In brief, News

NATO week in Georgia

by | June 2, 2013
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will mark NATO week from 3 to 10th June. It will be opened by NATO envoy James Appathurai and the minister for Euro Atlantic integration. Elene Gotsadze, director of the information center for NATO and EU, said Friday that James Appathurai,

In brief, News

Zestaponi strike over, most demands accepted

by | June 1, 2013
ferro zestaponi

TBILISI, DFWatch--1 600 workers at the Ferro plant in Zestaponi called off their strike Friday. The strike lasted more than a week, and paralyzed the plant which accounts for 12% of Georgia's national export. Management agreed to enter into negotiations and finally

In brief, News

Georgian metal workers still on strike

by | May 27, 2013
ferro zestaponi

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the largest factories in Georgia is still paralyzed by a now week-long strike by hundreds of workers who demand higher salaries, better social conditions, collective contracts and compensation for night shifts. A group of students have joined

In brief, News

PACE’s Mignon visits Georgia on Tuesday

by | May 26, 2013
PACE

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of PACE will arrive in Georgia May 28 for a two-day visit. Jean-Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, is on a regional tour and comes to Georgia after finishing his visit to Azerbaijan. He

In brief, News

Two more charged with May 17 violence

by | May 25, 2013
police line and crowd ii 2013-05-17

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two more persons have been charged with violence on May 17, when a rally against homophobia was disrupted by a crowd of thousands of people encouraged by Orthodox clerics. The clashes led to almost 30 people being injured. The Interior Ministry

In brief, News

Georgia charges two Orthodox clerics after anti-gay violence

by | May 23, 2013
police and priests - 2013-05-17

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia says it is charging two high-ranking clerics who work for the country's Orthodox church. (Article has been corrected.) The police is pressing charges against the archimandrite of Sameba cathedral, Father

In brief, News

Strike continues at Georgian metalworks plant

by | May 22, 2013
Ferro workers

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds workers of Georgia’s large ferroalloy plant in Zestaponi are continuing their strike and do not plan to give up until their demands are met. Three workers have decided to end their hunger strike after consultations with the head

In brief, News

Metalworks plant in Georgia paralyzed by strike

by | May 21, 2013
ferro zestaponi

TBILISI, DFWatch--Metal workers in Zestaponi in western Georgia are on strike and have paralyzed the functioning of a plant which is responsible for 12 percent of Georgia's export. The operation of the Zestaponi ferroalloy plant was suspended almost all of Monday.

In brief, News

Hammarberg: Hard to explain how May 17 could happen

by | May 21, 2013
Thomas Hammarberg

TBILISI, DFWatch--Thomas Hammarberg says it will be difficult to explain to Europe how the May 17 violence could occur in a democratic country such as Georgia. Christian Orthodox activists last Friday used violence to disrupt a planned peaceful event to mark

In brief, News

Calls for a truth and justice commission

by | May 20, 2013
establish justice

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former political prisoners on Sunday held people’s congress at Sport’s Palace in Tbilisi in order to demand the restoration of justice and put the Saakashvili regime on trial. The congress decided to set up a people’s movement with the same

In brief, News

Suspect in sex tape leak out on bail and fired

by | May 15, 2013
gela khvedelidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Gela Khvedelidze, the Deputy Interior Minister accused of leaking a sex tape, is free on USD 3 000 bail and has been removed from his position. Khvedelidze was detained a few days ago for publishing a video with intimate scenes between three people. Wednesday Tbilisi

In brief, News

Georgia preparing second investigation into the 2008 war

by | May 14, 2013
2008_war_soldier

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of eight persons will study crimes commited during and after the Russia-Georgia war in August, 2008. Following a decision by Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili, representatives of three bodies will sit in the investigative group and study

In brief, News

21 percent more visitors to Georgia in April

by | May 12, 2013
tbilisi international airport

TBILISI, DFWatch--21 percent more foreigners visited Georgia in April 2013 than in the same month the year before. In the first five months of the year as a whole, 32 percent more foreigners visited the country, compared to the preceding year. These figures

In brief, News

OSCE delegation held closed door meetings

by | May 8, 2013
OSCE

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliamentarians from the coalition of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and the National Movement (UNM) party of President Saakashvili on Tuesday met with a delegation from the OSCE to discuss current events in Georgia, foreign policy and other

In brief, News

Saakashvili and Aliyev discussed Kars-Akhalkalaki railway

by | May 7, 2013
mikheil saakashvili - ilham aliyev 2013-05-07

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili discussed the construction of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway with President Ilham Aliyev during his visit to Azerbaijan. The heads of state of the two neighboring countries underlined that the construction of

In brief, News

OSCE parliamentarians visiting Georgia

by | May 7, 2013
radisson blu iveria hotel

TBILISI, DFWatch--A delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chaired by Wolfgang Grossruck, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, arrives in Georgia today Tuesday for a three day visit. In the delegation are also

In brief, News

Romania recognizes Georgia’s neutral passports

by | May 3, 2013
sukhumi_woman-300x251

TBILISI, DFWatch--Romania has recognized Georgia's so-called neutral travel documents, which are issued to people living in the breakaway territories Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia's Foreign Ministry received word of the decision Friday in a note from the

In brief, News

Saakashvili met Kerry and Biden

by | May 2, 2013
john kerry - mikheil saakashvili 2013-05-01

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili Wednesday continued his tour of the US and held meetings with Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden. "We applaud the democratic transition that has been taking place in Georgia," Kerry said in

In brief, News

Alasania disappointed by lack of support from Germany

by | May 2, 2013
irakli alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said on Wednesday that in the past, there have been exceeded expectations about Germany's support for Georgia's aspirations to become a NATO member. He said this as he opened a forum to discuss strategic

In brief, News

Third gold to Georgia in judo championship

by | April 27, 2013
Avtandil Chrikishvili - 250x210

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has its third European judo champion, after Avtandil Chrikishvili won gold medal in men’s 81 kg on Friday. Chrikishvili defeated Tomislav Marijanovic of Croatia in the final to win gold in the 2013 European Championship in Budapest.

In brief, News

Georgia takes second gold in judo championship

by | April 26, 2013
lasha shavdatuashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Lasha Shavdatuashvili Thursday won gold in the European Judo Championship in Budapest. This is Georgia's second gold in this year's championship. The first one was won by Amiran Papinashvili. Before Thursday's win, 21 year old

In brief, News

Kerry promises to visit Georgia

by | April 25, 2013
maya panjikidze - john kerry - brussels 2013-04-24

TBILISI, DFWatch--US Secretary of State John Kerry has promised that he will visit Georgia. Kerry made the promise as he met Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze in Brussels on Wednesday to talk about Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration,

In brief, News

Saakashvili visits US to meet Biden and Kerry

by | April 23, 2013
mikheil-saakashvili-2013-01-05

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Next week President Mikheil Saakashvili plans to visit the US next week to meet with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and his old friend John McCain

In brief, News

92% of Georgians trust Patriarch Ilia II

by | April 22, 2013
Ilia II

TBILISI, DFWatch--92 percent of Georgians say they like Patriarch Ilia II, who for many years has been the most trusted person in the country. According to a new survey published by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Monday, 75 percent say they like Prime

In brief, News

Ivanishvili to address PACE on Tuesday

by | April 20, 2013
bidzina-ivanishvili-2012-12-09

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on Tuesday. His speech is expected to deal with the new reforms his government has begun of the courts and the constitution,

In brief, News

Georgia to consider legal recognition of church weddings

by | April 20, 2013
jvriswera - church wedding

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia may consider granting legal status to weddings conducted by the church. This issue will be studied in the near future by the commission which handles relations between the state and the Orthodox Church. Today, a marriage

In brief, News

Saakashvili’s allies take leave from parliament

by | April 18, 2013
davit bakradze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement party have taken the last two days off from work in parliament in order to prepare for a big rally on April 19. One of the party's leaders, Davit Bakradze, on Wednesday explained that for two

In brief, News

Saakashvili: 100 000 Russian troops crossed border in 2008

by | April 17, 2013
mikheil saakashvili 2013-03-04

Tbilisi, DF Watch - President Mikheil Saakashvili says it was possible to avoid Russia-Georgian war of August 2008 only if Georgia would give up its statehood. He also remembered details of war saying that more than

In brief, News

Ivanishvili visits Germany

by | April 15, 2013
bidzina_ivanishvili_440x369

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is visiting Germany to participate in a conference organized by the German Marshall Fund. Part of the delegation are also Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili, Foreign Affair Minister Maia Panjikidze,

In brief, News

Turkey allows Georgian specialists in monastery works

by | April 13, 2013
Ishkhani monastery - photo buba kudava

TBILISI, DFWatch--Turkey has agreed to allow Georgian specialists to participate in the restoration of a Georgian the 7th century Ishkhani Monastery on its territory. A meeting was held on Friday at the Ministry of Culture of Turkey in Ankara, where representatives

In brief, News

Saakashvili refuses to cooperate with 2008 war inquest

by | April 12, 2013
Mikheil Saakashvili - Bronisław Komorowski - 2013-04-11

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili says he doesn’t plan to cooperate with a new investigation of the Russia-Georgia war in August, 2008. “I, as president, distance myself completely from the statement by the prime minister that it was a fault

In brief, News

Hail storm destroyed crops in Georgia

by | April 11, 2013
hail storm kakheti 2013-04-10 i

TBILISI, DFWatch--A hailstorm Wednesday destroyed harvest and flooded the first floors of houses in the village Ruispiri in eastern Georgia. Information Center of Kakheti reports that the hailstorm lasted 20 minutes and ripped the flowers off trees. “The hail

In brief, News

Saakashvili carries on visit with broken arm

by | April 10, 2013
mikheil saakashvili - bicycle ride in Turkey, 2013-04-08

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite having a broken arm, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili carried on his tour of Turkey Tuesday and met his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gül. On Sunday, Saakashvili crashed with a trailer in Antalya during his daily bicycle exercise.

In brief, News

Schwarzenberg tells Georgia Czech Republic can not mediate

by | April 9, 2013
Karel Schwarzenberg

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia only respects larger states, therefore the Czech Republic cannot be mediator between Georgia and Russia, Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Tuesday. The minister, who is visiting Georgia, said this at a joint press conference

In brief, News

April 9 remembered in Georgia, 24 years on

by | April 9, 2013
April 9 remembered 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--April 9 Georgia remembered that it was 24 years since Soviet troops dispersed a peaceful protest in Tbilisi, and 22 years since the day when Georgia restored its independence. People started arriving late night yesterday at the April 9 memorial

In brief, News

30 town officials in Sagarejo replaced

by | April 9, 2013
isfed-300x251

TBILISI, DFWatch--International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) says people are still being fired for political reasons in Georgia and calls on the government to prevent it. The call comes after the dismissal of several employees of the local

In brief, News

PACE co-rapporteurs visiting Georgia

by | April 8, 2013
PACE

TBILISI, DFWatch--Michael Aastrup Jensen and Boriss Cilevics from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will arrive in Georgia on Monday for a five-day visit. On Monday, the co-rapporteurs have planned to hold meetings with Prime Minister Bidzina

In brief, News

Six Georgians released by South Ossetia

by | April 6, 2013
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TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto government of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia has released six Georgians who were detained for ‘illegally crossing the border.’ Two of them have been detained since September 19, 2012. Malkhaz Titvelashvili and Givi

In brief, News

Number of prisoners halved in Georgia

by | April 5, 2013
prison_tower

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of prisoners in Georgia was reduced by 56.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, according to the Ministry of Corrections. The number of prisoners has been a cause of alarm during the last years.

In brief, News

Uncertainty about Georgia’s participation in EU’s Mali mission

by | April 2, 2013
irakli alasania - soldiers

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is waiting for confirmation from the European Union about whether to send military advisers to Mali to assist the Union's mission there. Georgia told the EU in December it would contribute militarily to the fight against an Islamist insurgency

In brief, News

Third Georgian released by South Ossetia

by | March 29, 2013
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Tbilisi, DFWatch - A Georgian was released from prison by the breakaway region South Ossetia Friday. This was the third Georgian prisoner to be released in the same number of days. The de facto authorities of the region on Friday released Ushangi Dotiashvili,

In brief, News

MoD proposes draft law increasing accountability to Parliament

by | March 29, 2013
irakli-alasania

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Ministry of Defense prepared two draft laws which, it argues, will increase its accountability before the parliament. The draft is about public and secret procurement

In brief, News

Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey plan closer cooperation

by | March 28, 2013
maya panjikidze - ilham aliyev - 2013-03-18

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Foreign ministers of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey will be meeting on Thursday in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast.

In brief, News

Missing fisherman found dead after storm

by | March 28, 2013
fishermen discovered dead body

TBILISI, DFWatch--The crew of a Georgian fishing boat Wednesday discovered the body of a man, 55, drifting in the Black Sea. The deceased, Davit Geladze, had been lost at sea during the storm of March 23 and was the subject of a search operation at the time his

In brief, News

Saakashvili presents a list of five new ambassadors

by | March 26, 2013
file copy

Tbilisi, DFWatch -President Saakashvili on Monday presented parliament with a list of five new ambassadors. The candidates are Khatuna Salukvadze for Lithuania, Zurab Pataradze for Kazakhstan, Irakli Koplatadze for Turkey, Teimuraz Sharashenidze for Azerbaijan

In brief, News

Two Georgian battalions depart for Afghanistan

by | March 22, 2013
georgian soldiers afghanistan isaf

TBILISI, DFWatch--The 33rd and 42nd battalions of Georgia’s III and IV infantry brigades are today getting ready to depart for Afghanistan to participate in NATO’s ISAF mission. According to the Defense Ministry, both battalions have been through a six-month

In brief, News

US ambassador: Georgia has strong and competitive government

by | March 21, 2013
richard norland 2013-03-21

TBILISI, DFWatch--US Ambassador Richard Norland says Georgia has a strong and competitive government, a competitive parliament, independent media and justice system, and a strong and experienced opposition. Norland said this during a meeting in parliament Thursday.

In brief, News

Georgia’s foreign minister visits Azerbaijan

by | March 19, 2013
maya panjikidze - ilham aliyev - 2013-03-18

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze on Tuesday met with the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, to discuss bilateral relations and further cooperation. During her visit to Azerbaijan, Panjikidze also met with the prime minister

In brief, News

Georgia confirms nine new ambassadors

by | March 19, 2013
defense_ministry

TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Georgia on Monday approved the list of nine new ambassadors, by signing the document which parliament passed February 20. The new ambassadors are those serving in Belgium, Ukraine, France, US, Hungary, Austria, Latvia, Czech Republic

In brief, News

Storm hits Black Sea coast

by | March 18, 2013
storm Batumi 2013-03-18

TBILISI, DFWatch--A storm hit Georgia Sunday evening and is threatening to inflict damage. Rescue personnel are mobilized in several regions of the country. According to local media, the wind has a speed of 20 meters per second on the Black Sea coast in the Adjara

In brief, News

Ivanishvili to address PACE

by | March 17, 2013
PACE

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister will participate at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg from April 20. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will address the assembly, according to Tina Khidasheli, a member

In brief, News

Robakidze video has been edited, examination shows

by | March 16, 2013
buta robakidze video

TBILISI, DFWatch--A forensic examination has concluded that a video clip of a police operation in 2004 which ended the life of Buta Robakidze has been edited. The Prosecutor’s Office on Friday published the results of an examination of the video, which was released

In brief, News

Bushfire in southwest Georgia

by | March 16, 2013
fire adjara

TBILISI, DFWatch--Firefighters are trying to contain a bushfire that is spreading in the Adjara region in south western Georgia on the Black Sea shores, bur wind is making their work is made difficult. Journalists for the local newspaper Batumelebi and the news agency

In brief, News

Snow blocks two roads in Georgia

by | March 15, 2013
snow road

TBILISI, DFWatch--A road in the Mtskheta region close to the capital is closed for all traffic after an avalanche. Also part of a road in Gudauri-Kobi in northern Georgia is blocked by masses of snow. The Road Department on Friday said clearance work is in progress.

In brief, News

Time schedule for visa liberalization plan ready

by | March 15, 2013
alex_petriashvili_440x369

TBILISI, DFWatch--A time schedule for implementing the action plan for visa liberalization between Georgia and the EU has been confirmed. Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili explained Thursday that the new agreement sets detailed goals for

In brief, News

Over 8 000 prisoners were freed in Georgia amnesty

by | March 15, 2013
gldani prison guard tower

TBILISI, DFWatch--The prisoner amnesty in Georgia ended its term of execution March 13. 8 322 prisoners were freed in total. According to the Prison Ministry, about 800 cases are still pending review in court. Most of them are about charges of fraud, cases which

In brief, News

Georgia asks Interpol to help catch ex-official

by | March 14, 2013
davit chakua - interpol notice

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia asks for help from Interpol in its search for a former government official. This time, the wanted note is about Davit Chakua, the former head of the prison department, who is charged with abuse of powers, humiliating and inhumane treatment,

In brief, News

Prosecutors struggling to deal with flood of complaints

by | March 14, 2013
Archil Kbilashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has created a 12 member investigative group to deal with the mass of complaints flowing in. Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili said on Wednesday that the group consists solely of young prosecutors who finished

In brief, News

Doctors’ hunger strike over

by | March 14, 2013
doctors on hunger strike

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four fired doctors on Wednesday ended their week-long hunger strike after learning that the director of the emergency service where they worked has been removed from his position. The doctors started their protest March 6. They said had they

In brief, News

Progress in prisoner exchange with Tskhinvali

by | March 13, 2013
ucha nanuashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are twelve Georgian prisoners in South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgian region, according to the public defender Ucha Nanuashvili. He told Pirveli Radio Wednesday that his office has received positive signal from non-government organizations in

In brief, News

Merabishvili ‘connected’ to controversial 2006 killing

by | March 13, 2013
Vano Merabishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's chief prosecutor and justice minister claim that the long time former interior minister Vano Merabishvili was implicated in the killing of Sandro Girgvliani, a controversial murder committed by the police in 2006. Chief Prosecutor Archil

In brief, News

Most visitors to Georgia come from neighboring countries

by | March 12, 2013
visitors 2006-2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The majority of foreign visitors to Georgia in 2013 came from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine and Iran. As there is no mechanism to categorize people crossing the border of the country, the government provides general information about

In brief, News

Georgia ends use of consecutive sentence

by | March 8, 2013
city court in tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia on Friday decided to end the practice of mandatory consecutive sentence. Following the amendments to the Criminal Law code and Criminal Law Procedure Code, the longer sentence absorbs the shorter one; what is called

In brief, News

Snow and ice is causing traffic problems in Georgia

by | March 4, 2013
snow road

TBILISI, DFWatch--The latest snowfall has made driving conditions so poor that the road from the winter resort Gudauri to the village Kobi has been closed for all traffic. On other roads there are restrictions from some types of traffic. Along the road section from

In brief, News

Akhalaia to remain in detention

by | March 4, 2013
bacho akhalaia - tbilisi court v - 2013-02-28

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Saturday held pretrial hearing in two of the five criminal cases currently brought against former defense minister Bacho Akhalaia to decide on preventive measures before the trial. For the third time, Akhalaia was given pretrial

In brief, News

Prosecutor lost appeal in Tbilisi mayor’s case

by | March 2, 2013
gigi-ugulava

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office lost its appeal about issuing bail conditions for Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava in a case about money laundering and embezzlement. The Appeals Court refused to set a one million GEL (USD 600 000) bail for mayor and suspend him

In brief, News

Russia and Georgia discussed visa rules

by | March 2, 2013
zurab abashidze -

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the main topics of conversation when Georgia and Russia met in Prague yesterday was whether Russia will simplify visa rules for Georgian citizens. (Article has been updated with comments from Russia's foreign ministry.) The two countries

In brief, News

Saakashvili reaffirms Georgia’s close ties with neighbor Azerbaijan

by | March 1, 2013
sandra roelofs - mikheil saakashvili - ilham aliyev - mehriban aliyeva - 2013-02-28

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili says no matter who is in government, the country will continue the same foreign policy course, also in relations with neighboring Azerbaijan. The Georgian leader visited Azerbaijan for two days and held meetings with his

In brief, News

Georgia and Russia meet today in Prague

by | March 1, 2013
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TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of Georgia and Russia meet in Prague today to discuss trade, cultural and transport issues. The countries still have no formal relations after fighting a war in 2008. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili a few months ago appointed Zurab

In brief, News

Saakashvili visits Azerbaijan

by | February 27, 2013
mikheil saakashvili - in london 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili today starts a two day visit to Azerbaijan. The visit will take place on February 27-28 and includes a personal meeting with Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, according to the Georgian president's press office.

In brief, News

EU and Georgia agree on visa action plan

by | February 26, 2013
cecilia malmstrom - maya panjikidze - 2013-02-25

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU has agreed with Georgia about a visa action plan that may one day allow Georgians to enter Europe without a visa. But first, the country must pass through a set of requirements in data safety, border management, migration, public order, security

In brief, News

Ugulava free without bail

by | February 25, 2013
gigi ugulava  ii - 2013-02-23

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court did not listen to a plea from the Prosecutor's Office to suspend Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Uglava from his position. Neither did it set bail conditions. Monday, the court reviewed the charges against Ugulava, a member of President

In brief, News

Georgia and Russia to meet in Prague for direct talks

by | February 25, 2013
zurab abashidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Russia will meet for a second round of direct talks in Prague on March 1. The two countries have still not established formal relations following a brief war in 2008. Georgia's envoy, Zurab Abashidze, told journalists Monday that they will

In brief, News

Ex-minister involved in an unexpected killing released on bail

by | February 24, 2013
lado Vardzelashvili detained

TBILISI, DFWatch -A former sports minister detained for being involved in a fatal gun accident that killed his friend was Saturday released on GEL 3,000 (USD 1,800) bail by Tbilisi court, along with two other men charged for the same incident. Lado Vardzelashvili, former sports

In brief, News

Lawmakers in Georgia discuss using national dress

by | February 23, 2013
zviad dzidziguri - bidzina gujabidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Lawmakers in Georgia Friday discussed a proposal to allow members of the assembly to wear the national dress Chokha while in parliament. The bill is the initiative of Bidzina Gujabidze from the Conservative Party, who argues that the physical

In brief, News

Akhalaia expected in court today

by | February 20, 2013
bacho-axalaia-300x251

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court today holds pretrial hearing in the case against Saakashvili loyalist Bacho Akhalaia and other former government officials. The hearing has been rescheduled several times on request by the Chief Prosecutor. Wednesday's hearings

In brief, News

Cecilia Malmström to visit Georgia

by | February 19, 2013
news_26510

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will visit Georgia and bring action plan for visa liberalization issues on February 24. Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Affair Minister on Tuesday met with the National Movement members in parliament

In brief, News

Georgia gets new business ombudsman

by | February 19, 2013
giorgi gakharia - appointed as business ombudsman 2013-02-19

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Tuesday appointed a new business ombudsman. He said this will make it easier for them to make the government aware of problems they may have. The announcement took place at a meeting with business

In brief, News

Foreign experts to study high profile cases

by | February 18, 2013
bidzina ivanishvili 2013-02-17

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of foreign experts is to monitor ongoing high profile criminal cases in Georgia. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who took the initiative, told journalists that President Mikheil Saakashvili has agreed to establishing the group. Another

In brief, News

UNDP chief visits Georgia

by | February 17, 2013
Helen Clark

TBILISI, DFWatch--UNDP chief Helen Clark is expected in Georgia February 17 for a three-day visit. According to the UNDP, the organization's administrator will hold meetings with government officials and representatives of local and international organizations. She

In brief, News

Ivanishvili visiting Turkey

by | February 14, 2013
bidzina-ivanishvili-2012-11-22-press-conf-300x251

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian head of government Bidzina Ivanishvili is on a one-day visit to Turkey accompanied by some of his ministers. According to the prime minister's press office, the delegation plans to hold meetings with Turkey's president, prime minister

In brief, News

Court to consider forcing mayor to come for questioning

by | February 14, 2013
gigi-ugulava

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Interior Ministry appeals to Tbilisi City Court asking for it to issue a court order requiring the Tbilisi mayor to appear for questioning. Mayor Ugulava has been asked repeatedly to come to the police and talk about the violence outside

In brief, News

Panetta briefed Alasania about Afghanistan plans

by | February 13, 2013
leon panetta

TBILISI, DFWatch--The US Secretary of Defense Tuesday called Georgia’s Defense Minister and introduced him to the US action plan for Afghanistan. The main topic of conversation between Leon Panetta and Irakli Alasania was what kind of new functions the Georgian

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Minibus drivers in Batumi are on strike

by | February 12, 2013
yellow minibuses

TBILISI, DFWatch--A correspondent for Interpressnews in the Black Sea port reports that 350 drivers have been on strike from Tuesday morning, demanding an increase in their salary. Drivers say their hourly pay is USD 2.20 and want to increase it to USD 2.50, otherwise

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Georgia and Turkey plan defense cooperation

by | February 12, 2013
irakli-alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch--The prime minister and defense minister of Georgia will go to Turkey this week to discuss relations between the two neighboring countries. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said on Monday that he and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will go to Turkey

In brief, News

Informal Eastern Partnership talks in Georgia

by | February 12, 2013
Maya Panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will host the session of the informal dialogue within the Eastern Partnership February 12 and 13. Georgia's Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze and Economy Minister Giorgi Kbirikashvili will host the event, according to the press office

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Saakashvili to negotiate with government today

by | February 11, 2013
saakashvili-palace

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president will meet with the speaker of parliament in the evening today to discuss topics which lie at the base of a protracted dispute between the two main political blocs. Member of parliament Giorgi Gabashvili from the minority

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Two people fined for Friday’s violence

by | February 11, 2013
Irakli Gharibashvili - National Library - 2013-02-08 IPN

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office asks Tbilisi City Court to impose pre-trial measures against Gela Mamaladze, the man who is accused of beating opposition members outside the National Library on Friday.

In brief, News

Georgia and South Korea sign visa treaty

by | February 8, 2013
Nikoloz Apkhazava - Anh Ho-young

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and South Korea have signed their first inter-governmental treaty about visa free travel for citizens holding diplomatic, official and service passports. The agreement on the waiving of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, official

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Saakashvili to address the nation today

by | February 8, 2013
mikheil_saakashvili_state_of_the_nation7_2012-155x129

Tbilisi, DF Watch - The President of Georgia will address the nation at 18:00 today from the National Library. The diplomatic corps, church leaders, journalists and students are invited to attend the event. After his speech, the president will answer questions.

In brief, News

Saakashvili to hold state of the nation address from library

by | February 8, 2013
mikheil_saakashvili_state_of_the_nation3_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili will address the nation from the National Library instead of from parliament. Saakashvili should have held his annual address on Friday, but the event was postponed by the ruling Georgian Dream coalition.

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President’s annual address postponed

by | February 7, 2013
davit usupashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The president’s annual speech to parliament is postponed indefinitely. This is a decision made by the ruling coalition. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili today said consultations had been held and a decision was made to not hold

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Georgia to set up three new investment funds

by | February 6, 2013
bidzina ivanishvili v 2013-02-05

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Three new funds will be established in Georgia, which will be sovereign fund of Georgia, a private investment fund and a youth fund. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili at a press conference Tuesday briefly outlined the three new funds, saying that

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Saakashvili in Germany for Marshall Fund conference

by | February 5, 2013
mikheil saakashvili - jet

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava have left for Germany to participate in a conference organized by the German Marshall Fund. According to the president's press office, there is planned an event called

In brief, News

Saakashvili to address parliament February 8

by | February 3, 2013
mikheil_saakashvili_state_of_the_nation3_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili's annual address to parliament will take place on February 8, 2013. “As a result of consultations, a decision was made that the president's annual speech, defined by the constitution, will take place at 14:00 Friday

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Moscow denies talks with Georgia about CIS return

by | February 1, 2013
kremlin

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Moscow denies rumors about ongoing negotiations with Georgia to bring the country back as member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The rumors were reported a few days ago in Russian media. Alexander Lukashevich, spokesperson for

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Ex minister risks 15 years for making fake cognac

by | February 1, 2013
davit kezerashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Another official from Mikheil Saakashvili’s government was Wednesday charged with abuse of powers and bribery. The Finance Ministry’s investigative service accuses former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili of assisting a criminals gang with

In brief, News

Agreement about foreign policy course

by | January 31, 2013
davit usupashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The governing Georgian Dream coalition is ready to cooperate with the opposition about the foreign policy. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said this on Wednesday after Saakashvili’s party accused the prime minister and his party

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Wants guarantees for Georgia’s western course

by | January 30, 2013
giorgi baramidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili's National Movement party wants to tie Georgia to the mast in terms of the course of its foreign policy. Spokesperson Giorgi Baramidze Wednesday presented a draft bill that will write into legislation what the

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BA cancels flights to Georgia

by | January 30, 2013
British Airways

TBILISI, DFWatch -- British Airways will temporarily cancel its flights to Georgia from April 1, 2013, spokesperson Irakli Gordeli told journalists on Monday. The airline started flights to Georgia in 2012. Gordeli said they made this decision in the beginning

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Flights to Tbilisi canceled due to fog

by | January 28, 2013
tbilisi airport

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Tbilisi international airport on Monday had to cancel or divert several incoming international and local flights due to heavy fog. One flight from Moscow (04:00 pm) was delayed, while a flight from Ekaterinburg (10:20 pm) is canceled, as well as a

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Three Georgian soldiers wounded in Afghanistan

by | January 25, 2013
afghanistan shooting incident Jan 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Three Georgian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan when insurgents opened fire as they were out on patrol. Corporal Erekle Kharshiladze and Junior Sergeant Iaho Kakulia received minor injuries. According to the Georgian Defense Ministry,

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Georgia and Russia to meet at PACE spring session

by | January 25, 2013
Tedo Japaridze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Representatives of Georgia and Russia will meet at the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Tedo Japaridze, head of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, told journalists about the planned meeting on Thursday

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Medvedev and Ivanishvili’s 2-minute chat

by | January 25, 2013
Maya Panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze on Thursday confirmed that the prime ministers of Russia and Georgia met unofficially in Davos. Panjikidze told journalists in Davos that Bidzina Ivanishvili and Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday met

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Ivanishvili and Medvedev meet at Davos

by | January 24, 2013
bidzina ivanishvili in davos 2013-01-24

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian and Russian Prime Ministers met for the first time in Davos Thursday and had a several minutes long conversation. This is the first time heads of government of the two countries have met since diplomatic relations between Georgia and Russia

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Georgian patriarch met Putin

by | January 24, 2013
Ilia II

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Patriarch Illia II on Wednesday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and passed on greetings from Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Vladimir Putin hosted Illia II and Kirill I of Russia at suburban residence in Novo

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Canada and Georgia sign defense agreement

by | January 24, 2013
Christopher R. Kilford - Davit Nardaia - 2013-01-23

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia and Canada Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding about defense policy. The agreement was signed by Colonel Christopher R. Kilford and Davit Nardaia, Chairman of Georgia’s International Affairs and EU Integration Department at

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Saakashvili era foreign policy deputy resigns

by | January 22, 2013
Nikoloz Vashakidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Nikoloz Vashakidze resigned on Tuesday, citing incompatibility with the current foreign policy of the country. Vashakidze is one of the officials who have stayed over from the previous government. He

In brief, News

Georgian patriarch Ilia II visiting Moscow

by | January 21, 2013
ilia ii moscow 2013-01-20

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Patriarch Illia II on Sunday left for Russia to receive an award. His visit will also include a meeting with the Russian president Vladimir Putin. “I want to ask you that I leave for Moscow and we will have a conversation on very

In brief, News

Political prisoners were blessed by the patriarch

by | January 19, 2013
politpatimrebis dalocva

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Political prisoners, who were released last Sunday when the new amnesty law came into force, visited the Georgian Patriarch, who blessed them. The prisoners came to Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi to attend the prayer for the Orthodox holiday of Epiphany,

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Saakashvili loses security force

by | January 19, 2013
special_police

TBILISI,DFWatch -- The Special State Protection Service of Georgia is now under the control of the government, and not the president. Parliament passed the law by 88 votes against 1 on Thursday. Earlier, the president had a right to appoint the chair of the Special

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Tbilisi vice mayor released on bail

by | January 18, 2013
shota khizanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former Interior Ministry top was Thursday released on bail. Shota Khizanishvili, who after the National Movement's election loss became Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, was included in a mass amnesty which applies to more than 18 500 prisoners. The

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Rikoti tunnel closed for repair work

by | January 17, 2013
Rikoti tunnel - Photo Ministry of Regional Development and Infrasctructure

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Rikoti tunnel, which connects the western and eastern parts Georgia, will be closed from January 18 to January 30, from 20:00 in the evening until 08:00 in the morning, because of work to repair the electric system.

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Ex intelligence official detained for abuse of powers

by | January 16, 2013
handcuffed

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Police in Georgia have detained a regional director of the feared domestic intelligence service, the Constitutional Security Department (CSD). Temur Pataridze, who headed the CSD (in Georgian abbreviated to KUD, or 'Kudi') in the Autonomous

In brief, News

UK has new temporary ambassador to Georgia

by | January 16, 2013
David Moran

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Ambassador David Moran on January 14 began work as the temporary trustee of the UK to Georgia, the UK embassy in Tbilisi informs. On his arrival, Moran said he was pleased to be in Georgia and to start working and living in this beautiful country.

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21 Georgians detained in France for bank card theft

by | January 15, 2013
france arrested

TBILISI, DFWatch -- French gendarmes have detained 21 Georgians suspected of cooperation with Russian mafia. According to reports in French media, they are accused of stealing hundreds of bank cards and attempting to break into accounts and steal money. The operation

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Orthodox church leaders leaving Georgia

by | January 14, 2013
bidzina-ivanishvili-patriarch-ilia-ii-2013-01-13

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Clerics from different Orthodox countries will leave today, Monday. The guests arrived five days ago in order to congratulate Georgian Patriarch Ilia II with his 80th birthday and 35th year since his inauguration. Patriarch Bartholomew I of

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Saakashvili wants a doubling of pensions for veterans

by | January 12, 2013
mikheil saakashvili - -

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili has presented a new initiative to double pensions for veterans and allocate permanent pensions for families of soldiers and policemen who have died in the line of duty. The president's administration has prepared a

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Three Russian climbers dead in avalanche

by | January 10, 2013
Elbrus

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Four Russian climbers have been taken by an avalanche in the Kazbegi mountains in northern Georgia. One has been brought to safety alive, the other three are presumed dead. Rescue workers have been unable to find their bodies because of thick fog. The four

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Jubilee brings congregation of world church leaders to Tbilisi

by | January 8, 2013
ilia_ii_and_bidzina_ivanishvili_2011-11-15_03

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A large number of clerics from different Orthodox countries will start gathering in Tbilisi tomorrow to mark the 80-year jubilee of the Georgian Patriarch Illia II. Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople is among the guests arriving in Georgia

In brief, News

Heavy snow fall in Georgia

by | January 7, 2013
White Christmas. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There are restrictions on road traffic in northern Georgia due to heavy snow fall. There is danger of landslide on the road between Kobi and Gudauri, a resort in Kazbegi the mountains, and along the road Mtskheta-Stepandtsminda-Larsi, due to a snow

In brief, News

Two Alilo processions in Tbilisi

by | January 7, 2013
70f5fad1a899fd367d17ff1046fafaa5

Tbilisi, DF Watch - Georgia marks Christmas on January 7 by Julian calendar by two major picturesque processions in Tbilisi and many other towns of Georgia. Alilo, a Christmas chant, is organized almost in each district and regions of the country.

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Ilia II to receive religious award

by | January 4, 2013
ilia_ii

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Patriarch Ilia II will visit Russia in the end of January to receive a special award. He is to receive the Russian Church’s International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, which is granted annually as a recognition

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Georgia becomes chair of GUAM

by | January 3, 2013
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- From January 1, 2013, Georgia holds the chairmanship of GUAM, an international organization between Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. After assuming leadership Tuesday, Georgia presented a program to other member states. Georgia’s

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Crime is under control, says government

by | December 31, 2012
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The crime situation in Georgia stabilized in December, as the number of criminal incidents has been significantly reduced, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. During a visit to a family who had been attacked by robbers, President Mikheil

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Another Stalin statue goes up in Georgia

by | December 31, 2012
stalin monument - Akura

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A statue of Josef Stalin which had been torn down has been put up again in a village in eastern Georgia. Locals in Akura restored the monument of the Soviet dictator two years after it was taken down. Villagers rehabilitated the monument to

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Saakashvili presents downsized amnesty bill

by | December 28, 2012
Mikheil_Saakashvili_blue_suit

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has vetoed the coming into force of a law on amnesty, and sent his own version of the law to parliament. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Friday said the legislative body has received the president's

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Ivanishvili and Aliyev discussed energy export

by | December 26, 2012
ilham aliyev - ilham aliyev 2012-12-26

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Tuesday met the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, during an official visit to Baku. The two held a closed meeting which took place at Aliyev’s Zagulba palace. Also present were Georgia's Foreign

In brief, News

Earthquake hits Georgia again

by | December 26, 2012
earthquake kobuleti

TBILISI, DFWatch -- An earthquake hit Georgia Wednesday morning; the second one in three days. Two strong quakes were felt early morning December 26, at 02:44 and 03:00 am. According to the seismic monitoring center, the strength of the earthquakes were 5.5 and

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Georgian sailors returning home

by | December 25, 2012
panama sailors maria del carmen 2

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The twelve Georgian sailors who have been adrift on a ship abandoned by its owner off the coast of Panama are returning home. The sailors aboard the Maria del Carmen 2, sailing under a Nigerian flag, were rescued by staff at the Georgian embassy

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Georgia sends rescue team to Afghanistan

by | December 25, 2012
Georgian_ISAF_soldiers_Afghanistan

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A military search team left for Afghanistan on Monday in order to search for a Georgian soldier who has been missing for almost a week. The team is headed by the deputy chief of the Joint Staff. ISAF isalready  conducting a search and rescue

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Georgia’s Interior Ministry auctions off luxury cars

by | December 24, 2012
black cars - interior ministry

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Interior Ministry has decided to put its luxurious cars up for auction. The new leadership at the ministry has prepared around 50 cars for sale, and models range from Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Vogue, to BMW

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Phone outage after earthquake in Georgia

by | December 23, 2012
seismogram

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There was an earthquake in Georgia on Sunday, causing minor damage in parts of the country. According to the national seismic monitoring center, the earthquake struck at 17:31 local time and had a magnitude of 5.7. The epicenter was 46 km

In brief, News

Saakashvili addresses party, delegates return to parliament

by | December 23, 2012
mikheil saakashvili - 2012-12-23 i

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The National Movement party of President Mikheil Saakashvili will return to parliament on Monday. This became clear at a party conference Sunday. The president addressed his party's activists and tried to fire them up as they are

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Georgia gives 3 500 prisoners amnesty

by | December 22, 2012
prison_tower

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The parliament in Georgia has finally passed an amnesty law which will mean that 3500 prisoners will be released. The goal of the bill is to soften the crime policy. It aims to achieve this by releasing some prisoners and halving the sentence for others.

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Kitsmarishvili fined for damaging Maestro’s equipment

by | December 22, 2012
erosi_kitsmarishvili_220x185

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A court has fined the former manager of Maestro TV, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, with USD 845 204 for damaging equipment belonging to the TV company one year ago. November 30, 2011 Erosi Kitsmarishvili and a group of strangers scaled the walls of

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ICC to investigate 2008 Georgia-Russia war

by | December 20, 2012
2008_war_soldier

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The International Criminal Court (ICC) is considering launching an investigation into the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008. The Justice Ministry of Georgia on Wednesday released a statement which says that in accordance with Georgia's international

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Ivanishvili looks forward to meeting Putin

by | December 19, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili 2012-11-22 - press conf 4

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili hopes to meet with the Russian leaders Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in the future. Recently Georgia's special representative for Russian relations met the deputy foreign minister of Russia in Geneva.

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Okruashvili is on hunger strike

by | December 18, 2012
irakli okruashvili 2012-12-10

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former defense minister who is in prison awaiting trial has gone on hunger strike. Irakli Okruashvili, who is charged with abuse of powers and extortion, says he is doing it to express solidarity with ten other prisoners who didn’t make

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Friends of Buta Robakidze will not be prosecuted

by | December 17, 2012
city court in tbilisi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Tbilisi City Court has ruled out that there will be criminal charges brought against the friends of Buta Robakidze, who was killed by police in 2004. November 24, 2004 Giorgi Kurdadze, Kakhaber Azariashvili and Akaki Bartaia, all friends of

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Stranded Georgian sailors plan lawsuit in Panama

by | December 17, 2012
sailors - pan

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian sailors who are stranded off the coast of Panama plan a lawsuit at the marine court in that country. The twelve Georgian sailors on a ship sailing under Nigerian flag plan to file the suit on Monday if their demands aren’t met. “The temperature is

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Traffic restrictions after first snowfall

by | December 16, 2012
snow

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The season's first snowfall has led to restrictions on traffic several places in Georgia. The snow is causing problems in the Kakheti region, in east Georgia. Local media also report that ice is making it difficult for people to move around

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Georgia and Russia’s first step towards mending relations

by | December 15, 2012
zurab abashidze -

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia and Russia representatives on Friday agreed to continue the dialogue. Zurab Abashidze, the Prime Minister’s special representative for Russian relations, and Gregory Karasin, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, on Friday met in Geneva.

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US supports Georgia having direct talks with Russia

by | December 13, 2012
thomas o melia 2012-12-12

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The US supports Georgia's decision to start direct talks with Russia, Thomas O. Melia, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, said Thursday. Melia, whose full title is U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor,

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Georgia and Russia plan rare meeting Friday

by | December 13, 2012
Grigory Karasin

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The two countries fought a brief war in August 2008. Tomorrow they will meet face to face for the first time. The meeting will take place on neutral ground in Geneva, Switzerland, on the sidelines of periodic talks between the sides in that war.

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U.S. monitoring how Ivanishvili and Saakashvili cooperate

by | December 13, 2012
tomas melia 2012-12-12

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The U.S. is closely monitoring the transition of power from President Saakashvili's National Movement to Prime Minister Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition. Also subject to scrutiny is how well the two political blocs are working together,

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MP investigated for beating of businessman

by | December 12, 2012
police

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A member of parliament from Saakashvili's National Movement party is being called in for questioning regarding the beating of a businessman. According to the prosecutor's office, Paata Lezhava on September 23, 2012 beat businessman

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U.S. officials visit Georgia

by | December 12, 2012
state_dep

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two U.S. government officials arrived in Georgia Wednesday as part of a tour of the Caucasus. Thomas Melia from the State Department and Catherine Newcombe from the Department of Justice, will meet with Georgian government officials, media and

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Georgia to chair GUAM in 2013

by | December 10, 2012
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia will have the chairmanship of GUAM in 2013. Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said at Monday's regular briefing that Georgia was officially appointed in Dublin a few days ago, at a session of the GUAM foreign minister council.

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Saakashvili criticizes government’s handling of NATO

by | December 7, 2012
mikheil_saakashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili says the meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission on Wednesday was not a step forward for the country. Saakashvili made the comment during a working visit to Poland. “Unfortunately, we didn't see

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Rasmussen says NATO will not interfere in detention cases

by | December 6, 2012
anders_fogh_rasmussen_in_Georgia_September_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO will not interfere in the legal process in Georgia in regard to the recent detentions of former government officials, the alliance's Secretary General says. After summing up a meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission in Brussels, Anders

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Georgian patriarch hosts Israeli ambassador

by | December 6, 2012
patriarch Ilia II - Yuval Fuchs - 2012-12-05

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Patriarch Ilia II hosted Israeli Ambassador Yuval Fuchs and his wife at the Patriarch's residence in Mtskheta, close to the capital. Fuchs thanked Illia II for his merits in deepening relations between the two states in regards to

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Rasmussen comments on Georgia

by | December 5, 2012
anders fogh rasmussen 2012-11-14

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Bucharest decision that Georgia will become a member of NATO stands if Georgia fulfills necessary criteria, NATO Secretary General states. Anders Fogh Rasmussen was speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the NATO-Russia

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Court detains Data Akhalaia in absentia

by | December 4, 2012
data akhalaia

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former Interior Ministry official has been sentenced to pre-trial detention in absentia. Data Akhalaia, former chair of the feared Constitutional Security Department of the Interior Ministry, is charged, together with Soso Topuridze and Geronti

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Weapons cache discovered in Tbilisi

by | December 4, 2012
weapons cache 2012-12-03

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Military Police in Georgia have seized about a hundred weapons of different types at an apartment in Tbilisi. Vako Avaliani, Advisor to the Defense Minister, on Monday said the weapons were not registered. The ministry learned about the location

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Seven die in road accident

by | December 4, 2012
road accident Imereti traffic 2012-12-03

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Seven persons died Monday evening in a car accident in Western Georgia, according to the Interior Ministry. In a statement the ministry writes that the accident took place at about 20:00 in the village Tseva, in the Imereti region. A truck

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NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels

by | December 3, 2012
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO's Foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels December 4 and 5. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, will chair the meeting. Maia Panjikidze, Georgia's Foreign Affairs Minister arrived in Brussels Monday evening

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Justice Minister in doubt about charges against ex-official

by | December 3, 2012
mia_shark

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The court released a former interior ministry official on bail until the trial, in the most controversial case among the recent detentions. Tengiz Gunava on Sunday was sentenced to pay USD 6 000 bail. First he was detained for illegal possession

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New round of Georgia-EU free trade talks

by | November 27, 2012
mfa

TBILISI, DFWatch -- EU-Georgia today opened the fourth round of negotiations of the proposed Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) in Brussels. In parallel, the twelfth session of negotiations of Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU was also

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Rubin visiting Georgia for defense and security talks

by | November 27, 2012
eric rubin

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in EU and Eurasian Affairs, is visiting Georgia. Rubin will have meetings during November 27-29. The US Embassy in Georgia informed DF Watch that Eric Rubin will meet representatives of

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Ashton visiting Georgia

by | November 26, 2012
Catherine-Ashton

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Catherine Ashton, EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, visits Georgia. Her one day visit includes meetings with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanisvhili and Foreign Affairs

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Three Georgians released by Tskhinvali authorities

by | November 25, 2012
forest

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Three Georgian citizens have been released from prison in occupied Tskhinvali region. The three were arrested for crossing the de facto border at the village Kirbali, near the town Gori. Georgia’s Interior Ministry informs that Gia and Akaki

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Friend of Tbilisi Mayor released on bail

by | November 23, 2012
Giorgi Kelbakiani 2

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A friend of the Tbilisi Mayor suspected of money laundering was today released on a USD 90 000 bail for 30 days. Giorgi Kelbakiani, Georgia Director of the construction company NCC, and Archil Chigogava, Financial Director of the same company

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Estonia recognizes Georgia-issued neutral passports

by | November 22, 2012
sukhumi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Estonia has recognized so-called neutral passports as travel documents. The Reintegration Minister's office November 12 received a note from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Estonia which said that the country approves the documents as valid

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Georgia ready to extend Afghanistan mission

by | November 21, 2012
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia will continue its participation in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan also after 2014. Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said this while briefing David Lidington, the UK's Minister of State for Europe, about the Georgian

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Lidington visits Georgia

by | November 21, 2012
David Lidington

TBILISI, DFWatch -- David Lidington, the UK's Minister of State for Europe, will visit Georgia on November 21 and 22. Wednesday, he will meet with President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Affairs Minister, Giga

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NATO-Georgia Commission meeting in Brussels Tuesday

by | November 20, 2012
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Alexi Petriashvili, State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, November 19 left for Brussels to attend the session. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania is also on a working visit to Brussels, both participating in the NGC session on the level

In brief, News

Georgian sailors abandoned by ship’s owner

by | November 19, 2012
maya_panjikidze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Twelve Georgian sailors have asked for help from Panama as they are five km away from the nearest port and running out of food and electricity. The sailors are aboard the Maria Del Carmen sailing under Nigerian flag and have been out for

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Germany to help Georgia mend relations to Russia

by | November 18, 2012
guido_westerwelle

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Germany wants to play a positive role in the process of restoring relations between Georgia and Russia, says Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister after meeting with her German colleague in Germany. According to the foreign ministry, Foreign

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U.S. envoy discussed Georgia’s new approach to Russia

by | November 17, 2012
philip gordon . .

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s defense and foreign ministers on Saturday met the U.S. Philip Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, visited Georgia for a second day

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Gordon calls on Saakashvili and Ivanishivli to cooperate

by | November 17, 2012
Philip Gordon -

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The U.S. diplomat Philip Gordon Friday met government and other officials in Georgia. Gordon, whose full title is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, met with Davit Usupashvili, Speaker of Parliament; Davit Bakradze

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NATO visit postponed to next year

by | November 15, 2012
irakli alasania

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The delayed visit by NATO's Military Committee will take place in the first half of 2013. “The parties have decided that high military officials of the Alliance will visit Georgia in the first half of 2013,” the defense ministry informs, explaining

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Gordon to visit Georgia Friday

by | November 15, 2012
philip gordon

TBILISI, DFWatch -- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, is visiting Georgia Friday. Gordon will meet with government officials. According to the U.S. embassy in Georgia, he will once again underline that the U.S. is

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Fogh Rasmussen’s Facebook page flooded with criticism

by | November 15, 2012
anders fogh rasmussen 2012-11-14

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Facebook page has seen an influx of traffic the last week from Georgian users responding to the NATO Secretary General's recent statement about expressing concern over the detention of military and political officials in

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Workers protest continues at Telasi

by | November 14, 2012
telasi protest

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The crisis at an energy company continued Wednesday as three employees went on hunger strike. The strike at Telasi, which supplies the capital with electricity, started weeks ago, after the election results became known. Current and former

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NATO criticizes new Georgian government

by | November 13, 2012
nato_flag

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO's Parliamentary Assembly criticizes the new government for putting pressure on the public broadcaster and local government and asks it to refrain from politically motivated arrests. The resolution was passed Monday in Prague at the 58. annual

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Ex-minister accused of torture

by | November 13, 2012
bacho akhalaia 2012-11-07

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A jailed former minister was Monday handed additional charges under a section of the law which deals with torture. The torture charge against Bacho Akhalaia -- a close personal ally of President Saakashvili and former prison minister,

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Fogh Rasmussen concerned about detentions in Georgia

by | November 12, 2012
anders_fogh_rasmussen_in_Georgia_September_2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expresses concern about the detention of political and military officials in Georgia. ‘I'm extremely concerned about the development we have, not least related to recent arrests of political

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Officers accused of abusing staff suspended

by | November 12, 2012
giorgi kalandadze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two military officers who were detained together with a former interior minister for abuse of powers, were on Sunday suspended. Giorgi Kalandadze a month ago was appointed to the post of head of the general headquarters. November 7 he was detained

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Poti strike over

by | November 11, 2012
poti

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The strike among port workers in Poti has ended, as workers were promised a 20 percent pay rise. A local correspondent for Interpressnews reports that what solved the crisis was when Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Irakli Petriashvili,

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Ivanishvili visits Brussels November 12

by | November 9, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili - press conference 2012-10-02

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's first visit abroad after assuming office will be to Brussels on November 12 to 14. After Friday’s government session, Foreign Affairs Minister Maia Panjikidze said Ivanishvili will be meeting with

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Georgia’s ambassador to the U.S. resigns

by | November 9, 2012
temur iakobashvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's ambassador to the U.S. resigned on Thursday. A new ambassador should be presented by the new government, he says. Temur Iakobashvili, Georgia's Ambassador to the U.S., posted a note about his decision on Facebook, where he writes that

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New Georgian PM plans NATO strategy

by | November 9, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's NATO integration coordinating commission held its 39. session at the government office on Thursday. Chair of the commission is Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who chaired the session for the first time. The commission discussed NATO

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Hillary Clinton talks to Saakashvili and Georgia’s FM

by | November 5, 2012
hillary clinton

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Hillary Cliton has had a phone conversation with President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Georgia. The press office of Mikheil Saakashvili informs that main topic of his conversation with the U.S. Secretary of State on Saturday was Georgia’s progress on

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Telecom investor offers more details about eavesdropping

by | November 2, 2012
mamia sanadiradze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The former owner of a telecommunication company accuses other companies of illegal eavesdropping. Mamia Sanadiradze, founder and former owner of Caucasus Online, said a few days ago that his company was subject to pressure. He said that the

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Ivanishvili unveils deputy ministers

by | November 1, 2012
bidzina ivanishvili - press conference 2012-10-02

TBILISI, DFWatch -- New candidates have been unveiled for deputy ministers in the new government. Despite an offer from Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to previous deputy ministers that they may remain in their positions, only a few of them have stayed. Those

In brief, News

EU continues negotiations with Georgia

by | October 23, 2012
Thornike Gordadze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Negotiations are continuing Tuesday between Georgia and the EU about an association agreement. This is the eleventh session, and the talks are talking place at the government office. Currently Georgia is negotiating with the EU on three separate

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Saakashvili presents Ivanishvili’s new government

by | October 23, 2012
mikheil saakashvili in parliament kutaisi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday officially presented the new government list to parliament together with a new government program entitled 'For a Strong, Democratic and United Georgia'. In accordance with procedures, there will be

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New government ready

by | October 22, 2012
manana manjgaladze

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The candidate for prime minister in Georgia has presented his list of government ministers to the president. The Georgian Dream coalition won the right to form government after its victory in the parliamentary election. President Mikheil

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Results show Georgian Dream short of two third majority

by | October 20, 2012
new_parliament_kutaisi

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC) has approved the final results of the October 1 parliamentary election. According to the summary protocol, the Georgian Dream coalition received 54.97 percent, while United National Movement

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NATO envoy says Tbilisi has passed the test

by | October 18, 2012
james appathurai

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO envoy James Appathurai yesterday evening arrived in Georgia for a working visit to meet with former and future government members. The October 1 parliamentary was a test for Georgia, which it has passed. The government has changed through the

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Several earthquakes in Georgia and Azerbaijan

by | October 14, 2012
seismogram

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck near the Georgia-Azerbaijan border at about 14:15 on Sunday. The epicenter was 10 km east of Lagodekhi, Georgia, and 10 km in depth. The seismic monitoring center of Ilia University in Georgia

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Georgian soldier dies in Afghanistan

by | October 12, 2012
Georgia's ISAF mission

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Corporal Mindia Abashidze was the eighteenth Georgian soldier to die while serving in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan. Georgia’s defense ministry on Thursday reported that the corporal born October 27, 1989,

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EU signs 23 million euro aid package with Georgia

by | October 10, 2012
Marcus Cornaro

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two financial agreements have been signed between Georgia and the EU. According to press office of the State Minister for EU and Euro Atlantic Integration, Minister Thornike Gordadze signed the two agreements. The agreements have a budget of 23 million

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111 organizations to observe Georgia election

by | September 29, 2012
cesko_CEC

TBILISI, DFWatch - 111 different organizations have been approved as election observers for the parliamentary election in Georgia on Monday October 1. 61 of them are from abroad, while 50 are local non-governmental organizations.

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NDI to hold election monitoring

by | September 29, 2012
NDI

TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. National Democratic Institute will observe Georgia’s parliamentary election on October 1. According to NDI’s Georgia office, the observer mission contains seven persons, out of which are current and former members of the US Congress,

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Students on hunger strike over detainees

by | September 24, 2012
protesters outside gldani tuesday 19.09.12

TBILISI, DFWatch - Seven students have been on hunger strike for two days, protesting against the justice minister. They demand the release of activists Davit Patsasia, Dachi Tsaguria and Beka Alodashvili, who were arrested while participating in the recent protests

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Public broadcaster’s board warns against bias

by | September 24, 2012
GPB - public broadcaster

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Public Council of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster demands from GPB to cover news about prisoner abuse properly, otherwise they will leave their posts. Members of the council expressed concern for what has been exposed about torture of prisoners

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Prisoners go on hunger strike over abuse

by | September 23, 2012
gldani prison tower

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Public Defender’s Office informs that several prisoners at facility No 15 in Mtskheta near Tbilisi have gone on hunger strike to show solidarity with victims of torture. According to the ombudsman's rapporteurs, prisoners went on hunger

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Police beat and arrested demonstrators

by | September 22, 2012
filarmonia protest 2012-09-18

TBILISI, DFWatch – Saturday, a crowd of demonstrators tried to move in on a public service building in Tbilisi as President Mikheil Saakashvili was inside attending the opening ceremony. But police blocked the road and prevented people outraged over recent revelations

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