News

State Audit Office asks court to fine six parties for election violations

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s State Audit Office (SAO) has asked the court to fine six political parties for bribery, illegal donations and other election violations. The office asked the court to issue a 4,000 lari fine to Rima Beridze, a majoritarian candidate for Georgian Dream,

Environment

Green activists keep up pressure on City Hall for tree-cutting scandal

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The eco-activists of Guerilla Gardening rallied in front of Tbilisi City Hall again on Friday, demanding the dismissal of the two bureaucrats in charge of tree cutting in the capital. They demand the dismissal of the head and the deputy of City Hall’s

In brief

17 percent more tourists so far in 2016

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The economy minister on Friday summed up the summer tourism season in Georgia together with the head of the National Tourism Administration. According to Minister of Economy Dimitry Kumsishvili, 4,247,729 foreigners visited Georgia in the

Economy, News

Grape harvest begins in Georgia’s wine region Kakheti

by | September 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--This year’s grape harvest has begun in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region. More than 1,850 tons of rkatsiteli grape and more than 1,110 tons of saperavi has been processed in Dedoplistskaro. Wine producing companies pay 80 tetris for saperavi,

In brief

One dead, one injured in assassination in central Tbilisi

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One man died and one was injured in an execution style shooting in central Tbilisi on Friday. The Ministry of Internal Affairs arrested a man born in 1981 who is charged with premeditated murder and illegally carrying a weapon. The accused fired multiple

News

Council head in Georgian village called special “men’s session”

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili has called on the municipal council in a valley in Georgia’s southwestern Adjara region to stop making sexist statements. After a meeting of the Keda Council on August 26, a member of the National Movement

News

Funeral service held on the Black Sea for missing military divers

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A funeral service was held Thursday for two Georgian military divers who disappeared during an exercise in the Black Sea more than two weeks ago. The funeral service was held at the location where the soldiers were last seen during a training course on August 16

In brief

Three prison guards arrested after prisoner’s escape from court

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three prison guards were arrested on Wednesday in the case of the prisoner who escaped from the court building in Rustavi. According to the Prison Ministry, one of the detainees is head of shift of the guard service at the second department,

In brief

Georgia’s Sukhishvili dance company boycotts Crimea

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s most famous folk dance ensemble Sukhishvili has turned down an invitation to perform in Sevastopol and Simferopol, two cities in Crimea. The Georgian National Ballet, as it is formally called, posted a short note on Facebook about their decision.

News

Ivanishvili estimates GD will get at least 100 MPs in Oct 8 election

by | September 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bidzina Ivanishvili is confident that the governing Georgian Dream party, which he founded, will have at least 100 seats in the next parliament. The billionaire businessman says he cannot imagine that Georgian Dream will get less than 90 MPs in the next assembly.

News

Georgia’s first wind farm almost completed

by | September 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s first wind farm is almost completed. Wednesday the first turbine was installed in Gori, close to the television tower. The wind power plant in Gori will be the first of its kind in Georgia. Earlier, there

Minorities

In pictures: Cross-border music festival One Caucasus

by | September 1, 2016

Tserakvi, DFWatch - Festival brings South Georgia’s multi-ethnic community together with visitors from Armenia and Azerbaijan for music, art, sport, and activism. The festival was held for the third time with more guests and artists performing.

News

Georgian prisoner escapes by feigning illness

by | September 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--It could have been a scene from a Hollywood movie, the moment when a prisoner escaped from Rustavi City Court on Wednesday. According to reports, the escapee was in the waiting room for defendants when he said he was feeling sick.

In brief

Georgia halts military exercises at sea following fatal diving accident

by | September 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is halting exercises at sea as there are no certified instructors, Defense Minister Levan Izoria said Wednesday. A search for two military divers who went missing during an exercise was called off yesterday. The soldiers went missing

News

‘Putin is not Georgia’s enemy’: Nino Burjanadze

by | September 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian President Vladimir Putin is not an enemy of Georgia, but a very significant politician, according to former Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze. The opposition figure whose party Democratic Movement is without representatives

In brief

Number of hospitalized after wedding poisoning scandal rises to 40

by | August 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 40 people - 22 of them children - are still in hospital after being poisoned during a wedding in Georgia. Nearly 200 people were poisoned on Monday at a wedding in Sadakhlo, a village in the south of Georgia near the border with Armenia.

News

Georgia and Turkey call off search for two missing military divers

by | August 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After eleven days, the search operation for two missing soldiers has been called off in Gonio on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. The two are believed to have drowned on August 16 during a military exercise.

In brief

Court issues detention order for policeman charged in suicide case

by | August 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia on Tuesday issued an order to detain a policeman who is accused of having caused the suicide of a 22-year-old man. The wanted police officer Goderdzi Tevzadze has gone into hiding, and Kutaisi City Court therefore issued the ruling ‘in absentia’.

News

Parties promise higher pensions, allowances without explaining how to fund it

by | August 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--As barely a month remains until the parliamentary election, political parties in Georgia are falling over each other to promise increased pensions and social allowances. “Today, social allowances are distributed

News

200 wedding guests poisoned – 21 still hospitalized

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Almost 200 people were taken ill with food poisoning at a wedding in the south of Georgia on Monday, 28 of them children. The mass poisoning took place in the village Sadakhlo, near Marneuli. The affected wedding guests mostly complained about feeling sick and disoriented.

News

Georgian PM’s latest election promise: a new road to Russia

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday promised to build a new highway that will improve the road connection between Tbilisi and the Russian border. “Within the next four years, we plan to build a highway from Mtskheta to Vladikavkaz,”

Politics

Should Georgia’s foreign policy alignment be defined in the Constitiution?

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two proposals to define Georgia’s foreign policy alignment in the Constitution were postponed by a parliament committee because not enough MPs showed up. The rebellious opposition leader who started the debate now claims parliament has violated election rules.

News

Policeman on the run – charged with causing 22-year-old’s suicide

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A police officer in Georgia was Monday charged with causing a young man to commit suicide. The police officer, Goderdzi Tevzadze in the western Georgian town Samtredia, has gone into hiding and was charged in absentia. He is charged with abusing his official powers

News

More details emerge about Georgia pipeline plot

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Monday, the newspaper Kviris Palitra published an interview with the person who tipped off the State Security Service about a plot to blow up a pipeline which brings natural gas from Russia to Armenia. Seven persons were arrested on August 22,

Sport

Georgia’s Nino Khomeriki 2nd time European chess champion

by | August 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Nino Khomeriki has become European youth chess champion for the second time. Yesterday’s win at the European Youth Chess Championship in Prague, Czech Republic, is the second time Khomeriki claims the title.

News

Foreign tourists spend 450 laris a day in Adjara

by | August 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report shows that foreign tourists spend 450 laris a day in Adjara, a Black Sea region of Georgia heavily reliant on tourism. Over a thousand tourists were asked about their stay as they left the country, and the results draws a picture

News

Fire devastates vineyards and hazelnut gardens in Kakheti

by | August 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Fire devastated 50 hectares of agricultural land in the vicinity of Akhalsopeli, a village in Kvareli Municipality, Kakheti. 5 hectares of vineyards and hazelnut gardens had been almost totally destroyed, while in other areas the damage was not so serious,

News

WATCH TRAILER: New TV series about Saakashvili regime’s crimes

by | August 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The first episode of a new TV series about the crimes of the Saakashvili regime premiered at Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilisi on Saturday (watch trailer below). Georgian filmmaker and political activist Goga Khaindrava finished work on the documentary TV series,

News

Two tourists rescued in Mestia, one man missing at sea

by | August 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One Israeli and one German tourist were rescued Saturday in Mestia, a picturesque mountain region in the northwest of Georgia. The two tourists were heading for the Tetnuldi peak, but not heard from. A search was immediately started after they

Minorities

Can Caucasus become one? Festival opens where three countries meet

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The One Caucasus Festival kicked off in Georgia on Thursday, bringing together tourists and young people from all over the country, from different ethnic backgrounds, in order to enjoy music performances by local and foreign artists. One Caucasus

Environment

Tbilisi mayor’s speech interrupted by protesters against tree-felling

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Tbilisi mayor defended his conduct in the tree-felling scandal at an extraordinary City Council meeting Friday but had to halt his speech because of interruption by protesters. Environmentalists claim Mayor Davit Narmania

Crime

21-year-old’s stabbing rampage in Kobuleti leaves one dead

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died Thursday night after a street fight near Kobuleti, a town on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. Four others were taken to hospital with injuries, including a policeman. Police arrested a 21-year-old who is suspected of stabbing a 20-year-old man in the chest,

News

Republicans’ 9 muses: More women in politics means more solidarity

by | August 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Under the slogan ‘Let’s break free’, the Republican party has nominated nine women candidates for parliament under the single-seat majoritarian system for the October 8 election. “We have to break free of a lot of things.

News

Campaign against family violence not working, women still afraid

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The stigma attached to family violence is still keeping women from seeking help. The campaign is simply not working, a Georgian human rights group has said. In 2009, the United Natioins carried out a survey which showed that one in every 11 women in Georgia

News

Goodbye, Narmania! UNM begins no-confidence proceedings against mayor

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch --The National Movement faction in Tbilisi City Council initiated a motion of no-confidence against Mayor Davit Narmania on Thursday, following protests against a controversial tree-felling to make room for two new apartment blocks. "Today we officially start procedure of no-confidence in the City Council against the mayor of Tbilisi. We call on the majority [Georgian Dream, ed.] whose signature is required for this procedure, to take responsibility for the activities of the mayor of Tbilisi," UNM’s Irakli Abesadze said. The UNM needs 24 signatures out of 47 City Council members and in order to succeed 34 votes are needed, which is barely feasible as Georgian Dream faction numbers 16, plus some other factions close to the GD. The tensions ran high after a construction company cut down trees in a small park on Kazbegi Avenue to build two multi-storey residential buildings. Many Tbilisians have had it with this kind of moves by the city's mayor, and this was the last straw. Cutting down healthy trees requires a special permit from Tbilisi City Hall, which the company had. City Hall insists that the trees were sick. Environmental activists doubt this, as it has been common ...

Environment, News

Anti-tree felling protester in Tbilisi hospitalized after hunger strike

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Guerilla Gardening group is continuing their protest outside City Hall against the recent tree-cutting in the capital. One of the group’s leaders was hospitalized on Wednesday after being on hunger strike for seven days, but she was replaced by another activist.

News

Georgia pipeline plot suspect denies link to Ukraine

by | August 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the seven men arrested in Georgia for planning to blow up a Russian gas pipeline has denied any links to Ukraine. The suspect Beka Bekauri is still in hospital after suffering serious head trauma. He has had an operation and his condition is now stable.

News

PM vows to tighten Constitution’s marriage definition after election

by | August 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister on Wednesday again promised that Georgian Dream will amend the Constitution after the October 8 election in order to change the definition of marriage. Now that the president has rejected a proposed

News

Death of military divers may lead to criminal charges: Defense minister

by | August 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s defense minister says a crime may have been committed when two soldiers disappeared while diving off the Black Sea coast eight days ago. Their bodies have still not been found. Levan Izoria said Tuesday that there are possible

News

21-year-old IS militant from Georgia dies in Syria air raid

by | August 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 21-year-old man from Georgia has died fighting alongside ISIS in the Syria war. Sultan Gumashvili was from Pankisi Gorge. Georgian media outlets are reporting that the deceased militant’s father Adam Gumashvili is also fighting for ISIS in Syria and is a prominent

News

Traffic accidents claimed 7 lives in 7 days

by | August 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the last week, three traffic accidents have claimed the lives of seven people in Georgia, including a 12-year-old boy, while three were injured. The latest accident took place August 21, on the Gori highway near the so-called Tskhinvali bridge.

News

Beaten Georgia pipeline plot suspect questioned at the hospital

by | August 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the men suspected of planning an act of sabotage against a natural gas pipeline in Georgia was questioned at the hospital on Tuesday. Yesterday, lawyer Maia Chrelashvili said that her client was unable to attend a hearing

News

Journalist Merab Metreveli leaves opera star’s new party

by | August 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Journalist Merab Metreveli Monday left opera singer’s Paata Burchuladze’s party because he was dissatisfied with being allied with former National Movement members. The opera star was joined by a more politicians on August 18,

News

Terror suspect was beaten, according to lawyer

by | August 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The lawyer of one of the men who is accused of planning a terrorist attack against a gas pipeline in Georgia claims her client has been severely beaten in detention. Seven men were arrested on Monday, accused of planning to blow up a pipeline

News

Sabotage against a major pipeline prevented in Georgia, 7 arrested: State Security

by | August 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Security Service of Georgia (SUS) claims it has prevented an attempt to blow up a gas pipeline connecting Russia and Armenia. Five people planned to set off explosives at the portion of pipeline that crosses

In brief

Three die in car crash in Gori

by | August 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three people died in a serious car accident on Sunday in Gori, a town 80km west of the capital. A small Mercedes car and a truck crashed. The driver of the truck survived and was taken to hospital. But all the occupants of the small car

News

Georgian PM declares support for Turkey after wedding terror blast

by | August 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of government in Georgia on Sunday in a written statement expressed concern about the recent terrorist attack in Turkey and voiced support for the people of Turkey. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili says in the statement

Sport

Geno Petriashvili wins bronze in men’s frestyle 125kg wrestling

by | August 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Geno Petriashvili from Georgia won bronze in men's freestyle 125 kg wrestling in the Rio Olympics on Saturday. This is Georgia’s seventh medal in the games: two gold, one silver and four bronze medals. In the final, Petriashvili won against Tervel Dlagnev

Youth

Protesters blame Georgia’s drug policy for young man’s suicide

by | August 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Activists clashed with police in a town in western Georgia on Saturday. The protesters blame the government’s drug policy for driving a 22-year-old man to take his own life. Protesters gathered in front of the Samtredia

Sport

Georgia’s Khinchegashvili wins Olympic gold in freestyle wrestling

by | August 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Vladimer Khinchegashvili won gold in men's freestyle 57 kg wrestling at the Rio Olympics on Friday. Georgia now has two gold medals in the games. In the final, Khinchegashvili faced Japan’s Rei Higuchi, who got silver. The first round

News

Former first lady Sandra Roelofs UNM candidate in Zugdidi

by | August 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs is a candidate for parliament for her husband’s National Movement party for Zugdidi election district in the west of Georgia. Unlike her husband, Roelofs is not wanted by Georgian law enforcement,

News

More groups coalescing around Georgian opera star

by | August 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Opera star Paata Burchuladze expanded his followership on Thursday as more politicians joined his party, State for People. The merger with the New Rightists brings in politicians from a party that has a long presence in Georgian politics, but

News

Georgian drivers can now check if their car is radioactive

by | August 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian drivers can now get their car examined for radioactivity. But why would they want to do that? The new radiation control service became available on Wednesday and will be handled by the agency for nuclear and radiation security

News

Four men found guilty of bride kidnapping in Georgia

by | August 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia on Wednesday sentenced four men to up to 8 years in jail on Wednesday for bridenapping. The bride kidnapping took place in Kobuleti, a town on the Black Sea coast, in November last year. In her court testimony,

Minorities, News

Jehovah’s Witnesses recorded 51 cases of discrimination in 2015

by | August 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--On November 23 last year, shots were fired at a building used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Vazisubani, a district in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. When bullets slammed into the building again one week later, a lawyer representing the religious community wondered

Economy

200 tons of produce enters Akhalgori every day

by | August 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Every day, about 200 tons of agricultural products is brought from Georgia into the Akhalgori district of South Ossetia, Sputnik Ossetia reports. Akhalgori is a part of the breakaway region which was under Georgian control until the war in 2008. Many people cross

In brief

Flooded river brings Tbilisi Zoo a new baby lynx

by | August 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Zoo has a new baby lynx, which was recently discovered in Lagodekhi in eastern Georgia. The animal was discovered by ranger Gogita Khunashvili in Lagodekhi nature preserve in July, after the river Shroma was flooded, carrying

Economy

Foundations being laid for second terminal at Tbilisi airport

by | August 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The construction of the second terminal building at Tbilisi International Airport is proceeding as planned. Currently, the foundation is being laid, a spokesperson for the airport told DFWatch. The need for a second terminal is evident in the steady

News

Military spox claims safety rules not violated when two divers drowned

by | August 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Defense Ministry claims safety regulations were not violated when two Georgian soldiers went missing Tuesday during a military exercise at sea, off the Black Sea coast. Two soldiers never made it up to the surface during a course in combat diving.

Sport

Miraculous weightlifter wins first Gold for Georgia in Rio, beating World Record

by | August 17, 2016

  TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian weightlifter competing in the heaviest, +105 kg, category won the country's first Olympic gold in these summer games, setting a new world record, while his teammate from the same weight category won bronze. Lasha Talakhadze,

Sport

Wrestler Bolkvadze wins bronze, Georgia’s third medal in Rio

by | August 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Shmagi Bolkvadze took bronze in the Rio Olympics Tuesday in the Men's Greco-Roman 66 kg wrestling. Georgia now has two bronze and one silver medal. The two other medals were won in Judo. Bolkvadze competed against Japan’s Tomohiro Inoue,

News

Two military divers missing off Georgia’s Black Sea coast

by | August 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian soldiers are missing after diving off the Black Sea coast of Georgia during a military drill. The Defense Ministry said the two failed to resurface near Gonio in southwest Georgia near the border with Turkey. A search was immediately launched

Security

Russia begins military exercise in South Ossetia involving 5000 troops

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia began a military exercise in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia on Monday, which will involve 5,000 soldiers, rockets and artillery. The pro-government news agency RES reports that the exercise is taking place at seven different training grounds.

News

Georgia’s CEC revokes registration of pro-Russian party

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission (CEC) in Georgia has revoked the registration of a micro-party which used its right to free advertisement to call for Russian pensions and dual citizenship, accompanied by a portrait of Vladimir Putin and Russian tanks and flags.

Politics

Free Democrats promises to decriminalize all drug use

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats promises a liberal drug policy and the decriminalization of all forms of drugs if they come to power. But the punishment for drug dealing will be tougher, the party’s healthcare strategist Nikoloz Pruidze

Politics

GD nominates candidates for parliament from Tbilisi districts

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream party on Monday nominated its majoritarian candidates in most of Tbilisi’s 21 electoral districts. The exception was the downtown Mtatsminda district, where GD refrained from nominating a candidate to support

Economy

Direct foreign investments in Georgia down 11% in 2015

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Direct foreign investments in Georgia was 11 percent less in 2015 than in 2014, according to precise data published Monday by Georgia’s National Statistics Department, GeoStat. According to the report, the amount of investments

In brief

Two Georgians detained by Russians while fishing

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgians were detained by a Russian border patrol on Saturday while out fishing along a river close to the breakaway region Abkhazia. Levan Morgoshia and Pridon Matkava were apprehended while standing on the left bank of the river Inguri.

In brief

16 rescued from sea during the storm: MIA

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--16 people, among them several foreign tourists, have been rescued in Adjara after a strong storm hit the Black Sea coast of Georgia on Sunday, according to a statement by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The rain lasted several hours, flooding

Politics

Election ad featuring Putin causes outcry in Georgia

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ten seconds long election video has caused a strong reaction from Georgia’s political establishment and calls for using legal means to stop the party behind it. The provocative advertisement ran on the Public Broadcaster’s Channel 1 Saturday night

Crime

Murdered U.S. tourist was spotted arguing with suspect

by | August 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Witnesses in the village where a U.S. citizen was stabbed to death Thursday night reported seeing the tourist in an argument with the suspected murderer two hours before his body was found. The motive for the murder is still unknown, but Imedi TV

Crime

U.S. tourist stabbed to death in eastern Georgia

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An American man of around 40 was stabbed to death in a small village in eastern Georgia Thursday night. Police have arrested a 20 year old man who is suspected of the murder. The victim, a U.S. citizen, was found dead on a road in Lechuri,

News

Census shows only 7% Georgians living in South Ossetia

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia has published results of a census showing that only 7 percent of the population there are ethnic Georgians. The region from which tens of thousands fled in the 2008 war today has only 3,966 Georgian residents

Crime

Suspect arrested for murdering woman and burying body in wine tank

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in eastern Georgia arrested a man on Friday who is suspected of bludgeoning an elderly woman to death and burying the body in a wine-making tank. The 28 year old man, who was arrested in Telavi in the Kakheti region,

News

Aslan Abashidze, Adjara’s former ruler, sentenced in absentia to 15 years’ jail

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Aslan Abashidze, the ruler of breakaway Adjara who fled the country after the Rose Revolution, was Friday sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail for a murder 25 years ago and other crimes.

Politics

National Forum politician’s home broken into

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The home of a candidate for parliament from the National Forum was broken into Thursday night, a few days after the party’s office was robbed. Tamar Tsikhiseli told journalists that the burglars didn’t steal anything. She thinks the people

Minorities, Youth

New cafe offers youth a place to meet in Pankisi

by | August 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new café in Pankisi Gorge will offer young people a place to gather. Locals say they cannot remember ever having had a place for young people to get together. The café opened Wednesday in the village Duisi, the central village in Pankisi Gorge,

In brief

PM promises better mountain roads, starting with Tusheti

by | August 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is planning to build a new road to the mountainous Tusheti region in the northeast of the country. The current road to Tusheti is bumpy and becomes non-traversable in winter, during which time the only access is by helicopter.

News

Traditionalists furious at president for rejecting marriage referendum – vow massive rallies

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The group of traditionalists behind the referendum bid to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman are fuming at the president after he shelved their proposal. The activists claim President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s decision

News

Tbilisi’s Turtle Lake ropeway will reopen in September

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ropeway connecting the biggest park in Tbilisi with a recreational lake in the hills above will reopen in September after having been closed for seven years. Spokesperson for Tbilisi Transport Company (TTC) Gvantsa Potskhveria told DFWatch

News

Georgian IS militant sentenced to 12 years in jail

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian citizen was Wednesday sentenced to 12 years in jail for cooperating with the terrorist organization Islamic State. As most of the Georgians who have joined the Islamic State group, Davit Borhcashvili comes from Pankisi Valley. He was detained in November 2015

Sport

Georgia takes second medal at Rio Olympics

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani won silver medal in men's 90 kg judo at the Rio Olympics. This is the country’s second medal in the games. Liparteliani defeated Gwak-Dong Han from South Korea in the semi-final, but in the final round, he was

Crime

Elderly woman found buried inside wine tank in her own garden

by | August 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman was found dead Wednesday morning, buried in her own garden inside a traditional Georgian wine-brewing tank. The macabre discovery was made in the village Shakriani, in Georgia's eastern Kakheti region. The elderly woman

News

Military police investigating 39-year-old corporal’s death from heart failure

by | August 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 39-year-old corporal in the Georgian army died Wednesday morning, apparently from heart failure. The deceased is Davit Lomidze, a corporal in 52th Battalion of the 5th Infantry Brigade of the Eastern Command of the Land Forces, the Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday morning.

Sport

Georgia’s triumphant judo win over Russia eight years after war

by | August 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia won its first medal in the Rio Olympics on Tuesday, as Lasha Shavdatuashvili claimed the bronze medal in men’s 73kg judo. He defeated Sagi Muki from Israel in the final rounds. Earlier, he defeated Denis Yartsev of Russia in the quarter finals,

In brief

National Forum office robbed in Tbilisi

by | August 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The office of National Forum, a right wing political party, which recently split with Georgian Dream, was broken into overnight in Tbilisi. Members of the party say that the investigation is in progress and yet it is hard

News

Georgian president blocks referendum to ban same-sex marriage

by | August 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will not hold a referendum over whether to have a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. President Giorgi Margvelashvili made it clear Tuesday evening that he does not support the proposed referendum about amending

In brief

John Kerry’s statement on August War 8th anniversary

by | August 9, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned occupation of Georgian territories by Russia by issuing a short statement on 8th anniversary of Russo-Georgian war.

News

Former European wrestling champion shot dead in Kakheti

by | August 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former European wrestling champion was shot dead in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region Monday evening. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Nodar Modebadze (66) was shot with a rifle in the village Akura. Police have a suspect

Politics

President meets group who proposed referendum to define marriage

by | August 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili will Tuesday meet the Georgians who proposed holding a referendum about defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Giorgi Abashishvili, head of the president’s administration,

News

8 years since ’08 war: Over 2,000 civilians have been detained on disputed borders

by | August 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgia marked eight years since the war with Russia, figures show that over two thousand civilians have been detained on the provisional borders that were drawn after the end of that war. From 2009 to 2015, the number of people

News

Georgia mulls bringing back compulsory military service

by | August 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Compulsory military service remains a hot topic after resignation of Tina Khidasheli, who actively lobbied a shift toward voluntary service and managed to partly abolish the system during her tenure as a minister of defense.

News

Four tourists found dead on Mount Ushba, northern Georgia

by | August 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four foreign tourists were found dead on Mount Ushba in northern Georgia on Saturday. The Interior Ministry’s emergency service said the bodies are in the process of being brought down from the mountain. Authorities received notice on Friday

Politics

Former UNM members join New Rightists in bloc called ‘New Choice’

by | August 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two political parties formed by ex-National Movement members together with an opposition party without representatives in parliament on Friday launched a new election bloc for the upcoming parliamentary election. The name of the new

News

Socialists’ founding congress canceled after slapping incident

by | August 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new party Socialist Georgia canceled its founding congress on Thursday, after a quarrel with a protester led to the arrest of one of its members. The assembly was planned held at the music school in Telavi, a town in the eastern Kakheti region.

Environment

Borjomi park partly destroyed by flooding after strong rainfall

by | August 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A historical park in the southern Georgian resort town Borjomi was partly destroyed by flooding Thursday evening. Strong rain flooded houses and streets and trees more than a hundred years old were torn down. Infrastructure was damaged.

News

Sudden family feud in southern Georgia leaves one man dead

by | August 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a small town in the south of Georgia, a disagreement between two politicians' families resulted in the death of a 23-year-old man on July 30. The confrontation took place in the village Nardevani, in the Kvemo Kartli region. The families Tamarian

In brief

Political clash outside UNM office in Batumi, one detained

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One person was detained in western Georgia on Thursday,  after a fight broke out in front of the local branch office of the National Movement (UNM). Protesters from the organization Our Homeland burned an effigy of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili,

In brief

One Georgian detained by South Ossetia for violating border

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The incident took place this morning in the village Kveshi, according to Gori municipality. Locals say 36-year-old Aleko Sheverdashvili was in his garden when armed men came and took him away. They say Sheverdashvili didn’t cross the administrative

News

Georgian PM makes constitutional ban on same-sex marriage a campaign issue

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister on Thursday promised to change the Constitution so that it specifies marriage as a union between a man and a woman -- if his party wins an absolute majority in the October 8 election.

News

Rapist of pregnant 16-year-old girl may escape justice, group warns

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The rape of a pregnant 16-year-old girl two weeks ago may go unpunished, because the alleged rapist is not in detention, a human rights group claims. July 8, a 16-year-old married and pregnant girl was raped at knifepoint in Marneuli,

News

Clothes market in Zestaponi partly destroyed by fire

by | August 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A clothes market was partly destroyed by fire in Zestaponi Tuesday night. According to the Emergency Service, more than 1,000 square meters was destroyed by the fire in the center of the western Georgian town. No one was injured.

News

Tbilisi Zoo welcomes three lion cubs

by | August 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Zoo, which was devastated by a flood in June 2015, welcomed three new lion cubs on Monday. The zoo’s administration said the lioness Cleopatra had a complicated and protracted delivery, but it ended happily as both the mother and her offspring

News

CEC approves referendum bid about definition of marriage

by | August 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A bid to define marriage in the Constitution as a union between a man and a woman has been approved by Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) after campaigners collected more than the required 200,000 signatures. Georgia's Civil Code already

News

PM slams back at outgoing defense minister

by | August 2, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Comments of outgoing Defense Minister, who criticized appointment of Security Service official in her vacant seat, triggered an angry response from the Prime Minister and a member of government. "(Their) comments were very inappropriate, unfortunately. I am sure that after Batoni Davit and Kalbatoni Tina overcome emotions, they will make different comments,” said to PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday. At the same time, Sozar Subari, Minister of IDPs and Refugees, says that for him Tina Khidasheli’s comment, when she said that the second time Security Service people were taking over Ministry of Defense, was quite strange as Irakli Alasania was also a former Security cadre. "I do not understand an example, when Tina made a distinction between Alasania and Izoria. We all remember very well that one time Alasania was a Deputy Security Minister and, if I'm not mistaken, had pretty high rank of colonel or general... However, I believe that it is an advantage rather than disadvantage,” Sozar Subari said. On Monday Tina Khidasheli state that observes an unhealthy trend when the second time after Georgian Dream took over the ...

News

PM, Refugee Minister slam back at Tina Khidasheli

by | August 2, 2016

Comments of outgoing Defense Minister, who criticized appointment of Security Service official to her vacant seat, triggered an angry response from the Prime Minister and a member of government. "(Their) comments were very inappropriate, unfortunately. I am sure that after Batoni Davit and Kalbatoni Tina overcome emotions, they will make different comments,” said to PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday. At the same time, Sozar Subari, Minister of IDPs and Refugees, says that for him Tina Khidasheli’s comment, when she said that the second time Security Service people were taking over Ministry of Defense, was quite strange as Irakli Alasania was also a former Security cadre. "I do not understand an example, when Tina made a distinction between Alasania and Izoria. We all remember very well that one time Alasania was a Deputy Security Minister and, if I'm not mistaken, had pretty high rank of colonel or general... However, I believe that it is an advantage rather than disadvantage,” Sozar Subari said. On Monday Tina Khidasheli state that observes an unhealthy trend when the second time after Georgian Dream took over the power State Security ...

In brief

Security official appointed as a new Minister of Defense, Khidasheli sees “unhealthy trend”

by | August 1, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Levan Izoria, a deputy head of State Security Service (SUS), and Ketevan Tsikhelashvili,  deputy minister, were appointed as replacements of the ongoing ministers of defense and reconciliation respectively.

Minorities

Growing tension between Christians and Muslims in Adigeni

by | August 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There is growing tension between the Christian and Muslim communities in the small village Adigeni, west of Akhaltsikhe. The Samtskhe–Javakheti region, where Adigeni village is located, was historically known as Meskheti, after the Muslim Meskhs.

News

UAE Sheikh opens upscale hotel in Tbilisi

by | August 1, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Emirati minister visits Georgia to pompously inaugurate an upscale hotel in Tbilisi center.

News

Tsereteli’s giant Christ statue nearly finished, but where will it be placed?

by | July 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Zurab Tsereteli, a Georgian sculptor living and working in Russia, says he will soon finish a 33 meter tall statue of Christ, which he wants to erect in Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia. “I will finish working on the Christ statue very soon.

News

Georgia’s first wind farm to start producing in December

by | July 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s first wind power plant will be completed in September and go into operation in December. Tornike Kazarashvili, president of the board of directors of Kartli wind power plant, told DFWatch that construction work began in March,

In brief

Update: A Pankisi man detained for a threatening Facebook post

by | July 29, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - State Security Service of Georgia launched a probe into a possible terror threat distributed by Facebook on Thursday evening.

News

NDI polls: Only four parties performed above electoral barrier

by | July 29, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch  - The National Democratic Institute released the results of the latest survey which details Georgians’ political affiliations before the upcoming parliamentary elections in October 2016.

Minorities

Nigerian student accuses Georgian bank of discrimination

by | July 29, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Nigerian national, Solomon Adebayo Okeleye accused Bank of Georgia of racial discrimination for limiting his and other Nigerian students’ right to use payment cards.

News

Kaladze apologises for a sexist remark

by | July 28, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Deputy prime minister and minister of energy Kakha Kaladze apologised for sexist remarks he made while commenting on President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s statement about ‘undue connections between political groups and law enforcement’ in the context of the dispute over the Constitutional Court.

News

Frontera Bankruptcy Strategy Criticized

by | July 27, 2016

ifacts.ge  Frontera Resources, the American oil-and-gas company that has been exploring and drilling in Kakheti since 1997, is being harshly criticized for trying to evade a $30 million debt payment due August 1.

News

‘Undue connections between political groups and law enforcement’

by | July 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili political groups have informal connections with law enforcement and other state bodies and are using them for political purposes. “This trend is used for political goals,” the president said on Monday,

Elections

Two members of opera singer’s opposition party detained

by | July 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sunday night, police in Georgia detained two members of a newly formed opposition party led by the opera singer Paata Burchuladze. The two members of State for People were detained outside the party office in Temka, a northern district

Minorities

Catholics win discrimination lawsuit in Georgia

by | July 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Catholics in Rustavi, 20km south of the Georgian capital, have won a court’s backing that they were discriminated against after failing to get a construction permit to build a church there. The Catholic community in Rustavi applied for permission

News

‘Tbilisi Ugly Walk’ explores gradual erosion of two parks

by | July 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Architect Irakli Zhvania walked us through the historic devastation of two parks in the capital. The second edition of ‘Tbilisi Ugly Walk’ highlighted how two of the most beautiful green lungs in the city have been reduced by large buildings and roads,

Caucasus region

Militants release all hostages in Yerevan, but stand-off continues

by | July 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of up to 25 armed militants occupying a police building in Yerevan released all their hostages Saturday but refused to surrender, demanding the president's resignation and the formation of an interim government.

News

Georgia reacts to Munich shooting

by | July 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Foreign Ministry extended its condolences to the families of the victims and solidarity with the government of Germany. Nine people were killed in a shooting rampage in Munich at a McDonald’s restaurant Friday evening, in addition to the

News

Interpol halts search for Georgian public enemy number one

by | July 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interpol has called off its search for the Georgian former intelligence chief Igor Giorgadze, who has been a staple of domestic politics as the preeminent ’bad guy’. Giorgadze is accused of having organized an assassination attempt

News

Two rugby players among injured in deadly car crash in western Georgia

by | July 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgian rugby players are among the injured after a deadly car crash in western Georgia in which three people died and four were injured. The accident happened last night when a BMW and a Nissan Tiida crashed on the Kutaisi-Samtredia

News

Georgia’s jailed ex-interior minister thinks Strasbourg ruling will free him

by | July 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former interior minister Vano Merabishvili, who has been in prison since May 2013, claims a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg will soon lead to his release. After a two years’ silence, Merabishvili

Economy

Russian lawmakers demand punishment of Georgia for joining EU sanctions

by | July 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of lawmakers in the Russian Duma are preparing to demand that the Kremlin take punitive measures against Georgia for joining the European Union's economic sanctions against Russia. The Duma's foreign relations committee is working

In brief

Four dead as truck overturns in western Georgia

by | July 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four people died when a truck crashed in western Georgia on Thursday. The accident happened in Lugela Valley near the village Nukhuri. According to Interpressnews, the truck of the brand Kamaz crashed and overturned after the driver lost control

News

65-year-old German missing for one week near breakaway Abkhazia

by | July 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia are still searching for Sergei Smislov, a 65-year-old German citizen who disappeared one week ago on a mountain road near Georgia's breakaway territory Abkhazia. Shortly before he disappeared, Smislov received

Media

President claims Georgian media have become more anti-Western

by | July 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili claims the media in his country are publishing more anti-Western stories now than they used to. In an interview with the program ‘Archevani’ on Rustavi 2 TV Tuesday evening, he said it was

In brief

Russian woman missing in Kazbegi after climbers struck by lightning

by | July 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A woman is missing after a group of three climbers were struck by lightning at 5,000 m altitude yesterday in the Kazbegi mountains. Two of the group were injured, and later rescued, but the third - a woman from Moscow - went missing.

News

Plaintiffs give up suits after years of waiting for overloaded Tbilisi court

by | July 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Filing a lawsuit with the courts in Tbilisi might mean a long wait, due to a lack of judges and resources. People who file lawsuits in the Georgian capital might have to wait for years to see their case reach a conclusion.

Politics

GD names Shevardnadze era minister as candidate for parliament

by | July 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Koba Narchemashvili, who was interior minister at the moment when Eduard Shevardnadze was deposed as president in the Rose Revolution, was Tuesday nominated by Georgian Dream as majoritarian candidate for parliament. As commander

News

Turkish consul claims Gülen school in Georgia fostering terrorism

by | July 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Turkish consul in Batumi Yasin Temizkan has called on Georgian authorities to close down a private school in the city because it is fostering terrorism. The Şahin schools are funded by the movement of Fethullah Gülen (pictured), a Turkish preacher,

News

Free Democrats lose education expert Zaza Piralishvili

by | July 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prominent member of the Free Democrats resigned from the party on Friday, stating that he doesn't feel comfortable in politics. Philosopher Zaza Piralishvili stated that his leaving the party was not due to any conflict with other party members or having issues with its ideology.

News

Georgian parliament scraps anti-smoking bill

by | July 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia Monday rejected a bill to bring in stricter control of tobacco products. Resistance to the bill within the governing coalition proved too strong, as opponents believe it will create problems for business. Lela Sturua,

News

Georgian PM extends condolences to Yıldırım, confirms Turkey trip

by | July 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili spoke by phone with his Turkish colleague Binali Yıldırım on Monday, and both confirmed that Kvirikashvili will visit Ankara for the first session of the Georgia-Turkey strategic partnership council on July 19.

In brief

Two hospitalized after shooting incident in Tbilisi

by | July 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two persons are injured after a shooting incident at noon Monday in front of the National Enforcement Bureau in Tbilisi. The enforcement bureau said the shooting was not related to them but a confrontation between private individuals. Witness

News

Georgian man confirmed dead in Nice terror attack

by | July 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian citizen who went missing after the terrorist attack last Thursday in Nice was confirmed dead on Monday, Georgia’s Ambassador to France Eka Siradze Delone told Interpressnews. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the death of Roman Ekmaliani,

Politics

Republican Party tops reject offer to join Georgian Dream

by | July 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of the Republican Party says he and other party tops have received an offer from the ruling Georgian Dream to abandon their own party and join them ahead of the election, but they rejected the offer. In an interview with the newspaper

News

Turkey crisis: Border opens, stranded plane passengers return

by | July 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s border crossings with Turkey at Sarpi, Kartsakhi and Vale are working normally after being partially blocked on Saturday morning due to the recent events in Turkey. A short statement by Georgia’s Revenue Service says passengers

Elections

Free Democrats name their candidates for majoritarian MPs

by | July 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Free Democrats, a party which withdrew from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition in 2014, on Saturday named its candidates for majoritarian MPs in the October 8 parliamentary election. The nominees were selected on Saturday

News

Campaigners’ plea to president to free 22-year-old caught with ecstasy

by | July 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Groups demonstrated Thursday to ask the president to release a 22 year old man who is serving a one year prison sentence for possession of two grams of ecstasy. Kote Japaridze, the recipient of a presidential scholarship, was arrested

News

Coup attempt in Turkey prompts Georgia to close border

by | July 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Authorities in Georgia decided Saturday morning to seal its land border to its neighbor Turkey and cancel all flights into that country for the time being, out of concern for the safety of civilians. At the border crossing near Sarpi, only Turkish citizens are currently

News

One Georgian feared dead in Nice attacks

by | July 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One Georgian citizen is reported missing after the terrorist attack in Nice, the Georgian ambassador to France has confirmed. The man’s wife, who is not a Georgian citizen, is confirmed dead. Moambe, the evening news program on Georgia’s Channel 1,

News

Four Georgians missing after Nice terror attack have been found safely

by | July 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four Georgian citizens who were reported missing after the terrorist attack in Nice during the national celebrations July 14 have been found safely, the Georgian embassy said. The embassy contacted the missing persons and found

News

Bring back Tbilisi tram? Too expensive, says City Hall

by | July 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall is not planning to bring back the trams in the capital, despite a call from a member of Tbilisi City Council. City Hall will only considers it in a long-term perspective. Aleko Elisashvili, independent member of Tbilisi City Council,

In brief

Batumi will accumulate trillions of dollars: PM

by | July 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--During the opening ceremony of the international conference ‘Georgia’s European Way’ in Batumi, prime minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili declared that ‘trillions of dollars’ will be accumulated in the city as a result of trade between Europe and China.

In brief

PM Kvirikashvili makes a case for Georgian EU membership

by | July 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Kvirikashvili on Thursday expressed hope that Georgia will become a member of the European Union in the near future. He said this during the opening ceremony of the annual conference ‘Georgia’s European Way’

News

Umar Shishani confirmed dead by Islamic State

by | July 14, 2016

TBILISI, Dfwatch--The Islamic State military commander Tarkhan Batirashvili, a native of the village Birkiani in Georgia’s Pankisi valley, widely known under his nom de guerre Umar Shishani, was confirmed dead by Amaq Agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic State.

News

Georgian Dream announces top 15 candidates for parliament – 8 are women

by | July 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream Party on Wednesday announced its top 15 people on the party list for the parliamentary election in October. The list consists of eight women and seven men. There are no MPs or cabinet members among them. Three of them are deputy ministers.

News

Who will be Georgia’s next defense minister?

by | July 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is still unknown who will replace Tina Khidasheli as defense minister, but local media name three possible candidates: Irakli Sesiashvili, Koba Kobaladze and Kakhi Kakhishvili. The decision will be made by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili,

News

New runway opened at Tbilisi International Airport

by | July 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new runaway was opened at Tbilisi International Airport on Monday. During the 12 weeks of construction work on the new runway, no flights were cancelled but some were rescheduled. The runaway was closed for ten hours

News

Keti Tsikhelashvili becomes acting minister for reconciliation and civil equality

by | July 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Keti Tsikhelashvili, Deputy Minister for Reintegration and Civil Equality, will be the acting minister as Paata Zakareishvili from the Republican Party leaves his post in connection with the 2016 election campaign. Zakareishvili said on Tuesday

News

Tbilisi buys 143 new longer, gas-powered buses

by | July 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi is buying 143 new natural gas powered buses that are more environmentally friendly and accommodating to people with disabilities. But the ticket price will remain the same, City Hall assured us. The new 30-seat German-made

In brief

Johannes Hahn to visit Georgia tomorrow

by | July 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--On 14 July, the EU commissioner for enlargement Johannes Hahn will visit Georgia. Mr Hahn will hold meetings with Georgian officials, including Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, minister of foreign affairs Giorgi Janelidze,

News

Two Islamist militants from Georgia killed in Syria

by | July 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men from Pankisi valley in Georgia, one aged 26 and the 34, have been killed in Syria. The younger of them, Bekkhan (Beka) Tokhosashvili, was a native of the village Birkiani. Tokhosashvili left Georgia in 2014 and joined the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria,

In brief

Magnitude 4.8 earthquake rattles Tbilisi

by | July 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An earthquake of magnitude 4.8 caused slight shaking in the Georgian capital Tbilisi Tuesday afternoon. The quake occurred at 2:14pm local time and had its epicenter 10-15 km away from Dmanisi, a town in southern

News

Two Republican members of government resign

by | July 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party in Georgia announced on Tuesday at its members of the government are resigning. The ministers who will be leaving their posts shortly are Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli and Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili.

News

Ukraine’s police chief claims her native Georgia plans to revoke citizenship

by | July 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian government official who started a new career as head of Ukraine’s police force claims the government of her native country threatens to revoke her citizenship. Khatia Dekanoidze was education minister during President Mikheil Saakashvili,

Security

NATO countries agree to ‘intensify cooperation’ with Georgia

by | July 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--At the Warsaw summit last weekend, NATO agreed to strengthen its cooperation with Georgia to bolster its defense capabilities. In a joint statement signed by foreign ministers of member countries as well as Georgia, the countries write that

In brief

Abkhazian referendum on early presidential elections declared invalid

by | July 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The referendum on early presidential elections in Abkhazia was declared invalid by de facto electoral commission due to low turnout. According to Abkhazia’s de facto Electoral Commission, slightly over one percent of eligible voters

News

Police move against construction company Center Point, 2 arrested

by | July 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia on Sunday arrested two persons in the management of the construction company Center Point and tried to arrest a third who was not at home. Two of them were arrested in the morning, while later representatives

Security

Georgia will stay in Afghanistan until the mission is completed

by | July 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will continue its participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan, Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli said at the alliance’s summit in Warsaw. A meeting was held between heads of state from countries that participate

Environment

Two drown in western Georgia as rain continues ‘almost non-stop’

by | July 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 17-year-old boy has drowned in the river Abashistskali in Martvili, western Georgia. The boy's body was pulled out of the river Friday morning. Elguja Jamrishvili, head of the Underwater Federation of Georgia, who was searching

Security

Georgian cross-party declaration confirms goal is NATO and EU membership

by | July 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian delegation to the NATO summit in Warsaw has presented a document signed by six political parties, reiterating their support for the country’s course toward a closer integration with the alliance. The document was signed

News

Georgia doesn’t expect a NATO membership plan this time around

by | July 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi considers it unlikely that NATO will offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Warsaw summit, which begins today, after a number of officials from member countries made it clear that it is not on the agenda. Georgian authorities believe

Minorities

In pictures: Pankisi valley celebrates Eid al-Fitr

by | July 8, 2016

Pankisi Valley, DFWatch - Eid al-Fitr, or the Feast of Breaking the Fast, is a major Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. This year, Eid al-Fitr was celebrated by Muslims worldwide on 6 July. In Pankisi valley, Georgia’s utmost

Minorities

Sabi murder case may go to the Supreme Court as prosecutor appeals

by | July 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office on Wednesday appealed a ruling in the Appeals Court to acquit the defendant in the murder of transgender woman Sabi Beriani. If approved, the case could go to the Supreme Court.

News

New Stadler KISS bilevel trains arrive in Tbilisi

by | July 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Swiss-made bilevel trains have arrived in Georgia and will be servicing the Tbilisi-Batumi line starting later this month. The bilevel train cars are manufactured by Stadler and arrived in Tbilisi yesterday. A spokesperson for Georgian Railway

Environment

Road connecting Georgia and Russia still closed due to risk of landslide

by | July 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The road through Dariali Valley is still closed because of further landslides after the June 23 incident. According to the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, traffic will be restricted until July 7, as it can not be ruled out

News

Kerry visits Georgia ahead of NATO summit in Warsaw

by | July 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A few days prior to a NATO summit in Warsaw, Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding about defense and security cooperation between the United States and Georgia.

News

Abkhazia won’t hand over murderer of Georgian IDP

by | July 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto president of Abkhazia Raul Hajymba (Khadzhimba) told Russian media that the murderer of Georgian IDP Giga Otkhozoria won’t be handed over to the Georgian side.

Environment

Protests resume against the Nenskra hydro power plant in Svaneti

by | July 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Up to two hundred locals and environmental activists gathered in Chuberi in Upper Svaneti on Sunday as the protests against the planned Nenskra hydro power plant resumed. Activists argue that if built, the dam on the Nenskra river will deprive

News

CEC rejects referendum bid about gay marriage due to shortfall of signatures

by | July 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One of the attempts to hold a referendum about same-sex marriage has been rejected by Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) because the sponsors failed to collect the required 200,000 signatures. The CEC’s decision was unanimous.

News

Tbilisi airport gets 24 hour bus service, ticket price 22 US cents

by | July 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi international airport is now serviced all night through by the regular daytime bus line number 37, Tbilisi City Hall informs. Before the new schedule on July 4, line 37 had been operating until midnight, like other municipal bus lines in the capital.

News

Speaker of parliament wants full disclosure about Istanbul mastermind

by | July 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The speaker of Georgia’s parliament says people must know the truth about the suspected Istanbul bombing mastermind and his role in a mysterious shooting incident in Georgia in 2012. The same day, a member of government

News

‘Mastermind of Istanbul attack was an agent for Saakashvili’

by | July 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two leading politicians in Georgia believe that Akhmed Chatayev, the suspected mastermind of the terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, was an ‘agent of the previous government.’ “It turns out that this prominent terrorist [Chatayev] was an agent

Economy

Georgia notes 18% rise in number of tourists in first half of 2016

by | July 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of foreign visitors to Georgia went up 12.9% and the number of tourists 18.1% in the last six months, the National Tourism Administration said on Monday. The latest figures confirm that Georgia continues to attract more visitors.

In brief

Cancelled trains in western Georgia

by | July 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several trains will be cancelled in western Georgia the next few days due to ongoing work between Supsa and Ureki. All tracks in Supsa and tracks connecting Ureki and Supsa will be closed from 06:00 on July 5 to 06:00 on July 6, according

News

Georgia denies that Istanbul airport attack’s mastermind was its citizen

by | July 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia and Georgia disagree about what citizenship the suspected mastermind behind the terror attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport June 28 has. Russia claims Akhmed Chatayev is not a Russian but a Georgian citizen. Georgia, on the other hand,

News

Two flights diverted from Tbilisi airport as city braces for more extreme weather

by | July 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A thunderstorm led to two planes being diverted from Tbilisi airport on Friday. One year ago, extreme flooding caused massive damage. DFWatch spoke to one of the passengers of a flight that should have landed in Tbilisi but was diverted

News

Georgians may get visa-free travel to Europe by late September: Steinmeier

by | July 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Union will begin offering visa-free short-term travel to Georgians in the end of September, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday during a visit to Tbilisi. Steinmeier said on Friday that the visa-free rules

Roads update

Road connecting Russia and Georgia will be closed for another two weeks

by | July 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The road through Dariali Valley in northern Georgia will be open for traffic in about two weeks, Infrastructure Minister Nodar Javakhishvili said on Thursday. For the moment, the road connecting Russia and Georgia is cut off due to a landslide

News

Kerry to visit Tbilisi on July 6

by | July 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will come to Georgia and have talks with leaders and opposition, before heading for a NATO summit in Warsaw which begins July 8. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced Kerry’s visit on Thursday during a dinner

News

Was Istanbul airport attack organized by militant with links to Georgia?

by | June 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The terrorist attack at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on 28 June, which claimed the lives of 44 victims and three suicide bombers and left 239 people wounded, is believed to have been organized by Akhmed Chatayev, a Russian national

Politics

Opinion polls differ wildly 3 months ahead of Georgian election

by | June 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two opinion polls show vastly different levels of support for the two main contenders in Georgia’s parliamentary election, scheduled for October 8. A poll conducted by Georgian Dream gives the party a lead of 35 percent, with the United National

News

Another Georgian Islamist militant killed in Syria

by | June 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 39-year-old man from Pankisi Valley in northeastern Georgia has reportedly been killed fighting on for the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria. The death of Omar Margoshvili, reported by Information Centre of Kakheti on Wednesday,

News

22-year-old Georgian Islamist militant killed in Syria

by | June 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 22-year-old Georgian man is reported to have died in the Syrian war, fighting alongside one of the Islamist rebel groups. Information Centre of Kakheti (ICK) wrote on Tuesday that Aslanbeg Borchashvili was from Dumasturi, a village in Pankisi Valley

News

Georgian parliament gives amnesty to 116 elderly prisoners

by | June 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on June 24 passed an amnesty bill which will release female prisoners older than 65 and male prisoners over 70, if they are convicted of lesser crimes. The bill was proposed by the National Forum faction in parliament

Politics

Georgian Dream slams minister’s decision to end conscription

by | June 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli’s decision on Monday to end compulsory military service sparked a variety of negative comments from members of the ruling party, Georgian Dream. Khidasheli is a member of the Republican Party,

Security

Georgian defense minister signs decree that ends compulsory military service

by | June 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli on Monday controversially signed a decree ending compulsory military service with immediate effect. In April, Khidasheli said she expected the professional army system to be introduced in 2017.

Environment

Early evacuation averted tragedy as new landslide hit Georgia-Russia border

by | June 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia airlifted 60 people to the border crossing at Larsi on Sunday. The travellers had been stuck in Kazbegi since Thursday night, when a mudslide cut off a section of road in Dariali Valley. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said around 60 people

Media

Employees of Imedi TV call news chief’s replacement ‘unacceptable’

by | June 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the news division at Imedi TV was unexpectedly replaced on Thursday. News chief Maia Tabagari was moved to a post as consultant to the general director, while journalist Nino Lezhava (pictured) was brought in as her replacement,

News

MIA: Suspect in Khurcha murder could become ‘liquidated’

by | June 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian minister of internal affairs, Giorgi Mghebrishvili has claimed he has information that the suspect in the Khurcha killing could become ‘liquidated’ in a plot to discredit Georgia. “Abkhazia’s de facto Prosecutor’s Office appealed

News

Georgian parliament rejects sexual harassment bill

by | June 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Thursday rejected a proposal to criminalize sexual harassment in the work place and in public places. During the last year, about 50 complaints about sexual harassment have been filed with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and two with the Ombudsman’s Office.

News

Ivanishvili fund manager accused of putting money in personal accounts

by | June 23, 2016

By Occrp Bloomberg News is reporting that Patrice Lescaudron, a Credit Suisse Bank money manager who former Georgia Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili blames for the loss of over $US500 million, has confessed that he transferred $US3.5 million of client money to his wife’s bank account in Monaco and to the account of a company he controlled in Dubai.

News

Georgia’s top prosecutor concludes Kitsmarishvili committed suicide

by | June 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor General’s Office in Georgia said Wednesday it had solved the case about the politician and founder of the television station Rustavi 2 who was found dead in his car with a gunshot wound to his head in 2014.

News

Ministry of IDPs employee detained for corruption

by | June 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An employee of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees was detained by the State Security Service (SUS) under the charge of bribery. According

News

Suspect on the run in attempted femicide case

by | June 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Khelvachauri District Court issued a warrant for a suspect wanted in the case of an attempted femicide which happened on June 10. According to the General Prosecutor’s Office,

News

Mayor Narmania: Tbilisi sidewalks may be free of parked cars from September

by | June 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--City authorities in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi are considering removing parking spaces that were allocated on the city’s sidewalks a few years ago. Pedestrians may look forward to having the sidewalks cleared of cars already from September.

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