News

Georgian soldiers accused of sexual misconduct in CAR

by | January 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Defense Ministry has suspended six of its staff, including the deputy head of the joint military staff, pending an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by Georgian soldiers in the Central African Republic. Three girls in the Central

News

Georgian president visits valley Lavrov claims is IS training area

by | January 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s president visited the Pankisi valley on Saturday, a few days after Russia’s foreign minister claimed that Islamic State militants are being trained there. Locals in Duisi, one of the villages in Pankisi in the northeast of Georgia, welcomed

News

5 dead, 6 injured in car crash

by | January 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five people died and six were seriously injured in a car crash in northwestern Georgia on Friday. Two cars, a Ford and an Opel, crashed between the villages Lia and Jvari near Tsalenjikha in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti. The accident happened

News

Human Rights Watch finds indications of political persecution in Georgia

by | January 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In its latest world report, Human Rights Watch draws attention to a number of alleged violations in Georgia, including political persecution, pressure on the media and ill treatment. The first chapter on Georgia in the World Report 2016

News

Nearly 500 schools closed in Georgia due to weather and swine flu

by | January 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--468 schools are closed in Georgia on Thursday, according to the Ministry of Education. 267 schools are closed because of the swine flu outbreak and 201 are closed due to bad weather, mostly problems related to snow. “In order to prevent the spreading of the virus,

News

International Criminal Court approves 2008 war crimes probe

by | January 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved an investigation into alleged war crimes in the war between Russia and Georgia in 2008. The decision was made by the judges Joyce Aluoch, Cuno Tarfusser and Peter Kovacs. Prosecutor

Minorities

Council of Europe report highlights marginalization of minorities

by | January 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report by the Council of Europe (CoE) criticizes Georgia for not having done enough to protect minorities and prevent inter-faith tension. The report deals with the protection of minority rights in Georgia and assesses the legislative steps taken

News

Georgia to supply armored medevac vehicles to Saudi Arabia

by | January 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will supply Saudi Arabia with about 100 armored medical evacuation vehicles. Tuesday, the company Delta announced that it had won a tender announced by the Defense Ministry of Saudi Arabia, and the total value of the vehicles

News

Over 100 confirmed swine flu cases in Georgia

by | January 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are 111 laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1, which causes swine flu. Four cases of the H3N2 virus have also been confirmed, the National Center of Disease Control said on Wednesday. Last week, the estimated infection

Security

Lavrov claims IS fighters are being trained in Georgia

by | January 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that Islamic State fighters are being trained in the Pankisi valley in northern Georgia which was one of the reasons why Russia introduced stricter visa rules for Georgians. On Tuesday, Tbilisi

News

Schools, roads closed after heavy snowfall

by | January 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Schools are closed in several municipalities in Georgia from Tuesday due to heavy snowfall. The Adjara region in the southwest of Georgia is particularly affected. According to Deputy Education Minister Lia Gigauri, all schools are closed

Economy

Georgian lari reaches historic low of 2.49 against USD

by | January 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian national currency on Monday reached a new historic low of 2.4923 lari for one US dollar. The price of dollars in exchange booths and banks was more than 2.53 laris. On January 23, one US dollar was 2.4694. Since the lari was introduced

News

German expert to help save 900 years old tree at Erekle II’s palace

by | January 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 900 years old plane tree next to the palace of King Erekle II (1762-98) is slowly dying, and the local municipality of Telavi is calling on the assistance of a German expert to help save it. In Telavi, seat of the 18th century king of Kartli

News

Georgian-born IS militant dies in Syria

by | January 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian citizen from Adjara who theratened his home country in an online video in November has died in Syria. The militant Khvicha Gobadze’s death was confirmed by his family, as well as the State Security Service. The Security Service did not offer

Roads update

On Telavi shortcut, drivers are required to use snow chains

by | January 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--On the SH-38 between Verona and Shuamta, the shortest way between Tbilisi and Telavi, vehicles without four-wheel drive are required to use snow chains due to ice and snow. Heavy vehicles must be equipped with snow chains on the Tbilisi

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade went down 13% in 2015

by | January 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover in 2015 was 13 percent less than in 2014, excluding the unofficial economy. The trade with other countries amounted to USD 9.928 million, according to preliminary figures from the Georgian National Statistics Office (GeoStat).

Roads update

E-60 closed for heavy vehicles in Rikoti due to snow

by | January 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The E-60 is closed for heavy vehicles between Chumateleti and Khevi due to ice and heavy snowfall but other vehicles may pass freely. On the S-3 betwen Gudauri and Kobi near the Russian border, traffic is prohibited for all types of vehicles.

News

Fourth victim of swine flu in Georgia had H3N2 strain

by | January 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man died of swine flu in Georgia on Thursday. He became the fourth victim of the disease in the last ten days. The middle aged man was suffering from a chronic lung disease. He was infected with the H3N2 virus, while the previous

Society

Health minister offers hospital own car to deal with swine flu

by | January 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--3,800 people in Tbilisi called the emergency number 112 only on Thursday as fear spread about the swine flu outbreak which has infected 9,000 people so far. Three people have died after being infected with the H1N1 virus that causes swine flu.

Roads update

S-7 open for traffic in north of Georgia near Russian border

by | January 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Trailers, semi-trailers and vehicles with more than 30 seats are now allowed to drive between Gudauri and Kobi on the S-7 road near Russian border. But due to snow and ice, large vehicles must be equipped with snow chains. According

News

Georgian police don skis to patrol winter resorts

by | January 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The police in Georgia has a new pilot project: ski patrol. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the ski patrol will observe people who are skiing at winter resorts and make sure they are following the rules. The policemen on skis will pay attention

News

Laid off Chiatura miners demand help from government

by | January 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mine workers in Chiatura, a town in western Georgia, are protesting against a decision by their employer, Georgian Manganese, to halt mining work for four months due to failing demand. The workers have been temporarily laid off for

News

Third person dies of swine flu in Georgia – 9,000 now infected

by | January 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A third person has died of swine flu in Georgia. The 68 year old patient suffered from a chronic disease, like the previous two victims of the H1N1 virus, and died in a hospital in Zugdidi on Thursday. The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said Thursday that are currently about 9,000 people in Georgia who have the virus, a considerable increase from the 3,000 estimate last Friday. But according to the center, the spread of the virus has not yet reached the level of an epidemic. 95 percent of those infected are currently undergoing medical treatment in their homes. NCDC spokesperson Paata Imnadze told Interpressnews that the third victim, who died on Thursday, was a woman who came from Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia to receive treatment. Health travels from Abkhazia has become a common practice in recent years, as it is closer and cheaper than seeking treatment in Russia.

News

Red Cross to host talks on missing persons in Georgian breakaway region

by | January 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of Georgia and the breakaway republic South Ossetia will hold talks about missing persons under the auspices of the International Red Cross. David Sanakoyev, who represents the de facto republic, announced

News

Swine flu claims second victim in Georgia

by | January 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more person died of swine flu in Georgia on Wednesday. The middle aged man spent one day at the hospital before passing away. He was suffering from a separate illness which exacerbated his condition. There are nearly 3,000 people infected

Roads update

The S-7 closed in northern Georgia near Russian border

by | January 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The S-7 road is closed in the north of Georgia near the Russian border. The section between Gudauri and Kobi is closed due to snow, ice, wind and poor visibility. Between Aragvispiri and Gudauri, and between Kobi and the border crossing at Larsi,

News

Tbilisi Opera reopens after five year maintenance closure

by | January 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Opera House is reopening on January 30 after a five year closure, but some are not pleased that tickets for the opening night are not available to the general public. The first work to be performed since the building was closed

Economy

EU approves 217 million euros for energy infrastructure, including TANAP

by | January 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU countries Tuesday approved 217 million euros in support for energy infrastructure in the south and southeast of the European continent, including a study of a gas pipeline to Europe from Turkmenistan, via Georgia. The 15 projects were selected

In brief

Remittances to Georgia down 12% in December

by | January 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The amount of money sent home by Georgian emigres in December, 2015, was 12.2 percent lower than in the same period the year before. The total amount of so-called remittances was USD 101.9 million, according to the National Bank.

News

Two Georgians from Pankisi reported dead in Syria

by | January 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two militants from Pankisi in Georgia have reportedly died in the Syrian war. Information Center of Kakheti (ick.ge) names the two as Ramzan Pareulidze (24) and Mukhmad Turkoshvili (22). They were both from Pankisi Gorge, a valley

News

One person dies of swine flu in Tbilisi

by | January 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A patient in Tbilisi who was infected with the H1N1 or swine flu virus died a few days ago, the National Center of Disease Control said. There were 2,928 persons infected with swine flu in Georgia as of January 18. This is the only fatal case so far. The virus has spread

News

Prosecutor found murdered in Tbilisi, suspect commits suicide

by | January 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The top prosecutor in Georgia’s western region Samegrelo Zemo Svaneti was found dead in Tbilisi Saturday evening. The murder suspect has allegedly committed suicide. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) named the suspect in the murder

Youth

Iraqi students didn’t comply with residency requirements: Minister

by | January 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Education Minister Tamar Sanikidze said on Friday that a handful of Iraqi students had their residency permits revoked because they didn't comply with the legal requirements. The students, who are attending Akaki Tsereteli

News

Georgian Orthodox Church given USD 185,000 from govt reserve fund

by | January 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A day after assuming office, Georgia’s new prime minister gave the Orthodox Church half a million laris from the government’s emergency reserve fund, it emerged on Friday. The Patriarchate of Georgia received 450,000 laris (more than USD 185,000)

News

Georgia’s negotiations with Gazprom continuing while critics protest

by | January 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A meeting between Georgian Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze and director of Gazprom Export Elena Burmistrova in Switzerland on December 27 has reignited a debate about Russian influence. It became known in late September

In brief

Road to Armenian border at Ninotsminda closed

by | January 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Road restrictions on four roads in Georgia remained unchanged Thursday and Friday. In the south of Georgia, the S-11 is closed between Ninotsminda and the border with Armenia due to strong wind and poor visibility. Nearby,

Politics

Director of Ivanishvili’s Cartu Bank appointed deputy mayor of Tbilisi

by | January 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of Cartu Bank was appointed deputy mayor of Tbilisi on Thursday. Presenting his new deputy, Mayor Davit Narmania said that Giorgi Liluashvili has the experience and skills necessary to be a good manager. He listed Liluashvili’s past positions,

News

Georgia marks Flag Day

by | January 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Students raised flags at the local administration buildings in many parts of Georgia today to mark Flag Day. Flags were be raised in Batumi, Akhaltsikhe, Kazbegi, Akhmeta, Lagodekhi, Shindisi, Bolnisi and Marneuli, as well as on Enguri bridge,

Economy

Georgian airports served 12% more passengers in 2015

by | January 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian airports served 12 percent more passengers in 2015 than the previous year, according to figures published on Tuesday by the Aviation Agency of the Ministry of Economy. Airports in Georgia served a record 2,261,006 passengers in 2015,

News

Georgia investigating case of Van Dyck painting that was for sale in Turkey

by | January 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The investigation service of the Finance Ministry has launched an investigation into a Van Dyck painting which according to Turkish media was on sale after being illegally imported from Georgia. The investigation is being carried

In brief

Georgian released by South Ossetia

by | January 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto government of the breakaway republic South Ossetia Tuesday evening released Lasha Glurjidze, 21, after nine days in detention. Glurjidze was released after paying a 2,000 Ruble (USD 26) fine for ‘crossing the border’

Roads update

Improved road conditions in Tkibuli

by | January 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic was restored Tuesday for heavy vehicles on the SH-17 between Tkibuli and Ambrolauri, according to the Roads Department. Road restrictions remain in place on three road sections in Georgia. Vehicles must use snow chains on the S-3

News

Three journalists attacked at restaurant in Tbilisi

by | January 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three journalists with an opposition-leaning television statin were attacked Tuesday evening in Tbilisi. Levan Sutidze, journalist of Tabula, wrote on his Facebook page that three people attacked three journalists of Tabula. In addition to himself,

Economy

Georgian Manganese halts mining work due to failing market demand

by | January 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Manganese is temporarily shutting down its mines western Georgia for four months due to a low demand for manganese. GM owns the mines in Chiatura, a mountain town in the western Imereti province. According to a statement issued

Youth

Iraqi students protested against revoked residency permits

by | January 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A group of Iraqi students protested in Kutaisi on Monday after having their residency permits revoked. The protest at Akaki Tsereteli State University involved up to ten Iraqi students, who asked the university to help them after the Ministry of Justice revoked

Roads update

Main Russia-Georgia road reopened for heavy vehicles

by | January 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--From Monday morning, heavy vehicles were again allowed to drive the S-3 road which runs from Mtskheta north of Tbilisi, into the Caucasus mountains and to the Russian border. But between Gudauri and Kobi, only vehicles fitted with

Roads update

Two road sections reopened: E-60 at Zestaponi, Gudauri-Kobi

by | January 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The E-60 was reopened for all traffic on Sunday, after having been closed for several days near Zestaponi due to flooding of a river. During the closure, smaller vehicles were rerouted via Baghdati on the section of the E-60 between Zestaponi and Kutaisi.

News

Girl (12) dies in skiing accident in Gudauri

by | January 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 12-year-old girl died Sunday in Gudauri, a winter resort in northern Georgia, when a 18-year-old man lost control of his skis and crashed into her. The girl died on the spot, while the young man was injured and taken to the hospital in Gudauri.

News

Two detained in Turkey for trying to sell Van Dyck painting

by | January 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men were detained Friday in Turkey as they were attempting to sell a Van Dyck painting that had been allegedly illegally imported from Georgia. Turkish media reported that the painting was on sale for USD 14 million but had allegedly

News

Here are the roads you should avoid right now in Georgia

by | January 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There are still several roads in Georgia that remain closed to all traffic due to the weather. We bring you the latest information from the Roads Department. The road from Tbilisi to the winter resort Gudauri was reopened on Saturday

Politics

Zalkaliani of the Free Democrats appointed deputy foreign minister

by | January 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday as expected appointed Davit Zalkaliani as deputy foreign minister, the same position he held before resigning in November 2014. Zalkaliani was deputy foreign minister from 2012 to 2014, but resigned when his party

News

Road restrictions in Svaneti, Kazbegi, Ninotsminda, Zestaponi

by | January 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several roads in Georgia are now closed or have traffic restrictions due to the weather conditions, according to the Roads Department’s January 8 update. S-3 The S-3 (Mtskheta-Stepantsminda-Larsi) is closed for all vehicles between

News

Georgia’s National Bank refuses to fund new Finance Supervisory Agency

by | January 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The newly created Finance Supervisory Agency is still not operational because the National Bank refuses to fund it. The agency has now asked parliament to provide direct financing. The agency was split from the National Bank

News

Three missing hunters detained by border guards in Dagestan, Russia

by | January 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three hunters who were missing for almost ten days near Lagodekhi in the northeastern corner of Georgia have been detained by border guards in Dagestan for illegal border crossing. The four men went hunting on December 28, but only

Politics

Former deputy foreign minister who left post is reappointed

by | January 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former deputy foreign minister from the opposition Free Democrats Party is to return to his post following a proposal by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. The Free Democrats party, which came to power in 2012 as part of the

News

E60 closed near Zestaponi, difficult driving conditions on many roads

by | January 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Road Department of the Infrastructure Ministry informs that trailers and semi-trailers from today are allowed to drive between Igoeti and Khevi on the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road. Restrictions have been lifted for all types of vehicles

Economy

Georgia’s export of wine down 39% in 2015

by | January 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The export of Georgian wine went down by 39 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. Georgia exported more than 36 million bottles (0.75l) of wine to 46 countries, worth more than USD 98.1 million, according to a report published

In brief

Wizz Air flights rerouted from Kutaisi to Tbilisi

by | January 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bad weather in western Georgia has led to Wizz Air’s flights to and from Kutaisi airport being redirected to Tbilisi on Tuesday. According to United Airports of Georgia, the following flights have been scheduled on January 5: A flight from Tbilisi to Warsaw

Security

Two Georgians detained by Russian forces in Bershueti

by | January 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Georgians were detained by Russian border guards on Monday at the delineation line around the breakaway territory South Ossetia. Saba Sekhniashvili and Lasha Glurjidze were trying to go to the Trinity Church, which lies in the village Bershueti.

Environment

Traffic problems in midst of massive snowfall in Georgia

by | January 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Intense snowfall and strong wind is causing trouble for drivers on the E60 highway through Georgia and Batumi's palm trees are covered in white. The Road Department now calls on everyone to avoid the Zestaponi-Senaki section of the E60

News

Search for three missing near Lagodekhi continues by ground and helicopter

by | January 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A search is continuing by ground crews and helicopter for three people who have been missing for eight days in the Lagodekhi area in eastern Georgia near the border with Azerbaijan (see map). Information about the missing people

News

Tbilisi waste collectors resume strike

by | January 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Part of the waste collectors in the capital resumed their strike on Monday, demanding a full payment of their holiday bonus. The workers went on a strike last week, demanding increase of the pay and receiving the so-called 13th salary. Their demands remain the same.

In brief

Wizz Air plane unable to land at Kutaisi airport due to bad weather

by | January 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several flights were cancelled due to bad weather on Monday at Kutaisi airport in the west of Georgia. Interpressnews reports that heavy snowfall resulted in the cancelling of the flight from Warsaw to Kutaisi and the return flight from Kutaisi to Warsaw due

Economy

7% increase in visitors to Georgia in 2015

by | January 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The steady increase in visitors continued in December, with seven percent more people arriving last month, compared to the same period in 2014. In the year as a whole, there was also a seven percent increase, according to a new monthly report

In brief

Three persons missing in eastern Georgia

by | January 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A search is on for three men who went missing in Lagodekhi, in the eastern part of Georgia, three days ago. Rustavi 2 reports that four men went hiking in the village Mskhalgori four days ago, but they were separated in the strong wind and snowfall.

In brief

Traffic restrictions on mountain roads in Georgia due to snow and ice

by | January 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Snow and ice has made several roads unsafe for large vehicles. Here is the list of traffic restrictions published by the Road Department. On a section of the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road stretching from the 138 km mark to the 157 km mark,

News

New PM promised better future for families in New Year’s address

by | January 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In his New Year’s speech, Georgia’s new prime minister promised a better future for families in 2016. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili wished everyone peace, good health and well-being. “Happy New Year to all of you who work

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