In brief

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

by | April 11, 2015

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 | April 11, 2015

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

In brief

High winds caused power cut in Batumi

by | April 8, 2015

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 | April 7, 2015

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.

In brief

Two more Pankisi youth leave Georgia to join IS in Syria

by | April 5, 2015

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.

In brief

Moldovan detained in Georgia for using ATM skimmer

by | April 3, 2015

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

In brief

Two veterinarians accused of fraud, approved unchecked meat

by | April 2, 2015

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

In brief

New figures confirm upward trend of Georgia’s population

by | April 1, 2015

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.

In brief

Fake priests detained in Georgia

by | March 30, 2015

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.

In brief

Traffic restrictions eased in Georgia

by | March 22, 2015

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

In brief

Convicted murderer may be free one day after president converts sentence

by | March 19, 2015

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

In brief

Traffic update: Still restrictions on some mountain roads

by | March 17, 2015

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

In brief

Restrictions on roads in some mountain areas in Georgia

by | March 15, 2015

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

In brief

Activists clash at Interior Ministry building

by | March 13, 2015

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

In brief

Georgia detains man for distributing counterfeit US dollars

by | March 9, 2015

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

In brief

Names of two Georgians killed in New Jersey car crash released

by | March 8, 2015

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 | March 8, 2015

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.

In brief

Tbilisi slips three places in quality of living ranking

by | March 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi ranks 194th among 230 cities in the newest survey of quality of living published by Mercer’s. While last year’s report noted the Georgian capital as the lowest-ranked city in Europe at 191, residents may this year find some comfort

In brief

Georgia pardons eight female prisoners to mark Mother’s Day

by | March 5, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president pardoned eight women on Monday in connection with Mother’s Day, which in Georgia is marked on March 3. Zviad Koridze, head of the president’s pardon commission, said at a press conference on Monday that four among

In brief

Number of Tourists declined in Jan-Feb, 2015: MIA

by | March 3, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - In the wake of tightening visa regulations by the Geoorgian government and crisis in Ukraine, the latest data released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia showed decline in numbers of tourists and overall visitors in Georgia. However, according to the same data, number of the transit visitors increased. 

In brief

Georgian president speaks out against discrimination

by | March 2, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Sunday highlighted the most pressing problems Georgia faces in terms of discrimination, as he observed United Nation’s Zero Discrimination Day. He drew particular attention to violence against women and

In brief

Georgian leaders shocked by Nemtsov assassination

by | February 28, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s president and prime minister are shocked by the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. “I’m shocked by the assassination of Boris Nemtsov. He was a politician who fought tirelessly for the

In brief

Seven people detained in Georgia for making counterfeit money

by | February 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia detained seven people on Thursday for manufacturing and distributing a large amount of counterfeit money. The Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that a group of criminals were in possession of special equipment for producing

In brief

Opposition groups blame government for lari’s fall

by | February 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were several anti-government demonstrations in Tbilisi on Thursday in reaction to the thirty percent drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. Smaller groups that are not represented in parliament made up the brunt

In brief

Georgian parliament to meet on Saturday to discuss crisis

by | February 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--As the Georgian government is waiting to hear what ideas experts from the IMF have to deal with the weakened national currency, the lari, the former ruling party will be demanding answers at a special session of parliament on Saturday.

In brief

Gudauri-Kobi road closed

by | February 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The road between Gudauri and Kobi in northern Georgia was Sunday closed for all traffic due to strong wind and limited visibility. Machinery has been deployed to the place by the Infrastructure and Regional Development Ministry. Vehicles are

In brief

Rally to save old naval station building in Poti

by | February 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals rallied Saturday in the Georgian port city Poti. They are opposed to a decision by the local government to demolish the naval station building. Demonstrators say the building is a symbol of the city, which lies on the Black Sea coast and

In brief

Road restrictions in north and west Georgia

by | February 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Snow has made Georgian authorities enforce restrictions on several roads in mountainous regions in the west and north. On the road between Kutaisi and Ambrolauri, via Tkibuli, traffic is restricted on the 36km to 72km section. No trailers,

In brief

Parliament replaces Free Democrats’ vice speaker

by | February 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament on Wednesday approved a new vice speaker, following the departure of one party from the government coalition. The Free Democrats left the Georgian Dream coalition November 5, and now the party’s highest

In brief

Victoria Nuland visiting Tbilisi Tuesday

by | February 17, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is visiting Georgia on Tuesday as part of a Caucasus tour. In Tbilisi, Nuland plans to meet with representatives of the government and opposition, as well as non-governmental organizations, so-called

In brief

Families rally in support of prisoners on life sentences

by | February 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Families and relatives of prisoners with life sentences and incurable diseases rallied in front of the government house in Adjara on Thursday. They demand that the prisoners are offered a new chance to have their cases reviewed and their sentences

In brief

Prisoners with life sentence continue hunger strike

by | February 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--60 prisoners with life sentence are continuing their hunger strike to demand a new assessment of their cases. The prisoners on lifelong term want to be included in a mass amnesty introduced by the new Georgian Dream coalition

In brief

President’s annual address will be on March 18

by | February 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president’s annual state of the nation address in parliament will be held on March 18. It is still an open question whether there will be a debate after President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s address. His parliamentary secretary Giorgi

In brief

Road closed in Gudauri due to heavy snow

by | February 9, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic is prohibited along the Gudauri-Kobi section of the old military highway in northern Georgia due to snow and danger of avalanche. According to the Infrastructure Ministry’s road department, no vehicles are allowed through in that stretch

In brief

Poland ratifies Georgia’s EU agreement

by | February 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Poland ratified the association agreement between Georgia and the EU on Friday; the 13th EU member state to do so. The vote in the Sejm was 439 for ratification, none against and one abstaining. The agreement gives Georgia free trade access

In brief

Escaped prisoner caught in Batumi

by | February 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prisoner who escaped from a court building two days ago has been apprehended in Batumi on the Black Sea coast. The prisoner escaped from the court cell in Gurjaani Regional Court on February 2 after hearing that he was being placed in

In brief

Two detained in Georgia for forging US visas

by | February 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people were detained in Georgia on Friday for making fake US visas. Police working together with staff of the US embassy’s security department found that two people - a man about 40 and a woman about 50 - were making forged documents

In brief

Six detained in Tbilisi at rally against National Movement

by | February 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people were detained for petty hooliganism in Tbilisi on Tuesday, during a rally outside the office of the National Movement. The rally was organized by the youth movement Free Generation, which demands to convict former officials and ‘restore justice.’

In brief

Prisoner on the run in Kakheti, eastern Georgia

by | February 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia are searching for a prisoner who escaped from a court building on Monday. The man, a resident of the a village Velistsikhe, is charged with injuring a person with a weapon. The regional court in Gurjaani, in the Kakheti region

In brief

Seat in Georgian parliament empty as MP dies of illness

by | February 2, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of parliament from the Georgian Dream coalition has died as result of serious illness, parliament’s press office said on Friday. Tamaz Avdaliani, who was born September 16, 1964. In October, 2012, was elected through the party list

In brief

Ivanishvili plans tv series about Saakashvili’s nine year rule

by | January 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili plans a TV series about the nine years of National Movement rule. In an interview with Imedi TV on Wednesday, Ivanishvili said the name of the series will be ‘9+1’, which indicates the nine

In brief

Gulf under investigation for tax avoidance in Georgia

by | January 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigation service is going through the accounting documents of Gulf, one of the largest oil retail companies in Georgia. According to the vice president of the company’s marketing department, the service entered

In brief

Consultations continue to find new head of Georgia’s Supreme Court

by | January 28, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Consultations are continuing in Tbilisi’s political circles to find a new head of Supreme Court. Current head Kote Kublashvili’s term expires in the end of February. During Kublashvili’s ten year tenure, the court system in Georgia became

In brief

Georgian PM appoints new interior minister

by | January 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday appointed Vakhtang Gomelarui as new interior minister after the previous minister resigned in connection with the bombing of a human rights activist. Until now, Gomelauri served as first deputy

In brief

Yuri Vazagashvili buried Sunday

by | January 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch---Yuri Vazagashvili was Sunday buried in the village Karapila, near Kaspi, 50 km west of the capital. He was buried next to his son Zurab, who died in a police operation in 2006 during the Saakashvili regime and became a symbol of the heavy-handed

In brief

Lithuanian PM starts two day visit to Georgia

by | January 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Lithuanian prime minister on Monday starts a two day visit to Georgia. On the first day of his visit, Algirdas Butkevičius will meet his Georgian counterpart Irakli Garibashivli after an official welcoming ceremony at the government office

In brief

Police official in Georgia resigns following bombing of activist

by | January 24, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A high-ranking police official in Georgia resigned Friday evening. His resignation follows that of the interior minister, and is related to the bombing of a rights activist last Wednesday. The activist, Yuri Vazagasvili, was blown up while standing

In brief

Coffin of Georgian who fought in Ukraine greeted at Tbilisi airport

by | January 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a Georgian volunteer fighter who died in Ukraine on January 17 arrived in Georgia on Wednesday and will be brought to his hometown Khashuri today. Earlier, there was a public funeral for Tamaz Sukhiashvili, 36, in Kiev, which was attended

In brief

Body of Georgian priest from Norman Atlantic arrives in Tbilisi

by | January 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Monday posthumously honored priest Ilia Kartozia, 27, for his bravery rescuing people in the Norman Atlantic ferry disaster. The fire on Norman Atlantic started on December 28. There were eight Georgians aboard, all of whom

In brief

Chinese citizen detained for facilitating prostitution

by | January 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Chinese citizen was on Sunday detained in Georgia’s second largest city Kutaisi for providing premises used for prostitution. According to the Interior Ministry, the suspect rented a house on Chavchavadze Avenue 33 and opened a parlour offering

In brief

23 Georgian sailors stranded on five ships in Benin

by | January 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--23 Georgian sailors have been stuck on five ships under Greek management close to Benin in western Africa. The sailors are asking for help because their supplies of food and water are running low and they haven’t received their salaries for about six months.

In brief

Missing 77 year old found dead near South Ossetia

by | January 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 77 year old man who went missing a few days ago in the village Ergneti next to South Ossetia was found dead on Thursday. Valiko Kasradze disappeared late at night on January 12. His family thought he might have lost his way and been detained

In brief

Snowfall causing interruptions several places in Georgia

by | January 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Latvian tourists are stranded in Jvari pass in the north of Georgia. Snowfall is also causing other problems in parts of Georgia. Some areas in the north are without electricity and food supplies. A rescue operation is underway in Jvari pass

In brief

Missing 19-year old boy found dead in Akhalgori

by | January 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 19-year-old boy who has been missing for six month has been found dead in South Ossetia. Davit Basharuli was declared missed last summer. On Monday, locals discovered his body hanging from a tree between Akhalgori and the village Ikoti,

In brief

Nearly a hundred prisoners pardoned in Georgia

by | December 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly a hundred prisoners have been pardoned in Georgia, partly in relation to the New Year celebration. Most of the prisoners who are being freed or have their sentences reduced were pardoned by the president’s pardon commission; one of two

In brief

Ombudsman asks Prosecutor’s Office to investigate police brutality

by | December 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian ombudsman has asked the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate an incident of possible mistreatment by police. On Monday, the Ombudsman’s Office reported that a citizen, whose name is mentioned by initials, was detained

In brief

Eight Georgians among passangers of ferry that caught fire in Adriatic Sea

by | December 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ferry which caught fire on December 28 in the Adriatic Sea, was carrying eight Georgian citizens. According to Italian media there were 478 people on the ferry, including the crew. At least eight people have been killed in the fire aboard MS Norman Atlantic

In brief

Eco refugees demonstrated in Batumi

by | December 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Refugees living on an abandoned military base near Batumi broke into the yeard of the Adjara Supreme Council on Monday, demanding to meet with its head. Protesters blocked the road of Chakvi Batumi for ten minutes as sign of protest because

In brief

New EUMM head appointed

by | December 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM), which was recently prolonged for two more years, has a new head. Kęstutis Jankauskas replaces Toivo Klaar, who was appointed in October 2013. According to an announcement sent out by EUMM,

In brief

44 mosques in Georgia taken over by the state

by | December 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--44 mosques were taken over by Georgia’s Muslim Department two days ago by decision of the State Commission on Religious Issues. According to Zaza Vashakmadze, who is head of the commission, 21 mosques are in the Kakheti region, while 32

In brief

EU parliament to pass resolution on Georgia and ratify agreement

by | December 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Parliament is voting today over whether to ratify an treaty with Georgia signed in June and already partly in force. The so-called association agreement offers free trade to EU's vast market in return for incorporating hundreds of EU regulations

In brief

EU’s observer mission to Georgia extended for two years

by | December 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU’s military observers in Georgia have had their mandate extended for another two years, until December 2016. EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM) was established shortly after the Russia-Georgia war in 2008 to support stabilization

In brief

Georgian president rides horse during Turkmenistan visit

by | December 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili visited Turkmenistan on Monday and signed four agreements dealing with as diverse issues as economy, culture, trade and tourism. People travelling with him say the business leaders in Turkmenistan

In brief

Oleg Melnikov released

by | December 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former officer in Georgia's domestic intelligence who was involved in the 2006 murder of Sandro Girgvliani has beenreleased from prison. Oleg Melnikov, formerly an officer of the Constitutional Security Department or 'Kudi', was released

In brief

Georgian lari and Armenian dram recover after slump

by | December 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The currencies of Georgia and Armenia are recovering after a slump of more than 10% in the last few weeks. The sight of money exchanges trading US dollars for more than two Georgian lari (GEL) set off a fervent debate in Tbilisi. Many blamed

In brief

Large amount of undeclared gold seized by Georgian customs

by | December 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Large quantities of undeclared gold has been seized by Georgian customs at the Sarpi border crossing with Turkey. The gold jewelry which had a total weight of 466.05 grams was found in the belongings of a Georgian citizen who was coming

In brief

Georgia sends more soldiers to Central African Republic

by | December 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Margvelashvili has asked parliament for approval to again send soldiers to the Central African Republic, after the EU extended its mission there for another four months. The president's order was signed on December 2, and has been received

In brief

Man injured in Batumi fire dies

by | December 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man who was injured in a fire at a market in Batumi died in hospital Sunday night. Police have detained one person in connection with the fire. Davit Putkaradze, 51, was owner of one of the shops at the market. According to local media, he had lung

In brief

Two die in fire in Batumi

by | December 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people died in a fire at a market in Batumi on Sunday. One person is in hospital in a critical condition. The victims are a married couple in their fifties, Temur and Nani Rizhvadze, while the third injured person is Davit Putkaradze, 51.

In brief

Tbilisi NGOs vow to defend president’s veto

by | December 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of NGOs based in Tbilisi warn that they are going on the offensive against the country's parliament, which recently overturned a veto by President Margvelashvili against giving the Interior Ministry control over the means to conduct secret surveillance.

In brief

Parliament overturns president’s veto, approves surveillance bill

by | December 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Sunday overturned the president's veto and approved the a surveillance bill which gives the Interior Ministry direct access to communication operators' networks and to eavesdrop on citizens. 82 MPs voted in favor

In brief

Hungary ratifies Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova’s EU treaties

by | November 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Hungary on Tuesday ratified agreements signed with the EU by Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The press service of Georgia's Foreign Ministry erroneously said that 127 deputies voted for ratification. But in fact, 122 MPs supported

In brief

Activists throw eggs and tomatoes at UNM office on anniversary

by | November 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people were detained during a demonstration against the National Movement in Tbilisi on Sunday. The demonstration took place outside the party’s office and was held in connection with the 11 years anniversary of the Rose Revolution, which

In brief

Bendukidze brought home to Georgia Thursday

by | November 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of the former Economy Minister Kakha Bendukidze, who recently died of heart failure according to preliminary information, will be brought home to Georgia on Thursday. The body will be on a direct flight from London and brought to his

In brief

Court releases pathologist on trial in connection with PM’s death

by | November 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The pathologist on trial in the case about the death of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania in 2005 has been given bail. Levan Chachua has been in detention since March 20, but on Tuesday the court ruled that he may be released against paying a 10,000

In brief

50th meeting of the post-2008 incident prevention talks

by | November 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Monday another meeting was held of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) between the conflicting parties of the 2008 war. This was the 50th such meeting, and as usual it took place at Ergneti, a village close to the de facto border.

In brief

Georgian PM appoints new minister for integration with Europe

by | November 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister on Saturday approved a new minister of Euro and Euro Atlantic integration. The new Euro-integration minister Davit Bakradze replaces Alexi Petriashvili, who resigned in protest against the dismissal

In brief

Court sets no bail conditions for six on trial for food poisoning

by | November 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court did not set bail conditions for six Defense Ministry officials who are on trial for being involved in a food poisoning case in 2013. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, ten cases of poisoning of military employees took place. The six officials

In brief

Suspect detained in murder of trans woman

by | November 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Wednesday detained a suspect in the murder of a transgender woman in Tbilisi the day before. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the 26 year old, who lives in Tbilisi, killed the transgender woman because

In brief

Margvelashvili will address parliament on Friday

by | November 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili will address parliament on November 14 at noon. The address will be held at the beginning at a plenary session and be followed by an address of the speaker of parliament. November 5, right after the prime minister

In brief

Roki tunnel reopened

by | November 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia has reopened a strategically important tunnel through the Caucasus mountain range after a full-scale overhaul that has taken two and a half years and cost USD 400 million. According to Russian officials, equipment had been moved from the

In brief

Justice minister leaves Free Democrats Party

by | November 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani decided to finally leave the Free Democrats, the party led by the dismissed defense minister Irakli Alasania. Tsulukiani recently withdrew from the Georgian Dream coalition due to political crisis following the sacking

In brief

President: Georgia’s European course is unchangeable

by | November 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili rules out the possibility of a change in Georgia’s foreign policy orientation. The government coalition is split with both sides accusing the other of endangering the policy of seeking integration with NATO

In brief

Georgia’s ruling coalition may keep majority in parliament

by | November 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to the latest available information, the ruling Georgian Dream coalition may keep its majority of seats in the parliament. Three MPs from the ten strong Free Democrats - Georgian Dream faction might choose to side with Georgian

In brief

Deputy defense minister protests against unfair questioning

by | November 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A deputy defense minister in Georgia protested against ‘a number of violations’ on Monday after spending about ten hours in questioning about a corruption case involving defense officials. Alexi Batiashvili has status as witness in the case

In brief

60% of Tbilisi City Hall employees fail tests

by | November 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--290 out of 486 employees of Tbilisi City Hall have failed a test on Saturday. The former ruling party claims it is political, as many of the workers are from the previous government. 563 employees were expected to show up for Saturday’s test.

In brief

Georgian parliament accepts president’s veto

by | October 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament grudgingly abandoned its plan to overturn the president’s veto against a decision to postpone legislation that would quickly curb the Interior Ministry's ability to carry out secret surveillance. Georgia has introduced

In brief

Five defense officials placed in pre-trial detention

by | October 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Thursday placed five Defense Ministry officials in pre-trial detention. The five are charged with embezzling more than four million lari in connection with a tender for building high speed Internet. The hearing was

In brief

NATO chief Stoltenberg to meet Georgian PM November 17

by | October 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--New NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg will meet Georgia’s prime minister on November 17. Secretary General Stoltenberg said this in a speech at the German Marshall Fund in Brussels on Wednesday. The stated purpose of the meeting with Georgian PM Irakli

In brief

Parliament speaker says corruption case has harmed Georgia’s defense ability

by | October 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s parliament speaker says the detention of five defense ministry officials accused of corruption has seriously harmed the country’s defense ability, even if the charges turn out to be false. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili

In brief

One man dead in building collapse in Zugdidi

by | October 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One man died as a result of a building collapse in western Georgia Monday night. A water reservior burst in the office of the State Security Agency in the town Zugdidi, near the Abkhazian region. The victim is head of department Zviad Lagvilava.

In brief, News

Activists detained – want Saakashvili’s party banned

by | October 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of people from the organization Free Generation Tuesday evening demonstrated outside the office of the National Movement, Georgia’s former ruling party, demanding that it is declared illegal. In the ensuing scuffle, six person were detained

In brief, News

Supporters of controversial ex-official rally outside PM’s residence

by | October 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Supporters of Georgia’s former regime demonstrated outside the house of the prime minister on Sunday. Outraged passers-by confronted them, and several people were detained in the scuffle. The protesters demanded that the courts are freed from

In brief, News

Georgia’s parliament speaker defends Ivanishvili in newspaper ad

by | October 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The speaker of the Georgian parliament went on the offensive Thursday against former President Mikheil Saakashvili and in defense of the billionaire who brought together the current government coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili. Speaker of Parliament

In brief, Minorities, Youth

Update: Two teens captured for vandalizing a church in Tbilisi

by | October 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The police on Thursday arrested two youngsters for suspicion of vandalizing a church just during a religious holiday. The detainees are two teens of 17 and 15 years old. The latter has a prior conviction. While searching the homes of the suspects,

In brief, News

Two Georgians detained by Russian border guards

by | October 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards on Tuesday detained a husband and wife in a village bordering breakaway South Ossetia. The two, Kakha Kazishvili and Zina Natriashvili, were detained in the village Kvemo Ikorta as they were trying to cross the 'border' to visit relatives.

In brief, News

Georgian president presents candidates for head of Supreme Court

by | October 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Tuesday presented parliament with his two candidates to take over as head of Supreme Court. This was the second time President Giorgi Margvelashvili presented Nino Bakakuri and Zurab Dzlierishvili as candidates to take over

In brief, News

Margvelashvili calls for peaceful resolution of frozen conflicts

by | September 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili appeared on the Turkish TV Monday, explaining his country’s policy toward two breakaway regions that have been controlled by Russia since the war in 2008. Georgian territorial integrity will be restored,

In brief, News

Georgia to help Kyrgyzstan get access to the EU market

by | September 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili says the free trade treaty Georgia signed with the EU earlier this year opens opportunities also for other countries to reach the EU market. He said this while discussing bilateral relations with Kyrgyzstan

In brief, News

Pathologist in Zhvania’s death must remain in detention

by | September 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The pathologist who conducted the autopsy on the body of Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania denies that he harassed a witness. The trial about the prime minister’s death in 2006 continued Thursday with questioning of the pathologist Levan Chachua.

In brief, News

Georgia to join arms trade treaty

by | September 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Friday, Georgia will join a new treaty which restricts the international trade in small arms. The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on April 2, 2013, and is a first of its kind. It will regulate the sale

In brief, News

New US-trained judge candidates taking exams in Georgia

by | September 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new cohort of judge candidates are taking qualification exams September 20 and 27, under the auspices of the High Council of Justice. The exams are held at the Technical University's first building and for the first time conducted electronically.

In brief, News

German tourist hospitalized after roadside robbery in Georgia

by | September 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of German tourists were robbed in Mestia Monday night, several Georgian news outlets reported. The reports differ on important details, but most say three German tourists were robbed along the road from Zugdidi to Mestia, one of

In brief, News

Georgian PM visiting Azerbaijan

by | September 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili met Thursday with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to discuss strategic cooperation and bilateral relations. The meeting took place at the president’s palace, and Gharibashvili was accompanied by members

In brief, News

Less visitors to Georgia in August than last year

by | September 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--772,216 people visited Georgia in August, which is 0.5 percent less than in August 2013. The new statistics published by the Interior Ministry shows that 3,685,834 people visited Georgia in the first eight months of 2014. This is a 3 percent drop

In brief, News

53,067 were granted Georgian citizenship during Saakashvili

by | September 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--53,067 foreigners were granted Georgian citizenship from 2005 to 2013, and in 2013 the president granted citizenship to most of them – 9,626 people. According to the report of Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), the

In brief, News

Georgia to ask Interpol help detain Saakashvili

by | August 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia is preparing to ask Interpol to issue a red alert for ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and declare him internationally wanted. In mid-August, Georgia announced a domestic search for Saakashvili, which means that

In brief, News

Azerbaijan fires four customs guards after record heroin seizure

by | August 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four employees of Azerbaijan’s customs service have been fired following the seizure in Georgia of 2.8 tons of liquid heroin in July. According to the Azerbaijani newspaper Eni Musavat, the four fired employees were working at the custom’s check-point

In brief, News

Three men shot dead in Georgian village

by | August 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three men were killed Thursday night near Adigeni in southern Georgia. The suspect is a local public registry official. A brother of one of the three murder victims was also injured. The killing took place in the village Karatubani, where there was

In brief, News

Georgian health minister in Ukraine developing aid plan

by | August 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Health Minister Davit Sergeenko started his visit to Ukraine by making several agreements about offering assistance to Ukraine as result of the crisis there. A bilateral working group is being created to coordinate the assistance. Sergeenko Wednesday

In brief, News

Second body found after Dariali landslide

by | August 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A second person has been found dead on Wednesday, after the massive landslide in Dariali Valley on August 21. Two people died in the disaster, one was a citizen of Turkey and one a Georgian citizen. Both were working in a tunnel when a landslide hit

In brief, News

Armenia’s gas supply restored, pipeline repaired after landslide

by | August 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Gas began flowing again Saturday in a pipeline that runs through a Georgian mountain valley which was hit by a landslide on August 21. The pipeline through Dariali Valley brings Russian natural gas to Armenia. According to Georgia’s Gas Transport

In brief, News

One person found dead after landslide in Georgia

by | August 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One person has been found dead after the landslide catastrophe in Georgia on Thursday. The body was found on the bank of the river Tergi near the village Larsi on the Russian side of the border. According to head of Kazbegi municipality Givi

In brief, News

Georgian PM visits Armenia August 21-22

by | August 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili will visit Armenia on August 21-22. After meeting his Armenian colleague, Gharibashvili and the rest of the Georgian delegation will meet with Armenian government representatives. Prime Minister Hovik

In brief, News

Search order issued for ex-President Saakashvili

by | August 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has issued a domestic search order for ex-President Mikheil Saakahsvili. Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office prepared the order and has forwarded it to the Interior Ministry. This means that if Saakashvili enters the country,

In brief, News

38 died in fires in Georgia Jan-Jun ’14

by | August 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were 1,703 fires in Georgia in the first half of 2014. 38 people died and 61 were injured, according to the Interior Ministry. In 1,005 of the cases, the reason for the fire could not be determined. In 333 cases, the cause was negligence,

In brief, News

180 died in traffic in Georgia Jan-Jun ’14

by | August 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--180 people died in traffic accidents in Georgia in the first half of 2014, according to new figures from the Interior Ministry. The figures published Tuesday show that an upward turn in road accidents has stopped, but numbers remain high compared

In brief, News

Georgia to take part in humanitarian effort in Ukraine

by | August 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is to join an international humanitarian effort in Luhansk, Ukraine. This became known on Tuesday. Last week, Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said Georgia is not planning to join the international sanctions EU and the United

In brief, News

Scuffle outside Tbilisi City Hall as people queue to meet mayor

by | August 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There was a quarrel outside Tbilisi City Hall on Monday between people who wanted to meet the mayor and tell him about their problems. Newly elected Mayor Davit Narmania decided to set aside one day to meet with citizens. Hundreds of people turned

In brief, News

Police officer detained in Georgia for receiving bribe

by | August 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A police employee was Sunday detained in Batumi, a city on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, accused of receiving a bribe two days prior. According to the Interior Ministry’s press department, the general inspection detained an employee of the patrol

In brief, News

Georgians injured in bus accident in Turkey

by | August 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There was an accident on Wednesday in Rize, Turkey, which left ten passengers injured, including citizens of Georgia. Representatives of the Health Ministry of Adjara left for Turkey to see citizens of Georgia. According to Deputy Health

In brief, News

Saakashvili’s appeal turned down

by | August 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Appeals Court in Georgia left in force a decision by Tbilisi City Court to place ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and former officials in pre-trial detention in a case concerning the violent dispersal of an anti-government demonstration on November 7, 2007.

In brief, News

Georgia preparing for visit by Angela Merkel

by | August 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has begun preparing for a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, even though the exact date of her visit is still unknown. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze on Sunday met with the German ambassador

In brief, News

Saakashvili given pre-trial detention in absentia

by | August 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Friday evening decided to issue a pre-trial detention order for ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, although he is not in Georgia at the moment. After leaving office in November 2013, the former president has not been in Georgia.

In brief, News

Two Georgians detained by Russian soldiers

by | August 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers have detained two Georgian citizens outside the village Kveshi, near Gori, which borders on the South Ossetian breakaway region. According to Interpressnews, the detainees are Zakro Butkhuzi, from Kveshi, and his guest Buta

In brief, News

280 prisoners pardoned by president’s commission

by | July 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of Georgia on Thursday pardoned 280 prisoners. According to the new head of the president’s pardon commission Zviad Koridze, eight of those pardoned are women and 10 minors. The commission has reviewed 2,744 cases.

In brief, News

Pro-Israel demonstration in Tbilisi

by | July 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of Georgians demonstrated in front of the old parliament in Tbilisi on Tuesday in support of Israel. The rally was planned through Facebook and was joined by about 50 people. Representatives of the Jewish community in Georgia were present

In brief, News

Georgia on imported electricity while power lines being repaired

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is now being supplied with electricity that is imported from neighboring countries, after three high-voltage power lines failed yesterday. Director of the electricity system, Sulkhan Zumburidze, said Monday that the import from two

In brief, News

Two missing after flood in Vani, Georgia

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two women are missing after several villages were flooded Sunday in Vani, a town in the west of Georgia, after heavy rain. Zaza Khurtsidze, head of Vani municipality, told Interpressnews that two women are missing. Three others went missing but

In brief, News

Electricity back online in Georgia after massive outage

by | July 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Trains stopped and all but one national TV station went off air in Georgia Sunday evening as much of the country was in the dark for several hours. Late in the night, power was restored in Tbilisi and all other regions, according to the Energy

In brief, News

90% of cars in Georgia are more than 10 years old

by | July 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 90 percent of the cars people drive in Georgia are from before 2004, according to a new report by the Interior Ministry. The report, which was published on Friday, deals with cars registered in Georgia, but also imported and re-exported

In brief, News

Three detained in Georgia for tax fraud with Iranian tar sand

by | July 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigative service on Thursday detained three persons for organized financial crime that caused the state a loss of 345,774 lari (USD 197,551). In a statement, the investigative service says the three aimed at not paying

In brief, News

New Georgian government to be confirmed by parliament on Saturday

by | July 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new Georgian government will be put to parliament for a vote of confidence on Saturday. Vice Speaker of Parliament Manana Kobakhidze told journalists on Wednesday that parliament now waits for the president to present the new government, and then

In brief, News

Georgian parliament speaker visiting Israel

by | July 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian speaker of parliament is Tuesday visiting Israel. Davit Usupashvili will meet with Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset, as well as with the head of the Israel-Georgia Parliamentary Friendship Group, Avraham Michaeli. Usupashvili

In brief, News

16 year old boy dies in rockslide in Borjomi, Georgia

by | July 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 16-year-old boy died on late Thursday as a result of a rockslide in Borjomi, a tourist resort in the south of Georgia. Nika Korghanashvili, who was spending his holiday in Borjomi with some friends, was walking home from the sulphur baths

In brief, News

Tbilisi bus drivers on strike following death of colleague

by | July 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Drivers of bus line number 19 in Tbilisi on Thursday laid down work as a sign of protest, after one of their colleagues died on the job. A passenger got into a physical scuffle with a bus driver at noon on the number 19 line in the suburb Ponichala,

In brief, News

Georgia signs agreement with Orthodox Church about cultural heritage

by | July 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Culture Ministry and Georgian Church will Thursday sign a memorandum about protection of cultural heritage. The memorandum is about taking care of cultural heritage that is in the ownership of the Georgian Church. According to the

In brief, News

Court adds to Bacho Akhalaia’s pre-trial detention

by | July 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Saturday added further pretrial detention for former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia for the murder of Sergo Tetradze. Akhalaia's defense lawyers wanted the court to set a 30,000 lari bail, but the court decided on two months

In brief, News

14 year old girl dead in traffic accident in Rikoti

by | July 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A minibus crushed into a truck on Tuesday, resulting in the death of a 14-year-old girl and ten others being injured. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the accident happened at Rikoti Pass, which connects western and eastern Georgia.

In brief, News

Court rejects prosecutor’s motion in case of suspended mayor

by | July 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Monday rejected a motion by the Prosecutor’s Office to change the USD 30,000 bail set for former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava into pre-trial detention. The judge said that the arguments in the motion were not strong enough

In brief, News

Lower voter turnout in Georgia run-off elections

by | July 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The second round of Georgia’s local elections are proceeding without any major violations. Voter turnout at 17:00 was 28%  - significantly less than in the first round, when the turnout was 35% at 17:00, according to the Central Election Commission

In brief, News

EU ambassador: Georgian business will not be served breakfast in bed

by | July 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU Ambassador to Georgia Philip Dimitrov says business in Georgia will have to do a lot and is not going to be served breakfast in bed after the signing of the association agreement. Speaking at a conference in Batumi, Dimitrov told

In brief, News

Businesses offer discount for Georgians who vote

by | July 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several large companies in Georgia are offering discounts for customers who go and vote in the second round of local elections on Saturday. A commercial appeared on television Thursday, placed by 'businesses united for a common goal'. It calls

In brief, News

Lithuania ratifies Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova agreements with EU

by | July 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday ratified the association agreements between Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova with the EU. The vote was almost unanimous, according to the webpage of the national assembly, called Seimas. Lithuania is often

In brief, News

Georgia appoints new ambassador to the UK

by | July 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday appointed professor Revaz Gachechiladze as new ambassador to the UK, Northern Ireland and the International Maritime Organization. The appointment marks the end of more than a year without a UK ambassador.

In brief, News

Drop in summer visitors to Georgia

by | July 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of visitors to Georgia in June dropped eight percent compared to the same period last year, according to new figures published on Monday by the Interior Ministry. Around 450,000 people visited Georgia in June. The summer drop breaks

In brief, News

NATO envoy to Tbilisi to discuss ‘substantive package’

by | July 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO envoy James Appathurai will visit Georgia on Wednesday to discuss the ‘substantive package’ which the alliance is to offer the former Soviet state at the upcoming summit in Wales in September, the minister in charge of European integration said Monday.

In brief, News

Seven fined after Friday’s scuffle about ex-mayor’s detention

by | July 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Seven people were Saturday fined 100 lari (USD 60) each for hooliganism after being detained the day before in a violent disturbance outside Tbilisi City Court. The violence happened after the court had decided to place former Mayor

In brief, News

Former defense minister must remain in detention, court rules

by | July 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court Saturday placed former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia in pretrial detention on new charges concerning the murder of Sergo Tetradze. Akhalaia’s lawyers wanted the court to set 30,000 lari bail, but the court decided to place

In brief, News

Court did not set bail for former Tbilisi mayor

by | July 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Wednesday decided not to set bail conditions for former Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava, who is charged with embezzlement of more than one million lari from parking fees. The court did not agree with a request

In brief, News

National Movement activist beaten in Batumi

by | June 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of the National Movement was Saturday attacked in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast. Party activist Levan Tetemadze was beaten outside his house on Vazha-Pshavela street, according to Giorgi Kirtadze, head of the UNM in Adjara.

In brief, News

Rikoti tunnel reopened for traffic

by | June 21, 2014
landslide_rikoti_01_landslide_rikoti_2014-06-12_cropped

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rikoti tunnel was reopened for traffic on Friday. It is part of the road which connects the eastern and western parts of Georgia and had been blocked for several days due to a landslide. The landslide was the second one in ten days. According

In brief, News

One more dead body found in Dariali

by | June 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another body was found in Dariali Valley on Monday, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced. This is the fourth victim of a massive landslide on May 17. The ministry said the body has been sent to Tbilisi to carry out an

In brief, News

Barroso visits Georgia to underline EU’s support

by | June 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--José Manuel Barroso will visit Georgia Thursday and Friday. The two day stopover will be the EU Commission president’s first official visit to Georgia. Barroso is arriving from Moldova, and will leave for Azerbaijan on June 14. During

In brief, News

Merkel to visit Georgia

by | June 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Georgia before spring 2015, by invitation of Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. The PM on Monday met Merkel in Berlin and invited her to Georgia. She accepted the invitation and expressed her desire

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Swiss President Burkhalter visiting Georgia

by | June 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Swiss President Didier Burkhalter arrived in Georgia Monday evening as part of a round trip in the South Caucasus. Lasha Abashidze, head of Georgia’s Presidential Administration, and Davit Zalkaliani, First Deputy Foreign Minister, met him

In brief, News

Georgian foreign minister visiting U.S.

by | May 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze on Tuesday began an official visit to the United States which will last until May 30. According to the Foreign Ministry’s press office, Panjikidze will hold meetings with representatives of different

In brief, News

Davit Kezerashvili acquitted of cognac fraud

by | May 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Tuesday acquitted former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili of cognac fraud. Kezerashvili, who is under house arrest  and electronic surveillance in France after being detained at Nice airport last year and then released in February, was charged by Georgian authorities in February, 2013, with assisting

In brief, News

Hydro power tunnel searched for survivors after landslide

by | May 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the first time after the catastrophic landslide in Dariali on May 17, rescue crew made their way into a tunnel in search of survivors, Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2 reported Thursday. The tunnel, which is part of a hydro power plant under construction,

In brief, News

Georgian government meets EU commissioners May 21

by | May 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government will meet with EU commissioners in Brussels on May 21. First Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani says this is the first time such a meeting is being held. “This is an unprecedented format in EU-Georgia relations, which

In brief, News

One more Georgian detained on disputed SO border

by | May 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers on Sunday detained Otar Kokoshvili, 54, from the village Tamarasheni, near Kareli. He was taken to a detention facility in Tskhinvali, a central town in the breakaway region South Ossetia. According to his relatives, Kokoshvili

In brief, News

Seven more Georgians detained on disputed SO border

by | May 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards Monday detained seven more Georgians in villages bordering South Ossetia. The same day, four Georgians were released. This leaves nearly 20 Georgians who still remain in detention in Tskhinvali. The seven Georgians were detained

In brief, News

François Hollande arrives in Tbilisi on Tuesday

by | May 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--French President François Hollande arrives in Georgia on Tuesday as part of his tour of the South Caucasus. Hollande’s trip takes place amid a crisis in Ukraine and is aimed at boosting the EU’s ties with the region, the French news agency AFP

In brief, News

Georgian president signs anti-discrimination law

by | May 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president has signed a new anti-discrimination law, and it has therefore come into force. The Georgian Orthodox Church was against the law because it in their opinion ‘legalizes homosexuality’, and wanted to remove ‘sexual

In brief, News

Suspect in brutal revenge attack placed in pre-trial detention

by | May 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man suspected of beating the brother of a former government official was Monday placed in pre-trial detention by Tbilisi City Court. Businessman Davit Kodia, brother of former police official Erekle Todua, was beaten a few days ago in Tbilisi while

In brief, News

Presidents of Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan meet in Tbilisi Tuesday

by | May 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The presidents of Turkey and two South Caucasus countries will meet at the National Library in Tbilisi on Tuesday, to attend the 2014 Georgia-Azerbaijan-Turkey Summit. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili is host for Turkey’s Abdullah Gül

In brief, News

Number of visitors to Georgia continues to grow

by | May 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--New figures published by the Georgian Interior Ministry show that 390,685 people visited the country in April. This is 7.4 percent more than in the same period last year. In the first four months of the current year, 1,396,952 people visited

In brief, News

NATO’s Caucasus envoy visits Tbilisi tomorrow

by | May 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO envoy James Appathurai will visit Georgia on Thursday. Appathurai, whose full title is NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, will meet with government members and the parliament, the Ministry

In brief, Youth

Youth groups in Georgia plan several rallies on May 1

by | May 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Young people in Georgia plan to mark the International Worker’s Day, May 1, with rallies different places in the country. A rally will be held at Tbilisi State University at 14:00 by Young Social-Democrats, Georgia’s Young Greens, Georgia’s

In brief, News

Books brought to Georgia in WW2 to be returned to Germany

by | May 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has decided to return books currently at Tbilisi State University that were brought here from Germany during World War II. Shalva Tadumadze, the government’s parliamentary secretary, explained

In brief, News

Work halted again at prehistoric mine in Georgia

by | April 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Work has been halted at the ancient Sakdrisi gold mine in southern Georgia, Interpressnews reports. The news agency quotes Irakli Lomidze, spokesperson for the Sakdrisi Survival Committee, who said the heavy machinery stopped Sunday night and did not

In brief, News

One more Georgian detained at disputed border

by | April 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One Georgian was detained Saturday by Russian soldiers near the border with South Ossetia. This is the fourth Georgian this happens to this week. Merab Kapanadze, 70, from the village Tseronisi, was detained while tending to his cattle

In brief, Youth

Georgian and South Ossetian youth kick off Balkan tour

by | April 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A bus with Georgian and South Ossetian youth was to start a tour of Turkey and the Balkans Saturday morning, Interpressnews reports. The trip, called Georgian - South Ossetian Youth Peace Express, will last 17 days and bring the youth by bus through

In brief, News

Three Georgians detained on South Ossetia border

by | April 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers have detained three Georgian citizens in the village Khurvaleti for violating the border with South Ossetia. All three detainees - Rusudan Khuroshvili, Zeinab Kharkheli and Lali Khuroshvili - were taken to South Ossetia.

In brief, News

Steinmeier and Fabius visiting Georgia April 23-24

by | April 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The foreign ministers of Germany and France will visit Georgia on April 23-24. Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and France’s Laurent Fabius were originally to have visited Georgia on March 3, but they both postponed due to events in Ukraine.

In brief, News

Georgian president: No preparations made for Putin meeting

by | April 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili says the proposal by Russia’s Vladimir Putin for a meeting has had no actual follow-up or preparations. At the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Russian president said that there is a possibility

In brief, News

69 prisoners released for Easter

by | April 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--69 prisoners were released from jail on Saturday, following a decision by local prison boards and the Prison Ministry’s pardon commission. Altogether, the bodies have reviewed the cases of about 770 prisoners in three days, according to the Prison

In brief, News

No news about release of Georgian TV crew held in South Ossetia

by | April 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is still unknown whether three Georgian journalists detained by South Ossetia will be released today. Neither the Ministry of Internal Affairs nor EUs Monitoring Mission have been informed about when they will be released. The Foreign Ministry

In brief, News

Germany’s Steinmeier to visit Georgia in late April

by | April 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Georgia in about ten days. Steinmeier announced the trip after a meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze who visited him in Germany on Thursday. One of the topics they

In brief, News

Georgian FM Panjikidze is visiting Germany

by | April 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze today begins a working visit to Germany. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Panjikidze's delegation will hold meetings with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Chancellor

In brief, News

New tuberculosis center to be opened in Tbilisi

by | April 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is opening a new treatment center for tuberculosis in Tbilisi. The government is discussing the new clinic today. Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs , David Sergeenko, told reporters Thursday that the clinic, which will be located

In brief, News

Georgian parliament prepares to check safety of large facilities

by | April 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is preparing to conduct impact assessments for many large factories and other facilities, built during the Soviet Union. Gia Tsagareishvili, head of parliament's environmental committee, says many big installations have Soviet-era standards

In brief, News

Georgia marks 25 years since deadly clashes with Soviet troops

by | April 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of the Georgian government today planted saplings in the Ninth of April Garden in Tbilisi, comemmorating the deadly dispersal of protesters by Soviet troops 25 years ago today. In remembrance of the tragedy, cabinet members planted

In brief, News

Georgia appoints ambassadors to India, Slovenia, Kuwait

by | April 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has appointed new ambassadors to India, Slovenia, Vatican and Kuwait. From May 1, Georgia's ambassador to Slovenia will be Zurab Bekaia, Tamar Grdzelidze will be ambassador to Vatican from June 1, 2014, Roland Beridze will be ambassador

In brief, News

Angela Merkel invites Georgia’s PM

by | April 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Germany's Angela Merkel has invited Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili to Germany. Gharibashvili will visit Germany in the beginning of June. According to Davit Maghradze, advisor at the international relations department at the government

In brief, News

Georgian President Margvelashvili visiting Poland

by | April 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili Wednesday began a two day visit to Poland. On the first day of his visit, Margvelashvili was to meet his Polish colleague, after which they were slated to hold a joint press conference. He will also meet with

In brief, News

76 prisoners released by parole board

by | April 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--76 prisoners were released before the end of their sentence term today; two minors and one woman. The Prison Ministry’s local board of parole discussed the cases of about 900 prisoners who have served more than half of their sentence in cases

In brief, News

Two detainees in Zhvania case placed in pre-trial detention

by | March 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men detained for negligence in connection with the death of former Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania were Sunday placed in pre-trial detention by Tbilisi City Court. Levan Chachua, who participated in the autopsy on Zhvania's body in 2005, and Mikheil

In brief, News

NATO parliamentarians coming to Georgia next week

by | March 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A delegation from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is coming to Georgia March 24-26. The NATO parliamentarians will be attending a round table discussion at the NATO office here. Another part of the visit is a meeting with their Georgian counterparts

In brief, News

France’s Hollande visiting Georgia May 13

by | March 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--French President François Hollande will visit Georgia on May 13, the foreign minister of the host country said on Wednesday. Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said the schedule and other details of the visit are still being put together.

In brief, News

Former head of Georgia’s special police charged with fraud

by | March 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has charged former Interior Ministry official Erekle Kodua with abuse of power and fraud. Erekle Kodua is former head of the Interior Ministry’s Special Operative Department (SOD). Investigators found that on August

In brief, News

Tbilisi does not recognize Crimea referendum

by | March 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi does not recognize the referendum in Crimea, according to a statement released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry Sunday evening. The statement says the referendum was conducted as a result of Russian pressure of armed forces and in violation

In brief, News

Former counterintelligence chief convicted in absentia

by | March 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian counterintelligence chief who is currently wanted was today convicted in absentia for abuse of power. Data Akhalaia, whose whereabouts are unknown, was head of the Constitutional Security Department (CSD). He was on trial for

In brief, News

Abashidze-Karasin meeting postponed again

by | March 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The direct talks between Georgia and Russia have been postponed again. Zurab Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister's Special Representative for Russian Relations, and Gregory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia should have met on March 4-5,

In brief, News

French, German FMs postpone visits due to Ukraine crisis

by | March 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The foreign ministers of France and Germany and an EU commissioner have postponed their visits to Georgia due to the latest developments in Ukraine. EU Commissioner Stefan Fule should have visited Georgia on Monday while Laurent Fabius and Frank

In brief, News

Tbilisi City Council March 7 makes last attempt to pass budget

by | March 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Council will hold a special session on March 7 to once more put the city's 2014 budget bill to a vote. City Hall has sent a draft budget to the council for the fourth time, but the council failed to approve it. The capital has remained

In brief, News

Stefan Fule to visit Georgia March 3-4

by | March 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU Commissioner Stefan Fule is planning a visit to Georgia next Monday and Tuesday. According to his press office, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy will meet with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister

In brief, News

Abashidze-Karasin meeting postponed until March 14

by | February 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian and Russian negotiators Zurab Abashidze and Gregory Karasin have postponed their planned meeting until March 14. Abashidze, the Georgian Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Russian Relations and Karasin, Russia's

In brief, News

Bacho Akhalaia’s lawyer released on bail

by | February 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has released the lawyer of a former defense minister against a 20 000 lari (USD 12 000) bail. Goga Oniani, a former high police official during Saakashvili who now is a lawyer representing the ex-minister Bacho Akhalaia, is charged

In brief, News

Bus drivers on strike in Batumi

by | February 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bus drivers in Batumi have been on strike for five days, demanding higher salary and the dismissal of the director of Batumi Autotransport Ltd. Two of the protesting drivers, Nugzar Gvianidze and Nika Sikharulidze, are on hunger strike and live

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