illness which exacerbated his condition. There are nearly 3,000 people infected

Roads update

The S-7 closed in northern Georgia near Russian border

by | Jan 20
snow_road_trailer

TBILISI, DFWatch--The S-7 road is closed in the north of Georgia near the Russian border. The section between Gudauri and Kobi is closed due to snow, ice, wind and poor visibility. Between Aragvispiri and Gudauri, and between Kobi and the border crossing at Larsi,

News

Tbilisi Opera reopens after five year maintenance closure

by | Jan 20
Tbilisi_Opera

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Opera House is reopening on January 30 after a five year closure, but some are not pleased that tickets for the opening night are not available to the general public. The first work to be performed since the building was closed

Economy

EU approves 217 million euros for energy infrastructure, including TANAP

by | Jan 19
BP-pipeline

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU countries Tuesday approved 217 million euros in support for energy infrastructure in the south and southeast of the European continent, including a study of a gas pipeline to Europe from Turkmenistan, via Georgia. The 15 projects were selected

In brief

Remittances to Georgia down 12% in December

by | Jan 19
remittances_15_01_16_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--The amount of money sent home by Georgian emigres in December, 2015, was 12.2 percent lower than in the same period the year before. The total amount of so-called remittances was USD 101.9 million, according to the National Bank.

News

Two Georgians from Pankisi reported dead in Syria

by | Jan 19
Syria_IS_militant

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two militants from Pankisi in Georgia have reportedly died in the Syrian war. Information Center of Kakheti (ick.ge) names the two as Ramzan Pareulidze (24) and Mukhmad Turkoshvili (22). They were both from Pankisi Gorge, a valley

News

One person dies of swine flu in Tbilisi

by | Jan 19
mask_virus_h1n1

TBILISI, DFWatch--A patient in Tbilisi who was infected with the H1N1 or swine flu virus died a few days ago, the National Center of Disease Control said. There were 2,928 persons infected with swine flu in Georgia as of January 18. This is the only fatal case so far. The virus has spread

News

Prosecutor found murdered in Tbilisi, suspect commits suicide

by | Jan 18
vakhtang_kiria_murder

TBILISI, DFWatch--The top prosecutor in Georgia’s western region Samegrelo Zemo Svaneti was found dead in Tbilisi Saturday evening. The murder suspect has allegedly committed suicide. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) named the suspect in the murder

Youth

Iraqi students didn’t comply with residency requirements: Minister

by | Jan 16
tamar_sanikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Education Minister Tamar Sanikidze said on Friday that a handful of Iraqi students had their residency permits revoked because they didn't comply with the legal requirements. The students, who are attending Akaki Tsereteli

News

Georgian Orthodox Church given USD 185,000 from govt reserve fund

by | Jan 16
kvirikashvili-giorgi

TBILISI, DFWatch--A day after assuming office, Georgia’s new prime minister gave the Orthodox Church half a million laris from the government’s emergency reserve fund, it emerged on Friday. The Patriarchate of Georgia received 450,000 laris (more than USD 185,000)

News

Georgia’s negotiations with Gazprom continuing while critics protest

by | Jan 15
anti-gazprom_demonstration

TBILISI, DFWatch--A meeting between Georgian Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze and director of Gazprom Export Elena Burmistrova in Switzerland on December 27 has reignited a debate about Russian influence. It became known in late September

In brief

Road to Armenian border at Ninotsminda closed

by | Jan 15
akhaltsikhe_ninotsminda_road_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--Road restrictions on four roads in Georgia remained unchanged Thursday and Friday. In the south of Georgia, the S-11 is closed between Ninotsminda and the border with Armenia due to strong wind and poor visibility. Nearby,

Politics

Director of Ivanishvili’s Cartu Bank appointed deputy mayor of Tbilisi

by | Jan 15
giorgi_liluashvili_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of Cartu Bank was appointed deputy mayor of Tbilisi on Thursday. Presenting his new deputy, Mayor Davit Narmania said that Giorgi Liluashvili has the experience and skills necessary to be a good manager. He listed Liluashvili’s past positions,

News

Georgia marks Flag Day

by | Jan 14
flag_day_batumi_2015_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students raised flags at the local administration buildings in many parts of Georgia today to mark Flag Day. Flags were be raised in Batumi, Akhaltsikhe, Kazbegi, Akhmeta, Lagodekhi, Shindisi, Bolnisi and Marneuli, as well as on Enguri bridge,

Economy

Georgian airports served 12% more passengers in 2015

by | Jan 13
kutaisi_airport

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian airports served 12 percent more passengers in 2015 than the previous year, according to figures published on Tuesday by the Aviation Agency of the Ministry of Economy. Airports in Georgia served a record 2,261,006 passengers in 2015,

News

Georgia investigating case of Van Dyck painting that was for sale in Turkey

by | Jan 13
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--The investigation service of the Finance Ministry has launched an investigation into a Van Dyck painting which according to Turkish media was on sale after being illegally imported from Georgia. The investigation is being carried

In brief

Georgian released by South Ossetia

by | Jan 13
ditsi 2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto government of the breakaway republic South Ossetia Tuesday evening released Lasha Glurjidze, 21, after nine days in detention. Glurjidze was released after paying a 2,000 Ruble (USD 26) fine for ‘crossing the border’

Roads update

Improved road conditions in Tkibuli

by | Jan 13
snow_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic was restored Tuesday for heavy vehicles on the SH-17 between Tkibuli and Ambrolauri, according to the Roads Department. Road restrictions remain in place on three road sections in Georgia. Vehicles must use snow chains on the S-3

News

Three journalists attacked at restaurant in Tbilisi

by | Jan 13
tabula_journalists_attacked

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three journalists with an opposition-leaning television statin were attacked Tuesday evening in Tbilisi. Levan Sutidze, journalist of Tabula, wrote on his Facebook page that three people attacked three journalists of Tabula. In addition to himself,

Economy

Georgian Manganese halts mining work due to failing market demand

by | Jan 12
DSC_0372_copy_Chiatura_miners_2014-03-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Manganese is temporarily shutting down its mines western Georgia for four months due to a low demand for manganese. GM owns the mines in Chiatura, a mountain town in the western Imereti province. According to a statement issued

Youth

Iraqi students protested against revoked residency permits

by | Jan 12
iraqi_students2_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of Iraqi students protested in Kutaisi on Monday after having their residency permits revoked. The protest at Akaki Tsereteli State University involved up to ten Iraqi students, who asked the university to help them after the Ministry of Justice revoked

Roads update

Main Russia-Georgia road reopened for heavy vehicles

by | Jan 12
kazbegi_road_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--From Monday morning, heavy vehicles were again allowed to drive the S-3 road which runs from Mtskheta north of Tbilisi, into the Caucasus mountains and to the Russian border. But between Gudauri and Kobi, only vehicles fitted with

Roads update

Two road sections reopened: E-60 at Zestaponi, Gudauri-Kobi

by | Jan 11
gudauri_police_car_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--The E-60 was reopened for all traffic on Sunday, after having been closed for several days near Zestaponi due to flooding of a river. During the closure, smaller vehicles were rerouted via Baghdati on the section of the E-60 between Zestaponi and Kutaisi.

News

Girl (12) dies in skiing accident in Gudauri

by | Jan 11
skiing_

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 12-year-old girl died Sunday in Gudauri, a winter resort in northern Georgia, when a 18-year-old man lost control of his skis and crashed into her. The girl died on the spot, while the young man was injured and taken to the hospital in Gudauri.

News

Two detained in Turkey for trying to sell Van Dyck painting

by | Jan 10
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men were detained Friday in Turkey as they were attempting to sell a Van Dyck painting that had been allegedly illegally imported from Georgia. Turkish media reported that the painting was on sale for USD 14 million but had allegedly

News

Here are the roads you should avoid right now in Georgia

by | Jan 9
plowing_snow_on_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are still several roads in Georgia that remain closed to all traffic due to the weather. We bring you the latest information from the Roads Department. The road from Tbilisi to the winter resort Gudauri was reopened on Saturday

Politics

Zalkaliani of the Free Democrats appointed deputy foreign minister

by | Jan 9
davit_zalkaliani2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday as expected appointed Davit Zalkaliani as deputy foreign minister, the same position he held before resigning in November 2014. Zalkaliani was deputy foreign minister from 2012 to 2014, but resigned when his party

News

Road restrictions in Svaneti, Kazbegi, Ninotsminda, Zestaponi

by | Jan 9
road_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several roads in Georgia are now closed or have traffic restrictions due to the weather conditions, according to the Roads Department’s January 8 update. S-3 The S-3 (Mtskheta-Stepantsminda-Larsi) is closed for all vehicles between

News

Georgia’s National Bank refuses to fund new Finance Supervisory Agency

by | Jan 8
national_bank

TBILISI, DFWatch--The newly created Finance Supervisory Agency is still not operational because the National Bank refuses to fund it. The agency has now asked parliament to provide direct financing. The agency was split from the National Bank

News

Three missing hunters detained by border guards in Dagestan, Russia

by | Jan 8
search_area_Lagodekhi_small

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three hunters who were missing for almost ten days near Lagodekhi in the northeastern corner of Georgia have been detained by border guards in Dagestan for illegal border crossing. The four men went hunting on December 28, but only

Politics

Former deputy foreign minister who left post is reappointed

by | Jan 7
zalkaliani_davit

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former deputy foreign minister from the opposition Free Democrats Party is to return to his post following a proposal by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. The Free Democrats party, which came to power in 2012 as part of the

News

E60 closed near Zestaponi, difficult driving conditions on many roads

by | Jan 6
gudauri_snow_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Road Department of the Infrastructure Ministry informs that trailers and semi-trailers from today are allowed to drive between Igoeti and Khevi on the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road. Restrictions have been lifted for all types of vehicles

Economy

Georgia’s export of wine down 39% in 2015

by | Jan 6
Georgian_wine_Crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--The export of Georgian wine went down by 39 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. Georgia exported more than 36 million bottles (0.75l) of wine to 46 countries, worth more than USD 98.1 million, according to a report published

In brief

Wizz Air flights rerouted from Kutaisi to Tbilisi

by | Jan 5
Kutaisi_plane

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bad weather in western Georgia has led to Wizz Air’s flights to and from Kutaisi airport being redirected to Tbilisi on Tuesday. According to United Airports of Georgia, the following flights have been scheduled on January 5: A flight from Tbilisi to Warsaw

Security

Two Georgians detained by Russian forces in Bershueti

by | Jan 5
bershueti_razor_wire_fence

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgians were detained by Russian border guards on Monday at the delineation line around the breakaway territory South Ossetia. Saba Sekhniashvili and Lasha Glurjidze were trying to go to the Trinity Church, which lies in the village Bershueti.

Environment

Traffic problems in midst of massive snowfall in Georgia

by | Jan 4
batumi_beach_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--Intense snowfall and strong wind is causing trouble for drivers on the E60 highway through Georgia and Batumi's palm trees are covered in white. The Road Department now calls on everyone to avoid the Zestaponi-Senaki section of the E60

News

Search for three missing near Lagodekhi continues by ground and helicopter

by | Jan 4
search_lagodekhi

TBILISI, DFWatch--A search is continuing by ground crews and helicopter for three people who have been missing for eight days in the Lagodekhi area in eastern Georgia near the border with Azerbaijan (see map). Information about the missing people

News

Tbilisi waste collectors resume strike

by | Jan 4
waste_collectors_on_strike

TBILISI, DFWatch--Part of the waste collectors in the capital resumed their strike on Monday, demanding a full payment of their holiday bonus. The workers went on a strike last week, demanding increase of the pay and receiving the so-called 13th salary. Their demands remain the same.

In brief

Wizz Air plane unable to land at Kutaisi airport due to bad weather

by | Jan 4
kutaisi_snow_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several flights were cancelled due to bad weather on Monday at Kutaisi airport in the west of Georgia. Interpressnews reports that heavy snowfall resulted in the cancelling of the flight from Warsaw to Kutaisi and the return flight from Kutaisi to Warsaw due

Economy

7% increase in visitors to Georgia in 2015

by | Jan 3
ski_lift_bakuriani

TBILISI, DFWatch--The steady increase in visitors continued in December, with seven percent more people arriving last month, compared to the same period in 2014. In the year as a whole, there was also a seven percent increase, according to a new monthly report

In brief

Three persons missing in eastern Georgia

by | Jan 3
snow_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--A search is on for three men who went missing in Lagodekhi, in the eastern part of Georgia, three days ago. Rustavi 2 reports that four men went hiking in the village Mskhalgori four days ago, but they were separated in the strong wind and snowfall.

In brief

Traffic restrictions on mountain roads in Georgia due to snow and ice

by | Jan 2
snow_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--Snow and ice has made several roads unsafe for large vehicles. Here is the list of traffic restrictions published by the Road Department. On a section of the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road stretching from the 138 km mark to the 157 km mark,

News

New PM promised better future for families in New Year’s address

by | Jan 1
Giorgi_Kvirikashvili2

TBILISI, DFWatch--In his New Year’s speech, Georgia’s new prime minister promised a better future for families in 2016. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili wished everyone peace, good health and well-being. “Happy New Year to all of you who work

Politics

The government needs renewal, says GD founder Ivanishvili

by | Dec 31
bidzina_ivanishvili_

TBILISI, DFWatch--There is a need for new people in the Georgian Dream government, businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili said Wednesday evening, in his first public comments on the change of prime minister and other recent developments in the coalition

News

Police officer injured in shooting dies

by | Dec 31
maia_javakhishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A female police officer who was injured in a shooting on Wednesday in Telavi died later the same day. Maia Javakhishvili was injured during a shooting in front of a police station, while her partner, Captain Gela Lamazoshvili, died on the spot.

In brief

19 year old shoots, kills police officer

by | Dec 30
telavi_police_shooting

TBILISI, DFWatch--A policeman was shot and killed on Wednesday outside the police station in Telavi, a town in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region. The officer, Gela Lamazoshvili, died on the spot. A female police officer was also injured in the shooting

News

Tbilisi’s waste collectors on strike

by | Dec 30
cleaning_workers_on_strike

TBILISI, DFWatch--Part of the capital’s waste collectors and street sweepers went on strike on Wednesday morning, demanding a 50 percent pay increase. Employees showed up today at the office of Tbilservice, the company responsible for keep Tbilisi clean.

Politics

Georgian parliament approves new Kvirikashvili government

by | Dec 30
giorgi_kvirikashvili4

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament approved the new government on Tuesday by 86 votes against 28. Lawmakers debated the government program all day, sparring with new Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili into late night hours. Both the two

News

South Ossetia prepares to add ‘Alania’ to its name

by | Dec 30
leonid tibilov

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of the breakaway region South Ossetia has ordered a proposal to be put before the elected assembly about changing the entity’s name to South Ossetia - Alania. Along with the proposed name change, a referendum

News

Citizens’ appeal for pardoning fmr Tbilisi mayor rejected by president

by | Dec 29
gigi_ugulava

TBILISI, DFWatch--A citizens’ appeal to pardon former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava has been rejected by President Giorgi Margvelashvili. Ugulava has been in detention since July 2014. His supporters argue that there have been committed several violations

Politics

Incoming PM defends economic policy

by | Dec 29
giorgi_kvirikashvili3

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's prime minister in waiting defended his handling of the economic crisis as he answered questions from parliamentarians on Monday ahead of a confirmation vote today, Tuesday. As expected, Giorgi Kvirikashvili's tenure as economy minister

News

Pentagon denies capture of IS commander from Pankisi

by | Dec 29
Undated photo of Abu Omar

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Pentagon has denied the capture of Islamic State commander Omar Al-Shishani, a citizen of Georgia whose birth name is Tarkhan Batirashvili. A spokesperson for the U.S. Defense Department told Ria Novosti that the information

News

IS commander from Pankisi reportedly captured by US/Kurdish commandos

by | Dec 28
umar-al-shishani

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tarkhan Batirashvili, a.k.a. Abu Omar al-Shishani, a notorious IS field commander from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, was reportedly seized by Kurdish and American commandos in Northern Iraq on Friday. Abu Omar’s arrest was reported by the Russian

News

Controversial appointment of judge to the Appeals Court

by | Dec 28
levan_murusidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s High Council of Justice on Friday appointed a new judge to the Appeals Court who was criticized as one of the court officials who decided to go easy on of those involved in the murder of a bank employee in 2006. The murder of Sandro Girgvliani

Politics

New PM plans no changes in cabinet – for now

by | Dec 27
giorgi_kvirikashvili2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the designated new prime minister of Georgia, plans to present his cabinet tomorrow. The list is expected to be almost identical to the current government, but he does not rule out changes in the future. The former vice prime minister

Minorities

Petition for new mosque in Batumi collects 5,000 signatures in one day

by | Dec 27
DSC_0424_Friday_prayer_Batumi_2014-04-25

TBILISI, DFWatch--Supporters of a second mosque in Batumi began collecting signatures Friday. The city on Georgia’s Black Sea coast is largely Muslim but the only mosque has been overcrowded for decades. Signatures were collected at a corner of the Orta Jame

News

Credit card fraud ring busted in Georgia

by | Dec 26
credit_cards

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigation service have detained a group of ten people for manufacturing fake credit cards and stealing more than 1.5 million laris. Investigators describe the case as ‘a large-scale international crime.’ The ten are suspected of illegally

Politics

President supports Kvirikashvili as new PM and asks parliament for approval

by | Dec 26
margvelashvili-kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili Friday supported the ruling coalition’s nominee, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as candidate for new prime minister and asked parliament to approve him. The president’s administration supported Kvirikashvili’s candidacy

News

Georgian president pardons 238 prisoners

by | Dec 26
giorgi_margvelashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president pardoned 238 prisoners on Friday, 18 of whom were women and three minors. According to Zviad Koridze, head of the president’s pardon commission, 172 prisoners will leave jail today. 11 of them are women and two are minors.

In brief

Man who had surgery says police hit him in the face

by | Dec 25
ozurgeti_police_car

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office has launched an investigation into an incident where a man was allegedly beaten by police officers. The Public Defender wrote on Thursday that a person had surgery at the central hospital in Tbilisi on November 10,

In brief

Georgia’s association agreement with EU comes into force

by | Dec 25
irakli_garibashvili--IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch--Belgium became the last member country to add its consent to Georgia’s association agreement with the European Union on Thursday. The agreement has now been ratified by all 28 member states as well as EU's own institutions

News

Giorgi Kvirikashvili named as candidate for PM

by | Dec 25
giorgi_kvirikashvili_appointed_PM

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition has agreed on Giorgi Kvirikashvili as their candidate for new prime minister, as replacement for Irakli Garibashvili, who resigned Wednesday evening. Kvirikashvili is former vice prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.

In brief

New Georgian government expected before New Year

by | Dec 24
davit-usupashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The deadline for parliament to approve a new government is 14 or 15 January, 2016, but the procedure may finish before New Year, Georgia’s speaker of parliament said Thursday. Irakli Garibashvili announced his resignation last night

Politics

GD coalition to discuss new PM at session Friday

by | Dec 23
giorgi_kvirikashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The candidate for new prime minister will be discussed at a session of the Georgian Dream coalition on Friday, the speaker of parliament said Wednesday evening after the PM announced his resignation. Speaker Davit Usupashvili

News

Georgian PM resigns without specifying reasons nor naming successor

by | Dec 23
irakli_garibashvili_leaving_office

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced his resignation in a brief TV address on Wednesday, after more than two years in the post. He did not state any specific reasons for leaving, nor offer advice on who his successor should be, which ultimately

News

Georgian PM expected to resign, to hold special briefing at 8pm

by | Dec 23
Garibashvili is expected to resign on Wednesday (IPN)

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili may announce his resignation at a special briefing planned at his office on Wednesday, at 8pm Tbilisi time. The PM's resignation was reported earlier by Georgian news agencies, and although

News

Prisoner participates in singing contest, is pardoned and given car

by | Dec 23
teona_kolbaia_georgian_voice1

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman who has twice been convicted of robbery is a participant in the talent show Voice of Georgia. Tuesday, she was told live during the show that she has been pardoned and given a car. The Voice accepted Teona Kolbaia during casting

In brief

Police looking for taxi driver who assaulted women passengers

by | Dec 23
taxi_sign_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have identified a taxi driver in Tbilisi who allegedly beat a woman who rejected his attempts at physical contact. The suspect has not yet been apprehended, but an investigation has been launched based on article 125

News

Margvelashvili declares 2016 the Year of the European State

by | Dec 23
giorgi_margvelashvili_order_of_queen_tamar_irine_enukidze_guram_girgvliani

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday declared 2016 as the Year of the European State. He made the announcement at a ceremony to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of founding of the National Guard. The president said

News

Russia introduces simplified visa rules for Georgians

by | Dec 22
kremlin

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia is beginning a process of simplifying visa rules for Georgian citizens, a few days after the EU published a positive final report about fulfillment of a visa liberalization action plan. The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that

News

Georgian politician bit off colleague’s ear

by | Dec 22
Emiko_Peikrishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A local politician in Georgia bit off part of the ear of a colleague during a fight on Monday. Emiko Peikrishvili, the former head of Kareli municipality in the Shida Kartli region, bit off a small part of the ear of Ilia Kelekhsashvili, assistant to the current municipal

Sport

Georgian football official dies after being hit by police car

by | Dec 22
davit_petriashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian football official died in a car accident Tuesday morning. Davit Petriashvili (46) was hit by a police car in the center of Tbilisi and died on the spot. Petriashvili who used to manage relations between the Georgian Football Federation

News

Man sentenced to life for murdering policeman

by | Dec 21
shalva_abuladze_in_court

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man in Georgia was Monday sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a policeman and trying to murder four other police officers. According to Shalva Khachapuridze, a lawyer representing the murder convict Shalva Abuladze,

News

Tbilisi woman denies murdering husband and son

by | Dec 21
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman suspected of murdering her husband and son denies committing the crime, claiming that she doesn’t know what happened but was trying to save her husband when she found him. The woman was questioned about the case and the court

Environment

E60 through Georgia cut off by flood for the third time

by | Dec 21
chkhara

TBILISI, DFWatch--A section of the E60, the main highway east-west through Georgia, has once more been cut off because a river spilled over its banks near Kutaisi. The damaged section is the 206th km of the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road, the same section which

Politics

NDI poll shows small Georgian Dream lead, voters still indifferent

by | Dec 21
NDI_which_party_closest_2011-Nov2015_440x369

TBILISI, DFWatch--A poll published on Monday shows the ruling Georgian Dream coalition back in the lead, and a surge in voters' apathy slightly abating. The latest National Democratic Institute (NDI) poll, carried out in late November, early December, shows that if there

News

Proposal to prevent NGOs and media from ‘insulting traditional values’

by | Dec 21
levan_vasadze--

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian businessman has proposed to create a commission to prevent media and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from insulting the country’s traditional values. Levan Vasadze, who formally has status as ‘knight’

In brief

Tbilisi woman allegedly killed husband and son

by | Dec 21
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman was arrested in Tbilisi on Sunday suspected of murdering her husband and five-year-old son. According to investigators, the woman, who is about 26 years old, injured her two year older husband by hitting him in the head with

In brief

Man arrested for robbing churches in Kakheti

by | Dec 20
monastery_rustaveli_street_in_kvareli

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have arrested a man accused of robbing four churches in Kakheti, a province in the eastern part of Georgia, a few days ago. Investigators say the man, who is about 21 years old, was arrested at night while attempting to rob

NGO news

Groups find shortfalls in Georgia’s attempts to live up to EU agreement

by | Dec 18
open_society_georgia_report_Dec2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Non-governmental organizations on Friday presented a report about how Georgia is doing in fulfilling its requirements under an association agreement signed with EU in 2014. The report outlines progress in some fields, but also problems

Security

Georgian Defense Ministry announces contracts for military service

by | Dec 18
georgian soldiers afghanistan isaf

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Defense Ministry this week announced vacancies for joining the military on a contractual basis. The contracts offered have a four year term and are available for persons between 18 and 35 year, and youth who have served compulsory military

Europe

EU Commission approves visa-free travel for Georgians

by | Dec 18
visa_passport_2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Commission announced Friday that Georgia has fulfilled a stepwise plan toward visa liberalization. This could mean that as early as in mid 2016, Georgian citizens will be able to travel without a visa to countries in the Schengen area, which apart

News

Ukraine’s Avakov in shouting match with Saakashvili at council meeting

by | Dec 17
Arsen_Avakov_Mikhkeil_Saakashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov Wednesday published a video showing a quarrel between him and Mikheil Saakashvili, Governor of Odessa, and former President of Georgia. The video shows them bickering and Avakov

Security

Alleged IS plot, Russian helicopter overflight topics at IPRM

by | Dec 17
Afghan_Mi-8M_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--An alleged New Year’s terror plot by Islamic State and an airspace violation by a Russian helicopter were some one of the topics at a regular field meeting about the conflict over the breakaway territory South Ossetia on Wednesday. The meeting

News

Over thirty witnesses questioned in pardon-fixing case

by | Dec 17
aleko_elisashvili2

TBILISI, DFWatch--The question of whether politicians tried to use their influence to fast-track the pardoning of certain prisoners was no closer to being settled Wednesday, after prosecutors had questioned at least 30 people. Prosecutor Koka Katsitadze said he doesn’t

In brief

Storm rips off roof in Tbilisi, leaving three families homeless

by | Dec 16
roof-wind-dadiani-street

TBILISI, DFWatch--High winds destroyed the roof of a house in Tbilisi on Wednesday, leaving three families homeless. The wind also tore down a tree on Dadiani Street, which damaged electricity transmission lines, as a result of which households living on the street were left

News

Two year old swallowed firecracker hidden in bag of chips

by | Dec 15
iashvili_clinic_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Food Agency calls on parents to be careful during the Christmas period after a two-year old accidentally swallowed a firecracker hidden inside a package of sweet corn chips. The boy didn’t notice the firecracker among the chips and swallowed it.

News

Former pardon commission head questioned again

by | Dec 15
aleko_elisashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The the former head of the president’s pardon commission was questioned at the Prosecutor General’s Office on Monday. Aleko Elisashvili claims he was pressured by authorities to give a favorable decision in the cases of specific prisoners,

In brief

Georgia’s foreign trade down 14% Jan-Nov

by | Dec 15
poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first eleven months of 2015 was 14 percent less than in the same period last year, according to preliminary figures published by the National Statistics Department. The total turnover amounted to USD 8,892 million,

News

Vice speaker confirms asking to fast-track prisoners’ bid for pardon

by | Dec 14
manana_kobakhidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--The vice speaker of the Georgian parliament confirms that she approached the president’s pardon commission and requested to have certain prisoners pardoned. The admission came after a newspaper published information based on

Economy

First train on new China-Turkey route welcomed in Tbilisi

by | Dec 14
china_turkey_train_silk_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--The first train along a new route from China to Turkey, bypassing Russia, arrived in Tbilisi Sunday morning. The arrival of the 21 wagon train, whose final destination is Istanbul, marks the official opening of the Silk Road, the Georgian

News

Four dead bodies discovered in Georgia near border with Turkey

by | Dec 13
vladimer_gogidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four dead bodies were discovered in Khelvachauri in southwestern Georgia on Saturday, four kilometers from the border with Turkey. The four bodies were frozen and almost covered in snow, and allegedly belong to citizens of Bangladesh.

News

Georgia’s Ministry of Economy scores lowest in openness survey

by | Dec 12
Giorgi_Kldiashvili__IDFI_and_Keti_Khustishvili_Director_of_OSGF_DFWatch_photo

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Economic Development is the most closed public institution in Georgia, in terms of providing public information. This is one of the findings in a new report published Friday by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

News

Did government officials interfere with pardoning of prisoners?

by | Dec 11
aleko_elisashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Government officials tried to pressure the president’s pardon commission into releasing certain prisoners, former commission head Aleko Elisashvili claims. The current head of the pardon commission, Zviad Koridze, says he can confirm Elisashvili’s

In brief

Georgian volunteer killed in Ukraine’s Donbass

by | Dec 10
marupol

Two Ukrainian militiamen, including Irakli Kutelia, an ethnic Georgian volunteer, were killed on Wednesday afternoon and seven others were injured as their infantry fighting vehicle ran over a mine near Donetsk, Ukrainian and Georgian media report.

Economy

Georgia: Direct foreign investments slump 33% in third quarter

by | Dec 9
Healthy_Water_Dimitri_Kumsishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Direct foreign investments in Georgia was 33 percent lower in the third quarter of 2015 than in the same period last year, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Department. Direct foreign investments amounted to USD 489 million

News

Georgian man will not face trial for marrying 13 year old

by | Dec 9
adjara_prosecutor_office

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man who married a 13 year old girl and now has two children by her will not face trial for sexual relations with a minor, prosecutors have decided. Nadim Paksadze, who is now 21, was under investigation for marrying a minor, which has become

In brief

Construction worker dies at Sinohydro’s Kobuleti bypass road

by | Dec 9
new_kobuleti_road

TBILISI, DFWatch--A construction worker died on Tuesday during work on a bypass road near Kobuleti in western Georgia. The 40-year-old man is said to have fallen from a 20-meter tall bridge and died from multiple injuries. An investigation has been launched

News

274 Georgian prisoners in Turkey may be gathered in one facility

by | Dec 8
prison_ministry_plaque

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is in negotiations with Turkey about locating all 274 Georgian prisoners in that country in the same jail. The Georgian prison minister visited Turkey’s justice minister Tuesday and discussed conditions of Georgian prisoners,

In brief

995 have applied for asylum in Georgia

by | Dec 8
public_defender

TBILISI, DFWatch--By October, 995 persons had applied for asylum in Georgia, while 1,192 people were living here under protection of international law, according to a new report by the Public Defender. The report, which was published on Monday, shows that

News

Georgian Orthodox Church clarifies statement about pardoning prisoners

by | Dec 7
Patriarchate

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Orthodox Church issued a short statement Sunday evening explaining that Patiarch Ilia II never meant to ask for legislative amendments to grant him the right to pardon prisoners. December 5, the patriarch attended a performance by women prisoners at Rustaveli Theatre,

In brief

Strike ends at BP South Caucasus pipeline expansion

by | Dec 7
BP_pipeline_workers

TBILISI, DFWatch--A strike among workers on the BP South Caucasus pipeline expansion has ended without drama as management fulfilled the main demand, but workers who were fired have not been given their jobs back. Three days ago, nearly 200 workers

News

Patriarch of Georgia asks for power to pardon prisoners

by | Dec 6
ilia_ii

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the Georgian Orthodox Church has asked for the power to pardon prisoners. Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II said Saturday that he thinks a patriarch should be able to pardon prisoners and added that he has spoken with the prime minister

News

Georgia revokes Saakashvili’s citizenship

by | Dec 4
mikheil_saakashvili_senate_foreign_affairs_committee

TBILISI, DFWatch--The current president of Georgia on Friday revoked the citizenship of his predecessor, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now governor of Odessa in Ukraine. Georgian legislation doesn’t allow dual citizenship. Since Saakashvili became a citizen of Ukraine

In brief

Man arrested in Tbilisi for stealing computer from mosque

by | Dec 4
mosque_in_tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police Friday detained a suspect who allegedly robbed a mosque in Tbilisi. The suspect, a 22 year old man, secretly snuck into a mosque in the old part of Tbilisi and stole a computer from a room used by Mullahs, and then went into hiding, according to the Interior Ministry.

Minorities

Shots fired at Jehovah’s Witnesses house in Tbilisi – again

by | Dec 3
jehovas_witnesses_kingdom_hall_vazisubani

TBILISI, DFWatch--For a second time in one week, gunshots have been fired at a congregation hall used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tbilisi. Monday morning, someone fired shots at the Kingdom Hall building in Vazisubani, a suburb in the Georgian capital.

News

200 workers on strike at BP South Caucasus pipeline expansion

by | Dec 3
BP-pipeline

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 200 workers went on strike Wednesday morning at BP’s South Caucasus gas pipeline expansion project in southern Georgia. Their demands are to increase their reduced working hours and reduced salaries, and to get paid for working on weekends

News

Seven percent more visitors in Georgia so far this year

by | Dec 2
tourists

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were 6.9 percent more visitors to Georgia during the last eleven months, compared to the same period last year, according to the Interior Ministry. There is no official data about how many of visitors are tourists, but the MIA counts the number

News

Georgia confirms arrest of four linked to IS

by | Dec 1
levan izoria2

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian intelligence service Tuesday confirmed the arrest of four persons for links to Islamic State. Levan Izoria, Deputy Head of the State Security Service, said at a briefing that the four openly support the ideology of the terrorist organization known as ISIS.

In brief

Road Department warns: Slippery roads in north of Georgia

by | Nov 30
akhaltsikhe_ninotsminda_road_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Road Department in Georgia warns that there are traffic restrictions in mountainous areas. Due to frost, trailers, semi-trailers and other vehicles with more than 30 seats are asked to use snow chains from the 80km to 136km section

News

TV channel reports four detained in Georgia for links to Islamic State

by | Nov 30
MIA_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian TV channel reported Sunday that special forces had arrested a person in the west of the country for allegedly being affiliated with Islamic State. The TV channel also reported that a further three persons were arrested a day before the special

Environment

Flood prevention work begins in Tbilisi hills to prevent new disaster

by | Nov 29
tskneti_flood

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall has begun clean-up work on the Tskneti-Betania road close to the capital, which was the origin of a landslide that caused a flood wave in Tbilisi in June, 2015. City Hall said on Saturday that experts have finished examining

News

South Ossetia field meeting ends in feast

by | Nov 27
20151126-IPRM-

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of Georgia and the breakaway region South Ossetia met on Thursday for a regular field meeting, ending it with a feast. The meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms have been held regularly since

In brief

Eleven detained in Georgia for attempting to jump Turkish border

by | Nov 27
sarpi_border

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian border police arrested nine Bangladeshi and two Turkish citizens on Thursday for illegally trying to cross the border with Turkey. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the group was attempting to cross the border in an area near Akhaltsikhe,

Minorities

Jehovah’s Witnesses house in Tbilisi fired at

by | Nov 26
Jehovas_Witnesses__in_Khobi__Georgia

TBILISI, DFWatch--A house used by Jehovah’s Witnesses was fired at in Tbilisi on Monday night. Witnesses say they heard sounds of shots at about 23:00. At least 15 bullets were fired at the building. No-one was injured. Representatives of the Kingdom Hall

Society

School children held performance to show what early marriage means

by | Nov 26
early_marriage_01

TBILISI, DFWatch--School children appeared outside the government office on Wednesday, enacting scenes where they were forced to abandon their dreams in order to become a wife and mother. The street performance was staged by the Georgian Women’s

Society

Debate on the need of pro-social labour reforms

by | Nov 26
2015-11-25 14

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Debate between the representatives of the government and different interest groups intensifies as pro-social labour market reforms are being implemented. On 25 November, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Georgia hosted the

News

Opposition party calls off hunger strike against election fraud

by | Nov 25
irma_inashvili_c

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists from a Georgian opposition party which claimed a recent election was falsified called off their 16-day hunger strike on Tuesday after meeting with parliamentarians. Irma Inashvili, the Alliance of Patriots’ candidate for parliament in in October’s by-election

News

479 foreigners barred from entering Georgia since Paris attacks

by | Nov 24
sapri_border_crossing

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the ten days that have passed since the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, law enforcers in Georgia have prevented 479 foreigners from entering the country. One Georgian citizen and 31 foreign citizens have been detained for

News

ISIS threatens Georgia in new video

by | Nov 24
nino_giorgobiani_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--The terror group ISIS threatened Georgia in a video appeal on Sunday recorded in the Georgian language with Russian subtitles. The intelligence service is examining the clip but have not yet made detailed comments. Local media have researched

News

Russian border guards detain three on South Ossetia perimeter

by | Nov 23
adzvi_border

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three people were detained by Russian soldiers on Monday in a village near the disputed border with South Ossetia. Locals in the village Adzvi told the television channel Imedi that the three were planning to go to a church which lies near

News

Suspected ISIS fighter arrested in Georgia

by | Nov 23
davit_borchashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested in Georgia Saturday suspected of being connected with ISIS. Davit Borchashvili was arrested as he arrived at Tbilisi airport after having been extradited from Turkey. After his arrest, he was sent to hospital where he is currently receiving

In brief

Traffic restrictions many places in Georgia due to heavy snowfall

by | Nov 22
paravani_snow

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Road Department has established restrictions on road throughout the country due to heavy snowfall that started Saturday morning. From 188km to 198km of Zugdidi-Jvari-Mestia-Lasdili road in Svaneti and 142km to 157km of the

News

Georgian opera singer considers going into politics

by | Nov 21
paata_burchuladze

TBILISI, DFWatch--A famous Georgian opera singer and philanthropist is considering going into politics as less than a year remains until the parliamentary election. Paata Burchuladze, a world-renowned operatic bass and in Georgia also known

News

Russia considering visa liberalization for Georgian citizens

by | Nov 21
zurab_abashidze_-_grigory_karasin

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Russia are considering simplifying visa rules. This became clear as diplomats from the two countries met in Prague on Thursday to discuss transport, communication and humanitarian issues. During the regular Prague meeting,

News

Two miners injured in Chiatura, Georgia

by | Nov 20
chiatura_miner

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two mine workers were injured Thursday as result of an accident at a manganese mine in Chiatura, a town in western Georgia. According to Tamaz Dolaberidze, head of the mining and metallurgical workers’ trade union, the accident took

Europe

Georgian PM accuses Saakashvili party of undermining visa liberalization

by | Nov 20
irakli_gharibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister has accused opposition MPs of influencing members of the European Parliament to not accept visa-free travel for Georgian citizens as long as the current government is in power. PM Irakli Garibashvili

News

‘Islam Is Not Terrorism’ rally in Tbilisi attracts few participants

by | Nov 19
IMG_1629

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A small group of activists protested against equating Islam with terrorism in the wake of Paris terrorist attacks. Ten activists gathered in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi on 18 November for ‘Islam Is Not Terrorism’ rally. The activists held posters saying ‘Terrorism has no religion’, ‘Pray for Syria’, ‘Pray for Africa’, and ‘ISIS is not Islam’, among others. The rally follows a larger gathering on 14 November, when up to 200 people commemorated the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and expressed their solidarity with France. ‘We gathered here to remind everyone that religion isn’t connected to terrorism. Georgia is a multicultural state where people of different religions live. We won’t achieve anything by stigmatising religions. We condemn terrorism, but not religion, which has, as such, little to do with terrorism’, Grigol Gegelia, one of the event’s organisers, told DF Watch. ‘Our aim is to show to the world that Islam doesn’t equal terrorism. Religion doesn’t preach violence, but all of us should fight terrorism and violence in its all forms. It is important to separate a ...

News

Anti-Gazprom rally outside Ivanishvili’s residence

by | Nov 19
anti-gazprom

TBILISI, DFWatch--Businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s residence in Tbilisi was Wednesday besieged by protesters opposed to the government’s negotiations with the Russian company Gazprom. In September, the Energy Minister revealed that there have been

Security

Stricter border checks for Africans and Asians arriving in Georgia

by | Nov 19
vakhtang_gomelauri

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is introducing stricter border checks for visitors from Africa and Asia in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Head of Georgian intelligence Vakhtnag Gomelauri said on Wednesday after a session of the Crisis Management Council that the measures

Politics

Opposition activists on hunger strike taken to hospital

by | Nov 18
alliance_of_patriots_hunger_strike

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several members of the party Alliance of Patriots were taken to the hospital on Tuesday after going on a hunger strike ten days ago. Emzar Kvitsiani, Manana Abuseridze, Lali Khutsishvili and Ada Marshania were brought to Chapidze clinic, while

Security

Dozens suspected ISIS recruits prevented from entering Georgia

by | Nov 17
levan_izoria

TBILISI, DFWatch--An intelligence official in Georgia says dozens of foreigners have been prevented from entering Georgia, because they were suspected of preparing to go to Syria to join ISIS. Deputy head of the State Security Service Levan Izoria told Maestro TV that the government

News

Flood severs main highway through Georgia – again

by | Nov 17
E60_tbilisi-senaki-leselidze_flood

TBILISI, DFWatch--A section of the E60, the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road in western Georgia, was damaged again on Sunday due to flooding. This is the second time flooding has damaged the road. After flooding hit a few days ago, repair work allowed the road

Security

Georgian intelligence investigating websites supporting ISIS

by | Nov 16
nino_giorgobiani

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian intelligence is investigating a Georgian-language blog which publishes propaganda material from the terrorist organization the Islamic State, or ISIS. Georgian users on Facebook Monday shared a link to the website, and called for help

In brief

First wind farm in Georgia to begin construction in February

by | Nov 16
wind_farm

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s energy ministry last week announced a tender for building the country’s first wind farm. According to Giorgi Bezhuashvili, the director of Georgian Energy Development Fund, the turbines are already in Georgia and installation of them

News

Tbilisians commemorate victims of Paris attacks

by | Nov 15
support_france_after_paris_terror

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi residents gathered Saturday evening in front of parliament to show solidarity with France following the terrorist attacks in Paris. Up to 200 people gathered in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi in order to commemorate the

In brief

Authorities in Georgia increase security measures after Paris terror

by | Nov 15
nino_giorgobiani_Cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Georgia are tightening security after the terrorist attacks in Paris. A spokesperson for the State Security Service said on Saturday that there are stricter security measures in force at border crossings and airports. There are also enhanced security measures

News

Georgians express support for France after Paris terror attacks

by | Nov 14
irakli_garibashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian politicians expressed support for and solidarity withh France on Saturday after the terrorist attacks in Paris. Expressions of support came from politicians as well as organizations and ordinary people. Three bomb attacks

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover continues to fall

by | Nov 14
poti

TBILISI, DFWatch--In first nine months of 2015, Georgia’s foreign trade turnover was 14 percent less than in the same period last year. According to a preliminary monthly report published by the National Statistics Department, the foreign trade turnover in January-October

In brief

Georgia’s main east-west highway has been blocked for two days

by | Nov 13
zestaponi_highway_flood

TBILISI, DFWatch--E60, the central highway through Georgia, has been blocked for two days due to bad weather. Vehicles are currently rerouted near Kutaisi in the western part of the country. According to the Infrastructure Ministry’s Road Department,

Media

Court reverses Rustavi 2 director’s dismissal and reinstates management

by | Nov 12
nika_gvaramia

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Thursday restored the status of the managers of TV channel Rustavi 2, including its director general, and abolished the status of one of the interim managers. The background is a ruling by the city court earlier this year

Media

Rustavi 2: Public Registry denies that new manager was appointed

by | Nov 12
rustavi_2_staff

TBILISI, DFWatch--The feud over the ownership of Georgia’s most powerful anti-government television channel became even more obscure Wednesday evening, as the Public Registry denied having registered a document appointing a new manager of Rustavi 2.

Media

Rustavi 2 takeover: new manager appointed, but rejects offer

by | Nov 11
zaal_udumashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The interim owners of Georgia’s largest anti-government TV channel have appointed the anchor Zaal Udumashvili as new manager, but he rejected the job. The failed attempt to appoint a new manager follows several months of legal

Minorities

Day of remembrance for transgender people observed in Tbilisi

by | Nov 11
remembrance_trans_2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two dozen activists gathered in Tbilisi Tuesday evening to observe a new national day of remembrance for transgender people, exactly one year after the murder of a transgender woman. The memorial event was held

Security

Bill to end the draft approved by judiciary committee

by | Nov 11
georgian soldiers afghanistan isaf

TBILISI, DFWatch--A draft bill about ending compulsory military service has survived a debate in the judiciary committee of the Georgian parliament. The bill was approved by the committee on Tuesday. Member of parliament Zurab Japaridze, who co-authored the bill, said

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