Environment, News

People in Senaki are trying to cope with the flood

by | July 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In almost every house in Senaki’s main streets, people are using spades to get rid of mud and water after heavy flooding on Monday. Senaki is a small town in Samegrelo, in the western part of Georgia, with more than 25 000 residents. Elderly people

News

Saakashvili pardons former governor

by | July 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has pardoned the former governor of Samegrelo region, who was sentenced to four years in jail. Ex-Governor Tengiz Gunava left prison Tuesday night and was greeted by members of Saakashvili’s party, the National

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party had 700 state debit cards in ’12 campaign

by | July 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Justice Minister Zurab Adeisvhili personally ordered the Chairman of Tbilisi Development Foundation to order debit cards, which made it possible to withdraw millions from the state coffers. The scheme was meant to be used to finance the National

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian Dream expels one member after protests

by | July 31, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream party has expelled one of its members and warned two of them in relation with the scuffle on July 20 in Zugdidi during the National Movement’s primary election. Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia on Monday issued a statement

In brief, News

Iran’s consul offers Georgia assistance in murder case

by | July 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Iran’s consul in Georgia Ahmad-Reza Arzjani says the suspect in murder of a 16-year-old girl in Batumi Juy 22 has been in Turkey for the last two years. Mariam Kochalidze, 16, was murdered near the beach in Batumi, a Black Sea holiday resort and one

Environment, News

Senaki partly evacuated due to flooding

by | July 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Part of Senaki in western Georgia has been evacuated because of flooding. Local reporters say more than 70 families have left the town. Hundreds of houses are underwater. The markets, theatre and other facilities are also hit, and car traffic has been rendered impossible.

Economy, News

1.7 mill bottles of Georgian wine exported to Russia

by | July 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has exported more than 1.7 million bottles of wine to Russia after the lifting of an embargo from 2006, says Minister of Agriculture Shalva Pipia. Russia is now among the top five export markets for Georgia for wine, Pipia said Monday.

Elections '12-'13, News

Margvelashvili accepts offer to hold presidential debates

by | July 29, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Georgian Dream coalition’s president candidate, Giorgi Margvelashvili, accepts the offer from his competitor Davit Bakradze from the National Movement, who invited him to a series of election debates. Margvelashvili told journalists on Monday that

NGO news

Study shows Georgian courts have turned a negative trend

by | July 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to a new study by Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), the changes in the judiciary system after the October 1, 2012, parliamentary election have been positive. IDFI writes that 140 million lari (USD 85 million)

Elections '12-'13, News

Anti-Saakashvili protesters released

by | July 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court on Sunday released three persons who were detained on Saturday during a scuffle outside the National Movement’s party conference and gave them a 100 lari (USD 60) fine. Davit Chantladze, Irakli Chubabria and Pridon Merebashvili

In brief, News

Four Polish climbers trapped in the Caucasus mountains

by | July 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of Polish climbers are requesting help after four of them got stuck in the Caucasus mountains. One of the trapped climbers fell after a rope broke. He did not break any bones, but is having problems moving. Giorgi Dzagnide, head of the Interior

News

Lawmaker denies rumor of Rice becoming adviser to Ivanishvili

by | July 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tedo Japaridze, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in parliament, once more denies the rumor that Condoleezza Rice is to become advisor for the Georgian Prime Minister. In a new statement, Japaridze sheds some light on what happened during

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party announces Bakradze as candidate for president

by | July 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Davit Bakradze, leader of the parliamentary opposition, has been announced as the National Movement’s official candidate for the upcoming presidential election. UNM’s sixth and final primary election was held on Saturday in Tbilisi. The final

News

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II visits Moscow, meets Putin

by | July 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II, who visited Russia for the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus, met with the Russian Patriarch Kirill I and invited him to Georgia. The meeting was held in Moscow on July 23 at the Russian Patriarchate to discuss

News

Suspect in Batumi murder detained in absentia

by | July 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Batumi City Court Thursday detained the suspect in the murder of a 16-year old girl in absentia. Mohammadamin Rointan, a citizen of Iran, is suspected of having killed Mariam Kochalidze, 16, on July 23 in the boulevard of Batumi, a city

In brief, News

One man detained for parliament bomb scare

by | July 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police detained Omar, 71, on suspicion of being behind a false bomb threat at the parliament building in Kutaisi. Thursday parliament building was evacuated to allow law enforcers to conduct a bomb search. It later turned out that the report

News

One soldier dies in weapon accident at Vaziani, Georgia

by | July 27, 2013

 TBILISI, DFWatch--A soldier has died while examining a weapon at Vaziani military firing range on Thursday. According to the Defense Ministry, Major Otelo Gulgbiani was injured and was immediately brought to the hospital, but despite doctors’ efforts he died. Major died at Ingorokva

News

Bomb threat in Georgia’s parliament

by | July 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another problem was added to the list of mishaps that have afflicted the new parliament in Kutaisi, as there were reports of a bomb in the building. Davit Usupashvili, Speaker of Parliament, said that a stranger informed police that there was a bomb

Opinion

The Rule of Bonus Payment in Public Offices

by | July 26, 2013

Public officials’ remuneration is regarded one of the most important aspects for the functioning of public offices both in Georgia and elsewhere in the World. Issues such as effective fight against corruption in public office, attracting qualified candidates to government jobs,

News, Politics

Ivanishvili denies rumor that Rice offered him to be advisor

by | July 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tedo Japaridze, who chairs the foreign affairs committee in parliament, denies rumors that former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be appointed as official advisor to the Georgian prime minister. A few days ago, the Russian newspaper

Elections '12-'13, News

Bokeria pointing at government for attacks on opposition

by | July 26, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The interagency commission for free and fair election expresses concern about incidents, which took place this Saturday and Sunday during United National Movement’s primary election conferences in Batumi and Zugdidi, Western Georgia, where people threw

Elections '12-'13, News

Margvelashvili: Ivanishvili leaving post, not politics

by | July 26, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch—The first remark about Bidzina Ivanishvili stepping down as prime minister came from the Georgian Dream coalition’s presidential candidate who says that ‘the PM plans to leave his post, but not politics.’ Giorgi Margvelashvili, Ivanishvili’s

News

Hepatitis C campaigners demand affordable treatment

by | July 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Non-governmental organizations and people affected by hepatitis C on Wednesday organized rallies outside pharmaceutical companies demanding a reduction in drug prices. According to rally participants, the price on drugs to treat hepatitis C has not

News

Suspect identified in murder of 16-year old girl

by | July 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Interior Ministry Wednesday evening identified a 28-year old man as the suspect in the murder of 16-year old Mariam Kochalidze on July 22. The suspect is a citizen of Iran, Mohamadamin Ruintan, born in 1985. According to the statement,

News

33 000 of Georgia’s war refugees earn too much, will have aid cut

by | July 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Refugee Minister Davit Darakhvelidze says about 33 000 refugees might have their 28 lari (USD 16) monthly allowance cut off because they their income is above the 1 500 lari limit. 10 000 of them earn about 20 000-30 000 lari (USD 12 000

News, Sport

Georgia loses 0-1 to Serbia in U19 championship

by | July 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s on Tuesday lost 0-1 to Serbia in the European under-19 football championship in Lithuania. This is the first time Georgia has qualified and the team is now in third place in group B with one point after a 0-0 match against France. Serbia remains on top

Society

Eco-refugees living in a town called Dream

by | July 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 800 single-room barracks are constructed at the former base of the 53rd regiment in Batumi, a beach resort on the Black Sea and one of Georgia’s most popular tourist destinations. The barracks were constructed by families of eco-migrants

News

16-year old girl brutally murdered in Batumi

by | July 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 16-year old girl was found dead Monday evening near the new boulevard in Batumi, a beach resort and one of the main tourist destinations in Georgia. Lia Mgeladze, a friend of the victim's family, said Mariam Kochalidze was found near

News, Security

NGOs in Georgia appeal to EU to stop Russian border activity

by | July 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian National Platform, a coalition of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), appeals to EU to oppose Russia’s recent border moving and installing of razor wire at the so-called administrative border. The statement says that the Russian

Economy, News

World Bank funds USD 60 million reform program in Georgia

by | July 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The World Bank is funding a USD 60 million program to support competitive and inclusive economic growth in Georgia. Signing the formal agreement for the Bank was its Regional Director for South Caucasus, Henri Kerali, and for Georgia, Finance

Elections '12-'13, News

Government in Georgia overhauling election regulations

by | July 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Less than three months before the presidential election, the Georgian Dream coalition is working on improving the election legislation, and has introduced five sets of amendments. According to the draft of the amendments, voters who were taken off

Elections '12-'13, News

ISFED: No violations so far in Georgia’s election campaign

by | July 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--There has so far not been been observed any violations in the election campaign for the presidential election on October 27. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), a non-governmental organization which specializes in election

News

EU concludes negotiations about free trade with Georgia

by | July 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU and Georgia have finished talks on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) and preparations are starting for a legal review of the text. Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili said on Monday that finishing the negotiation

News, Sport

Georgia’s U19 team gets first point in UEFA championship

by | July 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s U19 football team played 0-0 against France on Sunday, gaining its first points in the European championship in Lithuania. “I’m really dissatisfied with the first half of the match. The other half was better,” Georgian U19 coach

News

Georgia to recount its refugees to prevent voter fraud

by | July 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is preparing to re-count its internal refugees, in order to prevent election fraud in the presidential election in October. Davit Darakhvelidze, the refugee minister, said re-registration is compulsory and will start from August 1, and that

Society

Georgia’s privatized health care system is failing

by | July 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Medical personnel at the only hospital in Kharagauli haven’t received salary for the last four months, while the company which owns the management rights to the hospital is not fulfilling its obligations under the contract to rehabilitate the

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party haunted by violent crowds

by | July 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Saakashvili's National Movement had a tough weekend with both party conferences interrupted by demonstrators. After being greeted by an angry hoe-wielding crowd in Zugdidi Saturday, the UNM gathered in Batumi Sunday, only to see protesters

Elections '12-'13, News

Violent protest outside Saakashvili party’s conference

by | July 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement’s fourth primary on Saturday took place against the backdrop of violent clashes with an angry hoe-wielding crowd who threw stones and bottles. For the fourth time, the UNM's primary was won by former Speaker of Parliament

Environment, News

Heavy rain and flooding in several regions of Georgia

by | July 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain caused flooding in several regions of Georgia Saturday. In Zugdidi, a region bordering the breakaway region Abkhazia, more than 20 villages are flooded, according to local reporters. Didinedzi is hardest hit, and has a water cover of more

Society

16 years on, refugees still living in temporary housing

by | July 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Twelve families of refugees are living in the kitchen building of a former hospital in Zugdidi, a town that lies not far from Abkhazia, the breakaway region they fled from. For 16 years, they have been living in the derelict building, waiting to be

News, Politics

Saakashvili loses majority in Tbilisi

by | July 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Saakashvili’s National Movement party has lost its majority in Tbilisi City Council. Members of Georgian Dream coalition, and former members of the National Movement who switched sides after the parliamentary election in 2012,

News

Georgia strengthening control with transit trucks

by | July 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is strengthening its control of transit trucks. Levan Izoria, Deputy Interior Minister, told DF Watch that the ministry made this decision after the number of car accidents increased and the number of casualties in accidents has also

Society

Peach vendors in Georgia: Where are our processing plants?

by | July 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The sale of peaches is so slow in Georgia that sellers haven't been able to cover their costs this year. They ask for more processing plants to be built. Nikoloz Gharibashvili, 62, owns peach fields and his income usually comes from selling peaches.

News

Georgia to make US embassy into presidential residence

by | July 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is considering using the former US embassy in Tbilisi as presidential residence after the election on October 27. It's unclear what would happen to the current presidential residence in Avlabari in the old part of Tbilisi.

In brief, News

One Georgian released by South Ossetia

by | July 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--South Ossetia has released Guram Gigineishvili, a Georgian who was detained five days ago in a village bordering on Russian-controlled territory. Russian soldiers detained Guram Gigineishvili in the village Bershueti while he was working in

News

Georgia’s PM Ivanishvili met Lithuania’s president

by | July 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili on Thursday met President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė at the president’s palace. Grybauskaitė and Ivanishvili discussed bilateral relations and views on how to strengthen them. The Georgian

Opinion

The Role of Fiscal Policy in Economic Growth

by | July 18, 2013

During the planning process of the state budget, a 6% real economic growth was predicted; however the civil society and political circles are questioning the feasibility of achieving 6% growth rate and performance of the planned budgetary revenues. According to the

News

Protest camp outside town hall in Ozurgeti

by | July 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--For more than three weeks, activists and supporters of the Georgian Dream coalition have been protesting in front of town hall in Ozurgeti in the western Guria region of Georgia, against the acting head of the municipality. The activists have set up

News

Georgian patriarch to visit Russia July 23-30

by | July 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Patriarch will visit Russia for the 1025th epiphany anniversary. Events for the anniversary will be held in Moscow, Kyiv and Minsk. Patriarch Ilia II will visit all three cities accompanied by a Georgian delegation July 23-30.

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili government tries to clean up campaigning rules

by | July 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new amendment to the election code will require top officials to resign two days after they are registered as candidates in the presidential election. The new regulations will apply to the prime minister, ministers of autonomous republics

News

EU parliamentarians visited Georgia’s jailed opposition leader

by | July 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU's enlargement commissioner Štefan Füle has spoken by phone to the UNM Secretary General and former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, who is in detention waiting to face trial. According to Merabishvili's Facebook page, the European

Opinion

Local government reform – a new chance

by | July 17, 2013

Establishing true local self-government was one of the new Government of Georgia’s major pre-election promises. The ambitious goal of creating local self-governing units is now part of the government's strategy. In Georgia's two decades of independence, no other

News

Parliament passes statement on anti LGBT violence

by | July 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The human rights committee in parliament has passed a statement about the events of May 17, when radical priests and their supporters disrupted a peaceful demonstration against homophobia in Tbilisi. Before the final adoption on Tuesday, there have

News

One dead in mine explosion in Georgia

by | July 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--One person has died after an explosion in a mine in Chiatura, a town in the central parts of Georgia. This is sixth person who have died while working in the manganese mines the last three years. 11 have been so severely injured that they are unable

News

Interior Ministry denies it roughed up detainee who committed suicide

by | July 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry in Georgia denies that there were violations or acts of brutality by the police during the questioning Mamuka Mikautadze, who a few weeks ago was reported to have killed himself the after he was questioned at the police station.

News

Five more Georgians detained at de facto border

by | July 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border guards have detained five more Georgian citizens for crossing the de facto border near the breakaway region South Ossetia. A journalist working for Interpressnews reports that three Georgians were detained in the village Akhalubani

In brief, News

Margvelashvili picks replacement ahead of presidential run

by | July 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Minister of Education Giorgi Margvelashvili has picked his own replacement, as he prepares for the race to be Georgia's next president. The Georgian Dream coalition chose Margvelashvili as its candidate in the upcoming election, and although Georgian

In brief, News

Ivanishvili will visit Lithuania and Poland July 18-19

by | July 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will visit Lithuania and Poland July 18-19. Davit Zalkaliani, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, said on Monday’s briefing that Georgia sees visit to Lithuania to be important as it has recently taken

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian opera star dispels rumors of presidential run

by | July 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--As the presidential election in October is drawing nearer, Georgians are discussing candidates and who their next president might be. The Georgian Dream coalition has already decided on Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili as their candidate,

News

Court case about anti LGBT violence postponed

by | July 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The court hearing for the two clerics who participated in the violent clashes on May 17 has been postponed until July 23. The hearing was to have been on Monday, and apart from the two clerics the case also concerns several other persons who are

Elections '12-'13, News

Poll shows Ivanishvili bloc leading UNM 29 to 10 percent

by | July 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--45 percent of people like Giorgi Margvelashvili, the Georgian Dream coalition's candidate for president, while 48 percent like Davit Bakradze, who most likely will be the National Movement's candidate. When asked who they would want as president,

Society

Beer festival in Tbilisi

by | July 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A beer festival was held this weekend on Roses Square in Tbilisi. The festival is organized by Georgian brewery Natakhtari. It has become a tradition and is held for the fourth time this year. Among the beer brands guests could taste were Czech Kozel,

Elections '12-'13, News

Bakradze wins primary in Kakheti

by | July 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Davit Bakradze, parliamentary leader of the National Movement, defended his frontrunner status Sunday with a third primary election win. 566 UNM delegates met in Telavi, a town in the eastern Kakheti region, to listen to a debate between Davit

Society

Refugees from Abkhazia are in a difficult situation

by | July 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Valentina Sajaia, 90, has been living in the Likani settlement for the last 20 years with about 120 other families, who were forced to leave their houses in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. She has raised four children without her husband

News

UNM lawmaker and two others released on bail in property scandal

by | July 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rusudan Kervalishvili, a former lawmaker for the National Movement party, and her sister Maya Rcheulishvili, who are accused of running a ponzi scheme through a construction company they founded, have been released on USD 150 000 bail each.

News

Governor sentenced to four years in jail

by | July 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The governor of the Samegrelo Zemo Svaneti region was Friday sentenced to four years in jail. Governor Tengiz Gunava was charged in several different cases and was accused of exceeding his powers while he was head of the regional police department

Europe, News

Saakashvili: Government is worsening relations with EU

by | July 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Saakashvili accuses the government of worsening relations with the EU and claims that the signing of an association agreement with the EU has been removed from the schedule of the Vilnius summit. Tamar Beruchashvili, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister,

News

Friday prayer disrupted again in Kakheti village

by | July 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Muslims in an eastern Georgian village are still not able to live their lives normally, as Friday prayer was disrupted again in Samtatskharo. Neither local Muslims or Muslims from the other regions came to pray yesterday. Parmen Tsetskhladze,

News

37 percent of Georgians think Russia is a threat

by | July 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new survey shows that the number of Georgians who consider Russia a threat has increased by nine percentage points since March. The survey was organized by National Democratic Institute (NDI) and shows that 37 percent think Russia is a threat,

Europe, News

Füle hopeful about Georgia getting association agreement

by | July 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU Commissioner Štefan Füle is hopeful about Georgia's chances of signing an association agreement with the EU at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November. Füle is visiting Georgia and today met with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili

Society

Poll shows little support for LGBT cause in Georgia

by | July 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new opinion poll shows that 79 percent of Georgians do not support the anti-homophobia demonstration on May 17, 2013, which was disrupted by radical Christian clerics and their followers, resulting in almost 30 people being injured. 52 percent think

News

Prosecutors seize UNM member’s house in libel case

by | July 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prosecutors in Georgia have seized the house of a member of the parliamentary opposition on the grounds of an appeal by the businessman Joseph Kay. Sergo Ratiani, a member of the Untied National Movement, on Thursday went public with what had happened

News

UNM lawmaker may face 11 years in jail for ponzi scheme

by | July 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former member of parliament from the National Movement and her sister are accused of fraud in connection with a construction company they own and if convicted may face up to 11 years in jail. Thursday they were summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office

NGO news

TI criticizes handling of privatization process

by | July 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Transparency International Georgia (TIG) criticizes the process to privatize state property for not being sufficiently transparent, saying this may allow for corrupt deals. According to TIG, information from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable

News, Security

Georgia has relocated Afghanistan soldiers

by | July 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Irakli Alasania says Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan have relocated to a safer place after the last attack on one of their bases, which caused the death of seven soldiers. However, the investigation into the Taliban threat video,

News

Three ‘anti-Duma’ demonstrators fined USD 240

by | July 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has fined three participants at a rally outside Dinamo stadium on July 7. Groups of mostly young people rallied against Russian Duma members who were watching a match between the football teams Dinamo Tbilisi and Dinamo Moscow.

Society

Government in Georgia increases fines for immoral behavior

by | July 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry demands to have fines for certain violations which are now punished only with undefined sanctions. But some people think the ministry is increasing the size of the fines and are against the initiative. The Ministry of Internal

In brief, News

Second detention this week near de facto border

by | July 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers have detained one more Georgian citizen and taken him to Tskhinvali, the capital of the de facto breakaway region South Ossetia. Witnesses claim that the detainee, Guram Gigineishvili, 49, was working in the cornfield in the village

Interviews

Ukraine and Georgia went different ways

by | July 10, 2013

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has made Georgia more free, while President Viktor Yanukovich made Ukraine less free when he came to power in 2010. Although the West's "golden kid" lost the election both places, and former officials have been prosecuted, what happened in the two countries is different,

News, Politics

Russian Duma members in Tbilisi — how unusual is it?

by | July 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A duel of words has broken out in Tbilisi after members of the Russian Duma turned up at a football match between Dinamo Tbilisi and Dinamo Moscow. The friendship match on July 7 is the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union that the two

NGO news

Georgians think country is mostly corruption free, except courts

by | July 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has one of the lowest rates of bribery among the 107 countries included on the Global Corruption Barometer survey, but 51% think the courts are extremely or very corrupt. Georgians still perceive the judiciary, the media and parliament as

Europe, News

EU enlargement commissioner continues Georgia tour

by | July 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, is in Georgia and has met with the president and members of the parliamentary opposition. After meeting with President Mikheil Saakshvili, the EU's enlargement

Society

Muslim leader leaves Kakheti village as conflict continues

by | July 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a village in east Georgia, a prominent Muslim has left because of the religious conflict that has been developing over the last month. Now Hajji Suliko Khozrevanidze, a leading figure in the Muslim community in Samtatskaro in the Kakheti region,

Society

Batumi Summer Set Festival

by | July 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Organizers of Batumi Summer Set Festival are preparing for the arrival of almost fifty thousand music lovers August 22-24. The program features electronic music and includes acts such as Faithless and Sleep Party People. The Danish duo Laid Back

Environment, News

Protest against tree-cutting in Tbilisi

by | July 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than 40 healthy trees were cut at the former psychiatric clinic in Tbilisi on Monday. Youth and locals rallied outside, demanding a stop to the tree-cutting. Rally participants brought posters which read ‘Don’t cut’ and ‘Tbilisi City Hall is an enemy

In brief, News

Another Georgian detained at de facto border

by | July 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian border soldiers a few days ago detained another Georgian citizen and brought him to Tskhinvali where he was placed in preliminary detention. The detainee Zurab Salamashvili, 52, from the village Sakorintlo has been in a detention for three

News

Georgia worsens its performance on Global Innovation Index

by | July 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has worsened its performance on the Global Innovation Index by two points. According to the Global Innovation Report 2013, Georgia has moved down two positions, compared to last year, to 73th place among 142 countries. In the South Caucasus

News, Prisoner abuse

Ivanishvili criticizes prisoner abuse whistleblower walking free

by | July 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili criticizes the chief prosecutor for having freed a former prison guard from criminal responsibility for torturing prisoners because he blew the whistle on the scandal. The whistleblower, Vladimer Bedukadze, was released

News, Politics

Constitutional amendments going through public review

by | July 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The public review process of the amendments aimed at reducing the power of the prime minister that he will assume after the presidential elections scheduled for October 27 commenced this week, bringing together MPs, politicians, civil society

News

Youth rallied against Russian lawmakers at Tbilisi match

by | July 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Dinamo Tbilisi and Dinamo Moscow played a friendship match in Tbilisi on Sunday. It was attended by Cristiano Ronaldo and Andriy Shevchenko, and guests from the Russian Duma. The presence of the Russian parliamentarians caused youth groups to

In brief, News

Štefan Füle to visit Georgia July 11-12

by | July 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, will visit Georgia July 11-12. Davit Jalaghania, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, said at a briefing Monday that the visit is planned to be held in Batumi, a city

Elections '12-'13, News

Bakradze wins Saakashvili party’s second primary

by | July 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Davit Bakradze, leader of the parliamentary opposition, won the United National Movement’s second primary election for the upcoming presidential election in October. This latest party conference was held in Gori, a town closer to the capital.

News

Police brutality still a concern in Georgia

by | July 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the Interior Ministry is accused of psychological and physical pressure against a young man who committed suicide after being interrogated by police. Mamuka Mikautadze, 36, is reported to have killed himself at a water reservoir in one

News, Politics

Government to form constitutional commission and stop court cases

by | July 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and the leader of the parliamentary minority, Davit Bakradze, have agreed to create a commission to work on changing the constitution. In return, members of United National Movement won’t be interrogated

Society

Muslims afraid to attend Friday prayer in Kakheti village

by | July 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the village Samtatskharo in eastern Georgia, Friday prayers went ahead without incident yesterday, but the Muslims who live in the village stayed away because of threats. Only Muslims from other areas and guests from the government attended

NGO news

New report shows state funding of Georgian Church

by | July 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has allocated up to GEL 200 million for the Georgian Orthodox Church over the last 11 year, according to Transparency International Georgia (TIG). The group has requested information about the funding by central and local

News

Government criticized for inaction over Depardieu’s Abkhazia trip

by | July 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is coming under fire at home for not doing more after Gérard Depardieu violated Georgian law by visiting the breakaway region Abkhazia. The government says it will not react, as it does not consider it a serious violation.

Society

New stronger labor code comes into force

by | July 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--After eight months of preparations, an amended labor code has come into force after President Saakashvili signed the bill. Deputy Justice Minister Alexander Baramidze says the new labor code entirely meets European standards, which will contribute

Economy, News

Government’s goal of 6% growth seen as unrealistic

by | July 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite the prime minister's prognosis and the state budget, the minister of economy and the minister of finance say it is impossible to achieve 6 percent economic growth by the end of the year. Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili said on

News

Saakashvili’s party received USD 3 mill in illegal donation

by | July 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The State Audit Office claims that the United National Movement received more than USD 3 million illegally as a donation during the election campaign in 2012. The State Audit Office, which earlier was called the Chamber of Control, was granted the

News, Politics

Saakashvili loses one more Tbilisi council member

by | July 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more member of the United National Movement, the party headed by President Mikheil Saakashvili, on Thursday left the party's faction in Tbilisi City Council. This time it was Davit Tsereteli, chair of the commission on urban planning, who

In brief, News

Hunger strike over in Georgian women’s prison

by | July 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The hunger strike at Rustavi women’s prison is over. Prisoners of No 5 prison facility in Rustavi, a town 20 km south of the capital, had been on hunger strike for two days demanding to get their sentences reduced. Wednesday, Eka Beselia, chair

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili changes date of election

by | July 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has changed the date of the upcoming presidential election from October 31 to October 27. He announced date of the election July 2, but the date caused concern among experts and non-governmental organizations,

Environment, News

Storm again damages Kobuleti beach

by | July 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Heavy rain has hit the town Kobuleti on the Black Sea coast for the last two days. Three people were taken to sea by a big wave, and later rescued. The storm on Wednesday lasted just three minutes. Big waves took three youngsters from the beach.

News

Minorities will be protected, Ivanishvili assures

by | July 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says the government will protect minorities in the country through legal ways, but not ‘artificially.’ At a monthly press conference at Metechi Palace Hotel Wednesday, Ivanishvili also addressed the issue

News, Politics

Ivanishvili might leave, but might also stay as PM

by | July 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he can be ‘useful’ for society for twenty more years. The comment came on Wednesday at a routine press conference about current events in the country. Ivanishvili was asked about a recent statement he made

In brief, News

Hunger strike breaks out in Georgian women’s prison

by | July 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 80 prisoners at the women's prison in Rustavi have gone on hunger strike demanding to get their sentences reduced. According to the administration of prison No 5 in Rustavi, 20 km away from the capital, the prisoners have no complaints against

News

Georgia cancels visa free rules for Iranian citizens

by | July 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has canceled visa free rules for Iranian citizens, while Georgian citizens can still visit and stay in Iran for 45 days without a visa. Georgia and Iran enforced rules for visa free travel from January 2011, until July 2 this year, when Georgia tightened

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgians are questioning the date of the election

by | July 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, a discussion has begun about the date of the presidential election. Yesterday, President Mikheil Saakashvili set the date to October 31, which will be a Thursday. But groups claim a presidential election must be held in a weekend.

Economy, News

Iraninan official praises Georgia’s business climate

by | July 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Iran's Deputy Ambassador says Georgia has good conditions nowadays to attract foreign investments. The first Iran-Georgia business forum is ongoing in Tbilisi at Expo Georgia, a exhibition center. It is being attended by representatives of large

News

New charges against escaped intelligence chief

by | July 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia Monday introduced new charges against a former head of the domestic intelligence agency Kudi that deals with one of the most controversial murder cases in the country's history. Data Akhalaia, former chairman

Elections '12-'13, News

Georgia’s presidential election to be held October 31

by | July 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president has decided to set October 31, 2013, as the date of the presidential election. A few hours before this became known, October 27 was named as Election Day, but the head of the president's administration held a briefing to say

News

Comprehensive healthcare program begins in Georgia

by | July 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia a comprehensive healthcare program began from July 1. Socially vulnerable will get double allowances, and the number of state financed healthcare programs has been increased. It has been a priority of the Georgian Dream coalition to

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party loses majority in Tbilisi City Council

by | July 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement has lost its majority in Tbilisi City Council after one of its members on Monday decided to leave the UNM faction. UNM used to have 24 seats in the Council and this way remained in majority,

Economy, News

Iran-Georgia business forum in Tbilisi

by | July 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tuesday there will be held an Iran-Georgia business forum in Tbilisi. An Iranian trade delegation arrives in Georgia July 1 and will stay until July 5. The forum will be held at Expo Georgia, an exhibition and convention center, where there will be

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s party meets for first primary debate

by | July 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United National Movement Sunday kicked off its election campaign for the presidential election with a debate between the candidates. The event took place in Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city and current seat of parliament, and will be

News

Court deems detention of four Tbilisi officials unlawful

by | July 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in Georgia has decided that four officials in Tbilisi City Hall were detained in violation of law, but sentenced all of them to pre-trial detention. June 27, Davit Alavidze, Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, Davit Avaliani, Head of Tbilisi

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