Monthly Archives: June 2015

Rustavi smelter plant fires hundreds of employees due to lawsuit

By | June 30th, 2015|Categories: Economy|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Rustavi Poladi, a smelter plant in a town 20km away from the capital, has fired hundreds of employees because of a lawsuit. Nugzar Kachukhashvili, Director of Rustavi Poladi Ltd, said at a press conference on Monday that the […]

Dances with a bear

By | June 30th, 2015|Categories: Opinion|

(DF Watch.) The lukewarm Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga further outlined the value of Georgia’s two most important interconnected strategic goals: transforming the country into a modern European state and its European perspective of joining the EU. […]

Thousands of Georgians despair as Greece halts money transfers

By | June 30th, 2015|Categories: News, Society|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The crisis in Greece has also hit hard for as many as 200,000 Georgians who are living and working in the country, and their families back home in Georgia. Money transfers are currently halted, as well as trailer transport. The crisis in Greece […]

On the road. A story of one Iraqi refugee in Georgia

By | June 30th, 2015|Categories: News|

Mustafa Shalan Tbilisi, DFWatch – According to the estimates from the UNCHR, as of December 2014 there were over 1200 asylum seekers and over 800 refugees in Georgia. 26 year old Mustafa Shalan is one of them. His story, which he told me one spring afternoon in a sunny balcony in the center of Tbilisi, is a tale of a young man seeking a place to settle, as he is no longer welcome at home. […]

PM Garibashvili: We’ll decide same-sex marriage issue by ourselves

By | June 29th, 2015|Categories: News|

Irakli Garibashvili Tbilisi, DFWatch – Georgia’s PM will do his best to fix definition of a marriage as ‘union of a man and a woman.’ In a lengthy interview published on Monday by a popular Georgian ultra-conservative newspaper Asaval-Dasavali, Irakli Garibashvili, PM, says that the state firmly stands […]

Members of U.S. congress to visit Georgia

By | June 29th, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: , , , , , , |

U.S. Representative Peter Roskam. ( TBILISI, DFWatch–A delegation from the U.S. congress is to visit Georgia from July 2 to 5. Among the delegation are members of congress from the Republican and the Democratic parties, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Davit Kereselidze. Peter Roskam […]

Georgian parliament approves controversial bank bill

By | June 29th, 2015|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Parliament in Georgia approved a bill on Sunday which will relieve the National Bank of responsibility for supervising private banks and instead transfer such authority to a new agency. The vote was preliminary, as the bill must go through […]

Thirteenth Georgian dies fighting in Syria

By | June 29th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Information Center of Kakheti published this photo of Turpal Borchashvili. TBILISI, DFWatch–A 23 year old was reported by locals in his hometown in Pankisi Gorge Sunday to have died in the Syria war. Turpal Borchashvili is at least the thirteenth Georgian citizen who has died in Syria fighting for Islamists. Borchashvili was from […]

Anaklia hosts GEM Fest, instead of KaZantip, in July

By | June 29th, 2015|Categories: Youth|

Armin Van Buuren (Gem Fest) Tbilisi, DFWatch – A western Georgian Black Sea resort Anaklia is going to host one of the largest electronic music festivals this summer. GEM Fest features popular electronic music stars, such as world renowned Dutch DJ and trance guru Armin van Buuren, […]

Georgian parliamentarian criticizes U.S. Supreme Court same-sex ruling

By | June 28th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Manana Kobakhidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The deputy speaker of the Georgian parliament, Manana Kobakhidze, is criticized for recent remarks about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. “Even if we are left all alone on earth, if every one of our friends or partners abandons us, I will not […]

U.S. State Dep criticizes Georgia for failure to protect gays

By | June 27th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

May 17, 2015 (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch -The U.S. State Department criticizes Georgia in a new report about human rights published on Friday. Among a whole a number of problems highlighted in the report, it pays particular attention to the violation of the rights of gays and other sexual minorities. […]

Judicial committee joins president in resisting National Bank bill

By | June 26th, 2015|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

Committee head Vakhtang Khmaladze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian parliament’s judiciary committee agree with the president about a proposed bill to strip away the bank supervisory function from the National Bank, claiming that it violates the constitution. Committee chair Vakhtang Khmaladze said on Friday […]

Georgia extradites man suspected of beating wife to the U.S.

By | June 26th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

( TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has extradited a man holding dual Iranian-U.S. citizenship to the United States. The man has been subject to an Interpol red alert notice since 2011. The man, who is born in 1979, was detained on January 23, 2015 by Georgian police. Interpol has determined […]

NATO’s Secretary General to visit Georgia in August

By | June 26th, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili (left) with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg i May. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will visit Georgia this August, according to the Defense Ministry. The visit was agreed during a meeting Wednesday between Georgia’s Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli and Deputy Secretary General of the alliance […]

80% of UEFA Super Cup tickets will be reserved for Georgians

By | June 26th, 2015|Categories: Sport|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–80% of tickets for the August 11 UEFA Super Cup match between Barcelona and Sevillia in Tbilisi will be sold exclusively to Georgians. Only 6,000 tickets will be earmarked for visiting football fans from abroad. Eka Eloshvili, spokesperson for Georgian […]

Georgian president to veto National Bank bill

By | June 25th, 2015|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For at least the second time, the situation between the Georgian parliament and the president has become tense. Now the president plans to veto an initiative concerning the president of the National Bank. Since the president and non-governmental […]

Ditsi incident and irrigation canal discussed during South Ossetia talks

By | June 25th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(EUMM.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The sides in the 2008 Georgia war met for a field meeting on Wednesday at Ergneti, a village on the border with the Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia. Also this time, border issues were on the agenda at the so-called Incident […]

Alexandre (Alika) Rondeli, in memoriam

By | June 25th, 2015|Categories: Opinion|

Alexander Rondeli Alexandre Rondeli (Alika for most of his Georgian friends and colleagues) was a charming and talented man, a close friend, a consul, a strategic ally, from the category of “usual suspects”, and, at times, a political opponent. Most of the people who dealt with him called him a “Wise Man of the Caucasus,” at times because he […]

Georgian minister: Armenia’s EEU membership not an obstacle for ‘centuries-old friendship’

By | June 25th, 2015|Categories: In brief|

Photo: Tea Tsulukiani (from the left), Hovannes Manukyan and Giorgi Mghebrishvili (Facebook) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Armenia’s membership to the Eurasian Economic Union is not an obstacle but rather an opportunity of ‘mutual enrichment and opening of new opportunities’, Minister of Justice of Georgia said in an interview with Mediamax, Armenian e-newspaper. […]

Missing hyena found dead at Tbilisi Zoo

By | June 25th, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

(Tbilservice Group.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A missing hyena was found dead on Wednesday during clean-up work inside the partially destroyed Tbilisi Zoo. The hyena was found by employees of Tbilservice Group, close to the cages of tigers and lions near the administration building. A tiger […]

A small crowd in Tbilisi rallied to support Yerevan protesters

By | June 24th, 2015|Categories: News|

A rally of solidarity at Armenian Embassy in Tbilisi (DFWatch) Tbilisi, DFWatch — A crowd of a few dozen gathered in front of the Armenian embassy in Tbilisi on Wednesday afternoon to show their solidarity with protesters in Yerevan.  One of the rally organizers Rezo Karanadze […]

Consultations begin to find new National Bank head

By | June 24th, 2015|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

President Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The president is starting consultations to find a new head of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). Current NBG head Giorgi Kadagidze was appointed during Saakashvili’s presidency for a seven years term which expires in February, 2016. According […]

Georgian journalists receive death threats after publishing cartoon

By | June 24th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

The offensive cartoon. TBILISI, DFWatch–Several journalists in Georgia have been threatened by a radical Islamist that he will ‘spill their blood’ if they don’t remove a cartoon from a website. The journalists launched the site to help ethnic minorities get an education and rid themselves of the chains […] given 48 hours to solve UEFA Super Cup ticket mess

By | June 24th, 2015|Categories: Sport|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The website responsible for selling tickets to the August 11 UEFA Super Cup between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC has been given 48 hours to solve its technical problems. Zviad Sichinava, President of the Georgian Football Federation, told journalists that the tickets won’t […]

Georgian government proposes USD 60 million budget cuts

By | June 23rd, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia plans 140 million of budget cuts, about USD 60 million with today’s currency rate. The finance minister on Monday presented an adjusted budget to the cabinet of ministers. He said that the state budget, […]

Penguin found alive as Tbilisi Zoo publishes complete list of animals

By | June 23rd, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–As a penguin was discovered alive Tuesday, Tbilisi Zoo for the first time published the complete list of animals they had before the flood on the night of June 13-14. The penguin was found by soldiers as they were cleaning the lower section […]

The Sayat Nova Project: Music Defying Borders in the Caucasus

By | June 23rd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Bela Mutoshvili and Benjamin Wheeler. Joqolo, Pankisi​ (Dominik K. Cagara) A group of ethnomusicologists known as the Sayat Nova Project has been documenting the musical heritage of the South Caucasus, trying to de-emphasise national divisions, explore the shared heritage, and pay attention to the underrepresented forms of musical expression. […]

Three people still missing after Tbilisi flood

By | June 23rd, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The search is still on for three people who are missing after a devastating flood in Tbilisi early morning on June 14 which killed at least 19 people. Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri said on Tuesday that a large part of the gravel […]

Court allows prosecution’s evidence in Saakashvili trial

By | June 23rd, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court has accepted evidence presented by the Prosecutor General’s Office in a criminal case against ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili. The former leader was charged last November in a case that concerns the murder of a bank employee […]

Website selling UEFA Super Cup tickets goes down

By | June 22nd, 2015|Categories: News, Sport|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The website, which is responsible for selling tickets for UEFA Super Cup 2015, went down Monday morning. Administrators claim they have been the target of a cyber attack and that enormous amounts of users have tried to enter the site at the same time. […]

Georgia to allow visa-free visits for Argentina, Uruguay and Chile

By | June 22nd, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

Tamar Beruchashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia plans to allow short visa-free visits for citizens of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchasvili announced as she began her first visit to South America. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Davit Kereselidze said the aim of Beruchashvili’s […]

Storm toppled trees in several villages in southern Georgia

By | June 22nd, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

(Photo by Marneuli municipality.) TBILISI, DFWatch–High winds toppled trees which crashed into several houses in Marneuli in southern Georgia on Saturday. According to the head of Marneuli municipality, the fallen trees also blocked several of the roads in the surrounding villages. Heavy rainfall and hail also […]

Animal rights activist demand to shut down Tbilisi Zoo

By | June 21st, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A group of animal rights activists demonstrated Sunday outside City Hall in Tbilisi, demanding to shut down the zoo, after a flood killed more than 50 percent of the animals held there, and others escaped. The demonstration was organized by Vegan Georgia […]

Flooded areas of Tbilisi are being disinfected

By | June 21st, 2015|Categories: Environment|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Health Ministry in Georgia has sent teams to disinfect five areas that were hit by a disastrous flood in Tbilisi on June 14 to prevent the spread of disease. Health Minister Davit Sergeenko named the targeted areas as Mziuri Park, Zoo, Svanidze Street, […]

Justice Ministry proposes bill for stronger protection of women

By | June 21st, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Justice Ministry in Georgia has introduced a package of legislative amendments to prevent violence against women. The amendments apply to about 20 different sections of laws and will target illegal spying, communication by phone or by […]

Five Defense Ministry officials released

By | June 20th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Five Defense Ministry officials who were detained last fall on embezzlement charges were released Friday on the basis of personal guarantees from several MPs. The Prosecutor General’s Office wanted to set a bail bond, but backed down. The so-called […]

Ivanishvili comments on flood – criticized for being late

By | June 20th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s first comments about the flood disaster, which killed at least 19, destroyed forty homes and a zoo, were criticized for being too late. It took six days until he commented publicly, but his organization […]

Hunt underway for escaped tiger on Tbilisi’s outskirts

By | June 19th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Law enforcement bodies are still searching for escaped predators from Tbilisi Zoo after the flood disaster on June 14. Hunters involved in the search yesterday installed video traps fitted with meat as bait at possible locations of the predators. This is an area […]

Trafficking scheme uncovered in Georgia

By | June 19th, 2015|Categories: In brief|

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Finance Ministry’s investigative service has uncovered a case of trafficking in babies and arrested nine people at two maternity clinics. The arrested are the director of Rustavi Maternity House and his deputy, and one of the owners of New Maternity […]

Yazidi temple, third in the world, opened in Tbilisi

By | June 19th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Guests in the opening of the temple (Teimuraz Shamoian ) Tbilisi, DFWatch – on Tuesday, Yazidis celebrated the opening of their first temple and a cultural center in Tbilisi. More than 2000 guests attended the opening ceremony of the temple in uptown Varketili district,  built on the donation by the state. […]

PM apologizes for misinforming the public, still blames zoo director

By | June 18th, 2015|Categories: News|

Survived animals of the zoo (DFWatch) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Georgian authorities apologized for releasing the wrong information regarding escaped zoo animals, but they still blame the director of the Tbilisi zoo, Zurab Gurielidze.  “The report was based on the information provided by the zoo administration, […]

Batsbi: A Silent Death of a Minority Language

By | June 18th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

A village in Tusheti (Facebook) The Batsbi language, a minority language related to Chechen, has been driven to the brink of extinction. Traditionally spoken in Zemo Alvani, Akhmeta Region, Kakheti, it has already lost its role as a community language and without institutional support it continues to decline at a rapid pace. […]

Tbilisi flood update: 19 dead, 3 missing

By | June 18th, 2015|Categories: News|

Liza (left) and Indira Zarandias (Facebook) The number of Tbilisi flood victims has increased to 19. According to authorities, body of a man, who had been deemed missing, was found on Wednesday, while on Thursday rescuers recovered the body of a woman. […]

Money pouring in to deal with Georgia’s flood disaster

By | June 18th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–While the total damage of the flood in Tbilisi on June 14 is expected to reach 100 million lari, according to PM Garibashvili, money is pouring in from private donors, businesses and foreign states. More than 4.2 million lari has already been donated, according […]

Director of Tbilisi Zoo: ‘It’s all my fault’

By | June 17th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–“I acknowledge that based on me as a source, government bodies reported this information and it was considered that there was no longer a threat. It is all my fault,” says the director of Tbilisi Zoo after an escaped tiger killed a man Wednesday. […]

Tbilisi’s escaped zoo animals: Bear and hyena still not accounted for

By | June 17th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

( TBILISI, DFWatch--As Tbilisi reels from the shock of a tiger attack which killed one man in a warehouse around noon today, a bear and a hyena may still be on loose in a city with a million inhabitants. The man who was killed by an escaped zoo tiger has been identified as a [...]

Flood update: 17 dead, while 5 are still missing

By | June 17th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s interior minister said Wednesday that the number of flood victims is 17, while five people are missing. A man found dead in the river Khrami yesterday was not a victim of the June 14 flood, he Vakhtang Gomelauri said. Two persons were found dead […]

One man killed by escaped zoo animal in Tbilisi

By | June 17th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch--One man was killed by a white tiger in Tbilisi on Wednesday. The animal attacked the man at Laguna Vere, a few hundred meters from Tbilisi Zoo, which was destroyed in a flood June 14. A witness told DF Watch that a tiger attacked a person, who was seriously injured. The victim was taken to [...]

Pankisi residents want moderate Islam lessons to counter radicalism

By | June 17th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Imam Omar. (DF Watch.) PANKISI, DFWatch–Pankisi residents suggest to counter radical Islam by providing moderate Islam lessons for the young generation. Recently, four people were detained for recruiting new ISIS members in Pankisi Gorge. Journalists on a media tour here organized […]

Georgia signs defense procurement deal in France

By | June 17th, 2015|Categories: Security|Tags: |

(Georgia’s Ministry of Defense.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli on Monday finally signed a procurement deal with a company in France which is meant to bolster Georgia’s air defenses. The content of the agreement is secret. Signing the document in France on June 15, she said the treaty […]

Georgian PM suggests moving flooded zoo outside of city center

By | June 16th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The disaster in Tbilisi has  made the government bring up a plan to relocate the zoo outside the city center, to an area by Tbilisi Sea, the largest body of water near the Georgian capital. The flood shortly after midnight June 14 killed more than 50 percent of the zoo’s animals, [...]

Flood update: Death toll rises to 19, while 6 still missing

By | June 16th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of victims of the flood in Tbilisi increased to 19 Tuesday evening, the Security and Crisis Management Council confirmed. 17 have been identified, while two are in the process of being identified. One of the bodies was found in Mziuri Park, while the other […]

Explanations differ about what caused disastrous flood in Tbilisi

By | June 16th, 2015|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

(Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The clean-up effort continues after Sunday’s flood, which left at least 17 dead, as attention turns to what might have caused such a disaster. A handful of reasons have been given, which all may be grouped according to political affiliation. Some people blame […]

Tbilisi flood update: 17 dead, 6 missing, parliament meets

By | June 16th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

Two more people were found dead in Mziuri park Tuesday. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–According to the most recent data from the Security and Crisis Management Council, 17 people died during flood Sunday morning, while 6 are still missing. Sixteen of the victims have been identified so far. The two last victims were found Tuesday in Mziuri park […]

Four people detained in Georgia for links to ISIS

By | June 16th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

( TBILISI, DFWatch–Four people were detained in Tbilisi and Kakheti, accused of joining the terrorist organization ISIS and recruiting Georgians to fight in Syria. One of the detainees is a local from Pankisi Gorge, father of 9 Ayuf (Gaioz) Borchashvil. The Ministry of Internal Affairs […]

Tbilisi flood: Death toll rises to 13, nine still missing

By | June 15th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of flood victims has increased to 13, according to the emergency service department of the Interior Ministry. Department head Zviad Katsashvili told journalists that 13th victim was discovered about an hour before. “We are now looking for the nine […]

Tbilisi residents mobilize for flood relief

By | June 15th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi residents are mobilizing to help victims of the flood via social media, people are encouraged to volunteer and to donate money or things needed.  People working in Mziuri park. (DF Watch.) A Facebook group 13 June – Volunteers currently have over 12,000 members, and the number is still growing. They […]

Holes appear in two of Tbilisi’s main streets

By | June 15th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

The hole in Melikishvili Street. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Large holes appeared on two of Tbilisi’s main streets Sunday, sparking fear that the heavy rain and flood may have destabilized the soil under the city. The holes were first spotted Sunday evening on Melikishvili Street, which lies on a hill above Heroes […]

Police in Georgia conduct special operation in Pankisi

By | June 15th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

Omar Al-Shishani, or Tarkhan Batirashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian police on Sunday carried out a special operation in Pankisi, a valley in the northeast of the country mostly inhabited by Kists, who are ethnic Chechens. Omar Al-Shishani, or Tarkhan Batirashvili, one of the field commanders of ISIS, was born and raised in Pankisi. He left [...]

Tbilisi flood: Stories from a disaster zone

By | June 15th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch--While walking along the path through River Vere valley after the flood, a man approaches and asks to look in a certain direction, where there is just a rock and a river and nothing else. The empty space over the river was once his house. He says he borrowed some boots [...]

Flood update: 12 dead, 24 missing, 40 houses destroyed

By | June 14th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Some of the 24 who are still missing are believed to be buried in their cars under the mud near Heroes’ Square. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The latest figures from the flood in Tbilisi are that 12 people have died, 24 are still missing, and 40 houses have been destroyed in the Vera and Vake district. The flood released dozens of dangerous animals from Tbilisi Zoo, […]

Update: Death toll rises to nine in Tbilisi flood

By | June 14th, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The death toll after last night's flood had risen to nine people by 14:00. Four of the victims are rescue workers. According to the most recent data, the damages caused by the flood exceeds 10 million laris, but this includes only part of the damaged areas.

Almost no predators left in Tbilisi Zoo

By | June 14th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

A hippo that wandered around Heroes’ Square was finally led back to its cage. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–There are virtually no predators left in Tbilisi Zoo, a spokesperson for the zoo told DFWatch. A large part of the animals were unable to escape their cages. Some of the animals that escaped have now been put down, particularly the larger predators, […]

7 dead in Tbilisi flood, as tigers, lions and bears escape from zoo

By | June 14th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

A bear sitting on a window sill in Tbilisi on Sunday. (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch--The death toll after last night's flood in Tbilisi has risen to seven, as police urge people to stay off the streets and beware of tigers, lions and bears that escaped from a zoo. At least seven died and an [...]

Six people injured as most parts of Tbilisi are hit by heavy rain

By | June 14th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Tbilisi zoo was flooded Saturday night. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–At least six people were injured as heavy rain hit the Georgian capital Saturday night at 10pm, Interpressnews reported. The city’s zoo was also hit by flood, and animals have escaped, the news agency reported. The exact extent […]

Former Georgian official presents new Ukrainian police force

By | June 13th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former Georgian government official during Saakashvili on Saturday presented the new reformed police force in Kiev. Eka Zghuladze is one of several former Georgian government officials who served under President Mikheil Saakashvili, […]

Speaker scolds MPs who have been most absent

By | June 13th, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Speaker of Parliament on Friday scolded ten MPs who have been absent up to a hundred times during sessions in parliament. Davit Usupashvili said that according to the rules of parliament, an MP can have a honorary absence for family reasons. […]

Alexander Rondeli dies at age 73

By | June 13th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The well-known Georgian scholar Alexander Rondeli died on Friday. Rondeli, who was head of the Caucasus Institute of Peace, Democracy and Development, died at the age of 73. He was a doctor of geography. In 1991-1996, he headed the department […]

Landslide victim found after ten days of search

By | June 13th, 2015|Categories: Environment|Tags: |

( TBILISI, DFWatch–After ten days of search, rescue workers discovered the body of a shepherd who was taken by a landslide on June 2 along with hundreds of sheep and cows. Giorgi Shetikauri, 52, was discovered in the morning on June 12 under the ruins of hut in Shatili. […]

Khidasheli: Defense deal with France will be signed by end of June

By | June 12th, 2015|Categories: News, Security|Tags: , , , |

Tina Khidasheli. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s new defense minister has sided with her predecessor Mindia Janelidze in an argument with former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania about an agreement with France about buying air defense systems. Tina Khidasheli said in a recent interview […]

Javakheti people excited over year-long visa-free stay comeback

By | June 12th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Local residents queuing at the Public Service Hall in Akhalkalaki for the residency permits in January ( Samtskhe-Javakheti Armenians applaud the comeback of the year-long visa-free stay permit in Georgia, as those who hold Armenian or Russian passport no longer need a residency permit to stay in the country.  As DFWatch has reported […]

Life threatening fish sold in large quantities

By | June 12th, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The investigative service of the Finance Ministry has found that a company produced and sold smoked fish in violation of all hygienic and sanitary standards. Criminal charges have been brought against Tengiz Tsikaridze, who owns Donato Ltd, a company […]

Saudi crown prince visits Georgia

By | June 11th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Crown Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (left) and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. (Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is looking forward to investing in Georgia. Crown Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said this during a visit here. After meeting the prime minister, he said that he feels honored arriving in Georgia and discussing […]

Georgian sports commentator fired for mangling football match

By | June 11th, 2015|Categories: Sport|Tags: |

(Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Public Broadcaster has fired a sports commentator who made several mistakes during an under-19 football match between Georgia and Portugal. He mixed up the players, teams and also the score. Even though he later apologized, Sandro […]

Georgian government to have a ‘mountain minister’

By | June 11th, 2015|Categories: Politics|Tags: , , |

Gia Zhorzholiani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The ruling Georgian Dream coalition wants to create a new minister post in the government: mountain minister. The initiative is quite fresh, and the public and opposition MPs have not yet formed an opinion about the idea because not many details are known. […]

Georgia’s fugitive justice minister finally speaks out

By | June 11th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

Zurab Adeishvili’s rare appearance on Rustavi 2 Tuesday night. TBILISI, DFWatch–One of the most influential members of government during Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency, Zurab Adeishvili, has finally given an interview. Adeishvili, who was sometimes called a ‘grey cardinal’, told Saakashvili-friendly Rustavi 2 about his own and […]

NGOs propose women’s quota in parliament

By | June 10th, 2015|Categories: Politics|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Non-governmental organizations have registered a legislative proposal in parliament on Wednesday that will obligate political parties to include women on their party lists for the parliamentary election. Currently, 77 out of the 150 members of parliament […]

Citizens of 94 countries can stay for a year in Georgia

By | June 10th, 2015|Categories: News|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – After almost a year-long struggle with the new immigration requirements, the government of Georgia made a U-turn and granted visa-free stay for citizens of 94 countries, as well as British/French dependant/overseas territories, on June 8 ‘for full 1 year’.  […]

Music festival KaZantip returns to Crimea

By | June 10th, 2015|Categories: News, Youth|Tags: , |

Last year, KaZantip was held in Anaklia, Georgia. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The popular Ukrainian festival KaZantip, which took place in Georgia last year after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, may this year return to Ukraine but with a different name. An alternative music festival will take place in Anaklia, where the festival was held in 2014. […]

Georgian president to veto bank supervision bill

By | June 10th, 2015|Categories: Politics|Tags: |

Giorgi Margvelashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian president is preparing to veto a bill to form an independent supervisory agency to oversee the banking system, because it contradicts an association agreement which Georgia signed with the EU last year. Recently, the government […]

The dark past of Saakashvili’s appointee in Odessa

By | June 9th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

Gia Lortkipanidze (IPN.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A former Georgian deputy interior minister who is affiliated with a violent police operation in August, 2012, is to be appointed head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s branch in Odessa. Gia Lortkipanidze served under President Mikheil Saakashvili when he […]

Saakashvili to get one more former associate in Odessa administration

By | June 9th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Gia Lortkipanidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–One more former Georgian government official is to be appointed to a high position in the new Ukrainian government, a Ukrainian media outlet reports. According to, Gia Lortkipanidze may be appointed as head of the Interior Ministry Department in Odessa. […]

Foreign investments in Q1 down 34% in 2015

By | June 9th, 2015|Categories: Economy|Tags: |

Sakdrisi gold mine. Much of the foreign investments go into mining. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–There was 34 percent less direct foreign investment in Georgia in the first quarter of 2015 than in the same period last year. According to preliminary figures from the Georgian National Statistics Department, GeoStat, the amount of foreign investments in the first quarter was […]

Georgian soldier breaks own world record for planche push-ups

By | June 9th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Ministry of Defense.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A 23 year old Georgian double amputee has broken his own world record for planche push-ups. Corporal Temur Dadiani lost both legs in 2011 while serving in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Sunday, he managed to do 44 push-ups in one minute; 8 more […]

Relatives blame doctor for baby’s death at Batumi hospital

By | June 8th, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Relatives of a baby who died at Batumi Maternity Hospital have accused the doctor of malpractice. The mother of the baby, a 32 year old woman, was brought to the hospital four days ago. Her family says the doctor refused to perform a caesarean section […]

Georgia’s ruling coalition postpones removal of ‘majoritarian’ system

By | June 8th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

Davit Usupashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s ruling coalition agrees to some changes in the election system, but won’t scrap the so-called majoritarian system, a demand by NGOs and opposition parties. By postponing the removal of the ‘majoritarian’ system, the coalition heeded the advice […]

Five brothels busted in Batumi, seven detained

By | June 8th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

( TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia have busted five more brothels over the weekend, this time in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast. Seven people were detained. As is common, video was posted on the website showing the detainees, and the women prostitutes […]

Hard rain destroys vineyards in Georgia

By | June 8th, 2015|Categories: Environment|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Hard rain continues to batter Georgia and over the weekend partly destroyed vineyards in villages Argokhi, Maghraani and Babaneuri in Akhmeta region, eastern Georgia. Hail stones also damaged the roofs of several houses in the villages Zemo […]

Tbilisians call for urban development plan to save city’s old districts

By | June 7th, 2015|Categories: Society|Tags: |

(Tiflis Hamqari.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisians demonstrated Saturday against several construction projects which in their opinion will damage the authenticity of the city, especially in the old districts. The list of protest issues included destroying the city’s green cover, and destroying […]

Storm continues to cause damage in Georgia

By | June 6th, 2015|Categories: Environment|Tags: |

The Gaprinashvili family’s house in Tbilisi was completely destroyed by flood water. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Hailstorm and rain continues to destroy crops, kill poultry and livestock and flood houses in several parts of Georgia. Last evening, a hailstorm hit the Dusheti region and the flooded river carried away poultry and livestock. “It was raining with hail for […]

Probation official shoots himself in the head

By | June 6th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An official working in the National Probation Agency died Friday night after an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Besik Tskhadadze, head of the National Probation Agency’s Tbilisi bureau, was taken to the Republican Hospital but died […]

Ivanishvili considered arresting the head of the National Bank

By | June 5th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Bidzina Ivanishvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he once planned to arrest Kadagidze due to ‘personal’ business, but changed his mind by request of representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The revelation comes after weeks of criticism […]

PM proposes naming Tbilisi airport after poet Shota Rustaveli

By | June 5th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili suggests naming Tbilisi airport after Shota Rustaveli, a 12th to 13th century Georgian poet. Garibashvili wants to name the airport, currently known as Alekseevka, after Rustaveli in connection with the poet’s 850 year anniversary […]

Georgian govt begins to clean up property rights violations

By | June 5th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government is reviving one of its election promises from 2012: to restore justice. Property taken from five people during Saakashvili’s presidency will be returned. Before coming to power, Georgian Dream promised that they would ‘restore justice.’ […]

Ten pupils fall ill with mysterious disease at Tbilisi school

By | June 5th, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several pupils fell ill at a Tbilisi schools Wednesday and had to be taken to the hospital. Their health condition is currently satisfactory, but it is still unknown what caused their illness. The incident happened at Public School No 139, where ten fifth grade […]

15% more visitors to Georgia in May ’15 than last year

By | June 5th, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of visitors to Georgia in May, 2015, was 14.7 percent more than in the same month last year. According to the Interior Ministry, the number of people crossing the border in May was 454,545. In the first five months of 2015, the total number of people […]

Georgian artists are not welcome in Britain

By | June 4th, 2015|Categories: News|

performance 'Welcome' by the New Collective about immigrant women in the UK Tbilisi, DFWatch - A group of Georgian artists, invited to perform a play about immigration in the international theater festival in the UK, got their visa applications rejected. Mareike Wentzel is a German actress and performance artist, who frequently visits Georgia and [...]

Dog shelter flooded in Tbilisi

By | June 4th, 2015|Categories: In brief|

Tamaz Elizbarashvili Dog Shelter (Facebook) Tbilisi, DFWatch – At least 13 dogs drowned in flood on Wednesday night  in Tbilisi at Tamaz Elizbarashvili’s dog shelter. A heavy rain flooded river Vere and the water flushed the shelter’s ground floor. Patrol police crew and several employees came at the shelter at night to help the pets, but some of the dogs had already been swept away. […]

Public defender drafts law to have courts decide early marriage

By | June 3rd, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s public defender recommends amending the Civil Code so that only the courts may give permission for 16 to 18 year olds to marry. The public defender has prepared a draft bill which was submitted to parliament on May 25. Youth between 16 to 18 may […]

Legalize pot rally in Tbilisi gathers hundreds

By | June 3rd, 2015|Categories: Youth|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Hundreds of mostly young people gathered outside the government office in Tbilisi, Georgia, Tuesday to demand the decriminalization of marijuana. The annual protest brought together youth, politicians, journalists, non-governmental organizations and others. […]

One man, 500 sheep and 40 cows dead in mudslide in Georgia

By | June 3rd, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–One man and about 500 sheep and 40 cows were caught up in a landslide in the village Khone, in Khevsureti on Tuesday. According to Information Center of Mtskheta, shepherd Giorgi Shetekauri is missing after the glacial mudslide. Rescue workers […]

Ukrainian media: Saakashvili to appoint his key ally as Odessa chief prosecutor

By | June 3rd, 2015|Categories: News|

Zurab Adeishvili (IPN) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Zurab Adeishvili, a key figure in the Saakashvili government throughout its rule in 2003-12, may soon be appointed as a chief prosecutor of Odessa Oblast, Ukrainian media reports. Although the information hasn’t been confirmed officially, various media […]

Tbilisi not planning to object to Saakashvili’s appointment in Ukraine

By | June 2nd, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

Tamar Beruchashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government is not planning to send a note of protest to Ukraine after former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was appointed governor of Odessa. Saakashvili, or “Misha” as he is called at home, lost government power in an election […]

Three Polish tourists rescued by helicopter near Russian border

By | June 2nd, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

( TBILISI, DFWatch–Three Polish tourists have been airlifted by helicopter from Mount Tetnuldi near the Russian border, after being trapped by heavy snowfall at 4,200 meter’s height. News of the rescue operation appeared on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Monday evening, […]

Zezvaoba – a traditional horse race between Kists and Georgians

By | June 2nd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , , |

(DF Watch.) ALVANI, DFWatch–The last Sunday of May is a day of celebration in the Tush villages Kvemo Alvani and Zemo Alvani in Kakheti. Zezvaoba is the festival to honour the warrior Zezva Gaprindauli, who lead the Tush alongside the Georgian army against Persians at the Bakhtrioni […]

‘We’ll cancel Saakashvili’s citizenship when we want’

By | June 2nd, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government is not in a hurry to go through with the formal procedures that will strip ex-President Mikheil Saakashvilli of his native citizenship after being appointed governor of Odessa and acquiring Ukrainian citizenship. “Let this issue hang over his head like […]

Former Georgian PM purchases famous painting, donates to museum

By | June 2nd, 2015|Categories: News|

Niko Pirosmani’s ‘Arsenal Hill at Night’ Former Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishivli, purchased a painting of the iconic Georgian artist, Niko Pirosmani at Christie’s Auction for £962,500 (about USD 1.486 million) and donated it to Tbilisi Museum of Arts on Monday. “Niko Pirosmani’s ‘Arsenal Hill at Night’ […]

Three Polish tourists trapped on mountain in north Georgia

By | June 1st, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Mount Tetnuldi. (Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Three Polish tourists are trapped on Mount Tetnuldi, in the north of Georgia, due to heavy snow. Rescue workers are trying to find them. Tetnuldi is in the Zemo Svaneti region, only a few kilometers from the border to the Kabardino-Balkar Republic of the Russian Federation. […]

Pharmacies fined for secretly recording customers

By | June 1st, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Three chains of pharmacies in Georgia have been fined 500 laris each for recording conversations at their 24 hours outlets without notifying customers. According to the Personal Data Protection, 365 pharmacies of the chains Aversi-Geopharmi, PSP […]

Putin meets with leader of Georgian breakaway region

By | June 1st, 2015|Categories: In brief|Tags: , |

Leonid Tibilov. TBILISI, DFWatch–Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to meet the de facto president of South Ossetia on Monday in Moscow. According to the press office of the South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov, the two plan to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation […]

Georgian president highlights violence against women on Police Day

By | June 1st, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In a speech celebrating Police Day, President Giorgi Margvelashvili drew attention to the recent increase in murders of women, which he considers a challenge not only for the police, but for the whole nation. “2014 was a year of particular violence […]

Zezvaoba – a people’s celebration of 17th century hero

By | June 1st, 2015|Categories: Photo gallery|Tags: , , , , |

(DF Watch.) Zezvaoba is a celebration held every year in the villages Zemo Alvani and Kvemo Alvani. It is a commemoration of Zezva Gaprindauli, one of the leaders of the Bakhtrioni uprising against the Persians in 1659. A ritual called Dalaoba is part of the program. There is also a horse race. Participants are [...]

Saakashvili plans to switch back to Georgian citizenship later

By | June 1st, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: |

(Imedi TV.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Former President Mikheil Saakashvili says he doesn’t need Georgian citizenship in order to make a comeback in his home country. Former President Eduard Shevardnadze didn’t have citizenship when he came to power in 1993; neither did Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2012, he pointed out. […]