News

Georgian Lawyer’s Association chair attacked by rebel members

by | February 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgian Lawyer’s Association, some of the members have started procedures to dismiss their chairman. The rebel members claim the reason is that Zaza Khatiashvili is a supporter of the former ruling party, the National Movement, and also that he

In brief, News

Abashidze-Karasin meeting postponed until March 14

by | February 28, 2014

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

News

France refuses to extradite former Georgian defense minister

by | February 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--France has refused to extradite former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili to Georgia. Kezerashvili is charged with acquiring a large amount of money and for receiving a bribe while he was minister. He is also implicated in the Imedi TV case,

News

Merabishvili found guilty of violent May 26, 2011, dispersal

by | February 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili was Thursday sentenced to four years and six months in jail in a case concerning the dispersal of a peaceful anti-government rally on May 26, 2011. Tbilisi City Court has been reviewing the case for

Economy, News

Georgia: 15% rise in January’s foreign trade confirmed

by | February 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover was USD 761 million in January 2014 according to precise data published by Georgia's National Statistics Department, GeoStat. This is 15 percent more than in 2013. Export was USD 224 million, which is 14 percent

News

John Kerry to visit Georgia in spring

by | February 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Georgia in spring 2014. Kerry said after a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Wednesday that he is looking forward to coming to Georgia and that the trip might take place in spring.

News

Georgian president meets locals near contested border

by | February 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili says he hopes that the barbed wire which Russian soldiers are installing at the so-called border with two breakaway territories will eventually be sent away peacefully as scrap metal. Margvelashvili

In brief, News

Bacho Akhalaia’s lawyer released on bail

by | February 26, 2014

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

Society

Mine workers on strike in Chiatura describe unfair conditions

by | February 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The mine workers in Chiatura have once more gone on strike. For five days, several hundred have not showed up at work, while others say they are ready to join the strike. After the change of government in 2012, the miners in Chiatura went on strike

News

Russia resumes building of South Ossetia border fences

by | February 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers have resumed the installation of warning signs and barbed wire at villages near the border with the breakaway region South Ossetia. A sign warning about the de facto border was installed in the village Ghogheti near Kareli on Tuesday.

News, Politics

Georgia creates agency to oversee party financing

by | February 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is creating a temporary commission to monitor the financing of political parties. The new body will be staffed by people from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and will be based at the State Audit Office. Its general director, Lasha

Minorities, News

Glimpses of daily life in Iormughanlo, Georgia

by | February 25, 2014

Iormughanlo is a village at the river Iori and lies in the Kakheti region in the south eastern part of Georgia. The village has a population of not more than 2 000, according to the most recent census data, predominantly ethic Azeris. The majority of families in Iormughanlo have sheep as a livelihood. While walking in the streets of the village, drops of blood are visible from recently killed animals, especially on Fridays, the market day. On Friday morning, a large market is organized some way out of the village limits, on the right side of the highway. People mostly sell fruits and vegetables, meat and other products, but you can also buy clothes and household items. This man is a market guard. Even when everybody has left and the market is over, he is always at his wagon protecting the area from being robbed. He is expecting a print of a picture we took of him, to display at his wagon someday. Shortly after afternoon, the market is completely empty. Dogs are walking around looking for food. This homeless man says he always ...

News

Former police official and Bacho Akhalaia lawyer detained

by | February 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has ordered the detention of a lawyer for former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia. Giorgi Oniani is charged with abuse of power, falsification of evidence about especially grave crime and purposeful unlawful

News

Georgian PM Gharibashvili met Obama and Biden

by | February 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Monday met with US Vice President Joe Biden at the White House. President Barack Obama later joined the meeting. Topics included the US-Georgia strategic partnership, the prospects for Georgia’s integration

News

Abashidze-Karasin talks planned for March 4 in Prague

by | February 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The next meeting between Russian and Georgian negotiators might take place on March 4 or 5. Zurab Abashidze, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Russian Relations, told Interpressnews that the meeting will be held in Prague. At this

Europe, News

Demonstrations in support of Ukraine were held in Tbilisi

by | February 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians gathered at the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Sunday to pay tribute to those who died during the recent clashes in Ukraine. Activists also started a campaign to collect money to pay for treatment of those who were wounded. At least

News

Miners on strike in Chiatura, Georgia

by | February 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 600 miners in western Georgia have gone on strike, demanding that the management fulfills a promise made during a strike last year. In Chiatura, eomployees at Itkhvisi, Shukura, a factory and a mechanical workshop warn that if their demands aren’t met, about

News

Parliament speaker in Georgia sees no threat

by | February 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The speaker of parliament in Georgia says there are currently no threats against the country. Gubaz Sanikidze, a member of parliament for the Georgian Dream coalition, said Friday that ‘it will be Georgia's turn after Ukraine’ and begged the

Society

Bus drivers on strike in Rustavi, Georgia

by | February 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Minibus drivers in Rustavi southeast of Tbilisi are on strike. They are protesting against the competition for transport by City Council and demand to delay for three to five years the competition for inner city and Tbilisi-Rustavi transport.

News

Georgians show support for Ukrainians in many ways

by | February 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One lone woman demonstrated in support of Ukraine in front of Georgia's parliament on Friday. Georgians are showing solidarity in a number of ways after the bloodbath in Kiev. Gvantsa Chkhivadze, who represents Movement for Independence and Euro-

News

Georgian PM starts weeklong US trip Saturday

by | February 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili tomorrow begins his first United States visit since assuming office. Gharibashvili, who is accompanied by several of his cabinet ministers, said at a government session on Thursday that it will be the first top

Europe, News

Georgian president ‘completely shocked’ by events in Ukraine

by | February 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili says no government has ever been forgiven for using weapons against its own people. Margvelashvili said he was shocked by seeing footage from Thursday's events in Ukraine. “Events are developing in a tragic way in Ukraine, and we are completely shocked by what we have seen,” he said. He continued saying that if Viktor Yanukovich has political will instead of violent steps, there is a chance that the bloodshed will stop and there will be renewed dialogue in Ukraine. Armed confrontation can be transformed into a political process. “I express hope that the top leader of Ukraine will take political steps and follow calls from world leaders in order to avoid a very difficult and painful confrontation in the country,” he added.

News

Georgian activist dies from sniper fire in Kiev

by | February 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more Georgian citizen died in Kiev on February 21. Davit Kipiani, a young National Movement activist, was found dead at Khreshchatnik. His bullet proof vest had two bullet holes after he was hit by a sniper. Mikheil Saakashvili, the former

News

Georgia sends peacekeepers to Central African Republic

by | February 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has decided to commit its military forces to the European Union's rapid reaction force in the Central African Republic from May. The violence between Christians and Muslims which began more than a year ago is at risk

Caucasus region, News

Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan foreign ministers meet

by | February 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The foreign ministers of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey met on Wednesday in Azerbaijan’s second largest city Ganja to discuss regional cooperation. Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said they talked about the 2013-15 action plan, which

News, Politics

Green Party leaves Georgian Dream coalition

by | February 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Member of Parliament Gia Gachechiladze on Wednesday left the parliamentary majority, the Georgian Dream coalition. Gachechiladze is a member of the Greens Party, which is not a member of the Georgian Dream coalition, but he represented the coalition

News, Sport

Figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili in 17th place at Sochi

by | February 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili Wednesday ended up in 17th place in the Sochi Olympics. The 24-year old competed in the short program against 30 athletes at Iceberg Skating Palace. Gedevanishvili received 54.70 point from the jury. That

News

One Georgian dead in Kiev violence

by | February 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--One Georgian citizen died in Kiev on February 18 during clashes between activists and Interior Ministry troops. Zurab Khurtsia, 54, was one of 26 people who have died since the violence reignited two days ago. Besik Shamugia, head of the association

Minorities, News

How can minority women get into politics in Georgia?

by | February 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sabina Talibova is an ethnic Azerbaijanian living in Marneuli. Some time ago, she became involved in several non-governmental organizations which are working to engage women more in employment and politics. DF Watch talked to her about problems

News, Politics

National Movement might boycott president’s address

by | February 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement party's members of parliament might not attend the Georgian president's state of the nation address, which takes place in parliament in Kutaisi on February 21. UNM members say they have not yet made a decision about whether

Minorities, News

Georgia creates new agency for religious issues

by | February 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia is planning to create a new agency that will work on religious issues. Minister of Reconciliation and Equality Paata Zakareishvili on Tuesday explained that the new body will implement a recent initiative by the government

News, Sport

Georgian Nino Tsiklauri finishes 49th in giant slalom

by | February 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian alpine skier participating in the Sochi Winter Olympics competed on February 18 and finished in 49th place. Nino Tsiklauri is one of four Georgians taking part in the Games, and was flag bearer for the Georgian team. Tuesday, she competed

Economy, News

Georgia’s foreign trade up 15% in Jan compared to last year

by | February 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover increased 15 percent in January, 2014, compared to the same period last year. The total turnover was USD 761 million. This is according to preliminary data published by Georgia's National Statistics Department,

News

Firefighters on strike in Tbilisi, claim their boss is corrupt

by | February 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--16 firefighters in Tbilisi are on a strike to demand the resignation of the head of the emergency service, Temur Giorgadze. The firefighters, who have been on strike for six days, claim that Giorgadze hires his friends and relatives, is corrupt and

Elections, News

Georgian PM wants 50% first past the post threshold

by | February 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili proposes to raise the threshold for winning in the first round of local elections to 50 percent. Gharibashvili, who represents the Georgian Dream coalition, suggests having a 50 percent threshold also in mayoral

News

Merabishvili used employment program for election campaign

by | February 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili used an employment program as a way to campaign for the National Movement party ahead of the October 2012 parliamentary election. This is the conclusion of Kutaisi City Court in a trial that has

News

Complaints against Georgia at Strasbourg court drops 70%

by | February 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of complaints against Georgia at the European Court of Human Rights has been reduced by 70 percent. On Sunday, the Ministry of Justice published information showing that there were 375 complaints against Georgia at the Strasbourg-based

Caucasus region, News

Naturalized Chechen refugee not allowed to leave Georgia

by | February 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Public Defender's Office in Georgia calls on the Interior Ministry to react to the violation of the rights of a Georgian citizen who last month was prohibited three times from leaving Georgia. Saikhan Muzayev complained to the office on January 20

In brief, News

Bus drivers on strike in Batumi

by | February 17, 2014

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

Elections, News

Georgia’s ruling coalition promises clean local election

by | February 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition promises that there will not be fraud in the upcoming local elections, as the voters’ list is being checked by use of biometric data, which will prevent names from appearing two or more times. Georgian Dream, both the coalition and the party with the same

News, Politics

Georgian president to hold annual address on February 21

by | February 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili will hold his first annual address to parliament on February 21. Outlining the content of his speech already on Friday, Margvelashvili announced he wants to focus on values and Georgia’s ‘strategic vectors’;

News

Appeals court upholds partial acquittal of Bacho Akhalaia

by | February 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Appeals Court in Georgia has upheld a decision by Tbilisi City Court to partly acquit former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia in the so-called prison riot case. Tbilisi City Court acquitted Akhalaia in part of the case, but sentenced him to three

News

Georgia climbs 17 places on Press Freedom Index

by | February 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia climbs 17 places on the latest Press Freedom Index and is listed in 84th place among 180 countries. The index measures the level of freedom of information in different countries and is published annually by Reporters Without Borders.

Europe, News

Georgian parliament speaker met Hungary’s president

by | February 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili Friday met Hungarian President János Áder. The two discussed economy, Georgia’s integration with Europe and relations with Russia. Usupashvili is in Hungary together with a Georgian delegation

News

EUMM’s new deputy head criticized Georgia in 2008

by | February 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former British army captain who in 2008 accused Georgia of starting the South Ossetia war has been appointed as deputy head of the EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM). In 2008, Ryan Grist was in charge of a group of foreign observers who were

News

Georgia plans digital switchover on June 17, 2015

by | February 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will make the switchover from analog to digital television on June 17, 2015. Deputy Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili on Friday presented the concept for how to make the switchover. He said the process will have positive results for both

In brief, News

Georgia increases punishment for illegal surveillance

by | February 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia wants to increase the punishment for engaging in illegal surveillance to seven years in jail. Presenting the draft bill on Thursday, Interior Minister Alexandre Chikaidze said that in past years, human rights were violated

In brief, News

Georgian gov’t gives new homes to refugees

by | February 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--543 refugee families have been given apartments for one lari a piece from the government. Refugee Minister Davit Darakhvelidze said on Thursday that the apartments are in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Mtskheta, Borjomi, Chiatura, Kutaisi, Tskaltubo and Batumi.

News, Security

US to fund Georgia’s participation in NATO Rapid Reaction Force

by | February 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United States will finance Georgia’s participation in NATO Rapid Reaction Force, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania says. The NATO Military Committee visited Georgia on February 11 and 12. The delegation was chaired by Committee head Knud Bartels.

News

Georgia and Russia to discuss top level meeting

by | February 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Negotiators for Georgia and Russia are to discuss the possibility of holding a top level meeting between the presidents of the two countries. Gregory Karasin, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia, said on Wednesday that his next meeting with

News, Politics

Tbilisi’s 2014 budget rejected a second time

by | February 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The city of Tbilisi’s elected representatives have again failed to approve a new budget for 2014. 17 assembly members supported the new draft prepared by City Hall, 22 voted against. 24 votes were required for the budget to pass. December 29, the

In brief, News

Azerbaijan and Georgia to cooperate about territories

by | February 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev says Georgia and Azerbaijan support each other in territorial integrity issues. Both countries have lost control over parts of their territory to small de facto governments with little or no international

News, Security

Head of NATO Military Committee visits Georgia

by | February 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Wednesday hosted Knud Bartels, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, which is currently visiting Georgia. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, Chief of Joint Staff, Major-General Vakhtang Kapanadze, and

News

Georgian PM ready for direct talks with Russian leaders

by | February 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says he is ready to have direct dialogue with Russian leaders. Gharibashvili’s statement was a response to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said on Monday that he is willing to meet with President

Opinion

Managing non-performing loans in Georgia

by | February 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The problem of bad loans gets huge attention nowadays. It has become a headache for all from bank managers to government authorities. Bad loans were basically the driver of the recent world economic downturn. The situation is no different in Georgia.

News

Culture Ministry deputy’s dismissal approved by Georgian PM

by | February 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Tuesday approved the dismissal of First Deputy Culture Minister Marine Mizandari. Culture Minister Guram Odisharia asked for his deputy’s dismissal on February 5. Gharibashvili yesterday signed the

In brief, News

Georgian president to visit Azerbaijan

by | February 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili will visit Azerbaijan for the first time on February 12. Margvelashvili will meet with President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday. He will also meet with Azerbaijan’s prime minister and speaker of parliament.

News

Georgian president to carefully study Putin’s offer to meet

by | February 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president says he will ‘carefully and seriously analyze’ a statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin about a possible meeting between the two of them. When Georgian journalists attending the Sochi Winter Olympics asked Putin about

News

Culture Minister fires deputy amid dispute over ancient mine

by | February 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Culture Minister Guram Odisharia has dismissed his deputy, Marine Mizandari, claiming that she wasn’t able to work in a team and that they had different views. Mizandari herself claims the reason for her dismissal was a disagreement over

Minorities, News

Constitutional Court in Georgia lifts ban on homosexuals giving blood

by | February 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The constitutional court in Georgia has struck down a thirteen year old ban on homosexual men becoming blood donors. The court agreed with a complaint from five Georgian citizens and recognized several articles of an order issued by the labor, health

Europe, News

Romania supports Georgia’s EU and NATO aspirations

by | February 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Romanian Senate Monday passed a resolution supporting Georgia’s efforts toward integration with Europe and NATO. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili, who is visiting Romania with other Georgian politicians, was attending the senate as

News

Several prisoners hospitalized in Geguti, Georgia

by | February 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several prisoners at Geguti prison in Georgia have been taken to hospital with self-inflicted injuries. Doctors say their health is in no danger. For several days, about 800 prisoners have been on hunger strike at the prison, which is in the west of the country. Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili, who visited the prison camp on Monday, said 46 prisoners have self-inflicted injuries, but some of the prisoners who were taken to hospital in Kutaisi were feeling bad because of hunger.

Elections, News

Georgian gov’t updating legislation ahead of local election

by | February 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a week the government in Georgia will decide whether to follow recommendations and proposals made by the non-parliamentary opposition and non-governmental organizations about amendments to the Election Code. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili

News, Sport

Georgian wins judo gold at Grand Slam Paris

by | February 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Avtandil Chrikashvili won a gold medal at the Judo Grand Slam Paris 2014 tournament. Two other Georgians, Amiran Papinashvili and Varlam Liparteliani, won silver medals. Chrikashvili defeated competitors from Netherlands, France, Japan

News

Athlete from Georgian breakaway region ‘born in Russia’

by | February 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Olympic Committee has complained to the International Olympic Committee about a Russian athlete’s biographical details. The website of this year’s winter games incorrectly indicated that Marika Pertakhiya, who represents Russia

Society

Protest camp in Tbilisi to prevent new hotel in park

by | February 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the last two weeks, environment activists have been standing watch day and night in Vake Park in Tbilisi, to prevent the construction of a new hotel. The hotel will be built where an old restaurant called Budapest is located. It has been private property since 1994, but

News

Georgian parliament speaker visits Romania and Hungary

by | February 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Monday, Georgia’s speaker of parliament begins on a five day tour of Romania and Hungary. Speaker Davit Usupashvili will arrive in Romania on February 10 and hold meetings with the speaker of Romania’s senate and parliament, as well as with

News

Olympic graphic shows Georgia with foggy breakaway regions

by | February 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--When Georgia was presented during the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi yesterday, the two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia appeared covered by fog on a map used in the on-screen graphics. Georgians were concerned about the

News

800 prisoners on hunger strike in Geguti, Georgia

by | February 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 800 prisoners are on hunger strike in a prison in Geguti in western Georgia, Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili says. Nanuashvili said after meeting with prisoners on Friday that about 800 are on hunger strike demanding that the Prosecutor’s Office

Environment, News

Energy minister attacks ombudsman over hydro power dam

by | February 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Energy Minister Friday lashed out against the public defender and accused him of lying about not wanting to meet the population in a mountain valley poised to be flooded by a giantic hydro power dam. The Khudoni hydro power project will

Economy, News

Georgia adds guitar to consumer basket

by | February 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--11 new products including a guitar have been added to Georgia’s consumer basket, and four products were removed from the list. The consumer basket is a theoretical collection of items used to define the consumer price index or inflation rate

News, Politics

City Council to review the capital’s budget on Feb 12

by | February 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Council will review the 2014 budget bill on February 12. The council failed to approve the budget on December 29, and for more than a month, Tbilisi has had no budget. City Hall has warned that it will cause extensive problems for

News

Burjanadze claims Saakashvili planned to attack Abkhazia in 2008

by | February 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former speaker of parliament in Georgia claims that the government of then President Mikheil Saakashvili planned to attack the breakaway region Abkhazia in 2008. Nino Burjanadze, who was one of the leaders of the Rose Revolution in 2003 and now

In brief, News

NATO Military Committee visits Georgia Feb 11-12

by | February 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO Military Committee will visit Georgia on February 11-12. General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the Military Committee will chair the visit and it will be hosted by Vakhtang Kapanadze, Head of Georgia’s Joint Staff. February 11, the head of the

News

South Ossetia restricts medical trips to Georgia during Olympics

by | February 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In and around the Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia, disagreement over a de facto border may place further burdens on ordinary people around the time of the Winter Olympics. The reason is that the region’s border guards are tightening security

News, Security

NATO ambassadors encourage new Georgian government

by | February 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says NATO ambassadors gave him positive signals at Wednesday's meeting of the NATO-Georgia commission in Brussels. Gharibashvili said the ambassadors told him the new government has strengthened

News

Former PM hopes Georgia will become ‘another Dubai’

by | February 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishivli says he thinks there is a 25 percent chance that Georgia will become ‘another Dubai’. Ivanishvili said this at a press conference on Tuedsay, where he presented his new non-governmental

News

Ivanishvili’s new NGO ‘Citizen’ will help develop Georgian media

by | February 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishivli on Tuesday presented his new organization which he says will help develop civil society. The new non-governmental organization (NGO) is called ‘Citizen’ and was registered 12 days ago, Ivanishvili explained

In brief, News

14% more visitors to Georgia in Jan ’14 than Jan ’13

by | February 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were 14.1 percent more visitors to Georgia in January 2014 than in the same month last year, according to the Interior Ministry. The ministry publishes monthly reports with statistics over the number of visitors, in categories defined by the purpose of the

In brief, News

Georgian president’s annual address postponed

by | February 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president’s annual address will be held either on February 19 or February 21, the speaker of parliament says. According to the Constitution of Georgia, the president must once a year visit parliament to present a report about important

News

Georgia held its own Olympic oath ceremony in Tbilisi

by | February 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Georgian athletes are making their way to the Russian city Sochi to take part in the Winter Olympics, they have just held their own oath ceremony in Tbilisi. On Monday, alpine skier Nino Tsiklauri held one corner of the Olympic flag as she read out the athlete's oath in a ceremony held at the office of the Georgian National Olympic Committee in Tbilisi. She will be flag bearer for the Georgian team.

Environment, News

Georgia halts surveying work for mega-dam

by | February 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Energy Ministry in Georgia says the government is taking into account the requests of villagers in Khaishi and has halted surveying work in their village. The construction of the massive Khudoni hydropower station in northern Georgia

Europe, News

Georgian PM Gharibashvili met Jose Manuel Barroso

by | February 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili met with President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso to speak about EU-Georgia cooperation, Georgia’s integration process with the EU.  Another topic was the deal with the EU Georgia approved

News

Protest concert to protect ancient gold mine

by | February 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Monday a concert was held in Tbilisi to protest against the Culture Ministry's delaying the process to review the status of the ancient Sakdrisi gold mine, which according to German and Georgian specialists is more than 4500 years old and should

News

Former Georgian defense minister must wear electronic bracelet

by | February 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili was Monday released on bail by a French court, under condition that he wears an electronic bracelet. The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office says the judge decided that Kezerashvili cannot leave France and must

News

Trial continues about May 26 dispersal

by | February 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The trial about a brutal police dispersal of protesters on May 26, 2011, continued at Tbilisi City Court Monday with testimony by Nino Burjanadze, one of the leaders of the protest. While Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement, was in court giving

In brief, News

Georgian PM meets EU’s enlargement commissioner

by | February 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili's Brussels trip continued Monday with a meeting with EU Commissioner Stefan Fule. The two spoke about the ongoing reforms in Georgia and the country's closer integration with Europe. Gharibashvili said

Elections, News

Biometric voter’s list may not be used in Georgia’s local election

by | February 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A biometric election list may not be ready for the upcoming local elections in Georgia, which will be held in June, 2014. Election lists have been subject to disputes for a long time, especially during the National Movement government, when there were claims that

In brief, News

Gharibashvili visits Brussels February 3-5

by | February 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili will visit Brussels February 3-5. He will meet with Commissioner for European Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. The Georgian prime

News, Security

‘Georgia should convince Russia NATO is not a threat’

by | February 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili says Georgia should assure Russia that its aspirations to become member of NATO and the EU is not a threat to Russia. He said this in a speech during one of the sessions at the Munich Security Conference. The PM said

News, Politics

Margvelashvili promises different state of the nation address

by | February 2, 2014

TBILISI, DWatch--President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili will next week hold his first annual address to parliament. He says this year's speech will have a completely new format, compared to earlier. The constitution says the president must hold a speech to parliament once a year.

News

Wild fire close to gas pipeline in Georgia

by | February 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three acres of a nature reserve is on fire in Kobuleti, a coastal town in the Adjara region. According to a reporter for the news agency Interpressnews, the fire is close to the juice processing plant in Kobuleti and firefighters say it is close to populated areas. A gas pipe in the area

Minorities, News

January 1 not the first attack on Jehova’s Witnesses in Ozurgeti

by | February 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--When strangers attacked a car and a house where Jehova's Witnesses are meeting in Ozurgeti, Georgia, on January 1, it was not the first such attack. Two years ago, strangers broke the windows of Kingdom Hall in Ozurgeti. The perpetrators were

News

Georgian wine may be marketed at Sochi Olympics

by | February 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian wine may be presented at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Levan Davitashvili, head of the Georgian National Wine Agency, on Friday told journalists that Georgian wine is successfully sold in the Russian market and it is up to distributors

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