GHN RSS Feed The Caucasus Medical Centre has become the first JCI accredited multi-profile referral hospital in the country The Caucasus Medical Centre (CMC) received the Gold Standard of the highest international healthcare accreditation institution and became the first multi-profile referral hospital in the country to be accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). During the preparation for the process of accreditation, within a span of 18 months, the hospital implemented under 1 200 standards in accordance with the International Patient Safety Goals. The following dimensions were assessed by a team of Joint Commission reviewer experts in a multifaceted manner: healthcare and safety of patients, quality and effectiveness of ambulatory, ER and in-patient medical care, nursing care, protection of rights and confidentiality of information of patients and their family members, infection control and prevention mechanisms, quality of strategic management of the hospital, competence of medical personnel, continuous nature of education and development, reliability, precision and safety of diagnostic technologies, hospital infrastructure, continuous processes of improvement of medical services. According to the conclusion of the JCI committee, the hospital functions in full compliance with the highest standards of medical services in compliance with the International Patient Safety Goals. The Caucasus Medical Centre joined the sizable family of internationally accredited hospitals, which unites leading medical centers of the world; among them are the following internationally acclaimed institutions such as: the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Acibadem and John Hopkins Hospitals. „Granting the accreditation is the result of diligence and dedication of our multi-disciplinal teams – their unwavering focus in terms of the provision of best medical services. This endorsement on behalf of the world’s leading international accreditation institutions further strengthens our position as a healthcare leader in the region, constantly aspiring toward the provision of medical services of international standards in the country, improving patient-care and their safety. Receiving this international accreditation of the highest order represents a development on a national level. It is a source of joy and pride that the Caucasus Medical Centre is making its contribution to the development of the healthcare system of Georgia” – says Sopo Aspanidze, Director of the Caucasus Medical Clinic. Considering the rising demand on medical services in the South Caucasus region, the Golden Standard accreditation received in global healthcare from the JCI creates a new precedent for developing medical tourism. The reputation of the country’s healthcare system plays a pivotal role in enhancing medical tourism, especially considering that a significant portion of tourists with medical needs prefers to receive services at hospitals accredited by the JCI. Therefore, the international recognition of the Caucasus Medical Centre further solidifies the country’s standing in the industry of medical tourism as well. The Caucasus Medical Centre has become the first JCI accredited multi-profile referral hospital in the country Society 2024-07-17 16604 Anti-Semitism and the law against anti-Semitism According to the German legislation, Nazi's propaganda and sharing the ideology of Fascism is punishable. Even posting and sharing it on social media provides appropriate sanctions. Germany condemns hate speeches, in which antisemitic ideology can be implied.  It is well known to the civilized world, the horrors Nazi Germany brought the world – the mass genocide of the Jewish people for the sake of forming a new “Favorite Nation” and as a criminal experiment. However, it is probably worth to better understand the next - post-Nazi stage, which brought about a significant turning point in the consciousness of some nations, including, first of all, the German people. This shift reflected the policies and legal regulations of the states in order to weaken the deep roots of anti-Semitism as much as possible. Today it can be said that there is an already a precedent of Germany, the experience of the German people, which is polarly different from the aspirations of the Third Reich.  All this reflects a fundamental change in German culture, morality, dignity, responsibility and humanism. According to studies, no other nation has such a clear policy against anti-Semitism as Germany has in today's reality. According to German legislation, propaganda of Nazi’s and sharing the ideology of fascism is punishable. Even posting and sharing it on social media provides appropriate sanctions. Germany condemns hate speechs, in which antisemitic ideology can be implied. Similar regulations and policies of various countries came under special attention after the terrorist attack on Israel on October 7th, 2023, which is rightly described as an attempt to perform a new holocaust. Israel's defensive measures were soon followed by another wave of anti-Semitism around the world. Soon, on October 22nd, 2023, German Interior Minister Mrs. Nancy Faeser, after a meeting with Israeli Ambassador Mr. Ron Prosor, presented to the German parliament an additional new law to deny citizenship and block all persons who seek citizenship and exhibit anti-Semitic attitudes and/or involve direct anti – Semitic activities. This was followed later a demonstration against anti-Semitism which was held in Berlin, in the capital of Germany. During the current Israeli-Hamas war, Germany took a tough position against anti-Semitism. German Chancellor Mr. Olaf Scholz emphasized how unacceptable, shameful and reprehensible are the expressions of modern anti-Semitism in a country that once committed the Holocaust. German President Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier also had a tough position, saied that the attack on Jews and Jewish institutions is a personal insult to Germany. The President considers the fight against anti-Semitism to be a civic duty of the German people. From 2021 state of Ukraine also maintains right possition regarding anti-Semitism. The Parliament of Ukraine approved a law containing the definition of anti-Semitism and banning it in the country. Verkhovna Rada approved the draft law on the second reading with 283 votes, making it available for signature by President Vladimir Zelensky. As of today, Ukraine has a law "On Prevention and Counteraction of Anti-Semitism in Ukraine" N5110.  In particular in Ukraine, anti-Semitism is punishable by a fine of 200 to 500 USD non-taxable minimum income of citizens (3400 - 8500 hryvnias) or restriction of freedom for a period of up to 5 years, with the deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of up to 3 years.  The same actions related to violence, deception or threats, as well as committed by an official, are punishable by a fine of 8,500 - 17,000 hryvnias or imprisonment for 2-5 years, with the deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of up to 3 years. Same actions committed by an organized group of persons or resulting in serious consequences are punishable by imprisonment for a period of 5 to 8 years. On the same possition stands France, on 8th November, 2023 Macron announced "Antisemitism is resurfacing, in words, on the walls, the Republic of France does not and will not compromise, and we will be ruthless against those who carry that hatred. We will never accept anti-Zionism, because it is a new form of anti-Semitism." No previous president of France, neither Nicolas Sarkozy nor François Hollande, has ever connected these two words so precisely. More than 1,500 anti-Semitic acts and comments have been recorded in France since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, a total of 330 investigations have been opened into anti-Semitic acts and justifications of terrorism since October 7. In 1998, former Prime Minister of Sweden Goran Göran Persson founded the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as an intergovernmental organization with 35 member and 9 observer countries. Among the members of the alliance are France, Germany, the USA, Albania and Turkey. The formation of the mentioned organization was due to both the Holocaust and the Roma genocide.  Each member country of the Alliance supports an international political position that is correct in combating anti-Semitism and discrimination against the Roma. Each country that intends to join the IHRA must establish its own delegation, which will be staffed with leading experts on the Holocaust. Today it is easier than ever to brainwash people with targeted propaganda, to control their minds and emotions, but at the same time nothing is easier than seeing reality if you want to.  To see the obvious signs, which by their very nature take us back to the past and once again puts us in the greatest of danger. When we talk about the tragedy of the Holocaust, only one word comes to mind for all of us - "Let it never happen again". But just the words "Never again", are meaningless, if the actions show otherwise! Today is the exact time when the world should unite and use all the necessary measures to follow words with actions, so that past mistakes won’t be repeated. Due to recent events, special attention is needed for the clear combat against any manifestation of anti-Semitism. A clear stance of any friendly country on this is extremely important. Since Germany takes a leading position in this regard, other countries need to take an example and follow in order to stop the new, very powerful wave of anti-Semitism. This with united forces. Ideally the main concern of people should be peaceful coexistence on this planet and not to persecute each other. Another shame will be hard for humanity. Blaming terrorism is not enough, the flourishing of terrorism is the fault of all those naïve people with an attitude to choose neutrality and calmness in crucial moments instead of a bold action in fighting for the truth and standing on the side of justice. The Israeli House NET began actively working with the leaders of friendship groups in the Knesset to jointly prioritize and resolve this issue. Our team is doing its best to raise awareness about anti-Semitism, trying to find all the necessary ways to solve this problem. Nani Jabadari Attorney, Project Manager of Israeli House NET Anti-Semitism and the law against anti-Semitism Society 2024-03-06 16603 Azerbaijan Commemorates the Khojaly Genocide The occupation and ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts in the early 1990s by the armed forces of Armenia was a process of immeasurable atrocities and extreme violence. The Armenian leaders, having realized that more than 700,000 people based in this region would not be easily persuaded to flee and leave their homes, decided to force them into it. The ethnic cleansing of the region by the Armed Forces of Armenia in early 1990s resulted in numerous humanitarian tragedies over the years, but the most tragic event was the massacre of over 600 Azerbaijani civilians in Khojaly, a town with a population of seven thousand people, in bitterly cold morning of February 26, 1992. Serzh Sargsyan, Armenia’s President in 2008-2018, once admitted that one major goal of the massacre of the civilians in Khojaly was to scare off other Azerbaijanis and forced them flee the region.  Sargsyan, who was the commander of military forces of the separatist regime in Karabakh in 1992, told Thomas de-Wall, a British journalist, in an interview dated December 2000 that “Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We needed to put a stop to all that. And that’s what happened.” The Armenian Armed Forces committed ruthless war-crimes to reach this objective. More than 600 people, including 106 women and 63 children, were tortured and brutally murdered. The fate of 150 of them, including 68 women and 26 children, remains unknown to date. As a result of the massacre, 487 were injured, 8 families were completely destroyed, 130 children lost one and 25 children lost both parents. This massacre in Khojaly was documented in detail by journalists and later reported by the human rights organizations including the Human Rights Watch which described this tragedy as “the largest massacre to date in the conflict” between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The occupation of Khojaly, a strategically important part of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and the town that hosted the only airport of the region, was a critical step in Armenia’s plans to seize the control over the surrounding districts. In the following months, a series of other towns and villages in the region were forcefully occupied, its residents were expelled and all the occupied areas were subject to relentless looting and destruction.  The Khojaly Genocide was documented by some journalists and later reported by various international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW). The HRW described the mass killing in Khojaly as “the largest massacre to date in the conflict” between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Following the Second Karabakh War (September 27-November 10, 2020) that ended with Azerbaijan's victory and liberation of the occupied territories, the significance of the Khojaly tragedy has grown, with an increasing number of states and world parliaments recognizing it as genocide. To date, 17 national legislative bodies, 24 U.S. states, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Organization of Turkic States have adopted resolutions condemning the massacre and categorizing it as both a crime against humanity and an act of genocide. In its judgment of 22 April 2010, the European Court of Human Rights arrived at an important conclusion with respect to the crimes committed in Khojaly, denouncing the behavior of those carrying out the atrocities as “acts of particular gravity which may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity”. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out in its statement on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide that, “The indiscriminate killings of civilians at Khojaly stemmed from a policy of ethnic hatred and racial discrimination against Azerbaijanis at the state level in Armenia. It led to the killing of innocent people based simply on their ethnicity. The crimes committed at Khojaly were an integral part of Armenia's policy of systematic violence against Azerbaijanis. The Khojaly massacre and other crimes committed by Armenia in the course of its aggression against the Republic of Azerbaijan, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, constitute serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. These include violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and others.” 2024 is the first year that Azerbaijan commemorates the victims of the Khojaly genocide with the town of Khojaly liberated. Azerbaijan’s anti-terror operations in September 2023 dismantled the separatist regime in the Karabakh region and brought liberty back to the territories that remained under the illegal control of this regime following the Second Karabakh War. In the aftermath of the liberation of Azerbaijan’s occupied territories and the resolution of the conflict, Armenia and Azerbaijan are now unprecedentedly close to peace and reconciliation. The recent peace process between the two countries has highlighted the need for accountability for the atrocities committed against Azerbaijani civilians. However, instead of offering apologies for their actions, Armenia continues to pursue policies destructive to regional peace and security. The reality is that there can be no alternative to recognizing past tragedies and holding those responsible for their actions. This is the only way to establish lasting peace, security and reconciliation between the two countries. Khojaly, a tragic genocide that occurred over 30 years ago, is still waiting for justice. It is time for Armenia to take responsibility and make amends for its war crimes. Only then can the two countries move forward towards a peaceful future.   Vasif Huseynov  Dr. Vasif Huseynov is the head of the Western Studies department at the Center for Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center) and Adjunct Lecturer at Khazar University and ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan Commemorates the Khojaly Genocide Politics 2024-02-26 16602 The 10th branch of the “Israeli House NET” in Sri Lanka Israeli House", the pilot project of which was first implemented in Georgia, is already represented in several countries of the world. For 10 years, it has been working on strengthening Israeli Hasbara, Public Diplomacy, and bilateral ties with other countries, and this time, the development in the world continues from Jerusalem. Recently, the negotiations ended in Sri Lanka and it was decided that the "Israeli House" will open a representative office in the country, which will be headed by Lemuel Melamed. Lemuel Melamed, who is known for his vast political experience, has worked with leading Israeli politicians on international projects, is an expert in bilateral relations and strengthening Israel's global partnership. Now he is developing joint projects between Israel and Sri Lanka. After the opening of the representative office in Albania, the Minister of Public Administration of Montenegro Marash Dukaj recently visited the "Israeli House" in Tbilisi. At the meeting with Itsik Moshe, the parties agreed to open an office of "Israeli House" in Montenegro. Work is afoot in Australia and Germany, and representative offices in Spain, France, Morocco and Austria will be opened in the near future. On April 15, the forum, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of independence of Israel, in Tbilisi by the "Israeli House" was attended by members of the Knesset, Dmitri Milititski, public figure in Jewish community in Austria, who will curate the representation of the "Israeli House" in Austria and Ukraine, Yoram Ehrlich a member of the executive committee of the Israeli leadership in the GIL in Germany, Jacques Barguil in Spain, Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, Australia’s leading civil rights organization fighting antisemitism and all forms of hatred, in Australia. In the international arena, "Israeli House" actively cooperates with Eitan Dror, who is the chairman of the GIL organization together with Joel Herzog (brother of the current president of Israel) and Idan Yagoda. According to Itsik Moshe, in October this year, in relation to the 75th anniversary of Israel, representatives from about 30 countries will come to Israel as a sign of solidarity, including public figures friendly to Israel. The event will also be attended by singers from Israel and around the world who will sing in Hebrew as a solidarity. Also the representatives of AEPJ (The European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage), EAI (European Alliance for Israel) and leading members of the Israeli government will be invited. Sri Lanka as become an interesting destination for “Israeli House” and we contacted Jonathan Frank, about active relations between Israel and Sri Lanka. Jonathan Frank works with the new Israeli House office in Sri Lanka and says: “On the surface, Sri Lanka and Israel may seem like vastly different countries with little in common. Many young Israelis choose to visit Sri Lanka's beautiful beaches after completing their mandatory military service. Additionally, hundreds of Sri Lankan migrant workers currently work in Israel. While these connections may seem minimal, they represent a mutual exchange of culture and experiences between the two countries. Despite the geographical and cultural distance between them, there may be more similarities than initially perceived. Both Israel and Sri Lanka are celebrating their 75th years of independence this year. Though they are “new” nations in the context of modern politics, the history of Sri Lanka and Israel both stretch far into antiquity. Both countries have recorded history of over 2,500 years and seen empires rise and fall; their scribes carefully recorded these incidents, bearing testament to the endurance of both Lankans and Israelites in the test of time. Their flags are emblazoned with the symbol of the lion; for Sri Lanka, the house of Sinhabahu and for Israel, the Tribe of Judah. And as the holy city of Jerusalem rests on Mount Zion, where Temple of Solomon once stood, Sri Lanka too has a holy city on a mountain where the relic of the Buddha is enshrined in its own “Holiest of Holies”. Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Georgia Ms. Nino Makhviladze says: “It is with great pleasure that I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Sri Lankan people on their remarkable achievement in opening the Israeli House in Sri Lanka. Israeli House in Georgia created a new history between the centuries-old friendly countries! As an Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Georgia, I am actively engaged in promoting and expanding the relationship between these two countries. Our consulate is committed to fostering and strengthening the relationship with both nations, actively seeking to enhance bilateral ties. Sri Lanka is a nation with immense potential, possessing a rich history, diverse culture, and abundant opportunities for growth and development. I am confident that this exemplary initiative will inspire and facilitate the effective establishment of a robust friendship between Sri Lanka and Israel”. The activities of "Israeli House" have great support from Knesset members who actively participate in its events. According to Itsik Moshe, the founder and head of the Israeli House, the activity of the Israeli House showed that the representation of the real Israel helped strengthen bilateral ties with the countries where the organization works. The 10th branch of the “Israeli House NET” in Sri Lanka Society 2023-04-28 16601 U.S.-Georgia Joint Statement on Extradition Treaty Negotiations Georgia and the United States are further enhancing their law enforcement and judicial cooperation by negotiating a bilateral extradition treaty between the two countries. From January 31 through [February 2], 2023, negotiations between the United States, represented by the Department of State and the Department of Justice, and Georgia, represented by the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecution Service of Georgia, took place in Tbilisi, Georgia. Georgia and the United States have enjoyed a rich history of law enforcement and judicial cooperation spanning 30 years, including collaborating on large scale transnational fraud, organized crime, money laundering, human trafficking, and other serious offenses. Through many years of law enforcement cooperation, the two countries have built a strong partnership and trust, and this is the next step in building that relationship.  Once finalized and ratified, this bilateral treaty will benefit both countries by facilitating bringing criminals to justice more effectively and efficiently. U.S.-Georgia Joint Statement on Extradition Treaty Negotiations Justice 2023-02-03 16600 European University ranked in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022 The European University has been ranked among the world's best universities in the 2022 edition of the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. The THE Impact Rankings, founded in 2019, are the only global league tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sustainable Development Goals represent the plan to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, addressing the global challenges people face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is universal and calls for action by all countries – developed and developing – to ensure no one is left behind. Every year, the Times Higher Education publishes an overall ranking of universities, as well as 17 tables showing universities’ progress towards delivering each of the SDGs. The 2022 Impact Rankings represent the fourth consecutive edition of Times Higher Education and the overall ranking includes 1,406 universities from 106 countries/regions. The European University is the only university in Georgia ranked in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022. It is ranked 1001+ and covers the following four Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being (601- 800) With a score of 41.5 - 53.2, the European University is ranked in the band 601 – 800 for SDG 3, the aim of which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.   SDG 4: Quality Education (801 - 1000) With a score of 33.7 – 41.6, the European University is ranked in the 801 - 1000 band for SDG 4, the aim of which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (401 - 600) The European University is ranked in the 401 – 600 band for SDG 16 with a score of 40.4 – 56.1. The aim of SDG 16 is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals (1001+) The European University is ranked 1001+ for SDG 17, the aim of which is to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. European University ranked in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022 Politics 2023-01-31 16599 Giorgi Khelashvili Delivered a Public Lecture at "European University" In the framework of the Jean Monnet Module entitled “Europeanization as an Instrument for the Democratization of Georgia”, implemented within the International Relations BA program of “European University”, a series of public lectures has been launched. On January 12th, the First Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Giorgi Khelashvili, delivered a lecture on the topic of “Georgia's Foreign and Regional Affairs.” The lecture was attended by “European University” students, as well as the entrants from the partner public schools. At the end of the lecture, the audience was awarded with the Certificates of Attendance. The attendees were also informed about the application procedure for the third and the last Jean Monnet winter school to be held in February 13-23, 2023, at European University. It should be noted that Jean Monnet's module "Europeanization as a tool for the democratization of Georgia" is co-financed by the European Union and it has been implemented for the last three years by the academic team of the European University International Relations Program under the leadership of Professor Levan Makhashvili. Giorgi Khelashvili Delivered a Public Lecture at "European University" Society 2023-01-12 16598 US Embassy staff visit Jo Ann University Hospital The representatives of the United States Embassy to Georgia have visited the Jo Ann University Hospital in Tbilisi and handed over the gifts to the patients in the children's department. Tamar Zarginava, a vice-rector of European University - also serving as a coordinator of international relations and a head of medical department - Zaza Sopromadze, an executive director of Jo Ann University Hospital, Maya Tsanava, a deputy director, and Khatuna Dolidze, a chair of psycho-rehabilitation center of the hospital have hosted the guests. The Jo Ann University Hospital officials have expressed gratitude to the Embassy staff and highlighted the US support. As part of the aid, a new pediatric oncology department will be opened at the hospital, where children suffering from cancer will be able to receive treatment in accordance with modern standards. Jo Ann University Hospital was founded by American philanthropist Jo Ann McGowan, whose efforts made it possible to ensure treatment for children with heart issues on the spot. The hospital had operated under the name of the Medical Center until 2022, before its transfer to the ownership of European University. US Embassy staff visit Jo Ann University Hospital Society 2023-01-06 16595 Saakashvili's mother vows to hold accountable those 'killing my son' Giuli Alasania, the mother of the jailed ex-president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, told the media that her son passed out in the Vivamed clinic. She said it was the second time he lost consciousness, stressing the third instance can be “fatal,” calling it “an international murder in front of everyone.” Alasania pledged to “do everything” to punish those accountable for “collectively killing my son for a year and three months.” Asked about Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia’s letter to Saakashvili, wishing him “divine intervention to strengthen your spiritual powers and allow you to encounter the other, genuine reality,” Alasania said this very message was ” a bit unclear” “How long will he endure this, what kind of endurance are we talking about? ‘To feel a genuine reality’ was a little hazy for me. What is this new reality? That we are no longer a state and have finally become Russia’s province? This is our reality today”, Alasania asserted. Saakashvili's mother vows to hold accountable those 'killing my son' Comments 2023-01-06 16596 President congratulates Armenians on Christmas and Epiphany Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili congratulated the Armenian Apostolic Church and its parishioners in Georgia and all over the world on Christmas and Epiphany. “I wish you and your family peace, health, and happiness on this holiest day of kindness and virtue you celebrate today,” the president said on Facebook. The Armenian Apostolic Church observes Christmas and Epiphany on January 6. President congratulates Armenians on Christmas and Epiphany Society 2023-01-06 16597 Jo Ann University Hospital celebrates its anniversary Jo Ann University Hospital is celebrating its anniversary. The hospital designed for the treatment of children's heart pathologies was founded 26 years ago with the help of the United States of America. The first American military plane landed at the Tbilisi International Airport on August 8, 1996, bringing all necessary equipment for the successful operation of the Children's Cardiac Surgery Center. The establishment of Jo Ann University Hospital is associated with the name of Jo Ann McGowan, who had made a great contribution to the creation of the congenital heart disease treatment system in Georgia. There was no possibility of surgical treatment of congenital heart pathologies in Georgia until 1996, and the majority of children born with this issue were unable to reach adulthood. The only way to save their lives was to go abroad for treatment. A young Georgian surgeon Irakli Metreveli, whose dream was to establish the children's cardiac surgery centre in Georgia, met an American lady Jo Anne McGowan in the United States in 1992, who expressed her desire to create an analogue of the children's cardiac surgery center already operating in St. Petersburg in Georgia. The efforts of enthusiasts and the support of foreign partners have yielded results. A new era has begun for children with congenital heart defects in Georgia. According to the decree of President Eduard Shevardnadze on October 29, 1995, the Heal the World initiative of the American Foundation in Georgia was approved and the then Ministry of Health was instructed to create a children's cardiology center. Soon after, on September 16, 1996, Jo Ann's Clinic was established in Tbilisi as a diagnostic and treatment facility for children's cardiology and congenital heart defects. In the same year, the first operations were performed on children born with heart defects. In the following year, a clinical laboratory was put into operation, and in 1998, a psychological support service was ensured to provide psychological support to patients suffering from congenital heart diseases. In 1999, Jo Ann Medical Center independently created a so-called free donation-based safe "blood bank". In 2000, the department of adult cardiovascular surgery and emergency cardiology was added to the center, with the angiocardiography laboratory being functional since 2003. The center has been operating an Extracorporeal Life Support/ELSO program since 2006. In the same year, an Arithmology Department was established in the center. In 2022, European University became a partner of Jo Ann Medical Center and it was named into Jo Ann University Hospital. The hospital currently performs as a base of the European University, where doctors of the clinic are sharing their experience with the university students. Jo Ann University Hospital is focused on reducing child mortality in Georgia and its goal is to develop the areas of high-tech medicine that are unavailable for the country's population. Jo Ann University Hospital - the only non-profit clinic in Georgia - has been successfully operating in Tbilisi for more than two decades, which, actually, equals about 600 saved children annually. Jo Ann University Hospital celebrates its anniversary Society 2022-09-16 16594 Georgian seafarers saved 52 lives in the open sea Georgian seafarers saved 52 lives in the open sea. The Maritime Transport Agency contacted the searafarers on board. "On july 10 we were healing in Morocco. Around 6 PM we saw an inflatable boat"... In the 5-point storm in the Atlantic Ocena, 52 people on the raft, including 7 women and 3 childre, were left withour water or food. "We Waited for rescuers for more than 10 hours to no avail. Our ship was circling the raft in order not to loose it in the opean sea. The weater got worse. Finally, this ship's crev decided to take the migrants out of the raft and on board. we started the rescue operation. We adjusted the raft to the ship and started to take people out". Nine Georgian seafarers directly participated in the rescue mission of migrants: 𝙉𝙪𝙜𝙯𝙖𝙧 𝘽𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙯𝙚, 𝙆𝙖𝙠𝙝𝙖 𝘼𝙙𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙖, 𝘿𝙞𝙡𝙖𝙧 𝙏𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙠𝙡𝙖𝙙𝙯𝙚, 𝙕𝙖𝙯𝙖 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙜𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙙𝙯𝙚, 𝙕𝙫𝙞𝙖𝙙 𝙆𝙤𝙗𝙪𝙡𝙖𝙙𝙯𝙚, 𝙈𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙖 𝘼𝙗𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙯𝙚, 𝙎𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙫𝙖 𝙎𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙙𝙯𝙚, 𝙈𝙖𝙣𝙪𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙧 𝙆𝙤𝙗𝙖𝙡𝙖𝙙𝙯𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙂𝙞𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙞 𝙏𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙠𝙡𝙖𝙙𝙯𝙚. These seafarers saved 52 people thanks to their exceptional courage, bravery and professionalism in the open sea! Next year, Georgia will present them for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) award "for exceptional bravery at sea". This award was given to Archimandrite Ilia Cartozia for the first time in 2015 after his death (Archimandrite Ilia Cartozia died on December 28, 2014, as a result of an accident during a fire on the Italian ferry "Norman Atlantic". At the time of the fire on the ship, 487 passengers were on board, including 8 citizens of Georgia and there were 12 crew members. Father Ilia was traveling to Bari, Italy, to the tomb of St. Nicholas. During the accident, when rescuers were transferring people from a burning ship to a lifeboat, he gave his place up to a lady with a child and remained on deck. Unfortunately, the rescuers could not save Father Ilia) and in 2018 the award was given to Captain Levan Mamaladze and his crew, who saved 13 people Georgian seafarers saved 52 lives in the open sea Society 2022-07-13 16593 EU told us once again that we must try to work together on issues that are needed for the future of the country and its integration into the EU – Maka Botchorisvhili At this crucial moment, the European Union told us once again that we must learn to respect one another and try to work together on issues that are needed for the future of the country and its integration into the European Union, - said Maka Botchorishvili, Chairperson of the Georgian parliamentary European Integration Committee, at the plenary sitting. "Dear colleagues, Last week, the European Commission published the assessment of the three associated countries and recommendations to the European Council regarding the granting of EU membership candidate status in response to applications from Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. I will not dwell on the geopolitical context in which the European Union is considering the three applications. For all three countries, the European Commission has named preconditions that need to be met in order to qualify for candidate status. In the case of Georgia, unlike Ukraine and Moldova, the European Commission – having recognized Georgia’s European perspective – recommends that we fulfil the preconditions before being granted candidate status. Of course, the fact that the European Commission officially recognized Georgia’s European perspective for the first time is to be welcomed. This is undoubtedly an important step forward on the path to EU integration, which allows Georgia to take part in the EU accession process. The obvious progress made by Georgia in terms of the implementation of the Association Agreement remains a fact, which will always serve as a solid foundation for our further advancement. Of course, our goal is for Georgia to become a candidate country for EU membership together with Moldova and Ukraine, and to advance in this process in a timely manner. No country will be able to do this without fulfilling the preconditions. On 24 June, the European Council will hold a discussion and the 27 EU member states will make a political decision regarding Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova. The recent visits, meetings, and consultations held in the capitals of EU member states have served the purpose of allowing us to explain to our partners the expectations that exist in Georgia and the importance of a bold geopolitical decision by the European Union in today’s difficult geopolitical environment. One thing is clear regardless of the decision the European Council will make on the 24th: In order to make further progress on the path to EU membership, Georgia must take steps to implement the European Commission’s recommendations, some of which are already part of the Association Agenda. At this crucial moment, the European Union told us once again that we must learn to respect one another and try to work together on issues that are needed for the future of the country and its integration into the European Union. No one is asking us to agree on everything but maybe, for the sake of the future of this country and our children, we could transform loathing and hatred into constructive, action-oriented criticism and replace destructive and futile initiatives with those that will actually help the country’s EU integration. Maybe we could try to respect the state and its institutions instead of attempting to trample them. Success on the path to EU integration is unimaginable without robust institutions. Maybe we could try to find, in this building, the spirit that we were expecting from a large part of the opposition for 100 days after the signing of the Charles Michel Agreement. Against this backdrop, calls to overthrow the authorities that have been made in recent days are completely contrary to the message we have received from Brussels. Now is not the time to try to separate the authorities and the people, nor is it the time to point fingers and insult the voters who stand behind every one of us. This crucial moment in the history of Georgia requires proper assessment and engagement in political processes with greater responsibility". EU told us once again that we must try to work together on issues that are needed for the future of the country and its integration into the EU – Maka Botchorisvhili Politics 2022-06-21 16592 JSC Liberty Bank announces changes in senior management team JSC Liberty Bank announces the appointment of Mr. George Gvazava as acting Chief Risk Officer effective 3rd of June, 2022. Mr. Gvazava will take over from Mr. Abashidze. Mr. George Gvazava is finance professional with extensive experience in banking and risk management. Mr. Gvazava has a successful track record of working with the leading financial institutions in Georgia for more than 15 years. Mr. Gvazava started as a Credit Analyst at VTB Bank Georgia and since then held various management and top management positions. Prior to joining JSC Liberty Bank, Mr. Gvazava was the Head of Risk Department at VTB Bank Georgia. Mr. Gvazava holds an MBA degree from Edinburgh Business School (EBS). JSC Liberty Bank announces changes in senior management team Business 2022-06-02 16591 Georgia should become a candidate for EU membership Georgia’s application for EU membership did not come out of the blue. It was neither on a whim of the government nor a cynical exploitation of growing European sympathy towards Ukraine, write Nikoloz Samkaharadze and Giorgi Khelashvili. Nikoloz Samkaharadze is chair of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament of Georgia. Giorgi Khelashvili is deputy chair of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament of Georgia. The Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) has recently published two separate studies about the membership bids of Ukraine and Moldova after both countries handed in their respective requests to the European Commission. Logically, it was expected that this renowned Brussels-based think-tank would also prepare a study about Georgia – a frontrunner among the “Associated Trio” in the implementation of reforms envisaged by the Association Agreements. Surprisingly, with regard to Georgia, CEPS decided to limit itself to only a highly disappointing opinion piece, riddled with inaccuracies and contradictions, where the two respected authors claim Georgia’s bid to the European Union is “dubious”. Calling Georgia a “paradox” in the process of EU membership, the authors chose to neglect the evidence and rely on hearsay and a one-sided political opinion from a polarised Georgian political discourse. Through the denial of facts, the authors dealt with the self-inflicted notion of “paradox”, rather than trying rigorously to understand the strong and consistent logic behind Georgia’s European bid. The authors argue that Georgia’s implementation of the economic parts of its Association Agreement (AA) and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU has been impressive. In this respect it has surpassed not only Ukraine and Moldova, but also some of the candidate states of the Western Balkans. It has largely eliminated common corruption, with better performance than quite a few EU Member States, which CEPS’s very own thorough research only a year ago, based on solid evidence, strongly agreed. What went wrong this time, then? The problem with the article in question is its confused methodology. Whereas the first half of the analysis is based on solid evidence-based research, which indicates Georgia’s impressive performance in reforms in all areas, the rest of the text is peppered with a few anecdotal (and often inaccurate) references to events from the last few years that are put forward as “arguments” to invalidate Georgia’s progress. The sequence and causality between the arguments and facts are reversed: It is not that the Georgian government’s actions led to the opposition’s rowdy response, but rather the opposition’s unprovoked and unjustified sabotaging of the Georgian Parliament and their defiance of the law which created a political crisis in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This opposition then undermined the efforts of EU Council President Charles Michel when it failed to sign the agreement between the political parties which he had mediated. When the method is wrong, when the dates, stakeholders, facts, and their consequences are all mixed up, it is no wonder that the findings of the opinion piece are dramatically different from the findings of more rigorous research that was properly done by CEPS itself only a year ago. Blatantly omitted from the article’s partial analysis are the achievements of the Georgian government, including a re-balanced constitutional system towards greater checks and balances, dramatically improved freedom of speech and freedom of media, an ever-growing pluralistic political environment, and a greater popular trust in the judicial system than ever before in Georgia’s history. The article also fails to mention the popular support for the government policies. Thus, the implied conclusion derived from the authors’ logic is that Georgia’s uncontested achievements are merely technocratic in nature while the overall political milieu is imbued with democratic backsliding. However, without the government’s strong political will, the country would not achieve any of the oft-cited impressive breakthroughs, be it in the economy, politics, judiciary, or governance. Georgia’s democratic resilience has been amply demonstrated by the state institutions’ ability to cope with the post-2020 election political turbulence, manage the COVID-19 pandemic, and most recently, navigate the catastrophic regional upheaval caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, without sacrificing an iota of its democratic practices. Georgia’s application to the European Union membership did not come out of the blue, neither at a whim of the government, nor by a cynical exploitation of growing European sympathy towards Ukraine and, by association with the rest of the region. The governing Georgian Dream party made the “2024 European membership application” its leading pre-election promise as early as summer 2020 and won the elections largely by popular support of this promise as over 80 % of the population favoured European integration. Moreover, Georgia has little to prove when it comes to resilience of its democratic credentials, as our country has endured its more than its fair share of Russian aggression since the early 1990s and then in 2008 and, despite all odds, has always emerged as a democratic state. Georgians are confident that our impressive record of reforms; our commitment to democracy despite our war-torn society; our advantageous comparison to both fellow bidders for EU membership and EU membership candidate states; and, above all, our country’s history and culture qualify Georgia for candidate status for EU membership. For these reasons we sincerely hope that the EU will take a merit-based decision on candidate status in the spirit of Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union. Georgia should become a candidate for EU membership Politics 2022-06-02 16590 Zaza Shatirishvili: It would be my humble advice to Ivanishvili to stop attacking Swiss bank Georgian philosopher, Zaza Shatirishvili Wednesday issued a statement saying “I am carefully following the relation between the Credit Suisse and Bidzina Ivanishvili, which does not seem to be settled in the nearest future.” Below is his full statement: I was telling the public exactly 10 days ago, on May 17, that the Americans were achieving two goals with this. On the one hand, they are blackmailing Bidzina Ivanishvili and, on the other, they are destroying the Swiss banking system. The more time passes, I am getting more convinced that the second goal is even more important for them than the first one. It is commonly known that the Swiss banking system is a serious competitor to the American or any other banking system. Consequently, it is not difficult to guess what is the interest behind destroying this system. In my opinion, the Americans have already realized that they will not achieve their goals through exercising blackmailing against Ivanishvili. If Ivanishvili was ready to follow their request, he would already make steps towards the war. However, it is already clear that the they failed to scare Ivanishvili through blackmailing and they seem to be already put up with this. Now, it is obvious that they are trying to achieve the second goal and destroy the Swiss banking system. I have said on May 17 that since 2008 the Swiss banking system is being de facto managed not by Switzerland, but by the American special services. This is the main explanation for the fact that the Swiss bank is behaving in such a strange manner. Ivanishvili has already published dozens of articles in the international media on how roughly the bank was violating the client’s rights. This articles seriously damage not only the reputation of the Credit Suisse, but also of the entire Swiss banking system. However, I was carefully following the international media and I have not found any single response of the Swiss bank to all these claims. The fact that the bank has never responded to the criticism published in the international media and never tried to defend itself, has been confirmed also by Ivanishvili’s lawyer today. Ivanishvili’s claims against the bank are very strong. However, everyone knows that one can neutralize any claim at least to a certain extent. Consequently, they would at least partly diminish the reputation damage with their response. However, the Credit Suisse’s behavior is very strange and they never respond to Ivanishvili’s articles. Such a strange behavior can have only one single explanation – the system is being managed not by Switzerland, but by the US, and the latter is exactly benefitting by leaving the attacks without response. Similarly, it is clear that the president and entire management of the Credit Suisse are working not on Switzerland, but on the United States. Besides, Ivanisvhili’s lawyer, Viktor Kipiani explained today that Ivanishvili has no money in the Credit Suisse itself. The money is kept in a relatively small bank in Switzerland and the Credit Suisse is managing it only as a trustee. Consequently, it appears that the Credit Suisse has no financial interest in terminating the money transfers. To summarize, there are three circumstances, which strongly prove my version shared on May 17: 1) Ivanishvili has no money in the Credit Suisse and, thus, this bank has no benefit from this money; 2) Despite this, the bank is behaving in a strange manner and is not defending itself; 3) Ivanishvili manages to criticize the bank in the international media without any obstacles; even a child knows that it could not have happened, if the Americans were against; everyone, who is aware of the system, knows very well that the Americans can block any campaign or article in the international media, if they wish. These three facts fully strengthen my conclusion that the management of the Credit Suisse is working not in favor of Switzerland, but in favor of the Americans. Considering all this, I am strongly confident that by attacking the bank, Ivanishvili is shaking the tree on which he is sitting. Nobody can impose sanctions against Ivanishvili and, I am sure, Ivanishvili also knows it very well. It will be hard for the Americans to explain these sanctions internationally, and it will be even harder for them to explain them in Georgia. Consequently, the blackmailing against Ivanishvili became completely ineffective and unreasonable. With due consideration of all this, it would be my humble advice to Ivanishvili to stop attacking the Swiss bank. As I have mentioned, they cannot impose sanctions against Ivanishvili, but Ivanishvili could prepare some kind of sanction against himself. The more the Swiss banking system will be damaged and destroyed, the more difficult it will be for him to receive the money, which he is keeping in Switzerland. Thus, I would suggest him to act pragmatically and take care of the Swiss banking system, despite the fact that Ivanishvili’s claims against the Swiss bank and the banking system are more than fair,” the statement reads. Zaza Shatirishvili: It would be my humble advice to Ivanishvili to stop attacking Swiss bank Comments 2022-05-27 16589 Front News - Georgia marks its 10th anniversary on Georgia’s Day of Independence Front News Georgia marks its 10th anniversary on the country’s Day of Independence which is celebrated on May 26 annually. The news agency has been operating since May 2012, with the first news posted on its webpage on May 26. The media outlet was founded by journalist Raul Kiria. Front News - Ukraine, which has been operating in Ukraine since 2018, covering current events in the country, as well as in the world in the Ukrainian, Russian and English languages, also founded by Raul Kiria, is under the Front News - Georgia media holding. Front News - Georgia signed a memorandum with the Brussels Press Club in Brussels back in 2018. The media agency is frequently cited as a source by various foreign and local publications. Front News - Georgia editorial policy is based on unbiased and operative covering of Georgian and international news. The agency is self-funded and cooperates with various agencies, both in Georgia and abroad. Front News - Georgia marks its 10th anniversary on Georgia’s Day of Independence Society 2022-05-26 16588 Georgian Post representatives attended the US National Postal Forum, held on May 15-18 The Georgian Post Director General Mr. Levan Chikvaidze along with the  the CEO of the Curacao Post Mr. Thomas Roggendorf, had been cordially  invited as the guests of honor by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to attend the US National Postal Forum held on May 15-18, in Phoenix, state of Arizona, USA. The event was organized by the United States Postal Service (USPS).  The forum, along with the US Postal Service Management, was attended by high level representatives of the postal business related sectors. During the sessions and educational workshops held within the framework of the forum, the attendants discussed industry insights on the latest innovations in mailing and shipping. The Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the USPS Mr. Louis Dejoy presented a ten-year development plan of the US Post, which fully reflects the objectives and challenging areas of development. The plan with a budget of 400 billion dollars is fully supported by the government. Worth mentioning that the Director General of The Georgian Post Mr. Chikvaidze was invited by the major broadcasting companies - CBS News and ABC News for the interviews, where he spoke about the  represented ten-year development plan and mentioned about the professional networking opportunities provided to Georgian Post by sharing the experience of the US Postal Service USPS. During the forum Mr. Chikvaidze had an opportunity to hold an introductory meeting with the USPS representatives: Mr. Louis Dejoy, the Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the USPS; Mr. Ron Bloom, the Chair of board of Governors of USPS; Ms. Tammy L. Whitcomb, the Inspector General of the USPS and a business related meeting with Ms. Judy de Torok, the Vice President of Corporate Communications of the USPS. NPF is the premier mailing and shipping conference that works directly with the USPS to provide the most comprehensive educational and networking platform available. Georgian Post had been cordially invited at the event by Mary P. Anderson, the Executive Director of International Postal Affairs of United States Postal Service. Georgian Post representatives attended the US National Postal Forum, held on May 15-18 Society 2022-05-24 16587 European University becomes owner of Jo Ann Medical Center European University has become the owner of Jo Ann Medical Center which will be represented on the market under the name - Jo Ann University Hospital. NNLE Jo Ann University Hospital will be chaired by Tamar Zarginava, Vice-Rector of the European University, while the management of the hospital will be maintained and a board of directors will be added. The management of European University will ensure different branches to the hospital and it will be present with multidisciplinary functions in the near future. The management suggests that the students of the Faculty of Medicine of the European University will be given practical training in the clinic by leading specialists in the field. In addition, patients will have the opportunity to receive inpatient and outpatient services in one space in accordance with modern standards. Jo Ann Medical Center was founded 25 years ago by American philanthropist Jo Ann McGowan together with Georgian surgeons.  Over the years, the name Jo Ann Medical Center has been associated with the country's primary cardiology and cardiac surgery services.  Lately it has been transformed into a multi-functional medical facility with certain types of directions.  From now on it will be represented on the medical market under the name of University Hospital. European University becomes owner of Jo Ann Medical Center Society 2022-04-28 16586 Stoltenberg sees need to support Moldova and Georgia amid invasion of Ukraine NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg believes that the Russian invasion of Ukraine proved the need for NATO to provide support to Moldova and Georgia. “The brutal invasion of Ukraine demonstrates the need for NATO to provide support to those countries in Europe that are not members of NATO nor the European Union, like Moldova and Georgia. That is about practical and political support. Georgia is a highly values partner. It also has close cooperation with the European Union. We are looking into what we can do more to work even closer with our partners in the Eastern part of Europe,” NATO Secretary-General said at a news conference after meeting the European Parliament’s president and group leaders on Thursday. Stoltenberg sees need to support Moldova and Georgia amid invasion of Ukraine Politics 2022-04-28 16585 We need to be looking out for Moldova and Georgia, Secretary Blinken says “We need to be looking out for Moldova and Georgia. They are at risk,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated at the Senate Appropriations Committee sitting, responding to the senators’ questions about possible Russian aggression against Georgia and Moldova. According to the Secretary of State, the US has close cooperation with both countries. “I share your concern about the vulnerable position in Georgia and Moldova. I am working very closely with both countries,” Secretary Blinken said. He spoke about the US’s efforts to support these countries. “We have contributed an additional $100 million to support Moldova. The request that we have before you would fund programs in several areas, including cybersecurity, economic stabilization, and counter disinformation. The point you made is exactly right. We need to be looking out for these countries. They are at risk,” Blinken added. We need to be looking out for Moldova and Georgia, Secretary Blinken says Politics 2022-04-28 16584 Georgia Support Act adoption reaffirms strength of US-Georgia partnership, Georgian PM states Georgia Support Act adoption reaffirms strength of US-Georgia partnership, Georgian PM states Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili echoed to the approval of the Georgia Support Act by the US House of Representatives. “Adoption of the Georgia Support Act by the House of Representatives reaffirms the strength and advances robust US-Georgia strategic partnership. Grateful to US House, its leadership and Georgia Caucus co-chairs Adam Kinzinger and Gerry Connolly for supporting Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, democracy and NATO integration,” Garibashvili wrote on Twitter.” Garibashvili wrote on Twitter. The US House of Representatives approved the Georgia Support Act. Georgia Support Act adoption reaffirms strength of US-Georgia partnership, Georgian PM states Georgia Support Act adoption reaffirms strength of US-Georgia partnership, Georgian PM states Comments 2022-04-28 16583 EU brands Russian gas halt “blackmail”, working on response The EU’s chief executive on Wednesday branded as “blackmail” Russian giant Gazprom’s move to halt supplies to some European customers, but said the bloc was working on a coordinated response to Moscow’s escalation, writes Reuters. Gazprom said it had cut supplies to Poland and Bulgaria for failing to pay for gas in roubles, Moscow’s toughest response yet to sanctions imposed by the West over the conflict in Ukraine. “The announcement by Gazprom that it is unilaterally stopping delivery of gas to customers in Europe is yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail”, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “This is unjustified and unacceptable. And it shows once again the unreliability of Russia as a gas supplier”, - she said in a statement. Von der Leyen said the EU was prepared for this scenario, and would continue its work to ensure alternative supplies of gas and that gas storage is filled. EU rules require all countries to have a contingency plan to cope with a gas supply shock. EU gas storage is currently 32% full. The EU was working on a coordinated response to Russia’s escalation, von der Leyen said, and the bloc’s “gas coordination group” of representatives from national governments and the gas industry was meeting on Wednesday morning. Poland’s climate ministry said on Tuesday its energy supplies were secure and there was no need to limit supply to consumers. The Commission has said companies should continue to pay the currency agreed in their contracts with Gazprom - 97% of which are in euros or dollars - and that paying in roubles could breach the EU’s sanctions against Russia. EU brands Russian gas halt “blackmail”, working on response World 2022-04-28 16581 Irakli Garibashvili met with Ukrainian pupils at the 41st public school My wish for our Ukrainian friends is to establish peace, end this war fast, and return to their homes in peace, Prime Minister said after meeting with Ukrainian schoolchildren at Mykhailo Hrushevsky Public School #41. Georgia is and will remain maximally supportive and attentive to Ukraine, the Head of Government stated. “Today, we met with Ukrainian schoolchildren, who are staying in Georgia temporarily, and today we are hosting our Ukrainian friends, their children. It"s very symbolic that, today, my children and I met with first-graders. Once again, I wish our Ukrainian friends a speedy return to their homes. We have repeatedly gone through the pain they are experiencing now, and my wish for our Ukrainian friends is to establish peace, end this war fast, and return to their homes in peace. Our citizens are doing their best. We rank first among 190 countries around the globe for providing in excess of 500 tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, a gift and support from the Georgian people to the Ukrainian people. Of course, we are and will be maximally supportive and attentive to the Ukrainians in Georgia”, - said Irakli Garibashvili. He took a personal interest in the learning conditions in the Ukrainian-language sector, and spoke with the schoolchildren. As of today, 211 schoolchildren have expressed their desire to enroll in the Ukrainian sector. Their numbers are growing on a daily basis. The Ministry of Education and Science has equipped every schoolchild with textbooks and notebooks necessary for learning. As for the schoolchildren, based on an agreement between the Ministry and mobile operators, they enjoy affordable internet packages. Irakli Garibashvili met with Ukrainian pupils at the 41st public school Society 2022-04-27 16582 Tbilisi’s main Christmas tree lit up Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze and Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili have lit up the city’s main Christmas tree on Rustaveli Avenue, in front of the Parliament today. Prime Minister said, “2021 was quite a difficult year, but at the same time, it was a year of great change, as we did a lot of work, calmed the country.” Mayor pledged 2022 to be “the year of development, success, and advancement.” Tbilisi’s main Christmas tree lit up Society 2021-12-11 16580 NCDC Head says Georgia passed through fifth wave in November “Georgia passed through the fifth wave of the pandemic in November. Now respiratory viruses activate and we may have the increase again,” said Amiran Gamkrelidze, Head of the National Center for Diseases Control and Public Health (NCDC). According to Gamkrelidze, the daily coronavirus cases decrease gradually and the epidemiological situation stabilizes. However, this gives no ground for calmness. Gamkrelidze links the decreasing tendency to the increase of vaccination. He said the low index of facemask wearing and large-scale gatherings remain problematic. NCDC Head says Georgia passed through fifth wave in November Comments 2021-12-11 16579 Georgian President addresses Biden's Democracy Summit Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili has addressed the virtual summit for democracy, hosted by US President Joe Biden. Below is the full speech delivered by President Zourabichvili: “I would like to thank President Biden for initiating such an important summit. One could not have thought a more appropriate moment to launch this initiative, for democracy is today confronted by serious challenges and new threats, to the point that we could say that there is a war declared against democracy. A war which we need all of us to confront with more political will and determination, more consensus in our societies and more solidarity between nations. Every day democracies across the globe are confronted by significant threats that aim at undermining the progress achieved internally, while challenging the law-based international world order: Unresolved conflicts, military clashes, territorial disputes, occupation and frozen conflicts hinder the democratization process, challenge the international order, peace and stability. In addition, new and non-traditional threats have emerged, primarily targeting democratic institutions. Democracies across the globe are now faced with hybrid warfare methods that include cyber-attacks, disinformation, and targeted economic pressures and coercions to name a few. New threats like the Covid pandemic have also been challenging the ability of democracies to find the right balance between protecting the health of society and preserving individual freedoms. Last but not least, democracies are also attacked from within.  Polarization, fake news and hate speech not only fuel internal divisions, but also undermine public institutions and democratic processes including trust in elections or in the media, two of the pillars of democracy. Georgia is subject to all these threats to various degrees: Russia still occupies 20 % of its territories where human rights and democracy ignored. As a small country, we are even more vulnerable to all hybrid threats and even more in need of international solidarity. And the recent past has shown that the polarization has directly affected our democratic institutions and processes. That is why, we feel the urge to respond, react to these challenges and move forward on the path chosen by Georgia 30 years ago, which has led us through multiple difficulties towards democracy, stability and progress. This path has been successful and has made Georgia a reliable partner of NATO and an associated partner of the European Union. In this light, the Georgian Government has committed to the following reforms, notably:  Implement further judicial and electoral reform through an inclusive process. Adopt the new National Human Rights Strategy, the National Action Plan on Combating Violence against Women, and the National Concept document on Women’s Economic Empowerment. The steps are important. I look forward to reporting back on them next year, as they reflect the historic commitment of Georgia to democratic consolidation. But these commitments, as important as they are, will remain insufficient and flawed if we do not find a way to overcome polarization, hate and division that have taken hold of our country – and we are no exception. As the President of Georgia, I, therefore, pledge to initiate an inclusive process, a national conversation involving all of society to find the way to achieve a shared understanding of recent history, to help healing the pains, and move forward. Unless we rebuild a public discourse on foundations of mutual respect, until we can speak about the past, and understand what happened, we will not be able to renew the ties that bind us together, that found our identity and allow to project ourselves in the future with confidence. And that is the surer path to a consolidated democracy that no one would be able to challenge or threaten,” Salome Zourabichvili underscored. Georgian President addresses Biden's Democracy Summit Politics 2021-12-10 16578 Opposition should unite around early, fully proportional elections, UNM Chair says Chairman of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party, Nika Melia believes that the opposition should unite around the demand for early and fully proportional elections. He said change is the only way out of the current crisis. According to Nika Melia, the Georgian society will soon realize that resolution of collective problems is possible only with unity. “Early election is the objective of not only one part or entire opposition. This is the only way to take out the country from a swamp and to change the unbearable present into a welfare future. Trust me nothing will stand on a path of changes,” Melia claimed. The UNM Chair further said that nobody should have an illusion that Mikheil Saakashvili, the person who transformed the country into a state together with his friends and society, would remain in captivity of the oligarch for a long time. “Saakashvili’s imprisonment will end and this country will have a road forward to development,” Nika Melia said during the live-chain rally held in connection with the 18th anniversary of the 2003 Rose Revolution. Ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili was arrested on October 1. He is undergoing post-hunger strike recovery at Gori Military Hospital. Opposition should unite around early, fully proportional elections, UNM Chair says Comments 2021-11-23 16577 Georgian PM to partake in EaP Summit on December 15 Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili will partake in the Eastern Partnership Summit on December 15 this year. Before the EaP Summit, Irakli Garibashvili will attend the meetings of the Associated Trio Prime Ministers that will likely be held on November 30 and December 1. On top of that, PM announced that Georgian President Salome Zourabishvili would participate in the Summit for Democracy organised by US President Joe Biden on December 10. While Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani will partake in the meetings of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Riga, Latvia, on November 30 and December 1, 2021. Georgian PM to partake in EaP Summit on December 15 Politics 2021-11-22 16576 Georgian President to partake in Democracy Summit Georgia received an invitation from US President Biden for the Democracy Summit, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said at today’s Cabinet meeting. “According to our decision, Madam President will participate and represent Georgia in the Democracy Summit to be held on December 10,” PM noted. On top of that, Georgia has been invited to the NATO Ministerial scheduled for December 1-2 and “our country will be represented in the event by David Zalkaliani.” Georgian President to partake in Democracy Summit Politics 2021-11-22 16575 We see many of the reforms are very promising for Georgia - Anna Bjerde, World Bank ECA Vice-President “We see many of the reforms – particularly in human capital development and formation, as well as structural issues, such as SOE reform and building a more green and digitized recovery – to be very promising for Georgia in the years to come” stated Anna Bjerde, World bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia (ECA) after her meeting with H.E. Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia. As she also noted, the World Bank commends Georgia for the economic recovery currently observed in the country. ” I was here over the summer. We had a great opportunity to take stock of our collaboration. It is a very long-standing partnership between the Government of Georgia and the World Bank. We are looking and very much appreciating a strong recovery in economic terms in Georgia in 2021, following a difficult year in 2020. But we also discussed some of the challenges going forward, which of course are focused on the continued surges in COVID and COVID cases, but also the Government’s response in very much around the increasing vaccination rate, but also other incentives and mechanisms to protect the population. We also discussed economic issues. The whole world is finding these challenges with rising inflation and the impact it is having on the economy and population. We talked about the measures being undertaken here in Georgia in terms of monetary policy to address inflation. We also talked about the forthcoming reform program, which the World Bank looks forward to supporting” stated Anna Bjerde, World bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia (ECA). She also pledged the readiness of the World Bank for continuing support of the country in the implementation of key reforms. Anna Bjerde, World Bank ECA Vice-President: We see many of the reforms are very promising for Georgia Economics 2021-11-17 16574 "European University" is now an Individual Associate Member of EUA “European University” is now an Individual Associate Member of EUA According to the EUA Council's decision “European University” is now an Individual Associate Member of EUA. “European University” is the fourth private university in Georgia to become an Individual Associate Member of European University Association, which is unique opportunities to shape European policies and ensures that the independent voice of European universities is heard wherever decisions are being taken. As noted at the “European university”, EUA membership is another significant step towards Georgia's integration into the European education area, and the overall Europeanization process.  It must be noted that the European University Association is one of the largest organizations that unites numerous European universities and organizations in the field of education. Based in Brussels, the Association represents more than 800 universities from 48 European countries. EUA plays a crucial role in the Bologna Process and in influencing EU policies on higher education, research and innovation.  Other benefits of EUA membership include opportunities for members to share best practices and to be involved in projects, events and other mutual-learning international activities.  For more information about the European University Association (EUA), please consult the web-page. "European University" is now an Individual Associate Member of EUA Society 2021-11-08 16573 European University Faculty of Medicine Becomes a Member of ADEE European University Faculty of Medicine has become an institutional member of the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE). The benefits of the institutional membership for our students and staff of Georgian and English dental medicine programs are as follow: •    Participation in the only pan European dental education network. •    Full institutional access (all staff and students) to the European Journal of Dental Education. •    Greatly reduced attendance fee at ADEE annual meeting and events for the staff and students. •    Participation in Special Interest Groups, workshops and task force activities. •    Access to ADEE Executive Committee and other expert panels. •    Involvement in decision-making through questionnaires and consultation processes. •    Regular updates and participation in updates in the field of academic dentistry at a European level. •    Use of ADEE member School logo for promotional and recruitment activities. •    Assess to ADEE best practice guidance and quality improvement activities. Staff and students of the dental medicine program at European University will have an opportunity to participate in the academic activities of ADEE and access other educational resources as well. It is noteworthy that the organization was founded in 1975 as an independent European organization representing academic dentistry and the community of dental educators. Since then, the organization has been playing an essential role in improving the quality of education, advancing dental educators' professional development, and supporting research in the education and training of oral health personnel. European University Faculty of Medicine Becomes a Member of ADEE Society 2021-10-28 16572 Georgia ranks 20th among WB member countries in 2021 Governance Efficiency Ranking Georgia ranked 20th among the World Bank (WB) member countries and 21st in the world based on the global Governance Efficiency Index. In 2021, Georgia scored 62% on the 100% scale and improved by 8 points year on year. According to Tornike Cheishvili, Deputy Georgian Minister of Justice, Governance Efficiency captures perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies. “This success is the result of the Georgian government’s effective work,” Cheishvili said. With 2021 Governance Effectiveness Rankings, Georgia is the leader in the Black Sea region and the Caucasus and outruns the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Israel, etc. The Governance Ranking is topped by Estonia, followed by Ireland, Czechia and Finland. SolAbility, a sustainable intelligence think-tank and consultancy, published the 2021 Governance Effectiveness Rankings. In 2020, Georgia’s scored 75.48% in Government Effectiveness, which was worsened indicator compared to the 2019 ranking (76.92%), when Georgia received the highest score in this dimension year on year. Georgia ranks 20th among WB member countries in 2021 Governance Efficiency Ranking Politics 2021-10-23 16571 An international scientific conference organized by the European University and Embassy of France in Georgia The International Scientific Conference on "Current Issues of Justice: Juvenile Justice" was organized by the European University Institute of Law and the Embassy of France in Georgia on October 23. The conference was opened by the Rector of the European University, Nino Taliashvili, and moderated by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences of the European University, Mariam Bochorishvili. Participants, Georgian and French experts, on the example of Georgia and France, discussed the reforms and changes in the field of juvenile justice. The conference was attended by: Adviser to the Ambassador of France, Cooperation and Culture, Director of the French Institute Pierre Clouet, Judge (Grenoble) Marcel Klajnberg, Representative of the French Ministry of Justice Grégory MARTIN-DIT-NEUVILLE,, UNICEF Representative, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Aleksandre Darakhvelidze,  Professors of the European University Tatia Dolidze and Tamar Laliashvili. Representatives of the embassy - Lola Aubertin, Nailé Olivier, and Natia Mskhaladze have also attended the international scientific conference. It is noteworthy that in the framework of the cooperation between the European University and the Embassy of France in Georgia, joint competition of the University and the Embassy on the topic "European Future of Georgia" was successfully held. The conference was held at the Courtyard Marriott. An international scientific conference organized by the European University and Embassy of France in Georgia Society 2021-10-23 16570 Prisoner Saakashvili not to enjoy privileges - Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said he could not understand why jailed ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili refused to eat and was on a hunger strike. “Prisoner Saakashvili will never be privileged,” he told journalists in Tsageri. “Prisoner Saakashvili does not differ from other convicts, except that he committed much larger crimes against our country, our people and before our future, than other prisoners such as occupation, lost territories, and devastating lives of thousands of people. Saakashvili will remain in prison for at least six years,” Garibashvili claimed. Law enforcers arrested Mikheil Saakashvili in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on October 1 and sent him to N12 Rustavi prison. Ex-president has been on a hunger strike since the very first day of his arrest. Prisoner Saakashvili not to enjoy privileges - Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili Comments 2021-10-23 16569 European Union and WHO support Georgia’s efforts to prepare for the mass COVID-19 vaccination process 72 high quality laptops, 20 tablets, 200 vaccine carriers with 800 icepacks, 300 medical refrigerators with accessories, 300 thermometers, a specialized vaccine-carrier vehicle – this is just short list of the equipment that EU and WHO are donating to the government of Georgia to support the mass COVID-19 vaccination process to be launched in summer.  Today, Mr. Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Georgia and Dr. Silviu Domente, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Georgia visited the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health to hand over part of the equipment and discuss further needs in support for a successful vaccination process.  This donation is just part of the assistance provided by EU and WHO to the Government of Georgia. Since the onset of the pandemic, EU and WHO have worked to ensure effective response to the current COVID-19 crisis and strengthen overall preparedness capacities of health sector in Georgia. Now the EU-WHO action to support deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination in Eastern partnership countries, supports the Government of Georgia with provision of necessary supplies, development of software and mobile applications, training of key personnel involved in vaccinations, monitoring of vaccine efficacy and safety, and development and implementation of a nationwide communication campaign to promote vaccinations and to address vaccines hesitancy. “Vaccines and their roll-out are crucial to overcome the pandemic. In recent days Georgia has received vaccines from Austria and today the EU is proud to hand over equipment as part of our large scale support to Georgia via WHO to ensure that vaccines are used as effectively as possible for maximum impact. The EU and Team Europe continue to stand by Georgia in the pandemic,” – said Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Georgia.  “We expect a real mass vaccination to be initiated in Georgia in July, and we hope the provided equipment will be very useful for the vaccination teams all over the country, along with other support provided under the current EU-WHO action,” – said Silviu Domente, WHO Representative and Head of Georgia Office.  This assistance is part of a wider support package provided by the EU and Team Europe consisting of GEL 1.5 billion of new and reallocated assistance to help Georgia deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including support to vulnerable groups and economic recovery. That is one of the highest levels of EU assistance per capita to any country in the world and demonstrates the EU’s strong solidarity with Georgia at this time of unprecedented crisis. In addition, the EU and Team Europe – including the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and Member States – are some of the strongest supporters of the COVAX, through which Georgia receives part of its vaccines. The EU and Team Europe have so far announced contributions of more than €870 million to the facility. European Union and WHO support Georgia’s efforts to prepare for the mass COVID-19 vaccination process Society 2021-07-08 16568 NCDC: Georgia to secure more COVID vaccines in July The Head of the National Center for Diseases Control and Public Health (NCDC), Amiran Gamkrelidze, confirms that Georgia will secure a wide variety of coronavirus vaccines in the first week of July. According to him, the country should increase its daily vaccination rate significantly in July. “Georgia will probably receive a wide variety of Covid jabs, including 43,000 doses from the COVAX platform, in the first week of July. We have to increase the daily vaccination rate significantly. We have prepared and added additional inoculation units across the country. The large vaccination centre already operates in the Hualing Shopping Mall in Tbilisi. We must manage to conduct mass vaccination in July-August-September,” Amiran Gamkrelidze said. According to him, Georgia expects a significant amount of vaccines from the United States as a donation in a few weeks. NCDC Head also called for more caution as Georgia detected twenty cases of an Indian variant of the coronavirus as of June 24, increasing its growth rate up to 10-20%. “Indian Covid-19 strain is replacing the British variant in Europe. We expect the same scenario in Georgia. Therefore, we should take appropriate preventive measures,” he added. NCDC: Georgia to secure more COVID vaccines in July Society 2021-06-24 16567 Georgia reports 773 coronavirus cases Georgia has reported 773 coronavirus cases, 575 recoveries, and 12 deaths on Wednesday, the official figures show. 37,923 tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours throughout the country. Among them, 20,636 tests were rapid tests, while the remaining 17,287 were PCR tests. Georgia’s total case tally reached 360,828, among them, 346,792 people recovered and 5,211 died. The daily test-positivity rate stands at 2,04%, while 2,42% in the past 14 days. There are 33 people placed in government-assigned quarantine facilities, 2,633 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized, 583 asymptomatic, and mild symptom patients are being treated at government-assigned treatment facilities. As of today, 242,451 people got the coronavirus vaccine. Georgia reports 773 coronavirus cases Society 2021-06-23 16566 Media endorses Ecumenical Patriarch's commitment to unite Christians The attention of journalists was attracted by the frank letter of Archbishop Job Gecha to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. What is so interested in the media that published this document? The new Metropolitan of Italy, Exarch of Southern Europe of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Polycarp (Stavropoulos), met with Pope Francis at the end of May, after which he gave an interview in which he announced one of his main missions - to promote ecumenical dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. As Vladyka noted, "it was a cordial meeting between his son and his beloved father, a meeting between the bishop and his archbishop and patriarch." And also another example of Phanar's commitment to the idea of ​​unification with Rome.  The Greek Reporter published an article based on a letter from the Permanent Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches, Archbishop Job Gecha of Telmis to Patriarch Bartholomew (see the full text of the document in Italian at the link), the news site reported. The GreekReporter reporter praises this letter as a confirmation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's commitment to restoring Eucharistic unity with Rome.  What in the letter of the Archbishop of Telmis could interest the media, and how his ideas can affect the Orthodox world - this is what explains. From the words of the archbishop, it follows that on Phanarede they really plan to develop an ecumenical dialogue with Roman Catholics and in the future they intend to get closer to Rome. However, the position of the Russian Orthodox Church is the main problem on the way to this goal. Therefore, in order to deprive the ROC of dialogue with the Vatican, it is proposed to address the situation with the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and to introduce the clergy of the OCU into the Orthodox part of the commission. As Archbishop Job claims in his letter, it was Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of the Russian Orthodox Church who hindered the dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches from year to year, and asked the Catholics to resolve the issue of communism. It is not excluded that Patriarch Bartholomew and his entourage, for this very reason, have a special dislike for Metropolitan Hilarion.  Meanwhile, Archbishop Job found a way out: the dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics on the issue of union will be replaced by a pre-planned agreement between autocephalists and Uniates in Ukraine. In addition, Constantinople intends to ignore the positions of the Antiochian, Serbian, Georgian, Bulgarian, Polish Churches, the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, which also do not support a hasty rapprochement with the Catholic Church, justifying this by the fact that they are only “well-known satellites” of the Russian Orthodox Church who blindly follow her in political matters. Thus, if, because of this, representatives of these churches cease to participate in the work of the Orthodox Catholic Commission, then this will play into the hands of Patriarch Bartholomew. He will be able to declare the restoration of communion between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, especially since he still identifies the Orthodox world only with himself.  What the reunification of Western and Eastern Christianity will cost, if it takes place, is even scary to imagine. Indeed, in the event of annexation, the most important thing for Constantinople is the issue of place and status in the Roman Church, and not the expansion of the Uniates in Ukraine and Romania, and not the dogmatic problems of the Filioque. It turns out that the rumors circulated by the Phanar hierarchs about the planned unification of the OCU and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church are not unfounded. Everything once again suggests that the repeated facts of the joint ministry of hierarchs and clergy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Uniates is a well-thought-out policy of the OCU, which Phanara knows and approves, and not the arbitrariness of individual representatives of the clergy. In general, there is no doubt that if a bilateral commission is created with the participation of the OCU and the UGCC, which Archbishop Job speaks of, it will be declared that there are no obstacles to unification and joint service.  The Supreme Archbishop of the UGCC Svyatoslav Shevchuk, in contrast to the head of the Church of Constantinople and the hierarchs under his influence, has long and frankly said about the obvious fact: a single “Kiev Church” can only be under the auspices of the Roman bishop. From the revelations of Archbishop Job, it follows that this will not in any way affect the vain and dangerous intentions of Patriarch Bartholomew, who decided to use the OCU as an opportunity for a new union with Rome. Perhaps the OCU was created precisely with these intentions. Media endorses Ecumenical Patriarch's commitment to unite Christians World 2021-06-23 16565 Wearing facemask outdoor becomes voluntary Wearing the facemasks outdoor will no longer be compulsory starting June 22, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced at the governmental administration. “The facemask rule indoor and in public transport still stands,” PM claimed. According to Giorgi Ghibradze, Head of the Task Force operating at the Inter-Agency Coordination Council, people will also have to wear facemasks at bus stops. Wearing facemask outdoor becomes voluntary Society 2021-06-22 16563 Georgia to get one million Covid vaccine shots in two weeks Georgia will receive one million Covid-19 vaccine shots in two weeks, and an intensive vaccination process will launch, declared Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili after the Interagency Coordination Council meeting on Tuesday. Also, the facemask rule becomes voluntary outdoor though stands for indoor and public transport. The Interagency Coordination Council also decided to lift movement restrictions from July 1. Georgia to get one million Covid vaccine shots in two weeks Society 2021-06-22 16562 Movement restrictions to lift from July 1 The night-hours movement restriction will lift from July 1, according to the Interagency Coordination Council decision. The Georgian government restricted movement on November 28, 2020, as one of the measures to curb mobility. Movement ban stood from 9 pm to 5 am during the pandemic period, though reduced from 11 pm to 4 am this June. Movement restrictions to lift from July 1 Society 2021-06-22 16561 Rustaveli Theater to participate in Chekhov Festival in Moscow The troupe of the Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi Theater, headed by artistic director Robert Sturua, will participate in the Chekhov Theater Festival in Moscow. On June 30, July 1 and 2, Georgian artists will present the performance “The End of the Game”, the staging of which is dedicated to the memory of Gia Kancheli. “We are very pleased to be able to show the Russian audience our play. It’s an unusual play by an unusual author, and I don’t think the actors play badly either”, - said director Robert Sturua. Some artists perceive the tour of the Rustaveli National Theater as both a state position and therefore oppose their departure. Rustaveli Theater to participate in Chekhov Festival in Moscow Culture 2021-06-21 16564 Rompetrol Georgia Is Headed by New General Manager Rompetrol Georgia is headed by new General Manager. Giorgiy Aiozba replaced Zamanbek Mirzayanov on the stated position. The changes in the company are related to the planned rotation of the management. Giorgiy Aiozba has many years of experience working in the gas & oil business. He joined the team of Rompetrol Georgia in 2020 and held the position of Advisor to the General Director of Rompetrol Georgia prior to taking up the post. “The new position is a big challenge for me. This is a great responsibility both in front of the state and  each customer.  Georgia is a very interesting and attractive country in terms of business development. As we all know, the pandemic has changed a lot, but I think crisis situations give us the opportunity to look at every process from a different angle which increases efficiency and opens up new opportunities. I’m a reformer by nature and I love it when my efforts yield results. There will be some novelties in the company, but our main course - to offer our customers fuel of highest standard European quality - will remain unchanged.” – says the General Manager of Rompetrol Georgia Giorgiy Aiozba. The future plans of the new General Manager envisage the network expansion region-wide and development of the gas stations in new directions. With its new strategy, the company will offer additional services to customers that will make their travel even more comfortable. The new Borjomi gas station is the flagship, where a shop and gastro area will be opened soon. Rompetrol Georgia has been developing steadily and successfully on the local market for 16 years already. It is one of the largest importers of fuel in Georgia and offers its customers the highest quality fuel of Euro 5 standard. Its owner Group, KMG International, with 6000 employees, operates in 11 countries of Europe and Central Asia and is one of the largest players in the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions. Rompetrol Georgia Is Headed by New General Manager Business 2021-04-26 16560 Rompetrol will actively engage in the work of the Kazakh-Georgian Economic Union Rompetrol Georgia will actively engage in the work of the Kazakh-Georgian Economic Union. The company is one of the founders of the Union, the purpose of which is to deepen investment and trade cooperation, the development of tourism, and cultural ties between the two countries. The Kazakh-Georgian Economic Union was created by a joint initiative and efforts of the Embassy of Kazakhstan and Kazakh-Georgian business. The meeting of the founders of the Union was attended by employees of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Georgia, representatives of Kazakh companies, media and other interested parties.  “The Kazakh-Georgian Economic Union will contribute to strengthening trade and economic partnership and cultural friendly relations between the two countries. My role as the Honorary Consul includes promoting bilateral economic relations and increasing trade and investment between Georgia and the countries of the Central Asian region." - says the Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in Georgia, Giorgi Jakhutashvili. “Joining the Union is a good step towards deepening business relations between the two countries. The Union will focus on investment, trade, tourism, social, and cultural life of the two countries. Rompetrol will actively engage in the work process and we think we will take many positive steps in this direction,” – said at Rompetrol. Together with Rompetrol Georgia, the founders of the Union are business companies and corporations created with Kazakh capital, operating in the Georgian market: Halyk Bank Georgia, Capitol Investment Group, Batumi Oil Terminal, Air Astana, Silk Road Group, and GK Logistic. About 30 companies with a total investment capital of $450 million have been established in Georgia with the participation of Kazakh capital. These companies employ over 3,500 people. Projects worth $30 million are being smoothly implemented in Georgia with the participation of Kazakh capital. Rompetrol Georgia has been developing steadily and successfully on the local market for 15 years already. It is one of the largest importers of fuel in Georgia and offers its customers the highest quality fuel of Euro 5 standard. Its owner Group, KMG International, with 6000 employees, operates in 11 countries of Europe and Central Asia and is one of the largest players in the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions Rompetrol will actively engage in the work of the Kazakh-Georgian Economic Union Economics 2021-03-30 16559 Carl Hartzell, Archil Talakvadze, and Davit Zalkaliani addressed the European University Online Winter School participants European University launches online winter school, "Europeanization and Democratization: Georgia and the European Union". The winter school was opened today and its participants were addressed by the Rector of the European University Nino Taliashvili, the Ambassador of the European Union Carl Hartzell, the chairman of the Parliament of Georgia Archil Talakvadze, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Zalkaliani. "Online Winter School" Europeanization and Democratization: EU and Georgia "is the first tangible result of the cooperation between the European University and the European Union, of which our university is very proud. Within the framework of the Winter School, you will receive interactive information from European University professors about Georgia's Europeanization and Democratization, the thematic issues covered by the Association Agreement, Georgia's European foreign and regional policy, and current challenges of Europeanization. "Legislative and executive representatives, civil society leaders and industry experts will share their practical experience."- Rector of European University Nino Taliashvili addressed the participants. The Winter School is organized by the European University, which received financial support from the Erasmus + Jean Monnet program under the EU Grant Competition (620916-EPP-1-2020-1-GE-EPPJMO-MODULE). This module also provides for research and conferences by the academic team. Carl Hartzell, Archil Talakvadze, and Davit Zalkaliani addressed the European University Online Winter School participants Society 2021-02-17 16558 The UK calls for the immediate release of Zaza Gakheladze - British Embassy in Tbilisi The Embassy of the United Kingdom has issued a statement regarding the illegal detention of Zaza Gakheladze, demanding his immediate release. “The UK calls for the immediate release of Mr Gakheladze who has been illegally sentenced to prison for 12 years and 6 months in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. All Georgian citizens should have the right to travel freely within Georgia’s internationally recognized borders. The UK supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, - reads the statement of the Embassy. The UK calls for the immediate release of Zaza Gakheladze - British Embassy in Tbilisi Politics 2021-02-09 16557 Coronavirus in Georgia - 829 new cases, 566 recoveries and 8 deaths 829 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Georgia in the last 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 detected in the country since the first infection 263 057. 566 patients recovered from coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 254 916. According to the website, 8 more patients have died from coronavirus in Georgia. Totally 3 306 people died from COVID-19 in the country. 430 people are under quarantine and 2 149 - under hospital supervision. Coronavirus in Georgia - 829 new cases, 566 recoveries and 8 deaths Society 2021-02-09 16556 Health Ministry negotiates with Covid-19 vaccine producers Georgian Health Ministry continues negotiations with the Covid-19 vaccine producers to import additional vaccine volumes to Georgia, Ekaterine Tikaradze said. Negotiations are underway to determine volumes and details of the AstraZeneca vaccine’s import from the Covax platform, Tikaradze added. Medical personnel and risk groups would get the first shots, the Health Minister said. She claimed that vaccination would be voluntary though stressed the importance of immunization to ‘timely return to the normal lifestyle.’ Health Ministry negotiates with Covid-19 vaccine producers Comments 2021-02-03 16555 Ukraine’s President Zelensky blocks three channels Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued a decree effectively preventing three television channels from broadcasting. The three channels:, NewsOne and Zik have been identified by media monitors as responsible for over 50% of the pro-Russian propaganda and disinformation in Ukraine, however there may well be questions over the move’s legality. The sanctions were also imposed against the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the Opposition Platform – For Life faction, Taras Kozak, who is the owner of the said TV companies. Ukraine’s President Zelensky blocks three channels World 2021-02-03 16554 Joe Biden signs immigration orders Joe Biden signed three executive orders to roll back Trump-era regulations restricting legal immigration and to reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. “President Biden believes that immigrants are essential to who we are as a nation and critical to our aspirations for the future”, - according to a White House memo. “The prior administration enacted hundreds of policies that run counter to our history and undermine America’s character as a land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all who come here seeking protection and opportunity”. One directive orders agencies to do a “top-to-bottom review of recent regulations, policies and guidance that have set up barriers to our legal immigration system”, including a re-examination of the public charge rule, which places green card applicants under intense additional financial scrutiny. Agencies will need to submit any suggested changes and steps already taken within 60 days. Another order establishes a government task force to reunite the more than 5,000 families separated at the border under Trump’s 2018 “zero tolerance” policy. Alejandro Mayorkas, the new secretary of Homeland Security, will lead the task force. A third order mandates a review of Trump’s policies limiting asylum and commits to developing a strategy to manage migration across Central America. Joe Biden signs immigration orders World 2021-02-03 16553 Statement by "European University" As you know, today the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Giorgi Gakharia held a meeting with the Ambassador of India to Armenia and Georgia, Mr. Kishan Dan Dewal. For us, as a university where many Indian students study, this step of the Indian state is very welcome, because the direct presence of the Embassy in Georgia will further deepen our intercultural relations, it will also facilitate greater integration of Indian students into the local community. As you know, "European University" in turn cooperates with various countries in an exchange program in which our students - including Indian students are involved and represented. Statement by "European University" Justice 2021-02-03 16552 Hope, GD and the opposition can bridge their differences, rather than burn bridges – Marina Kaljurand Hope, GD and the opposition can bridge their differences, rather than burn bridges – Marina Kaljurand Marina Kaliurand, member of the European Parliament, hopes that the Georgian Dream and the opposition will be able to resolve their differences by working in a multi-party parliament. “As the parliament of Georgia holds its first spring session today, I hope that the GD and the opposition can bridge their differences by working together in a diverse, multiparty Parliament, rather than burn bridges”, - twitted the MEP. Hope, GD and the opposition can bridge their differences, rather than burn bridges – Marina Kaljurand Politics 2021-02-03 16551 The decision that was taken by the Parliament yesterday was a right step to take - Carl Hartzell The decision that was taken by the Parliament yesterday was a right step to take - Carl Hartzell The decision that was taken by the Parliament yesterday not to revoke the mandates was a right step to take, said today the EU Ambassador to Georgia. According to him, the above is a precondition to continue the negotiations. “There are possibilities to find an agreement that will allow for overall-based participation in the Parliament. I find this the only good outcome of the current crisis. Everything else, I think, will be a loss for the ruling party, it will be a loss for the opposition, and most importantly, loss for the Georgian population”, - added Carl Hartzell. The decision that was taken by the Parliament yesterday was a right step to take - Carl Hartzell Politics 2021-02-03 16550 The “Citizens” have already arrived in the Parliament to attend the first session Aleko Elisashvili and Levan Ioseliani, members of the “Citizens” party, have already arrived in the Parliament to attend the first sitting of the spring session of the 10th convocation parliament. Citizens made the decision to enter the Parliament 4 days ago. On the same day of the agreement, a memorandum was signed between the Georgian Dream and the Citizens party. According to the text of the document, the signatory parties agree on the implementation of fundamental electoral reform. The “Citizens” have already arrived in the Parliament to attend the first session Politics 2021-02-02 16549 The Ambassador of France inspected the medical building of the "European University" The Ambassador of France inspected the medical building of the "European University" The European University Medical Corps was visited by the Ambassador of France to Georgia Diego Colas, hosted by Lasha Kandelakishvili, Founder of the European University, and Nino Taliashvili, Rector of the European University. During the meeting, the parties discussed the prospects for future development and expressed readiness to strengthen and develop close cooperation in the field of medicine, with the involvement of French professors. Representatives of the Administration of the Faculty of Medicine visited the Ambassador's study environment, simulation center and laboratories for students of dentistry and medicine programs. In addition, the parties discussed the importance of internationalization of education and the international experience that exists at the faculty. Various aspects of future cooperation with France in the areas of teaching, clinical practice and research were also discussed. The Ambassador of France inspected the medical building of the "European University" Society 2021-02-01 16548 GeoStat: Economy down by 6.1% in 2020 The Georgian economy reduced by 6.1% in December of 2020 based on the year-on-year data. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) downfall was 7.9%, the Georgian National Statistics Bureau GeoStat reported. The downgrade is observed in accommodation, construction, art, entertainment, transport, warehousing, wholesale and retail trade, motor transport maintenance. Finance and insurance services, water supply, sewage works, garbage recycling, information and communication, mining industry increased. GeoStat: Economy down by 6.1% in 2020 Economics 2021-02-01 16547 PM: First shots of Pfizer vaccine to be imported till end of February The first shots of Pfizer Covid vaccines will be imported in Georgia till the end of February, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia wrote on Facebook. The head of the Georgian government thanked Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) for ‘unprecedented’ support. PM said vaccination of the medical personnel would begin upon receipt of the vaccine shots in compliance with the national vaccination plan. PM: First shots of Pfizer vaccine to be imported till end of February Comments 2021-02-01 16546 Dry weather in forecast till February 5 Dry and warm weather is prognosticated in Georgia till February 5, the National Environment Agency reported. The air temperature during the day hours will be +18, +23 in the meadow of west Georgia, while +12, +17 in east the eastern regions. Dry weather is expected in Tbilisi with the air temperature +14, +16. Dry weather in forecast till February 5 Society 2021-02-01 16545 Call for Online Winter School “Europeanization and Democratization: Georgia and the European Union” The European University opens a Call for ONLINE Winter School “Europeanization and Democratization: Georgia and the European Union” scheduled on 17-26 February 2021, in the frameworks of the European Union’s Jean Monnet Module (620916-EPP-1-2020-1-GE-EPPJMO-MODULE). Winter School participants will be selected based on an open competition. Who can participate?: - Students of faculties of law, international relations, business, economy, humanities, social or political sciences of European University and any other university accredited in Georgia. - Pupils of last grade of any school in Georgia. Those who wish to participate in the Winter School should register no later than 5 February 2021 on the following link: . The Winter School team will contact the selected participants. Winter School participants will engage with the European Union professors in discussing Georgia’s Europeanization and democratization processes, thematic issues related to the Association Agreement, Georgia’s European foreign and regional policies, current challenges of Europeanization, etc. High-level officials of legislative and executive branches of power of Georgia, diplomats and experts will also participate in the discussions. The Winter School will be hold in online regime using Zoom platform. All Winter School participants will be awarded by certificates. One distinct participant will be given an opportunity to prepare and publish a brochure. All participants will also have a chance to engage in other activities of the Jean Monnet module in 2021-2023 and communicate with key decision makers of Georgia. Detailed program of the Winter School will be published on European University’s website shortly. Call for Online Winter School “Europeanization and Democratization: Georgia and the European Union” Society 2021-01-29 16544 A memorandum of cooperation was signed between the European University and the Ariel University A memorandum of cooperation was signed between the European University and the Ariel University (Israel). Within the framework of the memorandum, the parties express their readiness to strengthen and develop close cooperation in the field of medical sciences and clinical practice. It should be noted that within the framework of the memorandum, organized by the International Relations Office of the European University, an international week has already been planned for European University medical students. A memorandum of cooperation was signed between the European University and the Ariel University Society 2021-01-22 16543 Georgian President meets EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, met with the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi in Brussels on Friday. “Good meeting with President Salome Zourabichvili. Confirmed EU stands by Georgia in the fight against COVID- 19, including when it comes to ensuring early access to vaccines. We will also support economic development and recovery. Connectivity in this context is key”, EU Commissioner tweeted. President Zourabichvili also echoed the meeting on the Tweeter. “Thank you for a productive meeting, Mr. Commissioner. Indeed, the road to recovery must pass through solidarity. I’m glad that Georgia, as one of Europe’s closest partners, can count on the support of the EU Commission”, President wrote. Thank you for a productive meeting, Mr. Commissioner. Indeed, the road to recovery must pass through solidarity. I'm glad that Georgia, as one of Europe's closest partners, can count on the support of the @EU_Commission. 🇬🇪🇪🇺 — Salome Zourabichvili (@Zourabichvili_S) January 22, 2021 Georgian President meets EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Politics 2021-01-22 16542 There is a stabilization of the epidemiological situation in Georgia - Amiran Gamkrelidze There is a stabilization of the epidemiological situation in Georgia - Amiran Gamkrelidze The epidemiological situation in the country is stabilizing. Such a statement mad today the Director-General of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. “From December 21, there has been a serious drop in the incidence rate - we estimate a 7 or 14-day average number per 100 000 inhabitants, and since January 11, it has already crossed the plateau. There is a stabilization of the epidemiological situation in Georgia. We have to be very careful with all the openings, so if something is eased - it is necessary to observe for 2 weeks how the epidemic situation will follow”, - said Amiran Gamkrelidze. The Interagency Coordination Council approved the plan for the gradual removal of restrictions There is a stabilization of the epidemiological situation in Georgia - Amiran Gamkrelidze Society 2021-01-22 16541 Regular flights to be resumed in all directions from February Regular flights will be resumed in all directions from February, said today the Minister of Economy after the meeting of the Interagency Coordination Council. “We have considered it possible to lift restrictions on regular flights from February 1. This means that all airlines that have operated and continue to operate in Georgia, or even new airlines that wish to enter our country, will be able to schedule and operate regular flights at certain frequencies. Of course, this will be done in compliance with all medical protocols and safety rules. Many airlines around the world already do this”, - said Natia Turnava. Regular flights to be resumed in all directions from February Economics 2021-01-22 16540 Namakhvani Hydropower Plant Project Launches a New Website ENKA (ENKA İnşaat ve Sanayi A.Ş.), the company implementing the Namakhvami Hydropower Plant (HPP) cascade project, has launched a new website - Along with the essential information about the project, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, the studies conducted by the international and Georgian experts based on which the EIA report was prepared, as well as the relevant permits granted to the project were granted, are available on the website. "Namakhvani HPP is the largest investment project in Georgia today and, naturally, the public interest is high. Our priority is to work based on the principles of transparency and make the information about the project available to our stakeholders. The new website will help us in this, ” stated Zeki Kocaoglu, General Manager. Namakhvani HPP Cascade is a project of state importance, the purpose of which is to reduce the country's dependency on the electricity import and enhance its energy independence. The project is being implemented with an FDI that amounts to up to $800 million. The annual generation of the 430-megawatt cascade will reach up to 1,500 GWh, which is equal to 11.7% of Georgia's total electricity consumption in 2019. Namakhvani Hydropower Plant Project Launches a New Website Region 2021-01-22 16539 The Court’s ruling adds further weight to the international community’s demand that Russia cease its blatant violations of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – the U.S. Embassy "In the state-to-state case of Georgia v. Russia on the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, the Court ruled clearly in favor of Georgia and found Russia responsible for violating multiple articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, including by detaining and torturing individuals, and denying Georgian citizens the right to return to their homes. The court further found the Russian government has not conducted a full or adequate investigation into the events that took place during and after the hostilities. The Court’s ruling adds further weight to the international community’s demand that Russia cease its blatant violations of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia’s attempts to control and exploit the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia through borderization, arbitrary detentions, restrictions of movement across the administrative boundary lines, and establishment of socio-economic and military “agreements” between Russia and the two Georgian regions are particularly concerning and unacceptable. These actions threaten the lives, culture, and personal freedoms of people living in these Georgian territories, and deny them the ability to exercise rights and access opportunities that should be available to all Georgian citizens”, - reads the statement. The Court’s ruling adds further weight to the international community’s demand that Russia cease its blatant violations of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – the U.S. Embassy Politics 2021-01-22 16538 A memorandum of cooperation has been signed between the European University and the Cyber Security Group A memorandum of cooperation has been signed between the European University and the Cyber Security Group. The memorandum was signed by the rector of "European University" Nino Taliashvili and the director of the "Cyber Security Group" Vepkhia Chkadua. According to the parties, the purpose of the memorandum is to develop cyber security and promote the creation of national products in this direction. It should be noted that within the framework of cooperation, the parties strive to strengthen and develop relations. Recognize the possibility of making full use of the learning potential for the mutual interest of educational cooperation and perfecting higher education for future generations. A memorandum of cooperation has been signed between the European University and the Cyber Security Group Justice 2021-01-22 16534 This decision is a great achievement for our country - Salome Zourabichvili The decision of the Strasbourg Court regarding the 2008 Russia-Georgia war is a great achievement for our country. Such a statement made today the President pf Georgia while commenting on the decision of the Court. “It is very important that Strasbourg made this historic decision today. It is historical, nothing happens by chance - it happens 100 years after our occupation, 30 years after we regained our independence and 12 years have passed since the 2008 war. It is extremely important that for the first time in history and for the first time in the history of other countries it happens that Georgia is legally justified. The state is recognized as a victim of this war and it is a great achievement for our country, our society, our history and our future because it is the foundation on which we must build our future and our unity”, - said Salome Zourabichvili. This decision is a great achievement for our country - Salome Zourabichvili Comments 2021-01-21 16536 This is a common victory! - Giorgi Gakharia on the decision of the Strasbourg court Georgia won over Russia in the European Court of Human Rights, said the Prime Minister, while commenting the ECHR’s judgment on Georgia v. Russia August War 2008. “Today is the most important day in Georgia’s recent history. Georgia-Russia dispute ended in Georgia’s victory at the European Court of Human Rights! This is a common victory! ”, - writes Giorgi Gakharia on his Facebook page. This is a common victory! - Giorgi Gakharia on the decision of the Strasbourg court Politics 2021-01-21 16537 Georgia has won the dispute with Russia – Tea Tsulukiani Georgia has won the dispute with Russia, writes the Chairperson of the Education Committee Tea Tsulukiani. “We have won! Congratulations, Georgia! Congratulations to everyone on the great victory! “Georgia has won the dispute with Russia! The Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court announced this most important decision for us at the oral hearing a few minutes ago! Georgia has never had such a document before. It is a legal document and legally opposes any recognition and self-recognition of the indivisible parts of Georgia as “independent states”. This is a legal document that will enable the real strengthening of Georgia’s legal and political positions on the way to the peaceful restoration of our country’s territorial integrity”, - writes the former minister of Justice. Georgia has won the dispute with Russia – Tea Tsulukiani Comments 2021-01-21 16535 A memorandum of cooperation was sighed between the European University and Kherson state Agrarian-Economic University A memorandum of cooperation was signed between the European University and Kherson State Agrarian-Economic University (Ukraine). The memorandum was signed by the Rector of the European University, Nino Taliashvili, and the Vice-Rector in the scientific section of the Kherson Agrarian-Economic State University, Alexander Averchev. Within the framework of the Memorandum, with the prospects of future development, the parties express their readiness to strengthen and develop cooperation on the basis of mutual interest. It is noteworthy that the European University Scientific research institute of economic and social issues of globalization has been collaborating with the Kherson Agrarian-Economic University for the second year in a row, In such separate areas as: joint research, preparation of international collective monograph, joint grant project. A memorandum of cooperation was sighed between the European University and Kherson state Agrarian-Economic University Society 2021-01-15 16533 Rompetrol to Provide Lunch to Medical Personnel Fighting Against Covid-19 for Three Months Period Rompetrol Georgia expresses its gratitude to medical personnel fighting against the pandemic and will provide lunch for medical staff working at the Covid clinics. Rompetrol will implement this project with the involvement of Amo-Ra cafe, where 1000 lunchboxes will be prepared for sending out to the clinics. The lunchboxes will be accompanied by thank-you messages on behalf of each employee of Rompetrol Georgia, so that every employee of Rompetrol will be able to personally thank the dedicated doctors and nurses working at the Covid Clinics and Fever Centers. The Rompetrol Georgia team obtained the amount necessary for the project implementation - GEL 13000, by winning the Rompetrol international New Year competition. The contest was participated by all those countries where Rompetrol operates. Rompetrol organizes a grand New Year's event every year in Romania which is participated by up to 5000 employees from different countries. Due to the Covid pandemic, this year's event took on an unusual format. It was held online, where all the countries have presented the competitive videos with the participation of the employees, on the following topic: "Rompetrol Family, Togetherness, Care, Christmas". Certain amount of budget was allocated for the winning country to carry out the charitable activity it coveted for and which should have been presented by the countries before the launch of the competition. The Rompetrol Georgia team has chosen to support and express gratitude to the medical personnel fighting against the Covid pandemic as a preferable charity direction,” said Teona Shalamberidze, Marketing Manager at Rompetrol Georgia. The Rompetrol Georgia team, like other countries, presented a competition video at the online event created with the participation of employees, which won by receiving the majority of the votes. "The main character of the competitive video clip is our gas station operator who is waiting for the Christmas at the petrol station alone, while on duty, but his sad mood suddenly changes when Rompetrol employees unexpectedly join him and celebrate Christmas with him," the company said. Rompetrol Georgia has implemented other projects aiming at supporting the medical sector during the pandemic. Within its corporate social responsibility, the company contributed to the fight against Covid 19 and delivered 60000 liters of fuel free of charge to the Emergency Situations Coordination and Urgent Assistance Center in April and May. In December, Rompetrol helped the Feristsvaleba nursing home and donated 500 liters of fuel, thus, ensuring seamless implementation of one of the institution’s priority project during the pandemic that is Home Care Program. Rompetrol Georgia has been developing steadily and successfully on the local market for 15 years already. It is one of the largest importers of fuel in Georgia and offers its customers the highest quality fuel of Euro 5 standard. Its owner Group, KMG International, with 6000 employees, operates in 11 countries of Europe and Central Asia and is one of the largest players in the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions. Rompetrol to Provide Lunch to Medical Personnel Fighting Against Covid-19 for Three Months Period Politics 2021-01-11 16532 "The Knight in the panther’s skin" was published in Hindi in India Shota Rustaveli’s “The Knight in the panther’s skin” was published in Hindi in India. The idea of translating and publishing " The Knight in the panther’s skin " in Hindi belongs to the Ambassador of Georgia to the Republic of India, Mr. Archil Dzuliashvili. The presentation of the poem in Hindi was held online within the framework of the Jaipur Book Festival. As the Ambassador said during the presentation, he was supporting the idea of translating and publishing the "The Knight in the panther’s skin" in Hindi for quite a long time and started working for the realization of this project right after arriving in India in diplomatic mission. "In 2016, when I first arrived in India in diplomatic mission to represent my country, Georgia, I was given the unique opportunity to get acquainted better with the Indian culture, having immediately gained a very important and special place in my heart. With ancient cultures and traditions, Georgia and India have always been close to each other. From the very first day of my arrival in India, I felt strongly motivated to introduce the brilliance of Georgian literature to the Indian readers, and today, I am glad to inform you that for the first time, one of the greatest masterpieces of the Georgian literature, "The Knight in the panther’s skin", written by the renowned Georgian poet, Shota Rustaveli, was finally published in Hindi. It is a poem which narrates about the universal values describing the permanent struggle between the light and the darkness. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the successful implementation of this glorious project and also, congratulate everyone on the successful completion of this historic project. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the directors of the Literature Festival, for allowing us to present this epic poem from Georgia. Thanks to everyone who stood with us and supported us," Archil Dzuliashvili said at the online presentation held in the framework of the Jaipur Book Festival. "The Knight in the panther’s skin" was published in Hindi in India Culture 2020-12-15 16531 The Ambassador of France met the Acting Rector of the European University The Ambassador of France, Diego Callas met the Acting Rector of the European University Nino Taliashvili. The online meeting was about popularizing European values and raising EU awareness among the students. “I’m very happy to work with    European university. I like the idea of the competition very much, because France has a lot of experience in similar competitions. The French Embassy will use its own resources to spread the information about the competition within Georgian-French schools, so that the students of the school can participate in the competition." - Diego Callas, The Ambassador of France; “I would like to thank you for the meeting, as well as for your contribution you make between the two countries. It is important that we work together not only in Tbilisi but also in the regions to talk to young people about European values. The goal and plan of our university is to get closer to the European Union, and this is the goal of the project too, which will start on January next year”- Nino Taliashvili; It should be noted that the project includes an essay competition for high school students; Detail information will be posted on the websites of the European University and the Embassy of France. The Ambassador of France met the Acting Rector of the European University Society 2020-12-07 16530 Georgia reports 5 450 new coronavirus cases, 2 306 recoveries Georgia has reported 5 450 new coronavirus cases, 2 306 recoveries, and 37 deaths in the past 24 hours, the data has recently been updated on, a special webpage created by the Georgian government. In total, Georgia’s confirmed coronavirus cases increased to 158 154, among them 129 210 recovered and 1 462 died. There are 1 325 people placed in government-assigned quarantine facilities and 52 850 people remain in self-isolation. Currently, 4 067 patients undergo treatment at COVID hotels, 6 768 people remain at hospitals, and 16 621 infected people manage their symptoms at home. Georgia reports 5 450 new coronavirus cases, 2 306 recoveries Society 2020-12-05 16529 The Faculty of Medicine of the European University has published the second issue of the scientific student journal The second issue of the scientific student journal "Biomedical and core clinical research practice" was published by the European University. The journal was founded in 2019 and not only the students of European University but students from other Georgian and Foreign Universities are eligible to publish articles in the journal. The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the European University says that journal promotes the dissemination of materials on innovations, achievements and research in the field of medicine. “The fact that the journal is run by European University students is also important in promoting students engagement in research. The honorary editor-in-chief of the publication is Prof. Brun Joan-Frederic (France) and the editorial board is represented by the academic staff of the Medical Faculty of the European University. Georgian and international students who work in different scientific directions can cooperate with the journal. The journal is published in English,"- said Natia Jojua, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. The Faculty of Medicine of the European University has published the second issue of the scientific student journal Society 2020-12-05 16528 We will continue to talk with 7 parties - Carl Hartzell We will continue to talk with seven political parties. Such a statement made today the EU Ambassador to Georgia after the meeting with representatives of the opposition. “Today, we had a discussion with seven opposition parties. We will now consider this and see how we can use that to bring things forward. It is important that there is continuous thinking on all sides about how to find that magic common ground that we hope will be possible to be found in the end. I would not be able to say more than that at this point. For me, it’s clear that these discussions are going to be difficult, but I think it should be possible objectively to find a way forward that will meet many of the concerns heard in the last couple of weeks but also bring things forward for the sake of both stability and continued democracy here in Georgia”, - said Carl Hartzell. We will continue to talk with 7 parties - Carl Hartzell Politics 2020-12-04 16526 Police fine taxi driver and his accompanying person in Tbilisi for violating isolation and quarantine rules The Ministry of Internal Affairs, in accordance with the decision made by the Interagency Coordination Council of the Government of Georgia, continues to monitor the implementation of the rules and recommendations imposed against the spread of COVID-19 across the country. On December 4, officers of the Central Criminal Police Department fined two covid-infected citizens - a taxi driver and his accompanying person while they were driving on Abashidze Street in Tbilisi. B.Tch. (Born in 1966) And B.C. (born in 1960) are infected with the coronavirus and have been included in the list of infected persons by the COVID-19 since November 27, 2020. Both men, instead of being isolated, were driving in the streets of the city in a car owned by B.Tch. which is a violation in accordance with the Code of Administrative Offences. In addition, the infected B.Tch. systematically transported passengers by the mentioned taxi. Both covid-infected persons were fined 2,000-2,000 GEL each for the crime envisaged under the Article 4210 of the Code of Administrative Offences. After the mentioned, infected individuals have been transferred to the hotel. The Ministry of Internal Affairs calls on citizens to demonstrate high public responsibility, observe the requirements of the law and obey the established regulations. Police fine taxi driver and his accompanying person in Tbilisi for violating isolation and quarantine rules Justice 2020-12-04 16527 Competition for the selection of Medical Doctor Students to participate in the IFMSA exchange project was held at the European University Competition for Medical Doctor Students to participate in the IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students Association) exchange project was held at the Faculty of Medicine of the European University.  Within the project, students will take one month (28 days) of clinical practice during 2021-22 years in one of the participating Countries (Italy, Moldova, Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Peru). Six Medical Doctor Students were selected as a result of the competition: Alikya Chipurupalli – Italy, Sahishnuta Suryakant Deshmukh – Hungary, Reet Agarwal- Romania, Uppal Ravisha – Peru, Joji jincy Mariya – Serbia, Rishu – Moldova According to the project, the students sent from the European University will be hosted by six countries, and students from these countries will arrive in Georgia. Within the project, European University undertakes to plan clinical practice for 6 students from host countries. The University will reimburse the clinical practice and the living expenses of the international students arriving under the project, as a result, European University students will be exempt from clinical practice fee and living expenses in the host countries. Competition for the selection of Medical Doctor Students to participate in the IFMSA exchange project was held at the European University Society 2020-12-04 16525 Georgia and United Nations sign a 2021-2025 cooperation pact 2 October 2020 – An inclusive economy and human capital development, effective, transparent and accountable institutions, equal and inclusive access to quality services, human security and resilience, as well as the environment and climate change are the five priority areas outlined in the new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework signed by the Government of Georgia and the United Nations today. One red thread running through the entire document is the need to enhance human wellbeing, capabilities and social equality and to make a real difference in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The five-year document (2021-2025) is intended to ensure that the support by all the UN agencies is aligned to Georgia’s national priorities, to the country’s aspirations and development goals.  The Prime Minister of Georgia thanked the UN Resident Coordinator for the Organization’s steadfast partnership and commended the continued commitment of the United Nations to support national development priorities. Speaking on behalf of the UN Country Team the UN Resident Coordinator Sabine Machl thanked the Government of Georgia for its continued support to the UN’s work in Georgia.  Under this Cooperation Framework, the UN agencies will continue supporting Georgia in its efforts to “Build Forward Better” in the wake of the global Covid-19 crisis and to set more ambitious goals and make further steps to a greener, inclusive and more sustainable economy.  The UN will also support the Government in strengthening its regional cooperation in key strategic areas. Particular attention will be paid to building partnerships with civil society and the private sector, whose innovative potential will be useful to achieve the objectives of the Cooperation Framework. This Cooperation Framework for 2021-2025 guides the entire programme cycle of collective UN support to Georgia to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  Guided by several overarching principles - leave no one behind; a human rights-based approach; gender equality and women’s empowerment; decentralisation; resilience; sustainability; and accountability, environmental protection and innovation - the Cooperation Framework seeks to give new impetus to Georgia-UN cooperation for the next five years.  The Cooperation Framework priorities have been defined and formulated in the process of multi-stakeholder consultations with representatives of UN agencies, state institutions, civil society and academia. The Cooperation Framework will be governed by the Joint National-UN Steering Committee - co-chaired by the Prime Minister and the UN Resident Coordinator. Georgia and United Nations sign a 2021-2025 cooperation pact Politics 2020-10-02 16524 An Exhibition of the Israeli Painter and Sculptor Held in Tbilisi An exhibition of the prominent Israeli painter and sculptor Gennady Roitich was held in Givi Kandareli Tapestry and Art Textile Museum in Tbilisi. The exhibition displayed the artists’ drawings and photo installations of ceramic art. The exhibition was presented by the Israeli House. According to its Chairman Itsik Moshe, as a member of the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ)/Cultural Route certified by the Council of Europe, the Israeli House pays particular attention to the promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. In some of the items that have been displayed, visitor can find some Jewish elements that are ingrained in Gennady Roitich’s art and one of the goals of this exhibition is to present the Israeli culture through his art to the Georgian public. One of the main missions of the Israeli House is to promote the public diplomacy an integral part of which is the cultural diplomacy. Itsik Moshe pointed out,” The Parties should present the culture of their countries. Otherwise, it is impossible to establish the high-level relations.” Due to the pandemic and lockdown the artist could not travel to Georgia to attend his exhibition. However, he greeted the exhibition organizers and visitors through a live broadcast. The art critic, Manana Gigiberia, curated this exhibition attended by Gia Gugushvili, the rector of Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Mr. Hilik Bar, the former Deputy Speaker of Israeli Knesset, the musician Nikoloz Rachveli and guests from Israel. Gennady Roitich is a prominent Israeli painter and sculptor with long-term experience in lecturing and educating. He has participated in numerous individual and group exhibitions in Israel and the other countries. His sculpture “Memorandum 10” is exhibited permanently in the Parliament of Israel (the Knesset). Roitich was born in Ukraine in 1949. He immigrated to Israel in 1994. Gennady Roitich received his professional education in Georgia. He graduated from Sokhumi Art College in 1972 and from Tbilisi Academy of Arts – in 1977. An Exhibition of the Israeli Painter and Sculptor Held in Tbilisi Culture 2020-10-02 16523 Multi-purpose Dams and their Diverse Benefits According to a study by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), 40% of dams in the world (up to 10,000 dams) are multi-purpose: their purpose is not only electricity generation, but also irrigation (5977 dams), water supply (4334 dams), flood control (4789 dams), recreation (2879 dam), navigation and fish breeding (1850 dams). Hydropower plants with multi-purpose dams are dense in the United States and Europe. Hydropower plants with large reservoir make a significant contribution to the growth of many areas of local economy and, consequently, to the socio-economic development of the population. The multi-functionality of reservoirs has become popular since the thirties of the last century when sustainable economic development in a particular region became the goal. The result is obvious: the reservoir in Arizona, USA, has revived the economy of the entire region after the "Great Depression". Hydropower plants with similar functions are abundant in the Alps, in many European countries, including Georgia, for example Enguri HPP and Zhinvali HPP. What is the situation in Georgia? In Georgia, such dams can be counted on fingers. Zhinvali Reservoir, which is a 1-hour drive from Tbilisi, provides drinking water to the entire capital. In addition, the reservoir is very popular as a recreation area. Another such project is Enguri HPP dam, where it is planned to create a tourist oasis. This is the first industrial monument in Georgia, where a museum-information space and tourist infrastructure will be arranged, including areas with great view, a cable car, a scientific and discovery center, an open concert space, a naval infrastructure, extreme attractions, as well as exhibition and installation spaces. Nenskra HPP, which is being built in Nenskra and Nakra valleys, about 8 km from the last settlement, will also have a multi-purpose dam. The design area of the dam/reservoir is historically uninhabited and there are no cultural heritage monuments. As a result of the construction of the dam, it will be possible to manage the floods. Besides, the infrastructure will attract tourists to the valleys, which will support sustainable development of the region. The Nenskra HPP dam is under the technical supervision of the largest Swiss company- Stucky Ltd. This advanced design and construction company has been working in the field of construction of hydroelectric power plants since its establishment (1926). It has implemented more than 100 successful projects – the company has built, expanded and rehabilitated dams and hydropower plants in and outside Switzerland. Stucky portfolio includes more than 20 dams with the height of more than 150 meters. The company has 20 years of experience working in Georgia. In the 1990s, Stucky rehabilitated Enguri HPP and upgraded the safety of the dam. Peter Jewitt, Resident Project Manager at STUCKY Ltd. talked with us about multi-purpose dams and Nenskra HPP Project: As we are discussing the multipurpose dams, is there additional functions which Nenskra HPP Dam will have? - One of the things about Nenskra HPP Project is the fact that it will be very useful in winter time in terms of reduction of very costly imports coming from the other countries. On the other hand, there is flood damage coming from the river to Chuberi village destroying roads and bridges and it takes a long time and resources for the infrastructure to get back to normal. When the Project is operating, floods like these will be things of the past. So, the reservoir basically fills up in June, July, August and it’s generating electricity all the way through winter time, reservoir goes down and then fills again in the next summer period. You can see from flood control, that this Project is particularly good for this type of environment that we have here. The other spinoff is, we have a reservoir, and we have seen this in many countries around the world in Europe, in the US and in Australia when people want to use the reservoirs for recreation, it could be water sports, it could be sailing or fishing, but it also means that people are also attracted to the nearby mountains (and we are in the mountains right now) for cycling, mountain biking, hiking, etc. So, the construction period which is about to start, will actually kick off the process by improving the local economy, improving the local infrastructure, for example guesthouses and maybe restaurants, and the idea is that when the Project goes into operation, then the existing or the new facilities will be taken over, let’s say by tourists coming to the area, so it is sustaining the economic development of the valley. So, Nenskra will be particularly noteworthy for that aspect - tourism is going to be very important. Considering that Stucky has long experience of working in several countries, what can you share with us about multipurpose dams in general? - Yes, as we are talking about let’s say multifunctional projects, of course, what we have not mentioned is irrigation and water supply. At the moment Nenskra is not designed to provide water for drinking or irrigation. We see in many dams around the world that irrigation and water supply is being key, because it has economic benefits to many stakeholders. And of course, when we are looking at climate change, we see that it is important to think about future and to secure our water resources somehow, that we have storage. The other interesting thing that we are seeing is that single-use dams, which just stands for generating hydropower, are actually being converted into multi-use dams by adding water pipelines or providing water for irrigation, which was not in the project’s original intended purpose. So, you see that projects like these around the world, are actually quite flexible and they can be used for different things at different times depending on the need JSC Nenskra Hydro is a project-based company established in 2015 as a result of cooperation between a state-owned Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) and JSC Partnership Fund. The company is developing the Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project in the Nenskra and Nakra river Valleys in Mestia Municipality of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1’219.00 GWh of electricity annually, which will be fully consumed by the Georgian market. Multi-purpose Dams and their Diverse Benefits Economics 2020-06-30 16522 Speakerphobia is a fear which equals the fear of dying - Magda Kotrikadze When and why did you decide to pursue PR Psychology? It’s my 24th year in the PR, it’s been most of my life actually, in the private and the public sector. I’ve had to work intensively with speakers, precisely helping with: presentations, publications, introductions, working with a camera. I believe that PR alone isn’t enough to get the best possible results without trauma. The issues that arise during the training usually come from childhood or the upbringing of the trainee, this explains the fact that understanding human psychology deeply provides a helping hand. I got to the conclusion on my own example and got the outcome swiftly, this pushed me to pursue it further in order to reach the foundation. Because of that, I’m still in the process of studying Psychology. Psychology is like an endless sea and I’m evolving more and more as I keep swimming there. To conclude, I’ve come to the thought that if one isn’t improving, they’re going backwards, so this method is unique because it spares some time and gives one a chance to better themselves. This is a new method, do you have any results so far? I’ve concluded 6 trainings already, we had more than hundred people registering per day, the demand is really high, because there’s a lot of traumatised people among us, from schools, kindergarten, parents, employers, unlucky connections and relationships. Speakerphobia reaches further than learning how to make a decent speech, I even work with the attendees on learning a perfect greeting, it happens often that they change their names, last names and that’s how the identity is lost. We then proceed to reveal it together in the field and the field itself is really supporting and harmonious. I had a lot of honourable individuals attending, including Nino Popiashvili, Giorgi Lobzhanidze and a well-known poet – Sasha Gvelesiani. Attendees read their own writings and understood that they were mainly looking for the readers' emotion and their reflections on the work. This increases the acceptance and frees the speaker. We listen to the notable speeches of the past, work on the sound, gesture, breath, this is indeed a complex working process. I’ve received some responses, asking me to provide individual training. I believe that I’ll succeed here because this serves a good deed and I have no permission to give up. I was amazed by the responses from the international participants because the trainings were translated by a translator. We had people from Germany, France, England, India. We confessed that we all are orators and this was a big relief for most. Name the examples of Speakerphobia Speakerphobia is a fear which equals the fear of dying. It causes an increased heartbeat, arrhythmia, high blood pressure, sweating, headache, the tension in the limbs, indigestion and even vomiting in some cases. To summarize, psychosomatic diseases, which are hard to diagnose. The problems arise not only in adults but in children too, what would you advise to the parents regarding their kids? Have some contact with them, the more the better, listen to them. We always believe that we want the best for them and it all seems natural, but if we’re going against their will even a small encouragement, gift or a reproach could damage their psyche. We’ll go outside the border and I’m ready and willing to help whoever I can reach. I’ll assist everyone who will decide to join to find themselves in a family, kindergarten, school and in the body. Now the price is 50 lari, from every attendee 15 lari is donated to the stomatological care of persons with disabilities. It’s obvious that the work itself has its expenses, but Georgian Educational Center supports me and we believe that we’ll find people who won’t abandon us in this important matter. Speakerphobia is a fear which equals the fear of dying - Magda Kotrikadze Society 2020-06-25 16520 Parliament approves anti-crisis budget With 84 votes for, Georgian parliament has approved the anti-crisis budget during the plenary sitting. The parliamentary opposition did not attend the sitting. Based on the anti-crisis budgetary project, the Georgian government will spend about 16 billion GEL for reduction of social and economic shocks caused by COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the government will spend the financial resource in the amount of 3 billion and 4 million GEL in 18 directions that envisages financial aid of socially vulnerable people and those who were left without income, in subsidizing communal service fees, promotion of business, etc. At the decision of the government, current and capital expenditures will be reduced by 600 million GEL. The economic growth till the end of the year is expected to be -4%. Parliament approves anti-crisis budget Politics 2020-06-24 16521 Another patient recovered from coronavirus in Kutaisi Another patient recovered from coronavirus in Kutaisi. A middle-aged man received two times tested negative for COVID-19. There are six patients at the clinic, they are continuing their treatment. The health condition of one of them is serious. A total of 44 patients defeated coronavirus at the Kutaisi Infectious Diseases Clinic. Another patient recovered from coronavirus in Kutaisi Society 2020-06-24 16519 It’s necessary to take part in the third reading - Giorgi Rurua It’s necessary to take part in the third reading - Giorgi Rurua It’s necessary to take part in the third reading of the constitutional changes, wrote on his Facebook the shareholder of Mtavari Arkhi Giorgi Rurua. “I want to comment on the March 9 agreement. I think that it’s necessary to participate in the third reading. I won’t elaborate on its importance any further. I also understand position of my friends. I would do the same in their place. The fact that I am kept as a hostage has secondary importance. Nobody will blame us for being unprincipled. The adoption of proportional electoral system used to be and still is the main demand of the people. Besides, it is supported by our international friends. Let"s complete this task”, - concluded Giorgi Rurua. It’s necessary to take part in the third reading - Giorgi Rurua Justice 2020-06-24 16518 With the Speakerphobia training, we can turn fear into a possibility – Magda Kotrikadze What is Speakerphobia and what does PR Psychology methodology mean? Speakerphobia is a fear of expression, which can show itself in any age and follow them till their later years. But, if they desire they can overcome it effectively in a short amount of time. This methodology belongs to me and with my trainings you have a possibility to exempt yourself from this tormenting phobia, which hinders your success. This can be a challenge, to speak what you feel or stop yourself and go silent. The prohibition of freely expressing yourself can lead to the illnesses which usually translate to the sadness, headaches, lack of appetite, depression. If you want to be free in your expression, this training is for you! Speakerphobia could arise in any situation, during greeting or while parting ways, while telling a speech, presenting yourself. But, there’s always a possibility to turn this fear into a possibility and to go forward. Working routine often makes us lose our senses, snatches us off any extra time to contact our ego and we follow the everyday occurrences blindly. The nature births a human in us, the environment casts a different “me” in ourselves, “me” who is adaptable to the environment. In order to be in harmony with our surroundings, we use every possible way whether it’s disappearing in nature on making nature disappear itself, going silent, closing ourselves off and killing any urge to be renewed. To discover ourselves, we need to see. At what age does the problem come out? Speakerphobia could show itself before, during or after the speech has concluded. It could arise when an individual is still a child or when they’re grown up. We must know that there will be different types of attendees in the audience and we must be ready for it. We must be interesting to any visual, audial or kinesthetic participants. The first step to this is accepting ourselves and living with the Speakerphobia, befriending it. We learn different techniques during the training, it’s fully supportive of an individual and it’s a live process which provides everyone with a chance to express in different ways. Interest is high among every age. What are your plans for the future and how do you see the methodology evolving? Today, on 1st of July, with the assistance of Georgian Educational Center we planned a meeting to help persons with disabilities. We have close contact with them and know that they’re in the need of dental services. Obviously, there are different needs as well, which we sadly can’t cover at this moment, but we’ll continue to care for them and gladly accept everyone who wishes to assist. Why should the companies be interested in collaborating with you? What do your trainings offer to them? We have a longlasting plan, I’m sure that the methodology will leave the borders soon and call up a big interest in the international level. The meetings are therapeutic as well, therefore the faces shared during the training will always stay in the attendees' memory. For the funding, we offer as many members as can attend. I’m working on this research to picture this fact better in numbers and soon I’ll show it to bigger groups of people. Also, we’re giving them a chance to join us in this good deed and help the ones who really need us to help them up and strengthen them. With the Speakerphobia training, we can turn fear into a possibility – Magda Kotrikadze Society 2020-06-24 16517 Joint statement by the facilitators to the political dialogue Joint statement by the facilitators to the political dialogue The 8 March agreement was a historic achievement, agreed by a broad majority of political parties and Members of Parliament. As Parliament prepares to vote on Constitutional amendments that would establish a more proportional electoral system in Georgia, we again urge all sides to fully implement the 8 March agreement. We recognise that differences remain regarding implementation of the Joint Statement portion of the agreement. We underline that the commitments made to address actions that could be perceived as inappropriate politicisation of Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes will remain crucial in the period leading to the upcoming elections, and their implementation will continue to be monitored closely. At the same time, given the significance of the Constitutional amendments for Georgia’s democratic process, we encourage all signatories to the 8 March agreement to participate in this important vote and to ensure that the amendments are adopted. Passage of these amendments, along with pending election reform legislation that incorporates OSCE ODIHR recommendations, will advance Georgia’s progress toward a more representative Parliament and contribute to depolarizing the political environment – achievements that we sincerely believe are in the interest of Georgia’s democracy and the Georgian people. Joint statement by the facilitators to the political dialogue Politics 2020-06-19 16516 Georgian Defence Minister: Georgia is a worthy, strategic partner of NATO Georgia today is a worthy, strategic partner of NATO, a reliable ally and the most compatible aspirant to the organisation in the region, said Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Gharibashvili earlier today. With the tireless efforts of our soldiers, our country, as a reliable partner, has made a significant contribution to the architecture of Euro-Atlantic security. It is a great merit of our soldiers that Georgia contributes significantly to strengthening the security of the Euro-Atlantic space”, Gharibashvili said.  Gharibashvili noted that Georgia continues to fulfill its obligations and observe the recommendations of NATO according to the following principle: “More NATO in Georgia and more Georgia in NATO.” Georgian Defence Minister: Georgia is a worthy, strategic partner of NATO Politics 2020-06-15 16515 money transfers to Georgia down 9.6% Georgia received $131.8 million from abroad in May 2020, which is 9.6 per cent less than the amount in May 2019, says the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). The vast majority (92.8%) of all money transfers from abroad came from 14 countries, with the volume of transfers from these countries each exceeding $1 million last month. The share of these 14 countries constituted 89.9 per cent of the total volume of money transfers. Italy, Russia and Greece were the largest remittance senders in Georgia in April 2020. Georgia received $27.59 million from Italy, $19.77 million from Russia and $18.82 million from Greece. After Italy, Russia and Greece, other countries regularly sending money transfers to Georgia in May 2020 included: United States – $15.21 million Israel – $11.28 million  Turkey – $7.42 million Germany – $5.34 million  Ukraine – $3.67 million  Azerbaijan – $3.56 million Spain – $3.23 million Poland – $2.02 million France – $1.86 million Canada - $1.39 million UK - $1.03 million In May 2020, remittances leaving Georgia totalled $13.6 million, which is a 33.7 per cent decrease year-on-year. money transfers to Georgia down 9.6% Economics 2020-06-15 16514 Georgia opens domestic tourism Georgia opens domestic tourism today. Georgian National Tourism Administration says local travellers are able to visit different parts of Georgia. On top of that, from today, Georgia’s protected areas will receive visitors in accordance with the recommendations issued by the Ministry of Health. In closed buildings, visitor centres, including caves, visitors must wear a face mask and observe social distancing rule. Visitors will be able to enter the Akhaltsikhe Fortress and Borjomi Park for free. Vardzia and Uplistsikhe Museum-Reserves will serve visitors at reduced prices for three months. Moreover, internally displaced persons, war veterans, children deprived of parental care and socially vulnerable citizens will be admitted to museums and reserves free of charge. Georgia opens domestic tourism Politics 2020-06-15 16513 The source of infection in two new patients not identified - Marina Ezugbaia 15 new cases of coronavirus have been identified in Georgia in the last 24 hours. Such a statement made today Marina Ezugbaia, the Medical Director of Tbilisi Infectious Diseases Hospital. According to her, the source of infection in two new patients cannot be identified. “Sources are mostly known in these 15 cases. There are only two patients, the source of which is still unknown at this stage and deep epidemiological research is underway. At the same time, a total of 349 patients are being treated at COVID-19 medical facilities across the country”, - said Marina Ezugbaia. The source of infection in two new patients not identified - Marina Ezugbaia Comments 2020-06-15 16511 Fire in Tbilisi – two residential buildings are burning on Makhaldiani street A blaze has reportedly ripped through a two-story residential building on #28 Makhaldiani street, Nadzaladevi district. According to the Emergency Management Service, 10 fire-rescue brigades are working on the spot. The cause of the fire and the information about the injured are unknown at this stage. Fire in Tbilisi – two residential buildings are burning on Makhaldiani street Society 2020-06-12 16512 Recommendation on remote working in public institutions remains in force The inter-agency Coordination Council established in prevention of spread of COVID-19 virus infection in Georgia, upheld some recommendations regarding remote working including for employees of public institutions. Also, based on the decision of Coordination Council, lockdown regime will be maintained in two villages of Bolnisi Municipality – Mushevani and Geta. Control of rules and standards imposed for public gathering places, transport and restaurants will be tightened. Recommendation on remote working in public institutions remains in force Justice 2020-06-12 16505 Nenskra Hydro has Created a New Website to Promote Domestic Tourism in Svaneti Nenskra HPP  project  company - JSC Nenskra Hydro has created a new website - - to promote domestic tourism in Svaneti. The bilingual website was created within the framework of the Nenskra Hydro information campaign and aims to inform Georgian and foreign tourists about the tourist potential of the still unknown places of Mestia Municipality - Nenskra and Nakra valleys. Website name - "Chubekhevi" is the historical name of the two valleys of Upper Svaneti, where the administrative units of Chuberi and Nakra are located. Information about Chuberi (Nenskra Valley) and 16 family hotels in Nakra are published on website. Through this site, those who want to have a vacation in Chubekhevi can select and book the desired hotel on the website. In addition, through the website, vacationers will receive information about the unique places to visit in the valleys. The website also contains contact information for local certified guides. In the blog section, interesting articles are published about the history and legends of Chubekhevi, the distinctive Chubekhevi population,  the tourist places there and Svan cuisine. Nenskra Hydro, an information campaign called "Visiting Chubekhevi", was launched in July 2019 as part of the "Spend Summer in Georgia" tourism support project. Various activities were carried out in the media and social networks: a number of stories, video clips, photographs and articles about the tourist potential of the valleys were prepared and distributed. Within the framework of the project, a FACEBOOK page was also created, which invites visitors to Chubekhevi with friendly language and impressive pictures. "The crisis caused by the spread of coronavirus has hurt the tourism sector this year. That is why we decided to continue the information campaign through the website with more efforts, to introduce this beautiful part of Svaneti to the public and to contribute to the development of domestic tourism. In addition to the campaign, Nenskra Hydro has implemented a number of social projects in Chuber and Nakra, including to support tourism development: English language and computer management, as well as family-type hotel management courses, promoting land registration and improving domestic infrastructure, ” stated Teimuraz Kopadze,  Chief Operations Officer of JSC Nenskra Hydro. JSC “Nenskra Hydro” was founded in 2015 as an outcome of cooperation between K-Water, Korea Water Resource Corporation, and JSC Partnership fund. The company will construct a high-dam HPP in Mestia Municipality, in the valleys of the Nenskra and Nakra. The HPP with 280 MW of installed capacity will annually provide Georgia with total energy generation of 1'219.00 GWh which will be fully consumed by the local energy market. Nenskra Hydro has Created a New Website to Promote Domestic Tourism in Svaneti Politics 2020-06-12 16502 Georgia's confirmed COVID-19 cases reach 843 Georgia reported six more new cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) bringing the total number of infected persons to 843. The data has recently been updated on a special web-page created by the Georgian government. The number of recovered patients has reached 697. Three persons are brought from abroad for medical treatment. The 13 patients died from the virus. Currently, 3026 people remain under quarantine, and 297 – inpatient care. Georgia's confirmed COVID-19 cases reach 843 Politics 2020-06-12 16503 Ukrainian president's wife contracts coronavirus Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has tested positive for COVID-19, the President’s Office has reported on Telegram. “The wife of the President of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, tested positive for COVID-19. The first lady is feeling well and has no symptoms. Olena Zelenska is currently receiving outpatient treatment, isolated from other family members,” the report said, according to UKRINFORM. According to the report, Zelensky and the children also passed the tests, and their results are negative. During working meetings and at home, the first lady constantly followed the quarantine rules and recommendations of the Ukrainian Health Ministry and, in accordance with the requirements of the security protocol, was regularly tested for COVID-19. The results of a preliminary test conducted in early June were negative. “Where and when the infection could have happened is still unknown. An epidemiological investigation is underway. All contact persons were immediately informed of the potential danger of infection. They were advised to adhere to self-isolation and, if possible, to take a test,” the President’s Office added. As of June 12, Ukraine reported 29,753 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 870 deaths and 13,567 recoveries. Some 683 new cases have been registered in the past 24 hours. Ukrainian president's wife contracts coronavirus World 2020-06-12 16504 Government to hand over medical facemasks to socially vulnerable people The ruling team and Ministry of Economy are working on a plan to hand over certain number of medical facemasks to the socially vulnerable people so that their purchase is not a burden for them – Anri Okhanashvili, Chairman of the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee said. “The number will not be big taking into consideration the resources of the government but the state will hand over facemasks to the socially vulnerable population,” Okhanashvili said. Government to hand over medical facemasks to socially vulnerable people Society 2020-06-12 16510 The Parliament to start discussions on constitutional amendments on June 18 According to the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, the one-month term, which is allocated for public discussion of the constitutional amendments, expires on June 18. Archil Talakvadze made such a statement during the bureau session. According to him, the second public hearing of the constitutional amendments will be held tomorrow, June 13. “This will be the second public hearing. The Parliament is already in the process of reviewing these amendments, which means we will be able to vote on the amendments in June”, - said Archil Talakvadze. The Parliament to start discussions on constitutional amendments on June 18 Politics 2020-06-12 16506 The source of one of the 9 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours is unknown - Marina Ezugbaia The source of one of the 9 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours is unknown - Marina Ezugbaia The source of one of the 9 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours is unknown. Such a statement made the Clinical Director of Tbilisi Infectious Hospital. “We’ve 9 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. There were 3 more recoveries. At this stage, there are 127 patients getting treatment in the COVID centers. From the 9 newly emerged cases 3 were detected in the medical personnel, another 3 from the mandatory quarantine spaces (imported cases) while 2 were the contacts of previously confirmed cases. The infection source of one person remains unknown in Tbilisi. Epidemiological research is under way. There were 4 unsourceable cases yesterday, 1 was added today. It’s not easy, when the source is unknown an epidemiological research starts - identifying the patients’ contacts, examining those contacts, then switching to contact persons’ contacts if the infection is detected - it"s a quite painstaking process”, - said Marina Ezugbaia. The source of one of the 9 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours is unknown - Marina Ezugbaia Society 2020-06-12 16507 A young couple with coronavirus placed in Kutaisi Infectious Diseases Hospital Two patients were admitted to Kutaisi Infectious Diseases Hospital with a diagnosis of coronavirus. The young couple has a history of traveling to Baku. According to Dr. Temur Nadiradze, the patients were taken from Tskaltubo quarantine area. Their health condition is moderate. At the moment, there are seven infected patients in the clinic. A young couple with coronavirus placed in Kutaisi Infectious Diseases Hospital Politics 2020-06-12 16509 Rescuers are searching for a 60-year-old man in Alazani Rescuers are searching for a 60-year-old man in the Alazani River in Dedoplistskaro. As it known, he was working on a farm near the river. According to eyewitnesses, the person was drunk, went into the Alazani with his friends but could not get out. As the Emergency Management Agency said, divers are on the spot, the search operations are underway. Rescuers are searching for a 60-year-old man in Alazani Society 2020-06-12 16508 Myths and Facts about Hydropower Plants Under the conditions of global warming, the development of non-carbon energy has become actual. We are talking about power plants that use a limited amount of fuel and do not emit greenhouse gases. Such is hydropower, which emerged in the 19th century and competes significantly with other power plants. For instance, China's hydroelectric plant "Three Gorges", the largest in the world, has a capacity of 22.5 GW. This is 2.7 times more than the output of the most powerful nuclear power plant and 3.4 times more the capacity of the largest thermal power plant. And yet, on what grounds absolutely renewable hydroelectric power plants are opposed? Myth # 1 - "HPP causes natural cataclysms." Reality # 1 - Reservoir hydropower plants, especially in mountainous regions, provide reliable protection against floods. During flooding, water is accumulated in reservoirs of HPPs and converted into electricity, which is used when water levels in rivers are reduced. As a result, torrent rivers can no longer destroy roads, bridges, and homes. Let's take the example of the Three Gorges HPP again: the idea of building the plant arose in 1919, the Chinese authorities of all time wanted to build it, but due to wars and lack of capital, they failed. The HPP was built only at the end of the last century. The main reason for the construction of such a large-scale dam was the devastating floods of 1954, which killed 30,000 people. In addition to generating electricity, the mission of the HPP is to protect huge areas in the valley. The total volume of the reservoir is 39 km3, which is quite enough to regulate the floods. According to the relevant calculation, after the construction of the dam, the probability of flooding is reduced from 10% to 1%. In 2010, the Three Gorges Dam withstood the greatest floods in the last 130 years (70,000 m3 per second). During this period, only 40000 m3 of water flowed from the dam, while the rest was collected in the reservoir. This saved the lives of thousands of people and prevented multi-billion dollar losses. Today, 7 reservoir hydropower plants are operating in Georgia, and three more will be added in the future, including the Nenskra HPP, which can prevent frequent floods in Mestia municipality. Myth # 2 - "Hydropower is not a renewable energy source." Reality #2 - According to the International Hydropower Association (IHA), hydropower is the cleanest resource among all electricity sources. It has one of the lowest lifecycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per kWh. The research by IHA shows that using hydropower instead of coal avoids us around 4.0 billion metric tons of additional greenhouse gases emitted annually; in other words, hydropower plants decrease the global emissions by 10%. (source: Myth #3 – "The world's leading countries are no longer building hydropower plants." Reality #3 – New hydropower plants are being built every year. According to official data from the International Hydropower Association (IHA), in 2018, a total of 21.8 gigawatts (GW) of  installed capacity hydropower plants were added to the world, from where: the East Asia and Pacific region – 9.2 GW, South America -4.9 GW, South and Central Asia -4.0 GW, Europe -2.2 GW, Africa -1.0 GW and North and Central America -0.6 GW. Today, the hydropower industry employs more than 2 million people worldwide. Even more people are employed in electricity supply and distribution companies. (Source: Myth #4 – "Solar and Wind Energy are cheaper than hydropower" Reality #4 – According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), hydro resource is the cheapest source of electricity in the world. (Source: Note: In 2019, about 66% of energy supply in Georgia came from regulatory, seasonal and small HPPs. By now, the country has adopted only 22% of the its hydro resources. Under the conditions of global warming, the development of non-carbon energy has become actual. Economics 2020-06-05 16501 Georgian FM speaks with his Armenian college on issues relating to COVID-19 Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs David Zalkaliani spoke with his Armenian college on issues relating to COVID-19 pandemic. As reported by the Press Office of MFA, the parties exchanged information on the current situation in the countries regarding the pandemic. It was noted that “Georgia and Armenia have active communication in regard to COVID-19.” On behalf of the Georgian government, Georgian Foreign Minister reiterated his readiness to provide assistance to Armenia in the fight against the novel virus. Georgian FM speaks with his Armenian college on issues relating to COVID-19 Politics 2020-06-05 16500 Georgian citizens to face fines for violating face mask rules New rules are about to come into force legally requiring citizens to wear face masks on public transport or closed spaces. According to the changes into law, a fine of 50 GEL can be imposed on those who fail to wear a mask on public transport, taxes or closed spaces. The owner of the closed space will face a fine of 500 GEL for letting a person in a building without a face mask. The amendments also apply to other violations of the rules of isolation and quarantine, for which a natural person will be fined GEL 2,000 and a legal entity 10,000 GEL. Georgian citizens to face fines for violating face mask rules Justice 2020-06-05 16499 The U.S. committed USD 1 million in new USAID funding to support Georgia’s response to COVID-19 The U.S. Government has committed USD 1 million in new USAID funding to support Georgia’s response to COVID-19. The information appeared on the Facebook page of the USAUD. “The U.S. Government has committed $1 million in new USAID funding to support Georgia’s response to COVID-19. The new assistance will be delivered in partnership with UNICEF and will provide hygiene and medical supplies to health facilities, support rapid response teams, case management, and infection control, and strengthen public health communications”, - reads the statement. The U.S. committed USD 1 million in new USAID funding to support Georgia’s response to COVID-19 Economics 2020-06-05 16498 Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business member companies increase export Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business member companies “Glenberry” and “Magal”, despite the emergency caused by Coronavirus, are increasing their exports of their products.  The owner of the company is Rafael Magalashvili, an Israeli citizen. "Glenberry" fruit freezer is located in the village of Kvena Tkotsa, Kaspi district. It produces high quality frozen fruits and berries (peaches, plums, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries) that are exported in the US, Israel and Switzerland. According to Rafael Magalashvili, during the pandemic, the company "Glenberry" exported 4 containers of frozen strawberries. The company has been ordered 40 containers of strawberries, but there are no such quality fruits in Georgia, so the company "Magal" planted strawberries on 11 hectares, and vegetables were arranged on 8 hectares. "Magal" also grows 3.5 hectares of tomatoes, which are sold only in Italy. According to the entrepreneur, his companies have large orders from Switzerland, but there are no such products in Georgia. Rafael Magalashvili's company also produces Kosher products, which are mainly sold in US supermarkets. Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business is the initiator of the production of Kosher products in Georgia, with the support of which the company "Badagoni" has already bottled Kosher wine. The product won a gold medal at the international competition in Germany in the first year.  According to Itsik Moshe, head of the Chamber of Business, the organization is actively helping member companies to develop, establish international contacts or overcome certain challenges. Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business member companies increase export Economics 2020-06-04 16497 JSC Nenskra Hydro donated medical equipment to the Ministry of Economy JSC Nenskra Hydro, the Nenskra Hydropower Plant (HPP) project company donated medical equipment to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (MOESD) to support Georgia in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. The equipment was sent to Georgia by the Project investor Korea Water Resources Corporation – K-water. The company provided delivery of 100 units of non-contact thermometers and 200 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. It must be noted that K-water employees made individual contribution to the donation. “With this donation, we would like to make our contribution to support Georgia in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. I want to express gratitude towards the Embassy of Georgia to the Republic of Korea and the Representation of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Georgia for their help. Today, it is very important to show high social responsibility and solidarity in order to defeat the pandemic. Within its social responsibility, JSC Nenskra Hydro is implementing a range of projects in administrative unit of Chuberi and Nakra in Mestia Municipality. Last year with the sponsorship of JSC Nenskra Hydro and K-water, the ambulatory clinic in Chuberi was fully rehabilitated. In addition to small-scale infrastructure rehabilitation, social projects are being implemented in the areas of vocational training and small and medium enterprises, targeted at sustainable development of the region. Since 2017, JSC Nenskra Hydro has invested more than 2 million GEL in social projects, “– stated Sunyoung Kim, Chief Executive Officer of JSC Nenskra Hydro. JSC “Nenskra Hydro” was founded in 2015 as an outcome of cooperation between K-Water, Korea Water Resource Corporation, and JSC Partnership fund. The company will construct a high-dam HPP in Mestia Municipality, in the valleys of the Nenskra and Nakra. The HPP with 280 MW of installed capacity will annually provide Georgia with total energy generation of 1'219.00 GWh which will be fully consumed by the local energy market. JSC Nenskra Hydro donated medical equipment to the Ministry of Economy Society 2020-05-26 16496 World Health Organisation is a “puppet of China” - Donald Trump President Donald Trump attacked the United Nations health body as a Chinese “puppet” and confirmed he is considering slashing or canceling US support. “They’re a puppet of China, they’re China-centric to put it nicer”, - he said at the White House. Trump said the United States pays around USD 450 million annually to the World Health Organization, the largest contribution of any country. Plans are being crafted to slash this because “we’re not treated right”, he said. World Health Organisation is a “puppet of China” - Donald Trump World 2020-05-20 16495 The Fulbright program is expanding, the goal of the program is to improve the quality of English language in Georgian universities The U.S. Government"s Fulbright Student Program in Georgia is set to expand after the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia and the US Ambassador in Georgia signed a project to benefit local universities’ teaching of English. Under the English Teaching Assistant programme, set to run at regional universities and led by Fulbright scholars from the US, the project will contribute to an “internationalisation” of the educational institutions, said the Minister of Education. The Georgian and US governments will annually co-finance the work of 6 English language teaching assistants per year over the next 5 years. Until the new deal the ETA programme had been run by the U.S. embassy in direct work with Georgian universities. “The expanded project would see the increased number of English teaching assistants both improve the process of language learning at the universities and introduce culture and values from the States to the institutions”, - said Ambassador Kelly Degnan. The Fulbright programme will accept applications from Bachelor’s and Master’s degree assistants, with each grant running for a period of nine months starting in September 2021. The Fulbright program is expanding, the goal of the program is to improve the quality of English language in Georgian universities Society 2020-05-20 16494 Under no circumstances can the strategic relations between countries be put at risk by irresponsible politicians and the opposition - Gakharia I have no idea which Iranian oil is under discussion, and no investigation can be launched on this topic. The only thing in this letter that is a fact is that a specific company suffered final defeat in a specific case of arbitration as a result of a specific arbitration process. This is what is behind all of this. No companies - even international ones, or ones registered with our friends or strategic partners, against which we have already won a dispute via arbitration - will be able to put the strategic relations between the countries at risk. Even these domestic, irresponsible politicians and the opposition [will be unable to do so], regardless of how they try to use this. Prime Minister of Georgia made this statement in response to a journalist’s question about the letter sent by US congressmen to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. According to Giorgi Gakharia, Georgia is a country that has greatly deepened Euro-Atlantic cooperation in the last five years, and the cooperation between NATO and Georgia is at a higher level than in has ever been before. “Georgia is a country that has greatly deepened its Euro-Atlantic cooperation in the last five years. Today, our cooperation with NATO is at an unprecedented level. Today, we are represented in Afghanistan in a way that no Western European or Western country of our size is represented. Therefore, we need to understand that the strategic relations between our countries is systemically molded on the basis of this foundation, rather than on the basis of the letters by these politically engaged lobbyists. Georgia was the first country to take steps that were extremely tough for the country"s economy together with US partners, under conditions of imposing sanctions on Iran since 2013, which took place precisely at the request of our strategic partner, and as a result of taking into account our strategic partner"s interests. You should simply take interest in this and count how many accounts were terminated, what steps were taken by the Ministry of Justice, the National Bank, the government, etc., and you should leave these rumors alone”, - the Prime Minister noted. According to the Head of the Government, no one can call into question Georgia"s Association Agreement, as well as its Euro-Atlantic integration, its cooperation with NATO, and participation in the Black Sea security component. “It is the unanimous decision of over 70 percent of Georgian citizens that the country should become a full member of the Euro-Atlantic family, and this country and its current government are doing more than has ever been done before to achieve this goal”, - concluded Giorgi Gakharia. Under no circumstances can the strategic relations between countries be put at risk by irresponsible politicians and the opposition - Gakharia Politics 2020-05-20 16492 In Sachkere a man retests positive for coronavirus after initial recovery A patient testing positive for coronavirus after recovery was transported to a Sachkere medical center. According to existing information he beat COVID-19 a few weeks ago and was self-isolated. He was first transported to the Sachkere medical center from the Sairme quarantine area. He reportedly tested positive after traveling abroad. As it known, his health condition is stable. In Sachkere a man retests positive for coronavirus after initial recovery Society 2020-05-20 16491 Which renewable energy source is favored by experts The fight against hydropower plants  has even become a kind of "fashion trend" for "green" unions in recent years (not only in Georgia). They still oppose the construction of renewable energy sources with outdated, thousand times-rejected methods and myths. Projects of reservoir hydropower plants remain the main target of various environmental associations. Despite a number of scientific confirmations, HPPs still do not get "green" status. But neither can the Greens deny that HPP is a source of renewable energy and converts mechanical energy of  water into electricity. No fuel is involved in the process and the environment is not polluted by any waste. Against the background of the categorical "no" of the Greens, there are a number of advantages of HPPs with water reservoirs. Hydropower experts are not really tired of arguing that the construction of hydropower plants is necessary not only to get ecologically clean energy, but also for energy safety of the country - Georgia. We spoke with Carsten Jensen to learn more about the Norwegian experience in hydropower, which is one of the world leaders in the development of this field. He is the Head of the Hydropower Licensing Department of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate: - How many HPPs are there in Norway and how much electricity do they generate per year? - The annual production of hydropower in Norway is about 135 TWh. This, of course, varies a bit due to differences in inflow and precipitation. We have a total of 1600 HPPs in Norway and the total installed capacity is approximately 33000 MW. Norway also has up to 1000 reservoirs used for hydropower which makes about 50% of all the flexible hydropower capacity in Europe. So, the total capacity of reservoirs in Norway is about 70% of all the electricity consumption in the country per year. As for the development of hydro resources, the total hydro potential in Norway is about 215 TWh and as of today we have adopted approximately 60% of that. - How did Norwegian hydropower develop in the historical context, what were the main stages? Was there any resistance from certain groups of the society to the implementation of mega projects? - Well, in Norway we have a very long history of hydropower, it goes back more than 100 years. In the early 1900s we started experting hydropower. But the biggest boom when it came to hydropower was in the years after World War 2, because we had to rebuild the country after the war and of course environmental issues were not forefront then. But during the ’60s and ’70s we we saw that the environmental issues had bigger impacts on projects and we had several highly controversial projects with protests and demonstrations. So, yes Norway has also experienced these kinds of things. But very large HPPs in Norway were built quite many years ago, as of today we do not build that many large HPP projects any more, because we have already utilized a lot of resource. - How did Norway overcome the obstacles? - You will of course have controversies, no doubt about that, because all hydropower means some environmental issue. But what I think is important and the way we do it in Norway, all HPP projects, from the start they have to secure some payback for the local communities for borrowing or lending their resources for a greater good. Hydropotential and Optimal Utilization Strategy of Georgia To ensure energy independence, it is important not to delay the construction of regulatory hydropower plants. It is recommended to build a hydro-accumulation station, which will increase the system's resilience, flexibility, and enable the integration of additional variable power (solar and wind). It is possible to accumulate hydro resources in water storage hydropower plants: we adopt them during the "winter season in energy" - period when the water level in the rivers of Georgia is significantly reduced and small, seasonal hydropower plants are practically unable to work. What do we have today? According to 2019 data by JSC “Georgian State Electrosystem”, the total installed capacity is equal to 4247 MW, which includes the installed capacity of hydropower plants - 3300 MW and the installed capacity of thermal power plants - 925 MW. It is expected that the additional capacity of the new hydropower plants will be added to the installed capacity in 2020-2030, which will increase the total installed capacity from the existing 4247 MW up to 5014 MW by 2022, up to 5984 MW by 2024 and up to 7945 MW by 2030. By the end of 2019, the following types of HPPs were operating in Georgia: 7 – regulatory (with reservoir), 4 - daily regulation, 27 - seasonal, i.e. depending on water inflow, 53 - small HPP. In total, we receive 91 hydrogeneration facilities, which is about 5% of the same Norwegian hydropower plants. This is against the background of the fact that, as mentioned above, Georgia has adopted only 20% of its water resources. The opinion of Georgian experts Giorgi Chikovani, Director of the Energy Development Fund of Georgia: - Our energy is based on hydropower and water inflow in rivers. Unfortunately, we do not have the great potential of water storage hydropower plants and we are very limited in terms of water accumulation. There are several projects only in Georgia, which are of great importance in terms of our energy independence, such are Khudoni, Nenskra and partly Namakhvani. All other HPP projects depend on water inflow. Regulatory hydropower plants are very important for the development of the system as well as for integrating alternative energy, as solar and wind power plants are unstable and we need electricity to - How important is the construction of water storage hydropower plants for Georgia's energy safety?  - If we did not have Enguri HPP today, we would be tied to neighboring countries and we would not have any energy independence in terms of electricity. HPPs with storage capacity of Enguri can no longer be implemented in Georgia, as Eguri HPPs is very large - there is no potential for that. However, the construction of hydropower plants such as Nenskra, Khudoni, Namakhvani is necessary and they cannot cause any disasters or bad results. Nugzar Beridze, Director of the Electricity Department of the Georgian National Energy Regulatory Commission, assesses the growing trend of electricity imports in the country. According to the expert, in the first quarter of 2020, the share of import was 12-15%. The main importing countries are Russia and Azerbaijan. Of course, the share of Russia comes mainly on Abkhazia, while Azerbaijan leads in the rest of Georgia in terms of import. - Shuakhevi HPP was put into operation. How important is the construction of Nenskra HPP in terms of import substitution? The pandemic will end and consumption will increase again. - First of all, it should be said that without the use of energy, we will not be able to develop enterprises and the economy. We need to develop sources of generation because consumption is increasing and local sources can no longer meet it, so we are in need to import electricity. As you know, powerful and water reservoir hydropower plants, if hydroelectric power stations are developed, are very important for the more efficient introduction of other variable generation sources. Import has significantly grown because our generation can no longer cover consumption. Consequently, only powerful power plants can develop the industry and economy of the country. - What is the experience of foreign countries in this direction? For example, in Norway there are 1660 HPPS. From them, more than 1000 are reservoir HPPs. Should Georgia share this experience? -In this regard, sharing the experience of Norway will certainly be useful for Georgia. They have fully taken advantage of the hydro resources, while we use only 20%. We always acknowledge their experience and they, as consultants, are actively involved in this process. Therefore, sharing the experience of Norway as one of the most powerful energy countries in Europe will definitely help us. Which renewable energy source is favored by experts Economics 2020-05-20 16490 I would like to praise the recent steps taken by the President of Georgia - Andrius Kubilius I would like to praise the recent steps taken by the President of Georgia. Such a statement made today the member of the European Parliament Andrius Kubilius during the discussion of the report on implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia. “I would like to stress the role the facilitators played in the agreement, including EU Ambassador Carl Harzell and this is how the EU can help countries, which have some political crisis. Georgia can become exemplary European partner country for the European Union”. – concluded the MEP. I would like to praise the recent steps taken by the President of Georgia - Andrius Kubilius Politics 2020-05-19 16493 Untapped Wealth - Norwegian example of hydrogenation for Georgia Hydropower, which dates back to the nineteenth century, is a renewable energy source. Norway, which has almost fully utilized water resources, is a leader in the development of this source of energy. In this regard, Georgia, which is also rich in water resources, absorbs only 20% of this wealth. This is in the context of the fact that the import of electricity is growing from year to year, and in the last 2019 alone, the country paid more than $ 80 million for electricity purchased from Russia and Azerbaijan. Norway’s Experience The first hydropower plant in Norway was built in 1885 on a waterfall, which was purchased by the authorities for this purpose. As early as 1920, electricity was supplied to all cities in the country and 64% of the population was electrified. Today, Norway ranks first in Europe in terms of hydrogeneration and 6th in the world. The share of flexible hydropower plants with storage reservoirs accounts for 75% of the country's total capacity. This ensures the production of electricity even in periods when there is little precipitation and inflow is low. In Norway, the population of which  is not larger than in Georgia (5.3 million people), the annual generation of hydropower plants is about 135 TWh. This data, of course, varies from year to year and depends on water inflow and precipitation. There are 1600 HPPs in the country with a total installed capacity of about 33 000 MWh. Up to 1000  flexible i.e reservoir hydropower plants are used to accumulate excess hydro resources. Electricity production capacity in Norway is split into two categories - flexible and intermittent. Wind and solar energy are variable. Wind and solar power are intermittent; electricity can only be generated when the energy is available. The same applies to run-of-river power plants and small-scale hydropower plants.  However, Norway has successfully managed to balance intermittent power by using storage reservoirs, or flexible hydropower plants. Today, Norway has adopted 60% of its own hydro resources. Georgia’s Hydro Resources In 2019, the total hydrogeneration of Georgia amounted to 8.9 TWh. The total capacity in the country is 4247 MWh and 73.3% of it comes from hydropower plants. By the end of 2019, the following types of HPPs were operating in Georgia: 7 – regulatory (with reservoir), 4 - daily regulation, 27 - seasonal, i.e. depending on water inflow, 53 - small HPP. In total, we receive 91 hydrogeneration facilities, which is about 5% of the same Norwegian hydropower plants. This is against the background of the fact that, as mentioned above, Georgia has adopted only 20% of its water resources. It is noteworthy that 56% of hydrogeneration in Georgia comes from  regulatory HPPs, i.e HPPs with reservoirs. One-third of the country's total power is generated by the largest hydropower plant-Enguri HPP, with an installed capacity of 1300 MWh. The second largest HPP is Vardnili Cascade. Enguri HPP and Vardnil Cascade, along with other relatively small regulatory hydropower plants about 1990 MWh capacity per year. In winter, water inflow is minimal and, consequently, production of seasonal and small HPPs is scarce. However, this period is characterized by high consumption, so at this time Georgia's power system is in shortage. Consumption is mainly met by several regulatory HPPs (Enguri HPP, Khramhesi 1,2, Vardnil HPP, Dzevruli HPP, Shaorhesi, Zhinvali HPP) at the expense of water accumulated in reservoirs, as well as with Gardabani thermal power plants (power blocks 3, 4 and 9, gas turbine, combined cycle plant), and imported energy from the neighboring countries (Russia, Azerbaijan). Hydropotential and Optimal Utilization Strategy of Georgia The fact is that in order to ensure energy independence, Georgia needs to build water storage stations. This will increase the system's resilience, flexibility, and enable the integration of additional variable power (solar and wind). It is possible to accumulate hydro resources in water storage hydropower plants: we adopt them during the "winter season in energy" - period, when the water level in the rivers of Georgia is significantly reduced and small, seasonal hydropower plants are practically unable to work. "Our energy is based on hydropower and water inflow in rivers. Unfortunately, we do not have the great potential of water storage hydropower plants and we are very limited in terms of water accumulation. There are several projects only in Georgia, which are of great importance in terms of our energy independence, such are Khudoni, Nenskra and partly Namakhvani. All other HPP projects depend on water inflow. Regulatory hydropower plants are very important for development of the system as well as for integrating alternative energy, as solar and wind power plants are unstable and we need electricity to balance their resources,” - said Giorgi Chikovani, the Head of JSC Georgian Energy Development Fund in the interview. Untapped Wealth - Norwegian example of hydrogenation for Georgia Economics 2020-05-18 16489 Gov't lifts quarantine regime in Marneuli Strict quarantine regime has removed in Marneuli today. Restriction on the movement in the municipality has lifted. A strict quarantine in the municipality was declared on March 23. The curfew (from 21:00 p.m to 06:00 a.m) still remains in force in Georgia. A state of emergency extended until May 22. Gov't lifts quarantine regime in Marneuli Society 2020-05-18 16488 Georgia's COVID-19 cases climb to 701 Six new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) confirmed in Georgia, bringing the total number to 701, according to the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC). A total of 432 patients recovered from the novel virus as yet. 12 died from coronavirus in the country. Currently, 257 citizens have been hospitalised in the clinics. NCDC said 39 573 people underwent PCR testing so far. Georgia's COVID-19 cases climb to 701 Society 2020-05-18 16487 The President pardons Gigi Ugulava and Irakli Okruashvili The President of Georgia has pardoned two leaders of the opposition, former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava and former Minister of Defense Irakli Okruashvili. As Salome Zourabichvili said during the briefing, she does not pardon political prisoners as they don’t exist in Georgia. “I have decided to issue the Pardon Act to Ugulava and Okruashvili. Before their pardon comes into force, I would like to address the public, for whom my decision today will not be easy to understand and they may not even forgive me. I need to clarify the essence of forgiveness for everyone. I will not pardon political prisoners, as there are no political prisoners in Georgia today”, - said the President. As Zourabichvili said, the above decision “does not mean the release of political prisoners, but it aims to fully restore the democratic image of the country and get rid of the past”. The President pardons Gigi Ugulava and Irakli Okruashvili Politics 2020-05-15 16486 Regulatory HPPs – Guarantee of Energy Independence Nugzar Beridze, Director of the Electricity Department of the Georgian National Energy Regulatory Commission (GNERC), talks about the potential for the development of Georgia's electricity generation sources and how important it is to intensify the construction of res in the country. - What percentage of electricity consumed in Georgia in the first quarter of 2020 was imported and from which countries? - In the first quarter, the share of import was 12-15%. The main importing countries are Russia and Azerbaijan. Of course, the share of Russia comes mainly on Abkhazia, while Azerbaijan leads in the rest of Georgia in terms of import. - Why has import increased if quarantine has been announced in the country since the end of February and consumption has sharply decreased? - Consumption has not decreased significantly. The main focus was on household consumption, while consumption at the expense of production capacity was reduced by some percentage. We must remember that the first quarter is deficient and it is mostly satisfied at the expense of imports. Hydro resources are reduced during this period, the volume of water reservoirs can no longer ensure the operation of regulatory hydropower plants. We also have gas limits, so importing electricity in the first quarter is essential. The increase in imports in the first quarter of 2020 was mainly due to increased consumption in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2017-2018, consumption was increased by 7-8%, the consumption was increased in 2019 too, and in the beginning of 2020, there was a decrease, but not so dramatic, which could significantly change the picture. - What sources of electricity do we have in Georgia and what percentage of the total generation is regulated by regulatory HPPs? - Hydropower resources are leading in Georgia, but we have only 20% of them. Consequently, hydrogenation has a large share. Thermal power plants take about 20% of the total generation, up to 80% is hydropower generation, and wind and solar energy have a certain percentage. We have a wind power plant in Gori with a capacity of 20.3 mega-watt. The Gardabani 2 thermal power plant, which has a high efficiency coefficient, has been put into operation this year, but hydropower plants remain the most important source of our generation. - According to the decision of the Georgian State Electric System (GSE), from May to July, generation facilities will not be able to conclude direct contracts for the sale of electricity, as consumption in the conditions of coronavirus pandemic is significantly reduced. The situation is similar in neighboring countries and exports will not be possible. Under such conditions, regulatory hydropower plants remain in a privileged position, with the possibility of accumulating hydro resources. How important is the construction of regulatory hydropower plants in Georgia? - Regulatory HPPs are much more flexible in operation, as hydro resources are renewable, the accumulation of which is important because its watering period is short and the resource can be used effectively only through regulatory HPPs. As for seasonal power plants, when we have a large amount of hydro resources. It is difficult to use them. Therefore, it is important for dam power plants to store water and use it when resources are scarce. - Small and seasonal HPPs cannot replace regulatory HPPs - Should priority be given to the construction of dam hydropower plants? - No, of course. Dam hydropower plants have a much greater impact on nature than small plants. At this time, it is necessary to occupy more area with reservoirs, as a result of which land, forests and sometimes even villages are flooded. As for river hydropower plants, they have less impact on the environment. Therefore, this process is complex and it is wrong to prioritize and focus on any one, but we cannot solve the problem of electricity shortage without regulatory hydropower plants. Development of wind and solar power plants are also important. - Many ecologists criticize HPPs. How ecologically clean do you think the energy generated by hydropower plants is?  - HPPs are generally considered to be renewable energy sources and their construction is encouraged, but the environment, of course, is damaged. The trend is that hydropower is a clean resource, free from gas emissions, and environmentally friendly. In terms of environmental impact, all of this needs to be done using appropriate mitigation measures. Everything has an impact on the environment, including wind and solar power plants, the main thing is that this impact should be properly assessed and adequate measures be taken. - Shuakhevi HPP was put into operation. How important is the construction of Nenskra HPP in terms of import substitution? - The pandemic will end and consumption will increase again. - First of all, we must say that without the use of energy, we will not be able to develop enterprises and the economy. We need to develop sources of generation because consumption is increasing and local sources can no longer meet it, so we often need to import electricity. As you know, powerful hydropower plants with reservoir are very important for the more efficient introduction of other variable generation sources, and if hydropower plants will be developed too, this will have a great advantage. Import has significantly grown because our generation can no longer cover consumption. Consequently, only powerful power plants can develop the industry and economy of the country. - What is the experience of foreign countries in this direction? For example, in Norway there are 1660 HPPS. From them, more than 1000 are reservoir HPPs. Should Georgia share this experience? -In this regard, sharing the experience of Norway will certainly be useful for Georgia. They have fully taken advantage of the hydro resources, while we use only 20%. We always acknowledge with their experience and they, as consultants, are actively involved in this process. Therefore, sharing the experience of Norway as one of the most powerful energy countries in Europe will definitely help us. Regulatory HPPs – Guarantee of Energy Independence Economics 2020-05-08 16485 Rompetrol Georgia provides 60,000 liters of fuel to LEPL Emergency Situations Coordination and Urgent Assistance Center Rompetrol Georgia, with the support of its owning group KMG International, will provide Emergency Situations Coordination and Urgent Assistance Center of Georgia with fuel for two months period. Within the framework of its corporate social responsibility, Rompetrol Georgia will supply the center with 60,000 liters of fuel free of charge. Emergency Situations Coordination and Urgent Assistance Center provides free medical emergency services to the population throughout the whole Georgia. Fuel for ambulance vehicles will be provided in two stages - in April the company will provide 30,000 liters of fuel, and in May additional 30,000 liters. Rompetrol Georgia representatives claim that the decision was made in the context of the fight against Covid-19. "Under the pandemic conditions, it is of utmost importance for the business to support the state, we therefore are eager to contribute to the fight against Covid-19. Our owner KMG International Group supports state or medical institutions in all the countries where we operate and is actively involved in the fight against the pandemic. Understanding the challenges of working in the medical sector within the state of emergency, we believe that with this step we offer a certain financial benefit to the Emergency Situations Coordination and Urgent Assistance Center and express our huge gratitude for their invaluable work during this difficult times. Together we will defeat Covid-19” - says Zamanbek Mirzayanov, General Manager of Rompetrol Georgia. Vehicles of Emergency Situations Coordination and Urgent Assistance Center will be able to fill up with Efix Diesel through Fill&Go cards, product foreseen for the company’s corporate clients. Under the terms of the pandemic, the company has taken special measures to ensure the safety of the operators and customers at Rompetrol's gas stations. All gas stations are regularly supplied with hand sanitizers, disposable gloves and facemasks. Disinfection works are carried out in stages at company’s gas stations throughout the country. For everyone’s safety, Rompetrol Georgia urges customers to keep the recommended distance at the gas stations and use non-cash payment methods. Rompetrol Georgia provides 60,000 liters of fuel to LEPL Emergency Situations Coordination and Urgent Assistance Center Society 2020-04-30 16484 NAKRA VALLEY RESIDENTS WILL MEET THE FLOOD SEASON PREPARED Residents of the Nakra valley have historically met the flood season completely unprotected. As a result of the disaster, houses, yards and agricultural lands in the villages were significantly damaged. This is the first spring this year, when the expected flood risk has been significantly reduced - last year, upon  the request of locals, Nenskra Hydro cleaned the riverbed from debris at two sections of the Nakra River and carried out  bank reinforcement works. How much work has been done in the Nakra riverbed and how  the population will be protected in the future? Rodam Gvarmiani, a member of the Mestia Municipality Council and a resident of Nakra, discusses these topics. - How important was the implementation of this project for the population of the valley? First of all, it should be said that this project is  a great example of cooperation between the investor and the population. The works were carried out on the site upon the request of the population. There has been a problem with flooding homes and lands in the valley for many years. Both banks of the river are significantly damaged by the floods. On the left bank, where there is a slope and erosion due to the floods, the population lives in danger. The walls of the houses were cracked, so the problem needed to be solved in time. As for the right bank, which is also inhabited by locals, mainly agricultural areas are damaged. Arable lands have been completely destroyed, as well as homestead plots. Therefore, the  bank reinforcement and riverbed cleaning works were vital for the residents of the community. - When did Nenskra Hydro start bank reinforcement and riverbed cleaning works on the river Nakra? The project was implemented with involvement of the Mestia Municipality, with the active work of the Nakra Community Advisory Committee and funding of JSC Nenskra Hydro. Project works began in the fall of 2018. Initially, a geological survey of the valley was carried out, design was  prepared,  a tender was announced  in the spring of 2019, and works were completed in the same year. - How much work has been done on the river and how many sections have been reinforced? Within the framework of the project, works were carried out on two, 300 and 400 meter sections of  the river Nakra. The 300-meter section was cleared and the riverbed was widened. Then, with the large loaded rocks, the bank  reinforcement barriers were built on the both sides of the river. As for the 400-meter section, the riverbed was cleared and deepened. The bank was reinforced with loaded materials. Both projects are important for the population due to the severity of the problem. As a result of the floods, the settlements were in real danger, and today we can say that the population is safe. - How many villages are there in Nakra Valley and were the locals employed in the project? Nakra Community includes 11 villages  with a population of 120 households, i.e. about 450 residents. Due to the specifics of the work, the main work was done by the machinery, however, up to 10 locals were employed in the project. - Can we say that Nakra Valley will meet the flood season prepared thanks to this project? Indeed, floods occur every year in Nakra Valley. During the disaster in Chuberi in recent years, despite the relatively small scale flood in Nakra, still, the population has suffered greatly. These events started 10-15 years ago and have been especially active in the last few years, which has become a significant problem. This project already provides life and safety for specific families. In fact, in areas where cleaning and bank reinforcement works have been carried out, residents are guaranteed to be protected from the threat of flooding. It should also be noted that this is not the first project and similar works of Nenskra Hydro have been carried out on the Nakra and other torrent rivers in recent years. - Apart from this project, how does Nenskra Hydro help the local population? In addition to environmental projects, the company Nenskra Hydro in cooperation with Nakra Community Advisory Committee has implemented various social projects. These include providing the kindergarten and school with the necessary equipment, as well as rehabilitating the drinking water system and implementing new projects in all eleven villages of the Nakra community. Rehabilitation works of the central water supply system are still underway. As a part of the rural development program, the project was launched by the Mestia Municipality, and the following year, Nenskra Hydro began its funding. The second phase of the works, which aims to provide the population with drinking water, should be completed this year. Works were carried out in 7 villages last year. The rehabilitation of the major facility in the central part of Nakra will be completed this year. In addition, the company helped the local population with heavy machinery in the scope of Access to Mechanization project. Each family had the opportunity to use Nenskra Hydro’s equipment free of charge for construction and agricultural purposes. Within the project, each beneficiary received the service worth up to 3,000 GEL from the company for free. JSC Nenskra Hydro is a project-based company established in 2015 as a result of cooperation between a state-owned Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) and JSC Partnership Fund. The company is developing the Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project in the Nenskra and Nakra river Valleys in Mestia Municipality of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1’200.00 GWh of electricity annually, which will be fully consumed by the Georgian market. NAKRA VALLEY RESIDENTS WILL MEET THE FLOOD SEASON PREPARED Economics 2020-04-29 16483 Chuberi Meets the Threat of COVID-19 with a Completely Renewed Ambulatory Clinic In the times of coronavirus pandemic, the work of local ambulatory clinics in the regions has become even more vital, which is still a problem in many villages. In this regard, after August last year, the situation has improved completely in the village of Chuberi, Mestia Municipality, where the ambulatory clinic was fully rehabilitated with the funding of JSC Nenskra Hydro and Korean Water Resources Corporation K-water. As part of the rehabilitation, the second floor of the building was completely renovated, the day and the so-called luxury rooms with bathrooms were arranged, as well as a family doctor's reception, patient examination rooms and conference hall. Family doctor Tea Tsindeliani, who has been working at the Chuberi Ambulatory Clinic for 5 years, says that after the rehabilitation, the working conditions of the doctors have significantly improved and, consequently, the work has become more efficient. "The building where the ambulatory clinic operates today was an ordinary residential house 7 years ago. The village bought it and turned it into an ambulatory clinic, but due to lack of finances only the first floor was arranged, and the second floor was completely useless. No one had funds to repair it. After renovation works, the second floor was repaired. The full-scale hospital rooms with bathrooms, reception of family doctors and separate examination rooms were arranged which makes easier to work and manage the flow of patients effectively, " said Tea Tsindeliani. Considering background of a new global challenge, ambulatory doctors serve patients in a remote way to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and treat at the hospital only in case of emergency. It also became necessary to take care of the safety of the medical staff. According to Tea Tsindeliani, the ambulatory clinic is regularly disinfected with the help of "Nenskra Hydro". "Because of the spread of the virus in the country, we mostly serve patients remotely, provide telephone counseling and only treat patients at the site in case of  emergency. Disinfection at the ambulatory clinic has already been done with the help of  Nenskra Hydro. "We have a request: if there is a resource for this, to provide us with disinfectants," said the family doctor. Mariam Kopaleishvili, an ambulance doctor, who was directly involved in the rehabilitation of the Chuberi Ambulatory Clinic, said that the appropriate equipment of the center is an important aid for both patients and doctors. "Apart from providing patients with much better medical care and treatment in modern rooms, rehabilitation has certainly made work easier for doctors. The process of working with patients has become easier and more comfortable," said the ambulance doctor. According to the doctor, currently the calls related to the symptoms of coronavirus in Chuberi are not actually recorded, the referral is mostly related to cases of arterial hypertension and trauma during spring works. "Currently, there is no ambulance car on the balance of Chuberi Ambulatory Clinic, however, it is quite a long way to some villages in the valley to get to the patient operatively. In this case, "Nenskra Hydro" often helps doctors with their ambulance car, " said the ambulance doctor . Chuberi Ambulatory Clinic was opened on August 23 last year after full rehabilitation funded by Nenskra Hydro and K-water. Today, the medical center provides assistance to the local residents with improved conditions and renewed infrastructure. From 2015 to date, Nenksra Hydro has implemented social projects worth GEL 2 million in Chuberi and Nakra. Within the scope of Access to Mechanization Project, the company provided about 200 families with free heavy machinery service, assisted them in improvement of lands and arrangement of internal village roads. In addition, Nenskra Hydro funded Nakra riverbed cleaning and bank reinforcement works. Recently, the full rehabilitation of the Chuberi Culture House and Sports Complex has been completed. In addition to infrastructure projects, the company is working to develop small and medium-sized businesses as well as support vocational education. Chuberi Meets the Threat of COVID-19 with a Completely Renewed Ambulatory Clinic Economics 2020-04-21 16480 COVID-19 cases in Georgia reach 408, recovered 95 The number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Georgia has reached 408. According to the latest figures, 95 patients recovered from the virus and four patients died. Currently, 4779 people remain under quarantine and 561 – in inpatient care. Three Georgian citizens are brought from abroad for medical treatment. COVID-19 cases in Georgia reach 408, recovered 95 Society 2020-04-21 16481 EU: Russia and China push ‘fake news’ on coronavirus crisis China and Russia continue to use the global coronavirus crisis to spread false reports and other online disinformation, according to the latest update published Wednesday from the European External Action Service’s team dedicated to highlighting such digital tactics. According to the article published by Politico, the group, called East Stratcom and whose mandate includes debunking fake news originating from Russia, said there had been more than 150 cases of pro-Kremlin disinformation linked to the global health crisis since late January. That includes claims that the European Union was on the verge of collapse because of national governments’ fumbled responses to COVID-19. As noted in the article, “Across social media, these narratives, often promoted by Russian media outlets like RT and Sputnik, have also highlighted how the Kremlin has been better prepared than its Western counterparts, and how some EU governments welcomed aid provided by both Moscow and Beijing.” “But as the global crisis grows at pace, such efforts — both from state-backed groups and domestic EU actors — are linking the coronavirus pandemic with existing misinformation themes, including the targeting of migrants, minority groups and the long-term credibility of the EU, according to the authors of the update”, – the article reads. EU: Russia and China push ‘fake news’ on coronavirus crisis Politics 2020-04-20 16482 Nenskra HPP Preparatory Construction Works are Underway Nenskra HPP is one of the major infrastructure projects that will not stop even under the general quarantine announced in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Currently, preparatory works are underway in Chuberi villiage, Mestia municipality,” company representatives say. “Despite the current situation, we are actively continuing to build roads and bridges. Work is carried out in full compliance with sanitary-epidemiological norms, in accordance with WHO recommendations and regulations established by the Government of Georgia. Up to 300 people are employed at the project, 130 of whom are locals". The works are being carried out by subcontractor - Georgian Construction Consortium. According to the company, preparatory construction works of Nenskra HPP are progressing. Works are underway at several locations at the same time: six bridges with a capacity of 100 t; widening of the road and arrangement of rock layers; preparing the foundation for the pipe-bridge; excavation for the foundation of the so-called Residential Buildings for Operators Village, etc. The works are carried out in accordance with the recommendations issued by the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. Namely, disinfection works are carried out regularly on the Nenskra HPP project site, on company-owned office and residential premises, as well as on catering and vehicles to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In addition, health status of the personnel employed on the Project is routinely checked. JSC Nenskra Hydro is a project-based company established in 2015 as a result of cooperation between a state-owned Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) and JSC Partnership Fund. The company is developing the Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project in the Nenskra and Nakra river Valleys in Mestia Municipality of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1’200.00 GWh of electricity annually, which will be fully consumed by the Georgian market. Nenskra HPP Preparatory Construction Works are Underway Economics 2020-04-03 16478 Importance of Nenskra HPP in Reducing Electricity Import The only way to reduce Georgia’s import dependency is to increase local electricity generation in the country. This is precisely what large-scale projects like Nenskra HPP aim today. How much electricity does  Georgia consume today, how does it import and what would be the situation if large hydroelectric projects were implemented? - The answers to these questions will give you the figures and percentages that we provide below. The decline in generation and the increase in consumption have led to increase of import. In January-February 2019 Georgia imported 324 million kWh electricity, and in January-February 2020 - 526 million kWh, i.e 62% more. As for the price paid on imports, it increased even further - from $ 15.4 million to $ 26.4 million, .i.e  71% more. In 2019, Georgia imported 1626.5 million kWh electricity. The source of import was two countries - Azerbaijan and Russia. We can introduce the dynamics of import volume with the  graph:  The graph would be different if Nenskra HPP was operating in 2019. The annual estimated generation of the HPP is 1219 million kW/h. The amount of generation is seasonal and depends on the flow of water, as in the case of all hydropower plants. In Georgia, the “hydroelectric winter” - the period when the country is in need of electricity import, lasts from September to April.  So, conditionally replace the imported electricity with the electricity generated by Nenskra HPP and see how we would get a different picture. See on the graph how import dependency of Georgia would be reduced in 2019, if Nenskra HPP had been put into operation: As for the annual data, the volume of electricity imported during 2019 amounted to 1626.5 million kWh, in case of Nenskra HPP's generation it would be only 785.35 million kWh. This means that annual electricity import (for example, in 2019) would decrease by 48.3%.  This scenario clearly shows the need to implement large-scale energy projects such as Nenskra HPP. Importance of Nenskra HPP in Reducing Electricity Import Economics 2020-03-30 16477 President Zourabichvili Declares State of Emergency across Georgia President Salome Zourabichvili, after a submission by the Prime Minister, declared a state of emergency across the entire territory of Georgia. The President’s address to the nation:   “My dear compatriots, Today, Georgia, along with other countries across the world, faces one of the most serious challenges. The situation is grave and we should expect it to get even worse. There is no cure for the disease yet. Only prevention is in our hands. We have all seen in the past few days how the leadership of our health care system, of the Lugar Center, and of the Infectious Disease Hospital have met this challenge in a timely and efficient manner and with great responsibility and professionalism. Thanks to their professional advice and the timely and effective response by state agencies, the speed and extent of the viral outbreak amongst our population were significantly reduced in this first stage. Thanks to them, the number of people infected in Georgia is still within the range of two digits as of today. It can be said that we managed to contain the first wave of the epidemic. We can be proud of this as it is the joint achievement of our society, of our state agencies and of our health care system. We must transform this first success into a victory. Considering the nature of the epidemic, we must be ready for a second wave, during which the number of infected people will increase and the outbreak may take more serious forms. This new fight requires new weapons. Hence, in order to prevent the mass spread of the new Coronavirus and due to this rapidly-growing challenge, considering the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic, and to ensure that the State can fulfill its constitutional commitment before society by protecting the life and health of our people, and to mitigate the looming threat, based on the submission of the Prime Minister and in accordance with Article 71 of the Constitution, I have the taken the decision to declare the State of Emergency on the entire territory of Georgia. This decision shall enter into force immediately. Also, on the basis of the submission of the Prime Minister of Georgia, in accordance with Article 71 of the Constitution and Article 2 of the Law on State of Emergency, I will issue a decree, according to which some of the rights enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia shall be restricted on the territory of Georgia for the duration of the State of Emergency, including the freedom of movement, of property, of assembly, and of providing public services. This decree provides for administrative and criminal sanctions for violations of the State of Emergency. The State of Emergency is in force until April 21. It should be understood by everyone that the limitation of our constitutional rights derives from the situation we are in. When imposing restrictions, our democratic principles were taken into account as much as possible and neither freedom of expression, nor speech were restricted, so that media outlets can freely fulfill their obligations and inform the public. The measures envisaged by the decree include neither full quarantine nor a curfew. At this new stage of the struggle, responsibility and self-awareness of citizens is essential to the success of the emergency situation and will ensure that we are not obliged to further tighten the measures at a later stage. I urge all citizens to show high responsibility, maximum alertness, and maintain social distance. I believe that with unity and self-awareness, we will come out victorious.” President Zourabichvili Declares State of Emergency across Georgia Politics 2020-03-21 16476 Rompetrol Georgia Shifted to Special Working Mode Due to COVID-19 Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 virus worldwide, „Rompetrol Georgia” has moved to special mode of operation. In early March, KMG International Group launched the Crisis Management Plan, which envisages ensuring the safety and security of the company’s employees, their families and customers in parallel to the continuity of the company’s operations. The company’s crisis plan, based on the virus assessment and impact, was developed following the recommendations and decisions from the World Health Organization, all local governmental entities and the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, that foresees a range of preventive measures for the employees, customers and working facilities. The majority of the company’s employees have switched to distance working mode. Business trips and meetings have been canceled, and mandatory self-isolation has been imposed on staff returning from other countries. The number of front office staff working in a single shift was minimized and their direct contact with the customers was limited. "Given the current situation, Rompetrol's priority is to ensure the safety and security of our customers, employees and their families. Therefore, we take all the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The company has embarked on a remote working practice. All the products and services that required from customer visiting our offices before, now is shifted to a range of alternative - remote services, including electronic signatures. Common surfaces in the workspace are treated several times a day with specialized disinfectants. Hand-held disinfectants were distributed in all office spaces, ”- the company representatives said. Remote working practice, depending on the specifics of the service, does not apply to the gas station operators. In order to ensure the safety of gas station employees and the protection of the customers visiting the station, the company has taken special measures that will be completed in the upcoming days. Supply of all gas stations with hand disinfectants, disposable gloves and protective masks has begun. Each employee of Rompetrol’s gas stations is provided with intensive guidance on adherence to strict hygiene standards, in line with the recommendations of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. Rompetrol Georgia has undertaken intensive disinfection works since late February. Disinfection was repeatedly carried out both at the company's headquarter and at the oil depots of Tbilisi and Batumi. Disinfection works are planned to be carried out in all gas stations of the company in the following days.  “We strive to keep the safety of our employees and customers at our best effort and we understand the challenge that operating the company on a special mode is requiring from all of us. We thank all our employees who work tirelessly and ensure the smooth operations of the company. Here, we also ask our customers for the sake of their health to keep recommended distance when visiting the stations and use non-cash payments”- said the General Manager of Rompetrol Georgia, Zamanbek Mirzayanov. Rompetrol Georgia Shifted to Special Working Mode Due to COVID-19 Economics 2020-03-21 16475 JSC Nenskra Hydro Shifts to Remote Work JSC Nenskra Hydro, Nenskra Hydropower Plant (HPP) project company in line with the recommendations of the Government of Georgia and the World Health Organization (WHO), shifts to a remote working mode to prevent the spread of a new type coronavirus (COVID-19). To protect health of employees and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, JSC Nenskra Hydro has taken a number of preventive measures as soon as the virus has spread in Georgia. In particular, the company has banned employees to travel to risk-group countries, canceled meetings in the working environment, called employees to follow rules of self-isolation and avoid being in public places, took systematic disinfection measures in work environment, equipped the office with appropriate  disinfection means and provided protective masks to the employees. To counter further spread of the virus, JSC Nenskra Hydro Management decided to move to a remote working regime from March 19. If necessary, the company will provide transportation of the employees in order to protect them from the risk caused by travelling by public transport. JSC Nenskra Hydro hopes that the problem regarding COVID-19 both in Georgia and worldwide will be resolved in the shortest time and wishes you good health! JSC Nenskra Hydro is a project-based company established in 2015 as a result of cooperation between a state-owned Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) and JSC Partnership Fund. The company is developing the Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project in the Nenskra and Nakra river Valleys in Mestia Municipality of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1’200.00 GWh of electricity annually, which will be fully consumed by the Georgian market. JSC Nenskra Hydro Shifts to Remote Work Business 2020-03-19 16474 Two new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Georgia Georgian gov’t has confirmed two new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) bringing the total number of infected in the country to 40. The updated data is available at the new webpage – – launched by the Government of Georgia, which aims to inform the society of the situation in the country amid the novel virus outbreak in the world. According to the webpage, one recovered, 1344 are quarantined, while 216 are under hospital supervision. Two new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Georgia Society 2020-03-19 16473 Eurovision Song Contest 2020 cancelled over coronavirus This year’s Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) will no longer take place due to the coronavirus outbreak. The event was due to take place at Rotterdam’s 16,000 capacity Ahoy Arena, with the final on 16 May. “We, like the millions of you around the world, are extremely saddened that it cannot take place in May,” organisers said in a statement. The news marks the first time in Eurovision’s 64-year history that the competition has not taken place. Tornike Kipiani had to present Georgia at 2020 ESC in Rotterdam. Eurovision Song Contest 2020 cancelled over coronavirus Culture 2020-03-19 16472 Nenskra HPP – more than just electricity Before moving to the main phase of Nenskra HPP construction, Nenskra Hydro has already invested up to $ 20 million in 2019. This sum has been spent on development of local infrastructure and conducting research and studies. In addition, in 2019, the company paid 4 million GEL in local budget. This sum is half of the Mestia municipality budget and will be spent on the development of the municipality in 2020. The main mission of the 280-megawatt Nenskra HPP is ultimately to reduce the deficit that has been raised in recent years, along with the increase in electricity consumption, in Georgia's energy market. Because of this deficit, Georgia is now significantly dependent on imports of electricity from Azerbaijan and Russia. Nenskra HPP will provide Georgia with an additional 1.2 billion kW / h energy. The year of 2019 was not an easy year for Nenskra Hydro. Since the project was abandoned by the previous EPC Contractor in 2018, a new tender for the selection of new EPC Contractor has been conducted by international standards with transparency, resulting in three bidders. The best offer is selected and one of the best bidders will be named in the near future. However, these changes have not slowed down the process - preparatory construction work is still underway with the local contractor. 9 bridges and up to 40 km road are being constructed, as well as various infrastructure works. Moving on permanent works with a new EPC Contractor will probably start in summer. It is about the construction of a 120-meter-high dam, a 30km long tunnel, a power house and other auxiliaries. These permanent works will begin in 2020 after award of EPC Contract.  Construction of all major infrastructure will begin in 2020, including the main tunnel, dam foundation, concrete plants and other auxiliaries. The first tunnel bore is planned for the end of 2020, which is one of the most important part of the project. HPP and Environment The most important part of each component of the megaproject is to minimize environmental impact. In this section, Nenskra Hydro involved experienced international organizations and experts from Switzerland, Japan, France and Germany. Working together with Georgian specialists, a unified document - the Nenskra HPP Project Environmental and Social Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report has been drafted and approved by MEPA, which is public and can be downloaded and read by anyone. The document describes in detail all environmental risks and measures to minimize them. What is the cost of electricity generated by HPP? As for the tariff issue, which has been repeatedly discussed, even critically, the main function of the Nenskra HPP is to replace the import tariff. And it can be manageable throughout the state's involvement and control during the operation stage. It involves both: construction and operation. The Nenskra HPP project is different from other types of projects. The company has offered the government another flexible mechanism by which the government can adjust tariffs during the project period. As for the impact on consumer tariffs, this would be minimal, which would not outweigh the problem of what is called the country's import dependency - compared to the tariff on imported electricity, tariff of Nenskra will always be competitive. Nenskra HPP is a source of local generation, consumed for Georgia and will remain in Georgia. Electricity will go out of the country if there is excess generation, otherwise, it will be consumed for demands of Georgia. Unprecedented social effect of megaproject Nenskra Hydro implements unprecedented social projects for Chuberi and Nakra valleys. The population of the valleys for many years has been solely concerned with the extraction and sale of timber. Besides, these areas are extremely poor and it is unimaginable to produce so many crops that the family can survive year after year. With Nenskra Hydro sponsorship, the local outpatient facility has already been rehabilitated in Chuberi. The outpatient clinic is equipped with modern equipment. The renovation and equipping of Chuberi Culture House and Sports Complex is also in the final stage of completion. Along with infrastructure projects, educational projects are underway. English and computer courses have been started. The project of providing the local population with heavy equipment was implemented. Land registration and recording program was completed. Up to 90% of the land in the Nenskra Valley has already been described and relevant documentation has been prepared for submission to the Public Registry. An internship program was launched in the end of the last year involving local youth. The program has already completed its first flow. Participants, along with Nenskra Hydro employees, were assigned to various departments in accordance with their interests and had daily contact with the processes of the company. In addition, the company encourages employing local residents. Currently, 132 locals are employed on the project. They build themselves and see when, by what standards and for what purpose the Nenskra HPP is being built. More than 1,000 jobs will be created as the HPP enters the active phase of construction and priority will be given to locals. The second phase of the social programs implemented under the project deals with the sustainable development of the valley for which Nenskra Hydro provides creation and development of local SMEs. Special attention will be paid to the development of tourism, which will provide a permanent source of income for the local population. The company is already working on this direction of social programs with local authorities. It is planned to develop different programs, trainings, financial participation. Pilot products are already available. Nenskra HPP – more than just electricity Economics 2020-03-18 16471 'Iconic' blue UK passports to be issued from next month Home Secretary Priti Patel says the British passport will "once again be entwined with our national identity". Britons will see the return of blue passports from next month following the UK's exit from the EU. The first of the new-style passports - described by the government as a return to an "iconic" design - will be issued and delivered in early March, the Home Office has announced. Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Leaving the EU gave us a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path in the world. "By returning to the iconic blue and gold design, the British passport will once again be entwined with our national identity and I cannot wait to travel on one." The introduction of blue passports will be phased in and, from mid-2020, all new passports will be blue to replace their burgundy predecessors. Advertisement Former prime minister Theresa May announced the return to blue passports in December 2017, hailing it as "an expression of our independence and sovereignty" as she planned the UK's departure from the EU. It was later revealed that a Franco-Dutch firm was to be given the £260m contract to produce the new passports, controversially replacing the previous British manufacturer of UK passports. Source: Sky News 'Iconic' blue UK passports to be issued from next month World 2020-02-22 16470 Belarus to invest in dairy factory in Georgia - Belarusian Ambassador to Georgia MINSK, 19 February (BelTA) – A dairy production facility with Belarus' participation will be set up in Georgia, Belarusian Ambassador to Georgia Mikhail Myatlikov told BelTA on the sidelines of the session of Belarus-Georgia intergovernmental committee on economic cooperation. “Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas is expected to visit Georgia on 26-27 March. The economic forum of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry will be held during the visit. Plans are in place to open a dairy factory with Belarusian capital. It will use Belarusian raw materials and will be called Tbilisi Dairy Factory,” Mikhail Myatlikov said. Besides, two shops selling Belarusian goods are expected to open in Georgia in March. As for mutual trade Mikhail Myatlikov noted that the Belarusian exports to Georgia decreased as Gomselmash completed the delivery of harvesters. However, the exports of services increased to reach $28 million in 2019. “These are transportation, medical, tourism, educational and others services. They have been growing at a good pace,” the ambassador noted. “By 2019 the merchandise and services trade exceeded $120 million. We are moving towards the target of $200 million that the president has set forth.” In 2019, the trade between Belarus and Georgia totaled $86.4 million, 0.6% down from 2018. The exports made up $50.8 million (21.4% down), the imports reached $35.6 million (59.9% up). Belarus' major exports to Georgia included synthetic thread, milk and dairy products, medications, electric transformers and other goods. A dairy production facility with Belarus' participation will be set up in Georgia Politics 2020-02-20 16469 PM: Belarus ready to move forward in industrial, agricultural cooperation with Georgia MINSK, 19 February - Belarus is ready to move forward in industrial and agricultural cooperation with Georgia, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said as he met with Georgia's Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava in Minsk on 19 February, BelTA has learned. “I am convinced that by cooperating with Belarus, Georgia can successfully solve important social and economic problems, such as providing the population with comfortable and environmentally friendly passenger transport, high-quality and inexpensive medicines, food, and other Belarusian products. We are ready to move forward in both industrial and also agricultural cooperation,” said Sergei Rumas. Today, Georgia assembles Belarusian elevators and packages medicines. Belarusian business is interested in establishing milk processing and dairy production facilities in Georgia. Georgian cognac is bottled in Minsk. “We, of course, look forward to the Georgian government's support for these industrial cooperation initiatives,” the Belarusian head of government said.  In addition, Georgia has a need to update its fleet of fire-fighting vehicles. Tbilisi is planning to purchase cars for the metro. “We have already supplied Stadler's cars, and as I heard, they have proven their worth in Tbilisi. Agricultural engineering companies are also ready to fully meet the demand of Georgian farmers in advanced vehicles and attachments. We have experience in adjusting their technical specifications to the soil and climatic conditions of Georgia," the prime minister added. He stressed that Georgia is an important and time-tested partner of Belarus. “It is important that we maintain a good dialogue at a high and highest level. We maintain our trade at a stable level. Georgia works better on this front as your export to Belarus has been growing at a faster rate,” Sergei Rumas noted. Belarus also has something to offer, and I think today's session of the intergovernmental commission will help to outline new areas of cooperation. We should not forget that the head of state has set forth a task to reach $200 million in mutual trade and we all need to work towards it,” he said. The Belarusian head of government is expected to visit Georgia in March at the invitation of the Georgian prime minister. “I am convinced that your visit and my planned visit will contribute to further strengthening of the Belarusian-Georgian cooperation,” said Sergei Rumas. In turn, Natia Turnava said that the bilateral relations have reached a high level in recent years. She expressed confidence that the upcoming visit of Sergei Rumas to Georgia would be a fruitful continuation of a number of reciprocal visits and high-level negotiations. According to her, Belarus and Georgia have been steadily developing their economic relations. At today's session of the intergovernmental commission the parties will have an opportunity to work out areas to make bilateral cooperation more intensive. “There is every ground for even closer cooperation in economy, energy, transport, tourism, healthcare, culture, education and innovations,” she added. In 2019, the trade between Belarus and Georgia totaled $86.4 million, down 0.6% year on year. The exports made up $50.8 million (down 21.4%), the imports reached $35.6 million (up 59.9%). Belarus' main exports to Georgia included synthetic thread, milk and dairy products, medications, electric transformers and other goods. Photos by Oksana Manchuk PM: Belarus ready to move forward in industrial, agricultural cooperation with Georgia Politics 2020-02-19 16468 Address of the President of Georgia at PACE Today, on January 28, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has address the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Members of the Assembly, Ladies and Gentlemen First of all, let me start by congratulating Mr. Hendrik DAEMS upon his election as the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I wish you, Mr President, a successful tenure. I wish this Assembly constructive work under your guidance. It is an honor for me to address you today. It is an important occasion as Georgia has assumed this year the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers for the first time. This is an important responsibility and a wonderful opportunity at the same time. Yesterday, our Foreign Minister has presented our priorities during this presidency – 1. Human Rights and Environmental Protection; 2. Civil Participation in Decision-Making Process; 3. Child Friendly Justice – Converging Experience on Restorative Justice in Europe; and 4. Strengthening Democracy through Education, Culture and Youth Engagement. These priorities were selected to reflect the challenges that are faced by our societies today and are intended to launch comprehensive discussion on possible solutions. I hope that the 6 months ahead of us will be fully used for fruitful deliberations and to identify the next steps to be taken for further progress in our common endeavor. Excellencies, Seventy years ago, Post World War II Europe, fully understanding the true value of peace and the need to bounce back from the destruction and the despair, created the Council of Europe to “achieve a greater unity between its Members for the purpose of safeguarding and realizing the ideals and principles which are their common heritage, and facilitating their economic and social progress” - and it did. The adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights laid the ground for the organization and became the guideline for every Member. Democracy, human rights and rule of law became the core principles that we all need to adhere to and to be guided by. I strongly believe, that each and every member of the Council of Europe should abide by the values and principles of this organization. We individually and collectively have subscribed to the same standards and rules and therefore, are equally responsible to follow and implement these, whether small or large country, old or new democracy, developed or emerging economy. Hence, equality of treatment, objectivity in assessment, and fairness in implementation are the sine qua non conditions for the organization to remain credible, trusted and efficient.   Progress and development bring ever more issues and challenges, that members attempt to individually tackle. In reality, most of these challenges, being global in form and universal in essence, need a unified response and the Council of Europe is the place where we come together, share knowledge and best practices. Here, through cooperation and mutual support we come up with common solutions. The Council of Europe has been reflecting on the most contemporary issues, has been setting new principles, elaborating Conventions, which adopted by the Council, are then translated into national legislations. That is how we all progress. Though the hardest part we all face is …the implementation! And Georgia is no exception! Excellencies, Georgia celebrated 20 years of membership last year. It had recovered independence from the Soviet rule just 12 years before that. Today it’s even difficult to imagine where we were and how fast this revolution has happened.  We have come a long way. Acceeding to the Council of Europe has marked the start of the path towards the transformation of our society, the liberation of the individuals, the democratization of the political system, the consolidation of democratic institutions and of a state based on the rule of law.  A path that corresponded to the free choice of our nation, a choice that has never faltered, and which is to this day inspiring us and bringing us ever closer to the European integration. In this short (in historical perspective) time, Georgia has succeeded to turn itself from a post-soviet state, into an emerging ever stronger and vibrant (sometimes some would say too vibrant) democracy; She has turned into a modern European state with stronger institutions, free economy, sustained economic growth, developing social and healthcare systems, all in an environment of stability. This is a country that managed to pave its way towards the European Union and NATO, despite “everything” and everything it was : conflicts frozen and open war, occupied territories, threats and attempts to destabilization. We have managed reforms, in compliance with most of the membership requirements, despite sometimes pain and hardship and the strain of brutal changes on the population. We have managed to move forcefully in one and only one direction with the unwavering support of the absolute majority of the population. Achieving the Association Agreement, the DCFTA, the visa-free regime and the substantial package – has been a demonstration of these achievements and  the acknowledgement by our Partners, that Georgia was and is a trustworthy partner. We know that the end of the road is still not reached that it will take political will and readiness to achieve the last wave of reforms. That last stretch is not the easiest one but the most rewarding it will be. Standing here, is an important opportunity for me to reflect on some of these achievements while recognizing the challenges and reflecting on steps for the future. Human rights The new Constitution adopted in 2018 is a shift to yet another stage of our democratic development. It demonstrates our commitment to human rights protection – in addition to the fundamental rights and freedoms, this Constitution has introduced the newest in social, economic and environmental rights, that places it on a similar footing to those of modern and progressive European states. Environmental rights, more specifically protection of individuals and communities against environmental harm is a priority that most countries are now learning how to deal with. It is a UN Sustainable Development Goal, that we all agreed on beyond our continent. I believe, that caring about our planet requires joint efforts at every geographical, political or societal levels. Therefore, it’s no accident, that Georgia chose Human Rights and Environmental protection as one of the priorities for our presidency. We intend to pursue this priority not only during our Presidency term, but well beyond. Since joining the Council, Georgia adopted 89 Conventions and Protocols. I would like to single out one of the latest ratifications - the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. As the first woman President of Georgia, I am no exception for Georgia fares as a progressive country in gender equality. We have had women governing the country centuries ago, and Georgia’s constitution in 1920 already ensured equal political rights for women not only to elect, but to be elected. The Constituant Assembly of Georgia had five women members, one of them the first Moslem woman to be elected.  Still, I consider it my special responsibility to go beyond the existing state, when already half of the cabinet of Ministers is composed of women including two vice prime ministers, but we have to go further. My personal duty is to promote and encourage equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women at every level of the society, in every part of Georgia. Unfortunately, the need to safeguard women from violence at home or elsewhere, has appeared in recent years even in Georgia which seemed immune to such excesses. But drastic social changes, economic hardship has had its toll and families have been giving in to the spiral of domestic abuse and violence. The Istanbul Convention sets high standards for preventing violence, protection of victims and most importantly, prosecuting accused offenders and it will be at the center of my attention to see that it is implemented without complacency or hesitations.   In 2019, Georgia adopted important pieces of legislation in order to further enhance the  protection of human rights. I am proud that Georgia has taken, among the few that have moved in that direction, an important step towards ensuring equality - by defining and prohibiting sexual harassment. The society itself  is slowly accepting the terms and there are more and more individuals aware of their rights, especially in the workplace.   The adoption of Code on the Rights of the Child was an important milestone for reinforcing the state system that ensures the welfare and protection of every child. The code also creates greater guarantees to promote and ensure the participation of children in the decision making on all matters that concern them. We are now in the process of creating and improving the mechanisms to implement the Code. Adoption of the new Law on Occupational Safety is an achievement towards improving employment rights. It establishes high standards of protection, effective sanctions, enhances the mandate of labor inspection and aims to change the working culture. The Law reflects the ILO recommendations and the respective EU directives. The next step entails active work on reinforcing the Labor Inspection in order to ensure a proper implementation of the standards. Strict implementation in practice, which is still to be achieved,  will depend directly on the effectiveness of the inspection and monitoring system. Human Rights need constant safeguarding.  Here I would like to once again underline the significance of the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, that protects all minority groups from discrimination. I participated in the ceremony dedicated to the 5th World Forum on Holocaust in Jerusalem last week. Jewish people in Georgia have co-existed for 26 centuries without a single persecution on ethnic or religious grounds. Our friendship is an example that both nations are proud of. In today’s world of conflicts and tensions, such an illustration of peaceful cohabitation is even more valuable and necessary for all. That’s why I strongly believe that the exceptional relations of Georgians and Jews deserve special acknowledgement as an intangible cultural heritage. We are working towards submitting on this ground an application to the UNESCO world intangible heritage list. Many different religions have been practiced in Georgia for centuries and respective groups have peacefully cohabited. We have districts in the capital Tbilisi and Kutaisi – the second largest city – where orthodox, catholic, and Armenian Gregorian Churches, the Synagogue and the Mosque are built next to each other.  The Tbilisi Mosque is the only one today where Shia and Sunni Moslems pray together. These traditional tolerance and coexistence is still very much a reality and has not been overshadowed by distrust and isolation. While The Georgian Orthodox Church has a special constitutional status in the country,  the state also acknowledges the rights of other religious organizations through the State Agency for Religious Affairs. At this time there are 11 denominations working with the Agency, which channels legal and financial support to the organizations. I would like to recall that Georgia is among the countries that grant full linguistic, cultural and religious rights to the national minorities living on our territory. We have co-existed for centuries and this diversity is an integral part of Georgia’s socio-economic development.  These minorities enjoy full rights to their language, culture and traditions to such an extent that a majority of the national minorities living in the regions of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli do not speak the state language, an obstacle to promotion and integration. Efforts are made to overcome these limitations and to ensure a better participation of these minorities in the social and cultural life in the country. One sensitive issue in our society remains the rights of sexual minorities to promote their rights in the public space. Both the religious traditions, but even more the weight of soviet puritanism explain the adverse reactions to public demonstrations of the LGBT community, such as the pride. The authorities are taking necessary measures to protect these rights and that of freedom of expression while preventing conflicts between different social groups. Law enforcement bodies have managed these sensitive situations and have been effective in physically protecting minority groups on such occasions.   Freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed by the  Georgian constitution and is fully enforced. Practice goes beyond its legislation: freedom has no limits, sometimes putting strains on the society for hate speech and the absence of any form control or self-restraint generate as elsewhere its own adverse effects on the social climate. Here like in most of the free developed countries, social media where free expression does not go hand in hand with responsibility and is often accentuated by anonymity, is adding to the existing tensions of an already polarized society. Today all media outlets and social media enjoy enjoy full freddom. No media outlet has been fined or constrained by a public or judicial decision of any kind. When the ownership of an opposition TV channel – Rustavi 2 was contested in Georgian court, and while it was portrayed as an attempt by the government to overtake the control of this channel, none of the kind happened. To the contrary, and for the whole  period of the trial, tax authorities refrained from administrative actions even to request payments of tax arrears amounting to 23 million Lari. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Georgia and from there,  to the European Court of Human Rights. In its decision last July, the ECHR stated that none of the articles of the European convention had been violated in relation to Rustavi 2, including the right to a fair trial and recognized the impartiality of the Georgian judicial system in that regard. After a few years of endless protests against the presumed attempt by the authorities to take over the R2 opposition channel, the judgement of the courts as confirmed by Strasburg’s court ruling, returned the channel to its legitimate owners. Contrary to the dramatic forecasts, the change in ownership did not result in any change of the broadcasting policy.  R2 is remaining to this day as vibrant an opposition channel as before, while  the Georgian media scene has been enriched by a handful of new opposition channels that have meanwhile gone in the air. Today’s media landscape in Georgia is one of the most diverse, free and uncontrolled as can be, and it is clear that  opposition channels are the ones to give the tone. Monitoring Georgia has developed a comprehensive approach towards human rights and the Government adopted the National Human Rights Strategy and Action Plan for 2014-2020. The implementation process was recently evaluated by an independent expert, commissioned jointly by EU and UN. It is noteworthy, that the report “welcomes the significant progress made, to greater and lesser degrees, in almost all of the specific subject areas addressed in the Strategy”. We all understand that meticulous work needs to continue in order to implement these achievements in practice and monitor the impact on the protection and enjoyment of human rights. The role of the Public Defender is vital in this process. The Ombudsman provides sets of recommendations in each Annual Report presented to the Parliament. Though the number of implemented recommendations is growing, there is still room for improvement. From the monitoring perspective, the Parliament gained expanded oversight functions under the new Constitution, that should be actively applied. The new Rules of Procedure created more mechanisms to make the Parliament effective in monitoring implementation and inform policy decisions, including “Minister’s Hour”, thematic inquiry and interpellation. The role of opposition has also increased in conducting oversight functions. During 2019 the Parliament held 13 “Minister’s Hour”, 3 thematic groups and 4 interpellations. The progress has been evidenced by the European Court of Human Rights statistics regarding the human rights situation in Georgia. More people attain justice in Georgian courts and have no need to further apply to the ECHR. In the last six years the number of applications has been reduced 4 times. Meanwhile the rate of successful execution of the Court rulings that have been confirmed by the Committee of Ministers’ resolutions is growing. Progress has also been achieved in the commitment to settle cases at the national level. To date 128 cases were struck out through friendly settlement and government decisions. Substantial progress has been made in strengthening alternative dispute resolution mechanisms - mediation and arbitration, in support of the judicial reform and reduction of caseloads domestically and in ECHR.   I have mentioned individual Georgian cases at the European Court of Human rights several times. But I must draw your attention to two inter-state cases – Georgia vs. Russia. •    Massive deportation of Georgians from Russia in 2006 – Georgia won the case on its merits in 2014. However, the Grand Chamber decision on compensation of damages in the amount of 10 million Euros for 1,500 Georgian nationals was taken only on 31 January, 2019. To this day, Russia disregards this decision and does not fulfill its unconditional obligation. I have to reiterate here the call from our authorities to this organization and its members to press Russian authorities into fulfilling its obligations and pay the compensations to the victims without further delay. Double standards not only are not acceptable per se,  but they weaken in the first place the organization and its principles. •    2008 Russia-Georgia war – the final hearing was held almost two years ago, in may 2018. We are still waiting for the Court to deliver the judgement in a timely manner, which has been awaited by the victims since August, 2008. Most importantly, the Georgian society as a whole expects the justice to be served. It is also an example for the others. Again standards should apply. Justice should be delivered. Judiciary The independence of the judiciary and building public confidence in the court system remains a priority for Georgia. We have completed three stages of the reform and now the Parliament is working on the next set of amendments to ensure what is called the “fourth wave” . This fourth wave entails: •    Improvement of the mechanisms and of the framework of disciplinary liability of judges: namely, forms of the disciplinary liability of judges; various aspects of the legal proceedings; the Independent Inspectors Agency of the High Council of Justice strengthened; •    Solving the problem of backlog of cases; •    Reforming the High School of Justice; •    Elaborating regulations regarding the High Council of Justice (with emphasis on Transparency, Accountability and on the Procedures of the nomination of the judges). The amendments will be introduced to the Parliament of Georgian in the coming weeks and  it plans to finalize the process during the spring session. In spring 2019, the Parliament revised the nomination and selection process for appointing the Supreme Court judges, to ensure transparency, accountability and professional evaluation of the candidates. There were five main recommendations provided by the Venice Commission, four of which the Parliament has endorsed. Transparency of the process was achieved and the selection process was generally positively assessed by the interested parties, international organizations and civil society. The interviews were broadcast live, both at the High Council of Justice and the Parliamentary Committee hearings. Following the Venice Commission recommendation, the Parliament refrained from appointing all 20 judges and selected and appointed only 14 Supreme Court judges (2 current sitting judges and 12 new judges), leaving for the next Parliament to complete the task. Currently, 9 out of the 22 Supreme Court judges are women (40%). Some criticisms were expressed on the qualification criteria applied to the candidates by the High Council. The next selection process will thus have to be improved. There are still criticisms towards the Georgian judicial system, some objective since the process is till ongoing, some politically motivated. However, the assessments and evaluations conducted by international organizations tend to more positiove assessments : •    The Heritage Foundation ranked Georgia 18 among the European courts •    World justice project puts Georgia in the top 20 for court efficiency •    Global competitiveness index puts Georgia on 15th place for public safety and 13th for its protection from organized crime And last but not least, The results of the IPSOS survey identified that 51% of Georgians trust the justice system, which is similar to the average trust rate in the European courts. These numbers speak for themselves! Elections The path of democracy goes through free and fair elections. OSCE/ODIHR has provided substantial recommendations for improving the election processes. The parliamentary working group has been actively working since summer 2019 to draft amendments to the election code to incorporate the respective recommendations. The working group comprises of representatives of not only parliamentary parties, but other qualified political forces as well. On the path to secure free and fair elections, Georgia has worked a long way, has gradually improved the processes and each election has marked a step forward, but clearly more changes need to be enforced in order to increase the public trust towards the process and secure a high level of participation. I am confident that the ongoing process will deliver a better electoral code and raise the standards. But in reality, the biggest challenge to holding free and fair elections and to democracy in general is the progressive and extensive polarization in the political life which in the end affects all aspects of the society as cancer invades all healthy cells of the body. This is a challenge that increasingly many countries face today and Georgia is no exception. Unacceptance of different opinions, aggression and hate speech divide our societies, antagonize individuals, fuel distrust and division. Coupled with fake news and disinformation, polarization becomes a fertile ground for outside influence during election campaigns and beyond. The extreme negativism deprives our population of the opportunity to unite around important and common issues. Meanwhile we have the resource of such issues that are matters of consensus: overcoming occupation of our territories, consolidating independence and achieving European integration are national objectives that could serve as a unifying platform. It is my hope and aspiration that Georgian society puts more effort towards reconciliation and unification around the common threats. I personally have meticulously avoided to be highjacked in anyways by the polarization process, as I believe deeply that only in a strong consensus on our major values and priorities can this country continue not only its democratic development, but consolidate its independence and strive to end the occupation. A divided country cannot confront these challenges successfully. Excellencies, It’s been almost 12 years since the Russia-Georgia war. 20% of Georgian territory remains occupied. The human rights situation in the occupied territories is deteriorating constantly. The administrative boundary line is being shifted continuously and crossing points closed for mundane reasons obstructing freedom of movement for the population living in Abkhazeti and Tskhinvali Region. The crossing point to Tskhinvali region has been closed since September. The practice of closing the crossing points has resulted in tragedies, such as the death of Ms. Margo Martiashvili is one of the many, too many tragedies that result from this closure – she needed urgent medical evacuation and the security forces did not let her cross to the Georgia controlled territory to receive proper medical treatment. All our citizens there suffer human rights deprivation, lack of adequate health services.  prohibition of education in native Georgian language as well as restrictions to teachings in Abkhazian or Ossetian languages through the policy of Russification. But also intensified ethnically-targeted violations against what is now a very small Georgian minority in the enclave of Gali. Citizens living on our side of the ABL in villages that have been partitioned, are kidnapped, ransomed, in some cases tortured or even killed for not having respected a border that has no legal existence and that from one day to the other suddenly appears in their backyard or goes through the village and its traditional graveyards. The latest incident was the detention of doctor Vazha Gaprindashvili for entering the occupied Tskhinvali region in order to provide medical help  to local patients. Such acts go against all internationally recognized humanitarian rules and create grounds for additional escalation. I would like to use this forum to thank all our international partners for the enormous effort in supporting the release of Dr. Gaprindashvili after two months detention. The international monitoring of the situation is very limited due to the fact that the European Union Monitoring Mission while being  mandated to operate throughout the whole territory of Georgia, is not in fact allowed in the occupied regions by the Russian Federation. This is a violation of the 2008 Cease Fire Agreement. Last summer Georgia filed a new inter-state case at the European Court of Human Rights regarding the violations of human rights on the occupied territories by Russia. They concern the violations of seven Articles of the Convention and three articles of Protocols 1 and 4. On our part, Georgia’s peace initiative “A Step to a Better Future” is a very vivid demonstration of our commitment, aiming at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. We support fostering confidence building among divided communities to the benefit of all people. But our peace initiative, our unilateral decision not to use war as a way to resolve the conflict, has not been reciprocated in any way. To the contrary, incidents, threats, militarization of the occupied territories are the only answers. The Geneva International Discussions are politically stalled. The Incident Prevention Mechanisms are rarely successful in solving technical issues. Both instruments are marked with constant walk-outs, as soon as important issues are raised. No progress or perspective seems to be expected from the existing formats. They have to be reinvigorated, to receive a new political input in order to become a format for solving the conflict, not merely managing it. I strongly believe that our only solution is diplomacy – based on the national consensus I referred to already and with the support of our international partners. The United Nations General Assembly, The UN Security Council, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly have adopted numerous resolutions related to Georgia-Russia war. That is very important as a demonstration of international support. But we need more! We need engagement of all and we are ready to do our part, in order  to find the path to a solution that will allow our country to regain unity and to ensure freedom all over its territory. Since my election, I have been actively working towards raising the Georgian occupation high on the political agenda of our partners.   We call upon all our partners to restore the Georgian issue in all their bilateral or multilateral talks with Russia, reminding it of its commitments under the ceasefire agreement, in particular de-escalation on the ABL, allowing the EUMM to monitor the whole region aiming at de-occupation and reunification of territories, but moreover of the people. Beyond the tragedy that the boundary line of the occupied territories represents and a moving division line that places Russian forces at some 30 kilometers from our capital city, or the multiplication of military bases on both occupied territories,  the issue is that ordinary citizens deserve a better life. Excellencies, For centuries Georgia was the eastern frontier for Europe, bridging east and west, Asia and Europe.  For centuries Georgia has shared and defended the very same values of freedom, tolerance that we have put as the guidelines of our organization. Since independence Georgia has had more than its share of tensions, conflicts, war on its territory, the tensions have also risen in the region around us, global challenges have made their way to us .  In this  context,  what should surprise us is not that Georgia has not yet succeeded in all its endeavors, has not achieved its reform plans and has still progress to accomplish, surprising is how much it has managed despite all of that. Surprising is the resilience of this small country, surprising is the level of democracy reached so 70 years of soviet rule, surprising is its capacity to maintain stability and preserve peace despite the occupation of its territories, surprising is its determination to build democracy and not to let its own and European values be challenged from outside or from within. Extremism has not taken roots in Georgia, foes from outside have not led us to isolation or aggression. In the 21st century development and progress have brought new challenges that no country can individually tackle – climate change, aging population, migration, digital revolution, and populism/polarization. We need to stand united around these issues in all multilateral formats. We need to stand strong in our commitment to jointly define what needs to be done.  We need to promise that dialog will be the only tool to debate how we do it. We need to guarantee that all our decision and actions will be based on the principles of rule of law, human rights and democracy. Our individual dedication will make the Council of Europe stronger, its institutions effective and members successful. Thank you. Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has address the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Analytics 2020-01-28 16467 Nenskra Hydro invested 16 million USD in the first three quarters of 2019 "In the first three quarters of 2019, Nenskra HPP Project company JSC Nenskra Hydro invested up to 16 million USD," according to the information requested by BM.GE from JSCNenskra Hydro. As reported by the company, during the year the investment was directed to implementation of both: infrastructure and social projects. During this year, preparatory works for construction of the HPP were underway in Chuberi and Nakra, Mestia Municipality, which involves construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges. Along with the preparatory works, the company has implemented a number of social projects, for which JSC Nenskra Hydro has invested up to 200,000 USD in all three quarters of 2019. Social projects are mainly implemented in the following areas: improvement of small infrastructure, education, vocational education and SME development. Namely, in 2019 JSC Nenskra Hydro implemented a number of social projects, such as: full rehabilitation of AmbulatoryClinic in Chuberi, river bed cleaning and bank reinforcement works in Nakra, rehabilitation of Culture House and Sports Complex in Chuberi, English and computer courses, Vocational Training Program for Heavy Equipment Operators, Land Registration Support Project, Youth Internship and Job Training Program, Access to Heavy Machinery Project and other services for agricultural and small infrastructure works,"- as mentioned in obtained information. JSC Nenskra Hydro is a project-based company established in 2015 as a result of cooperation between a state-owned Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) and JSC Partnership Fund. The company is developing the Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project in the Nenskra and Nakra river Valleys in Mestia Municipality of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1’200.00 GWh of electricity annually, which will be fully consumed by the Georgian market. Nenskra Hydro invested 16 million USD in the first three quarters of 2019 Economics 2019-12-30 16466 22 Companies to Offer more than 100 Vacant Positions to Persons with Disabilities at Job Fair During the job fair for persons with disabilities held with support of the Presidential Administration, 22 companies offered more than 100 vacant positions to participants. At the initial stage 47 disabled persons have been selected. President Salome Zourabichvili proposed the initiative to celebrate June 14th, the national day in Georgia for the protection of rights of persons with disabilities, outside of Tbilisi with a large-scale forum to be organized by the Administration of the President. "Taking into consideration that regional development is a top priority for me, and as employment of persons with disabilities is an even more complicated issue in the regions, I consider that the mentioned process has to be spread throughout the whole country. Hence, let's celebrate June 14th, 2020, the National Day of Disability in Georgia, with a large-scale forum," stated the President at the forum. The career exposition, held by the Presidential Administration in collaboration with the Social Service Agency, was dedicated to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. According to the President of Georgia, today's job fair is a move forward as this issue is still unresolved in many developed countries and the integration process of disabled persons in society has not been realized to its full extent. "Today is a day of great significance not only in Georgia, but in the whole world, as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated".   'It is not admissible to constantly talk about some economic and social advancement in the country without involving everyone in this process, without using everyone's potential equally as our country is rich with human resources. This is about using skills of people with different abilities and recruiting them. Supporting this process is a joint responsibility of the state and the private sector.   'Such a global work is only fulfilled when all sectors are engaged and work jointly on a strategy. 22 organizations participate in the current forum and I would like to thank all the participants representing the private sector and state agencies. Today's forum has to be followed by other steps leading to engagement of more companies and employment of more people,' highlighted President Zourabichvili.   Tamar Barkalaia, Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, and Levan Gogodze, Deputy Director of the Social Service Agency, also addressed the participants of the job fair. 22 companies participated in the forum, including Georgian Railway, Victoria Security, Adjara Group, TBC Insurance, GEPHA, Art Wood, Goodwill, Eco and Company, Geo Products company, IKEA, Gochit's, UGT, Tbilservice Group, DIO and social enterprises such as Kodala, Youth House, Babale, and Employement Union of People with Disabilities. 22 Companies to Offer more than 100 Vacant Positions to Persons with Disabilities at Job Fair Politics 2019-12-11 16465 Estonia's Egert MIlder sings for Georgia at the Eurovision Song Contest nationals | Video Estonian singer-songwriter Egert Milder competes in Estonia’s national selection for Eurovision Song Contest with a song called “Georgia (On My Mind)” inspired by the 3 years he lived in Tbilisi. Egert moved to Georgia in 2016 to work as a Design Manager in the real estate development. Besides working he also took this time to write music and seek inspiration from the breathtaking landscapes of Georgia. “Georgia used to be my home for 3 years and during those years, I fell in love with this beautiful country - it's spectacular mountains, tens of thousands of lambs roaming around and cows lying in the middle of the roads, delicious food, wine and everything else that comes with it. Georgia is a country full of magic that you really cannot put into words,” says Egert.  Recently the artist moved away from Georgia but was inspired to write an emotional yet uplifting song about closing this chapter in his life and saying goodbye to this country. “I guess in a way it is a breakup song. There are moments in life where you know it’s time to move forward and let go. For me it meant leaving this beautiful country and people that had grown very close to my heart,” explains Egert. “Georgia (On My Mind)” was released along with a music video that was filmed in different locations around Georgia and features many of the local people. The song is now competing in the semifinals of Eurovision’s national selection of Estonia. The first semi-finals will be held on February 13th where Egert will perform the song live on stage as part of one of the most watched TV shows in the country.  Egert Milder is an Estonian singer-songwriter whose soulful indie sounds are deeply infused by his travels across the world, reflecting inspiration from the secret islands and surftown in the Philippines and Nicaragua to the Caucasian mountains of Georgia. His sound carries a mellow mood and warm acoustic vibes, which quickly proved to be irresistible on the local scene when his debut single  “Live+Love+Grow” reached the top 10 of Hits of the Year by Raadio 2, Estonian Broadcasting Radio, a station known for its innovative and spearheading nature. His travels and talent as a songwriter has led him to collaborations with different musicians around the world. Estonia's Egert MIlder sings for Georgia at the Eurovision Song Contest nationals | Video Culture 2019-12-05 16464 Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project Launches Youth Internship Program JSC Nenskra Hydro,  Nenskra Hydropower Plant (HPP) project company will offer paid internship to young people living in Chuberi and Nakra of Mestia municipality. The Youth Internship and Job Training Program will be launched in November in scope of Community Investment Program within the company’s corporate social responsibility. After the selection process, young people will be offered internship in various departments of the project company, namely social, environmental, health and safety, human resources, public relations and technical teams. “Creating more opportunities for the local community on the labor market is one of key components of our company's corporate social responsibility. We have been working in this direction since 2017, in particular, offering English and computer classes to the residents of Chuberi and Nakra, as well as implementing a vocational training program for heavy machinery operators. We are looking forward to launching even more vocational training programs in the future. The Youth Internship Program, on the one hand, will enable young people to gain experience while working on an international project, which that will foster their career development in the future, and on the other hand, it will ensure their involvement in the company activities, which will enhance the dialogue between the Nenskra HPP project and the local community. ”- states Irina Petriashvili, Public Relations Officer at JSC Nenskra Hydro. JSC Nenskra Hydro is a project-based company established in 2015 as a result of cooperation between a state-owned Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) and JSC Partnership Fund. The company is developing the Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project in the Nenskra and Nakra river Valleys in Mestia Municipality of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1’200.00 GWh of electricity annually, which will be fully consumed by the Georgian market. Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project Launches Youth Internship Program Region 2019-11-04 16463 Four bridges are currently being constructed in Chuberi Four 100t capacity bridges are currently being constructed in Chuberi administrative unit of Mestia municipality. The mentioned works are implemented within the framework of the Nenskra Hydropower Plant (HPP) project. The works are carried out  by JSC Nenskra Hydro subcontractor  Georgian Construction Consortium. Preparatory works for the construction of the Nenskra HPP involve construction of 14 bridges and 45 km of roads. The main construction works to start in 2020. Nenskra HPP infrastructure will include two tunnels. The Nakra transfer tunnel connects Nakra valley with Nenskra valley, it will divert water from the Nakra weir into the Nenskra reservoir. The Nenskra headrace tunnel will connect the reservoir with of the powerhouse. JSC Nenskra Hydro will use the latest technology for excavation of Nenskra HPP tunnels, namely, the two Double Shield TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines), custom made especially for JSC Nenskra Hydro by the German company Herrenknecht. JSC Nenskra Hydro is a project-based company established in 2015 as a result of cooperation between a state-owned Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water) and JSC Partnership Fund. The company is developing the Nenskra Hydropower Plant Project in the Nenskra and Nakra river Valleys in Mestia Municipality of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. The 280 MW Nenskra Hydropower Plant will generate approximately 1’200.00 GWh of electricity annually, which will be fully consumed by the Georgian market. Four bridges are currently being constructed in Chuberi Region 2019-10-25 16462 PASHA Bank has relocated its head office to Axis Towers "PASHA Bank's long-term commitment to Georgia along with its ambitious growth strategy both in the Corporate/SME segments and its newly launched retail brand, Re|Bank, has led us to create a larger, modern workspace for our team in order to foster innovation. In terms of location, we have made our choice on Axis Towers, and we are delighted to provide our employees with this world-class work environment",- said Arda Yusuf Arkun, CEO and Chairman of Board of Directors of PASHA Bank. PASHA Bank has been operating in Georgia since 2013, providing corporate and investment banking services to large, medium and small enterprises. The Bank stands out with its high-quality service and individual, personal approach to the customers that is reflected in the growing number of satisfied clients. PASHA Bank represents a regional bank, which is a part of PASHA Holding - a diversified investment group with interests in banking, insurance, property development, construction, tourism, and other sectors. PASHA Bank has relocated its head office to Axis Towers Business 2019-10-22 16461 Polish professor’s Workshop at GTU Monica Slezinska, the representative of Bialastok University of Technology, held a workshop for professors at Georgian Technical University. Monika Śleszyńska is a lecturer of English &nbsp; at the Bialystok University of Technology, Poland. Her professional and research interests include English for Science and Technology (mainly science and technical writing) and presentation skills in English. She has been a speaker at two international conferences and a participant of several Erasmus + mobility programnes (e.g. Istanbul, Barcelona and Cordoba). At GTU Monika Śleszyńska has given a presentation to Georgian colleagues on 'How to write (science) better'. Hopefully, the exchange of teaching ideas and expertise will be fruitful for both parties. Monika Śleszyńska met with the Head of International Relations and Standards Office Otar Zumburidze, deputy head of office Nino Zhizhilashvili, Head of International Relations Group Marika Zviadadze and other representatives of office, also with the head of the Department of Foreign Languages Nugzar Sikharulidze and others. A representative of Bialastok University of Technology arrived in Georgia with a delegation of Polish artists. Members of the 'Group K9' visited Georgia as part of the project - ‘Her-story’ of Georgia – The Women’s Painting Power“. 'Group K9' is a group &nbsp; of Polish women &nbsp; who have chosen Georgia to fulfil their artistic passion. They are going to visualize Georgian women - saints, kings and queens, actresses, singers and sportswomen because both Poland and Georgia &nbsp; greatly benefited from female strength built on Christian values. The paintings of Polish senior citizens and amatour painters are supposed to encourage those who feel neglected, disrespected or abused. Their inspiration comes from Georgian female iconic figures. Polish professor’s Workshop at GTU Culture 2019-10-10 16460 Re|Bank opens its branch in Kutaisi Re|Bank – a new retail banking brand from PASHA Bank – opened its first branch in Kutaisi. From today on customers will be able to get service at 5, Akaki Tsereteli Street. Re|Bank services are available in three branches in Tbilisi: 15 Omar Khizanishvili str, 19 Pekini Ave. and 75, Javakheti Str and in Batumi: 53, Ilia Chavchavadze Street. At the first stage Re|Bank will be offering three main products: Top|Card, Maxi|Deposit and Blitz|Loan. Top|Card is a 0% installment card (effective rate from 0%). Top|Card will help the customers reduce and manage their monthly expenses in a better way: by using 0% installment payments for everyday purchases they will spare money for other needs. On top of that, the card will have cashback among many other interesting features. Maxi|Deposit and Blitz|Loan offer competitive rates and simplified application procedure. “We are happy to open our first branch in Kutaisi. Re|Bank will also be present in Zugdidi, Gori, and Telavi. In Tbilisi we have already opened three branches and one in Batumi. We hope to provide a distinctively high quality of service to our customers throughout Georgia” – Shota Ioseliani, Retail Business Advisor to the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Detailed information regarding Re|Bank products is available on the company’s web page and at the contact center. Application for the services can easily be done through the same channels: | +995 32 222 25 25 | *2525 Re|Bank opens its branch in Kutaisi Business 2019-09-06 16459 "I'm a journo as long as I'm breathing" ARMENPRESS's very own L. Azroyan celebrates 82nd birthday 82 years old but still going to work every day and showing up at the office at 8:30. "I was destined to become a journalist," says ARMENPRESS correspondent Levon Azroyan as he celebrates his 82nd birthday today with his colleagues at the office. "Although in school I dreamt of becoming a military doctor. I even wanted to study at the Leningrad Military Medicine Academy. I suffered food poisoning the day before the exam and I didn't go to the academy. I've never regretted choosing journalism because this has given me the chance to travel frequently. I've been in many countries, at ARMENPRESS I was lucky enough to be the covering correspondent of almost all major events for nearly 20 years. This has given me the chance to personally see almost all leaders since the Soviet Union until now. I must do journalism as long as I am breathing," says Azroyan. Azroyan, already having 55 years of news media experience, made his first steps in journalism at the Soviet Georgia newspaper headquartered in Tbilisi. "I remember that day as if it was today. I went to the editorial with my dad. Naturally, he was the first to congratulate me, he said that I am entering a sphere where I must work with selfless devotion, honesty and impartially. Rather obliging words," he said, reminiscing about the early days of his career. Georgia still has a special place in Azroyan's heart, that's where he was born and raised, where he has many friends, and where his parents are laid to rest. Earlier in 2019 Azroyan wrote his 11th book in honor of the 100th anniversary of establishment of ARMENPRESS. "I love ARMENPRESS very much and I consider myself ARMENPRESS's very own from head to toe. I am very happy that my career proceeded at ARMENPRESS, which has left its everlasting trace in the history of Armenian journalism. I remember those days very well when ARMENPRESS was a unique brand -- our agency was providing 70-80 of the print media," Azroyan said. News Agency Armenpress "I'm a journo as long as I'm breathing" ARMENPRESS's very own L. Azroyan celebrates 82nd birthday World 2019-08-28 16458 2008 August War Chronicle 2008 August War Chronicle Eleven years passed since Russian-Georgian war. In 2008 August 7 war started between Georgian troops and Ossetian secessionists supported by Russian army. Russia joined the military actions on August 8. Russia entered in the region with its army and heavy military technique. Russia started to bomb as well other regions of Georgia. Joined army of Russians and Ossetians waged war against Georgian troops in Tskhinvali during 3 days. Russian battleships blocked the Georgian black sea coast. On August 9 Russian and Abkhazian forces opened a second front line in Kodori valley. They invaded the internal territory of Georgian Republic. After 5 days Georgian troops leaved Tskhinvali and Abkhazian territory. The agreement about cease-fire was reached on August 12 after mediation of Nikola Sarkozi, EU Chairman. Tbilisi signed it on August 15 and Russia on August 16. On August 12 Dimitry Medvedev, President of Russian Federation ordered a cease-fire, but bombing of Georgian dwelling units and roistering of Russian army continued. After signing of the agreement most part of Russian troops were moved out from the territory of Shida Kartli and Samegrelo. The Buffer zones were created along Abkhazia and South Ossetia borders and observation posts were left in Poti, Senaki and Perev. On August 26 Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. According to the information of Georgian Defense Ministry, Interior and Health Care Ministry during the August war by the September 25 died: 168 military men from forces, 16 policemen, 188 peaceful dwellers. August 1 At the dawn in Tskhinvali region on the Eredvi-kheiti road intense fire opened between Georgian defense troops and South Ossetian army. As a result of this 6 died and 21 wounded. August 2 Ossetian secessionists were firing all night the Georgian villages. Victims occurred. The Georgian government calls the secessionists to respect the cease-fire. Secessionists started to evacuate from Tskhinvali children and women to the North Ossetia. Georgian Minister in reintegration Temur Iakobashvili met with Marat Kulakhmetov, head of Russian Peacekeepers - Iakobashvili demands meeting with Ossetian secessionists but he is refused. August 3 On August 3 Russian government allowed the South Ossetian population to refuge to Russian Federation. At the same time the region left 20 buses full of refugees. The Georgian government is ready to start negotiations without any preconditions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov congratulated Ilia II, Cathalicos Patriarch with Angel Day. Viacheslav Kovalenko, Envoy in Georgia passed the letter to His Holiness. In Vladicaucasus so called South-Ossetian supporting meeting held. This day is a day of decision by Abkhazian secessionists to prohibit the Georgian language in Schools starting from September. Sergey Bagapsh declared the emergency situation. August 4 Russian 58 Army's 5 battalions dislocated near the Roki tunnel, at the North Ossetian side. Abkhazians refused to participate in the meeting of UN Secretary General's Group of friend Countries. The meeting was to be held on August 15 in Berlin. At the same time, Kokoity, leader of Ossetian secessionists declared that he will not start negotiations with Georgian side without Russia. Vladicaucasian Kazaks declared its willingness to help South Ossetia. Mikhail Mindzaev, so called leader of secessionists declared that Tskhinvali is ready to open fire. The position of Georgian government is announced by Temur Iakobashvili, State Minister. He declared that "Georgia is not going to join military actions" and called again the Ossetia side for negotiations. The suggestion is left without reply again. The Russian battalion dislocated in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone is in emergency situation. Kokoity declared from Tskhinvali that he is ready to destroy Georgia. Viktor Vodolatski, head of Don Kazaks informed Kokoity that Kazaks are ready to fight in South Ossetia. August 5 Ossetian secessionists renowned the fire to Georgian villages. In the morning secessionists are negotiating about opening of a new front line. From Russian Southern army the stream of volunteers is directed to Tskhinvali. Different countries' Foreign Ministers are calling the conflicting sides to peaceful regulation of the conflict. The declaration is disseminated by the OSCE as well, which accused the secessionists in straining of the situation. The information is leaking that Temur Iakobashvili will meet with Boris Chochiev on August 7. August 6 The Georgian villages again under fire. According to the Georgian side 3 Georgian peacekeepers were wounded. At the same night 4 people died in firing. Because of this the Georgian side renowned the fire. Denis Keefe, HE Ambassador of Great Britain and Northern Ireland arrived to Tskhinvali. He met with Kokoity. Tskhinvali dwellers started to move out from the region. Georgian side pulled the military technique to the borders of the region. Villages Nuli and Avnevi - were bombed by Ossetian secessionists, as a result victims are. In the Russian Foreign Ministry, the emergency sitting was held. The Moscow sent Youri Popov to Tbilisi at night "to clarify the situation". Popov declared that Iakobashvili and Chochiev will meet with support of Russian side. At the same time Popov said that "if in the Tskhinvali region the events will develop forcefully, the Moscow will interfere." Ossetian secessionist postponed the meeting which was to be held on August 7 in Tskhinvali and suggested to conduct the meeting on August 9. August 7 Attacks on Georgian villages are more intense. On August 7 at the morning in the Tskhinvali region the situation is the following: secessionists are bombing the villages continuously. At the night the Georgian side did not responded to the fire from Ossetian side. However, when secessionists opened the fire from 12 mm missile, Georgian side opened the fire as well. Georgian side once more declared that it is not planning the emergency measures in the conflict zone and is ready to the dialogue. Georgian President made a special declaration that the Georgian side is ready to restrain from any kind of aggression maximally. Georgian Foreign Ministry called the Russia to put pressure on secessionist for cease of peaceful villages bombing. At the same time Bagapsh is organizing the extraordinary meeting. The meeting is behind the closed doors. Yuri Popov and Temur Iakobashvili failed to meet in Tskhinvali. After that Iakobakhvili departed to the conflict zone. To the conflict zone arrived as well Yuri Popov. He is planning to meet with Kokoiti and Marat Kulakhmetov. The Georgian villages under fire again. Small Liakhvi valley is under constant fire as well. Iakobashvili met with Marat Kulakhmetov in Tskhinvali in the Peacekeepers headquarters. He returned to Tbilisi, but the details of the meeting were not open. On August 7 according to the Interior Ministry 10 people died. At the end of the day according to the President's order the Georgian side decaled the cease of fire. "In the conflict zone at this time the sniper war is waged against the dwellers. The military technique occurred in the conflict zone illegally," - Mikheil Saakashvili declared during the direct transmission. Saakashvili called the parties to the negotiations, in any way and promised the full autonomy to the region. As well he declared the total amnesty for secessionists, and called the international community to mediate for negotiations of parties. Saakashvili applied to the international community for support and asked to help the escalation of aggression and to conduct the negotiations. Saakashvili once more suggested to Russian Federation mediation for resolution of the conflict. The Ossetian side ceased the fire. At the evening Yuri Popov declared that on August 8 Temur Iakobashvili and Boris Chochiev will meet. After that Marat Kulakhmetov said that "Tbilisi and Tskhinvali agreed on cease-fire until negotiations." Saakashvili started that phone dialogue with the leaders of foreign countries. At the evening the Ossetian side breached the agreement about the cease-fire. The attack started on the village Tamarashvili, there were victims. 23:30 the Georgian side responded to this fact with a military operation, the aim of which according to the Kurashvili, head of the Peacekeepers was "the establishment of Constitutional order in the region". Before the Georgian side started the military actions, the Russian 58 army entered the South Ossetian Territory trough the Roki tunnel. From the Roki tunnel to the Tskhinvali region Russian army and military technique entered as well. August 8 From the Ossetian Side fire is not stopping. The peaceful population is bombed. Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister being in the opening ceremony of Peking Olympic Games condemned "Georgian Aggression". He said that Russia will not leave such actions without response. AT 09:30 President Medvediev conducted an extraordinary meeting with the members of the government, to develop the possible action plan in connection with the conflict. Hundreds of armed personnel and military technique entered through Roki tunnel to the Georgian territory. Georgian government calls the secessionists to cease the armed actions and to negotiate. At 11:40 Saakashvili ordered the mobilization of the Georgian army. Georgian government: "In connection with the situation, for maintaining the safety of the peaceful population and for prevention of attack the Georgian government has to take adequate measures. Georgian troops entered two villages Muguti and Didmukha, Dmaninsi. After that they entered Tskhinvali. First declaration from USA: Washington calls Russia to put pressure over secessionists to fare-case. Intense fight in village Tkviavi continued. Despite of ultimately complicated situation, the Georgian side is ready to return again to negotiations. Georgian army took a total control over eight Georgian villages - Dmeniss, Muguti, Didmukha, Sarabuk, Upper Niqoz, Atoz and Lower and Upper Oqona. The Georgian flag is waiving almost in all strategic points and villages near Tskhinvali. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali. At this time Kokoiti and his environment is in Java region in HQ. Russian aviation started to bomb Georgian villages. Georgian Embassy in Moscow is encircled by so called "Ommon". The Embassy despite of this fact continued to work. Georgian troops managed to pull out Russian 58 army, which has the intention to move from Roki tunnel to Java region. 10 mercenaries give oneself up to Georgian army. Georgian army controls 70% of the conflict region. Georgian government announced a moratorium from 15:00 to 18:00 and suggested to the peaceful and as well to non-peaceful population the safety guaranties and to move to Gori for accommodation through the corridor made in Ergneti. Russian aviation bombed Vaziani military base. Russian military aviation bombed the Marneuli military airport and Vaziani military base. Russian Defense Ministry's the 58 army is at the Tskhinvali entrance. President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili decaled about the situation to the leaders of foreign countries. President of Georgia works in an emergency regime. The Georgian side strongly preserves the moratorium and abstains from fire. Russian Transport Ministry cancelled the air communication. Russian military aviation three-times bombed the Marneuli aviation base. No victims occurred. Almost all country leaders and international organizations made declarations in support of Georgia and calls Russia to respect cease-fire. The Russian military technique is dislocated in Java. They are trying to break through from Georgian round up. The EU "troika" discussed the situation. 9 August Russian military aviation bombed the Senaki military base and Poti sea port. The victims occurred. 13 Georgian soldiers died and more than thousand wounded. Two Russian fighters bombed the Georgian artillery position. Five people died. In town Gori the bomb falls in to house. Russian the 76 air division entered Tskhinvali According to the Georgian side 10 Russian fighters are bring down. At 11:10 President of Georgia declared a martial law in the country. Georgian Parliament unanimously passed the martial law in the country. At 12:30 in South Ossetia Russia made a landing operation. President Saakashvili calls parties to honor the cease-fire. At 13:41 according to media Russian air forces bombed Kodori valley. Petras Vaitiekunas, Foreign Minister of Lithuania arrived to Gori region together with Georgian Foreign Minister. Petras said that the amount of victims and destruction is shocking. In connection with the situation the radio station "Voice of America" doubled the broadcasting over Georgia. UN Security Council could not pass the united decision in connection with the situation. Poti port is bombed again Georgia decided to move back from Iraq thousand soldiers. Illia Second, Cathalicos Patriarch of All Georgia asked the international community for peaceful resolution of the situation in Georgia. Russian military aviation bombed 9 villages in Liakhvi valley. The valley is bombed intensively. The victims occurred. Population, which remained in valley, asks for help. To Georgian different Observer Groups arrived. The Georgian Foreign Ministry declared that Russian military aggression covers itself under the "humanitarian aid" and "induced peaceful operation". US President G.Bush called Russia to stop the military operations In Tskhinvali fight is more and more intense. Russian military aviation bombed villages in Oni region. The victims occurred. Almost all leaders of the countries in the world declared that they are upholding the territorial sovereignty of Georgia. According to the Health Ministry of Georgia 55 people died, among them 15 peaceful citizens, 40 military servicemen Russian bombardiers attacked the Baku-Ceikhan pipeline on Georgian territory. The Red Cross representatives could not enter the conflict zone to help wounded people. As a result of massed attack it is unsafe to enter Tskhinvali. Russian aviation bombed the Upper Abkhazia villages - Omarishara, Sakeni, Qvabchara and Chkhalta Georgian side attacked the Roki tunnel. According to the official information Georgian governmental forces are controlling Tskhinvali and its surrounding at the evening of August 9. August 10 At evening of August 10 Georgia demanded the cease-fire and suggested to Russia the negotiations. Nikola Sarkozi, President of France developed the plan for regulation of events in South Ossetia. He will present it to Russian Federation. Vladimir Putin cancelled the visit in Pecking and arrived to North Ossetia. Putin demanded from the Georgian government pulling out of military forces from Tskhinvali region. Putin declared that Actions of Georgian side are illegitimate and Russia acts absolutely legitimately. Georgian troops totally controlled Tskhinvali and its surrounding with all strategic objects. Russian aviation and artillery started the massed attack of Tskhinvali Alexander Lomaia, Chairman of the Georgian Security Council declared during the special briefing that as a result of unprecedented attack of Russian Federation Georgian troops were pulled to borders of Tskhinvali. Georgian government addressed to the Abkhazian people not to be provoked by Russian Federation. French Foreign Minister delivered to Georgia the three-stage plan for resolution of situation in Georgia. Sergey Bagapsh declared the total mobilization. Georgian President declared that at the Abkhazian coast Russian Black Sea navy is located. At the same day Russians bombed the international airport. Russian Defense Ministry named this declaration as one more disinformation. At 22:00 Georgia agreed for Russian Peacekeepers entrance to Zugdidi. World leaders demanding the respect of cease-fire form Russian Federation. In European Countries, in front of the Russian embassies the protest actions are held. Russian aviation bombing again Gori and surrounding territory. By the order of Georgian President, Georgian troops will cease a fire in South Ossetia. Russian aviation is bombing territory of Tbilisi aviation plant. According to the official data 94 people died, among them 47 soldiers and 47 civilians Leader of different European countries are declaring the support for Georgia. Upper Abkhazia is bombed intensely by Russian bombardiers. August 11 Sergey Lavrov mentioned in phone conversation with Condoleezza Rice, US State Secretary that Saakashvili, President of Georgia have to resign. To Tbilisi EU leaders are arriving. The Upper Abkhazia is bombed again. The artillery fire is opening. Russian aviation attacked Tbilisi from air. Georgian military base in Senaki is occupied by Russian landing force Sergey Chaban, General Being in Abkhazia made an ultimatum to Georgian side and demands to lay down arms. Russian Defense ministry approved the information that from Chechnya special battalions "Vostok" and "Zapad" is moved out. The postage between Russia and Georgia cancelled. The Georgian side waits for Russian agreement in connection with humanitarian corridor, but unsuccessfully. Bernard Kushner arrived to Georgia. Georgian citizens living in Russia are being arrested. During 2 days in Moscow 7 Georgians killed and 20 disappeared. Georgian President and foreign diplomats are moved from Gori. Vladimir Putin declared that Russia will lead its peaceful mission to the logic end. Russian aviation attacked once again Tkviavi. Village Khrcha is occupied by Abkhazian and Russian troops. Senaki military airport and military base are bombed. Georgian President called the Georgian people to gather at the Parliament at 15:00. August 12 Russia landed troops at Poti seaside for creation of 50 km buffer zone. US President made one more declaration demanding Russia to make steps towards accomplishment of the crisis. "Big 7" countries FM demanded form Russia to cease-fire immediately. Russian occupants started the military operation in direction of upper Abkhazia. Russian occupants bombed village in Gori region. The Population from Kodori valley is moved out. Russian aviation attacked the Tbilisi Sea. Russian President declared about the accomplishment in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone of "forceful peace operation". Georgian side did not receive the official information about cease-fire from Russia. As a result of Gori bombing 6 people died. Russian occupational troops destroyed Senaki No 2 military base of Defense Ministry. Georgian Cathalicos Patriarch Ilia II addressed to Dimitry Medvediev, President of Russian Federation to cease the fire immediately and to start negotiations. Russian Federation is bombing again the Georgian territory. Pipeline is attacked again. In front of the Parliament the President addressed to gathered people that Russian Federation's peacekeepers will be named as occupants and South Ossetian and Abkhazian territories will be announced as occupied territories. He as well said that Georgia is leaving the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). As well Georgia will sue in International Court, the Russian Federation for ethnic cleansing in 2008 and 1993 yy. Russian and French Presidents developed the document for deadlock break. Georgia sued Russia in Hague International Court for ethnic cleansing. Despite of the decision of Medvediev Russian aviation is bombing the Georgian villages. French President arrived to Georgia. In Tbilisi as well are Estonian, Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian Presidents According to the last data 175 people died. NATO Secretary General declared that Georgia will remain the NATO candidate country despite of the conflict. August 13 Georgia is in mourning for 3 days. Town Gori is under Russian Army control. The soldiers of Russian Army are looting. Russian occupants left Poti. Russian Army closed the highway near Gori. Russia breached the agreement about cease-fire it still is bombing the town Gori. Russian tanks, which were directed to Tbilisi, turned back to Uplistsikhe. Russian militaries harshly threatened with peaceful dwellers of Gori. August 14 Russian occupants left the Mestia region. In Tbilisi 28 thousand refugees from Tskhinvali region are. August 15 Russian Army closed the motor road bridge at the river Tskhenistskhali. Patriarch entered Gori. Condoleezza Rice arrived to Tbilisi. President of Georgia signed the agreement about cease-fire. Russian aviation bombed Borjomi Park and Tsemi. August 16 In many countries of the world the protest actions against Russia are held. Russian occupants pulled out from Gori to Zugdidi 50 tanks Russian militaries remained in Gori. Occupational army mined the railway bridge in Kaspi. Dimitri Medvediev signed the agreement about cease-fire. Russian aviation bombed the Surami forest. August 17 US Senator Biden arrived to Georgia. Angela Merkel arrived to Tbilisi. Medvediev promised Sarkozi that tomorrow he will start to withdraw army from Georgia. August 18 Russian Army attacked TV tower in Gori and executed by shooting the service personnel. Russian Army burned the patriotic camp in Ganmukhuri. August 19 Senator Joe Biden asked the Congress to finance Georgia for 1 billion USD. The date of Russian Army's withdrawing put off for one day. 215 people died. 1469 wounded. 70 militaries missing. Medvediev promised to call off the army on August 22. Occupants blasted the military base in Osiauri. August 20 Russian occupants took village Pervi of Sachkhere region. Russian helicopters bombed forest in Kiketi near Tbilisi. August 21 Romanian President arrived to Tbilisi. The negotiations about exchange of captives started. "Human rights watch" accused Russia in using of forbidden weapon. August 22 Russian troops started to move out from Khashuri and Gori. According to the preliminary information 500 hectare of unique forest burned. Russia placed at the Inguri Bridge 18 posts. August 23 Occupational troops left the military base in Senaki. Eduard Kokoiti addressed to Russia to recognize the independence of so called South Ossetia. August 24 Russian occupants are still in village Perevi. In the village Mandishi of Senaki region the occupants made trenches. Russian Federation Council advised to Medvediev to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Duma of Russian Federation upheld an idea of recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia In Gori the exchange of captives started. August 26 Russian occupants as before are in the village Perevi. In Senaki two Russian posts are open. Dimitri Medvediev signed the Order about recognition of secessionists regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia Russia called other countries to follow the cease. Medvediev did not take into consideration the appeal of international community not to recognize the secessionists regions as independent states. The information used according to materials of news agency GHN, August 2008 2008 August War Chronicle Chronicles 2019-08-07 16457 PASHA Bank and Georgian National Tourism Agency will host joint presentation event On August 7th, PASHA Bank and Georgian National Tourism Agency will be hosting a presentation event that will be held at the Hotel Moxy Tbilisi. Head of National Tourism Administration, Mariam Kvrivishvili, Head of Research and Planning Department at Georgian National Tourism Administration, Giorgi Bregadze, and MSME Business Advisor to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of PASHA Bank, Vazha Menabde will discuss the possibilities of further cooperation, new challenges in the tourism sector and redevelopment of the strategy of Georgian tourism. This will not be the first collaboration between PASHA Bank and Georgian National Tourism Agency. In 2016, the Bank launched a new project, cycle of business conferences -- MEETING ROOM. The very first event of the project was dedicated to "Hotel Development in Georgia" and was held on May 25th, 2016. The conference was supported by Georgian National Tourism Administration. PASHA Bank is a Baku-based financial institution operating in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, providing corporate and investment banking services to large, medium and small enterprises. PASHA Bank and Georgian National Tourism Agency will host joint presentation event Economics 2019-08-06 16456 NASA: Southern California July earthquake moved the ground this much A 7.1- magnitude earthquake shook, rattled and rolled Southern California early in July. It did more than slosh water out of swimming pools and bring Disneyland to a halt. It also redecorated the landscape. NASA's Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team took a closer look at the Ridgecrest earthquake and its aftermath, crunched the numbers and figured out just how much it moved the earth around it. The land west of the fault moved as much as 0.8 meters, while other areas moved as much as 0.6 meters. NASA's Earth Observatory released a before-and-after GIF on Thursday that illustrates the ground displacement. We previously saw the crack created by the quake in satellite views. The ARIA team's work will help US government agencies assess the damage from the earthquake. “The analysis can be used to estimate where the fault moved deep and which areas have increased stress and higher likelihood of future earthquakes”,- NASA said. The good news is the fault has quieted down since the main earthquake on July 5. “The odds of a subsequent large earthquake continue to drop with time since the mainshock”,- the US Geological Survey noted. The ground may get a chance to settle into its new configuration. NASA: Southern California July earthquake moved the ground this much World 2019-07-26 16455 At 63, the oldest living western lowland gorilla in a zoo has died Trudy was the oldest living western lowland gorilla in a zoo, and she was one of the last "wild caught" gorillas. At the age of 63, she has died in Arkansas, according to CNN. The Little Rock Zoo announced the death of its resident of over 31 years Thursday night. Gorillas like her typically live to be about 40 in the wild and 50 in human care, according to the National Zoo, but Trudy outlived them by more than a decade. Brought to the Little Rock Zoo in 1988 from Buffalo with her breeding partner, Ollie, the two were the first gorillas exhibited in Arkansas, according to the zoo. Most gorillas in zoos now are born in captivity, but Trudy was born in the wild. She was one of the last to be caught and brought into zoo captivity. The western lowland gorilla is the most populous and widespread species of all gorillas, according to the World Wildlife Organization. Even so, their numbers are on the decline, with poaching and disease reducing their numbers by 60% over the last 20 to 25 years, according to the organization. They can be found in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. They typically live in groups led by a silverback gorilla, according to the National Zoo, but Trudy bucked tradition. At 63, the oldest living western lowland gorilla in a zoo has died World 2019-07-26 16454 U.S. Embassy statement on TBC Bank Group Georgia  U.S. Embassy statement on TBC Bank Group Georgia "We are closely following developments related to the criminal charges the Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office has filed against TBC Bank co-founders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze. We are concerned about the context and timing of these charges. An impartial and transparent legal system that is free of political influence is vital for Georgia’s Western integration and its ability to attract foreign investment. We continue to support the Anaklia port project, a significant source of U.S. investment in Georgia that has the potential to advance the country’s economic growth", - statment reads. U.S. Embassy statement on TBC Bank Group Georgia Politics 2019-07-26 16453 Mamuka Bakhtadze visits Construction site of a Memorial Residence of Goderdzi Chokheli Construction of a Memorial Residence of Goderdzi Chokheli is in full swing in Chokhi Village of Gudamakari Valley. Completion is scheduled in autumn this year. Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia visited the construction site today. Head of Government of Georgia met with the extended family of Goderdzi Chokheli and local community members to speak about the projects implemented in their region. Prime Minister of Georgia noted that current and anticipated infrastructure projects are aimed at empowering the local settlements for their further development and return of people to their original dwellings with relevant living conditions created locally and for the boosted tourism potential of the region. In the opinion of the Head of Government of Georgia, Internet Access of Highlands is a project of special importance towards this end. It has been advancing for several months and high speed access will be provided in Pshavi, Khevsureti and Gudamakari Valleys. Public school building in Zanduki Village is being rehabilitated in Gudamakari as well. It currently admits 5 pupils. Head of Government of Georgia stressed the significance of the National Idea - Education, which inter alia includes access to education as one of its key components. Prime Minister of Georgia visited Gudamakari today together with Maya Tskitishvili, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia. They spoke with local residents about the blueprints for the road rehabilitation in Gudamakari. Head of Government of Georgia was escorted by Shalva Kereselidze, State Representative in the region, MP Irakli Tripolski, MP Mirian Tsiklauri, along with Sozar Subari, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Georgia on Regional Development and Mariam Kvrivishvili, Head of National Tourism Administration of Georgia. Mamuka Bakhtadze visits Construction site of a Memorial Residence of Goderdzi Chokheli Society 2019-07-26 16452 Georgian leader sees NATO future, seeks tough line on Russia Georgia’s president wants Western countries to do more to face up to Russia and the “very heavy pressure” she says Moscow exerts on her nation as it pursues a “natural road” toward integrating with Europe. Salome Zurabishvili, who took office as Georgia’s first woman president in December, insisted during an interview in Geneva Monday that Georgia would one day join the European Union and NATO. “I don’t have the plan of action that brings us there,” Zurabishvili, a former French diplomat who was born in Paris to Georgian parents, said. “But I think that it’s very clear that our road to NATO will end successfully — and to European Union — in different manners, but in parallel ways.” Zurabishvili also predicted that Georgia would regain South Ossetia and Abkhazia, provinces it lost control of after an August 2008 war with Russia. Moscow recognized the regions as independent states and has a military presence in both. Zurabishvili calls them “occupied territories.” Russia contends it sent troops into Georgia after Georgia opened an assault on South Ossetia. “Gradually, I think, the population in the occupied territories, are understanding that the perspective is not in the north (with Russia),” Zurabishvili said. Zurabishvili, 67, was in Geneva for the International Labor Organization’s centennial that opened Monday. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also was among about two dozen heads of state and government attending the event. Because Georgia broke off diplomatic ties with Russia after the 2008 conflict — when Medvedev was Russia’s president — Zurabishvili said it was up to Georgia’s allies in the West to press the issue of Georgia’s lingering territorial troubles with Moscow. “They should talk more about Georgia when they have direct meetings. It should be on the agenda of every meeting with Russia,” she said. Zurabishvili became a Georgian citizen after serving as France’s ambassador to Georgia and went on to become Georgia’s foreign minister. In February, she met in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, who expressed support for Georgia’s territorial integrity. By Jamey Keaten | AP Georgian leader sees NATO future, seeks tough line on Russia Interview 2019-07-26 16451 Presidential Administration Starts Database of Georgian Students Abroad President Salome Zourabichvili attended the 30th anniversary of the Davit Tvildiani Medical University and spoke in front of students, guests, and some of the founders of the university. President Zourabichvili congratulated the graduates of the DVMU and wished them success. She also expressed her hope that they will soon become successful medical professionals both in Georgia and abroad. In the words of President Zourabichvili, Georgia, as the home of Medea, counts medicine as its inherent talent. This is well exemplified by Georgian medical professionals who have successfully worked across the world. President Zourabichvili also stated that maintaining ties with these professionals is important. The President highlighted that the Presidential Administration has started to create a central database of Georgian students who have left the country to study abroad. They are one of the country's largest human resources, yet their potentioal hasn't been used to it's fullest. “This work, that started thirty years ago, is a model today. The foundation of a private university in 1989 was heroism of a great significance to our country’s state-building process. This university is a prosperous achievement and a proudly successful university for the whole country. “You are doing a crucial job as the development of healthcare and the medical field will lead to a healthier new generation. “You managed to prepare a highly professional workforce in this profession, one of the most difficult professions there is, with quality work and dignity significantly importance for its workers. This is a profession that requires a lot and in which nothing is forgiven. “You had a significant initiative: sending students abroad, preparing them there, supporting their return, and keeping bonds with them to continue assisting our country. We must know who has left, who came back, and who is still working abroad. “I am sure that in the nearest future, Georgia will regain its position on the world map as a leader in the medical field. Rehabilitation tourism is a real aspect of our tourism,” stated President Zourabichvili. Presidential Administration Starts Database of Georgian Students Abroad Society 2019-07-26 16450 Charges Against the Founders of TBC Bank Raise Many Questions About the Investigation - NGO On July 24, the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia charged the founders of TBC Bank - Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze - with money laundering over transactions that allegedly took place 11 years ago. The case against the founders of TBC was opened in August 2018 and a number of legitimate concerns were raised in regard to the basis for the launch of the investigation. A series of suspicious decisions were carried out by state agencies against the founders of TBC in the follow-up to the launch of the investigation. We, the undersigned organizations, are of the opinion that the existing circumstances, such as the launch of the investigation and the charges levelled against Khazaradze and Japaridze, could be an indication that the case is politically motivated. This suspicion is further reinforced by the fact that Khazaradze announced his intention to establish a public movement on July 9, 2019. Moreover, Mamuka Khazaradze is the founder of the Anaklia Development Consortium, which is the main responsible body for the construction of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port - a major and strategically important project for Georgia. At the sitting of the Budget and Finance Parliamentary Committee held in March 2019, Mamuka Khazaradze spoke openly about the instances of intimidation and blackmail carried out against him by the Minister of Internal Affairs and the National Bank. The aforementioned circumstances further strengthen the concerns of various organizations over the alarming increase of signs of informal rule and state capture, which implies the excessive concentration of power in the hands of the ruling party and influential informal groups, as well as the use of public institutions for private interests. In order to dispel any concerns of the public over the motivations of the case, we call on the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to make public the hard evidence connected to the case against Khazaradze and Japaridze. Moreover, it is important to notify the public about the status of the investigation related to the cyberattack against TBC Bank. Leaving these questions unanswered will only serve to hinder the pace of democratic development and have a significant negative impact on the country’s international reputation. We call on the Government of Georgia to consider the gravity of the situation and the potential consequences that will follow if suspicions of selective or political justice are further reinforced. Moreover, any attempt to hinder the construction of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port will be a major blow to the economic and security interests of the state. We address the international partners of Georgia to pay close attention to the recent developments around TBC Bank and the Anaklia Port project, in order to prevent any irreversible loss to the long-term democratic development of Georgia.   Transparency International Georgia Open Society Fund Georgia Georgian Democracy Initiative Media Development Foundation World Experience For Georgia In Depth Reporting and Economic Analysis Center Georgia’s Reforms Associates Green Alternative Atlantic Council of Georgia Sapari UN Association of Georgia Economic Policy Research Center Civil Development Agency International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy Initiative For Social Changes Institute for Development of Freedom of Information Human Rights Center Tolerance and Diversity Institute Georgian Institute of Politics Charges Against the Founders of TBC Bank Raise Many Questions About the Investigation - NGO Justice 2019-07-26 16449 EBRD statement on TBC Bank Group Georgia The EBRD notes the recent board changes at TBC Bank Group PLC. The bank is a solid financial institution led by a strong management and an independent board of directors. We welcome the decision by the chairman and the deputy chairman of the bank to step down from the board at this time to focus on allegations made against them in a legal dispute. We also welcome the strengthening of the board with the addition of independent directors with extensive executive level experience in financial institutions. We expect a fair and transparent due process and a prompt resolution of the case with no adverse impact on the operations of the bank. Meanwhile, the EBRD as a longstanding partner, shareholder and lender of TBC Bank will continue to work with and support TBC Bank Group PLC. EBRD statement on TBC Bank Group Georgia Economics 2019-07-26 16448 Prime Minister Familiarizes Himself with Rehabilitation Project for Dusheti’s Historical Districts Rehabilitation of Dusheti's historical districts is starting. Today, the Prime Minister of Georgia discussed the upcoming project with the local population. Under the project, forty houses from the turn of the 20th century -24 of which are cultural heritage sites-will be rehabilitated. The project, worth over 5 million GEL, is financed by the Municipal Development Fund. In addition, the rehabilitation of Dusheti's water supply system is underway. According to the Head of Government, the ongoing and upcoming projects will further boost Dusheti's attractiveness and appeal for the local population; equally importantly, they will give the city a significant tourist function.  "Today, we visited the city's center where very important work is in full swing to be completed in June of 2020, and I promise the population that it will be one of the most beautiful places in Georgia. This region has unique tourism potential, which makes the implementation of these projects doubly valuable, so that the local population, within the shortest possible period, may enjoy greater economic benefits. In the implementation of these projects, we are supported by the World Bank. As you know, developing the mountain areas is our Government's important priority. Much has been done in past few years, especially after the adoption of the relevant law. We have launched active work to install access to the internet, and our goal is for provide every settlement with internet connection. Without internet development, these most gorgeous sites will not be able fully to tap into their tourism potential. A very important road was built to the village of Arkhoti, previously separated from the outside world for years. Arkhoti is strategically important to our country, and it also has unique tourism potential," the Prime Minister stated. Prime Minister Familiarizes Himself with Rehabilitation Project for Dusheti’s Historical Districts Politics 2019-07-26 16447 Vanity projects kamikaze loggias and Tbilisis architectural disaster Sprouting like malignant glass tumours across the historical centre of Tbilisi, Georgia, the trophy buildings of the country's former president Mikheil Saakashvili are hard to miss. There is the heap of white "petals" forming the roof of his public service hall, which looks like someone spilt a bowl of prawn crackers over a pile of glass boxes. A little downriver stands the wavy roof of his Bridge of Peace, locally nicknamed the "Always Ultra" for its unfortunate resemblance to a discarded sanitary towel. Nearby sit the conjoined tubes of his concert hall and exhibition centre, left unfinished and abandoned, their chubby legs spread akimbo towards the old town. It is a surreal scene, a tragic parody of vanity projects gone wrong, all watched over by the presidential palace, an illiterate neoclassical pile crowned with a great glass egg. "For nine years we had a president who was very interested in architecture," says local architect and planner Irakli Zhvania, who leads "ugly walks" around the city highlighting the catastrophic results of corrupt deals, destroyed heritage and the privatisation of swaths of public parks. "It was a disaster."The carnage wrought on Tbilisi's historical centre since the breakup of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, and the influx of investment in the 2000s, has been the spur behind the launch of the recent Tbilisi Architecture Biennial. "There has been very little discussion about architecture and urban development in Georgian society," says Tinatin Gurgenidze, co-founder of the biennial. "People are starting to wake up to the fact that their environment is being destroyed, but there is no forum for discussing an alternative way forward." Co-curator Otar Nemsadze used to work in the urban planning department of Tbilisi city hall and is now a private consultant for the accountancy firm PwC, so he has seen how the machine operates from both sides. "We wanted to stir up public discourse about the future of the city," he says. "If we help to kindle a fire from below, then change might finally happen."Architecture is not something that has been ignored by Georgia's successive governing regimes. Far from it. Saakashvili, a neoliberal moderniser who ruled until 2013, was a known lover of contemporary design, although the scope of his tastes was somewhat limited. The aforementioned structures were all designed by Italian poundshop starchitects Massimiliano Fuksas and Michele de Lucchi, whose fondness for gratuitous form-making was matched only by the president's zeal to get their schemes built as quickly as possible. He also commissioned German blobitecture maestro Jürgen Mayer H to build a slew of undulating follies across the country, many of which remain unfinished.  "Saakashvili behaved like a king, just picking his favourites with no competition or discussion," says Zhvania. "He dismissed any opposition voices as retrogrades, standing in the way of modernisation." The former president may now be living in exile in the Netherlands, wanted on multiple criminal charges back home, but his physical legacy is still very much felt - and others have eagerly picked up where he left off.   The view from Tbilisi's central Freedom Square used to be a striking prospect, with the council assembly and other 19th-century buildings framed by a dramatic backdrop of bare mountains. The dark glass hulk of an Ibis hotel now looms behind the assembly, while the hillside has been adorned with a jumbled complex of metal sheds and glass cylinders, topped with a flying saucer helipad. Nicknamed the "glassle", it is the Bond villain residence of the former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia's richest man. It is a £30m palace designed by the Japanese architect Shin Takamatsu, complete with a private zoo and a banqueting hall in a rotating silver orb suspended above a swimming pool, its walls decorated with copies from Ivanishvili's $1bn art collection (he keeps the originals in a vault in London). Ivanishvili bankrolled the Georgian Dream coalition, which defeated Saakashvili's party in the 2012 parliamentary elections. Since then he has been widely regarded as the most powerful person in the country's politics, said to use his vast wealth to exert influence behind the scenes - and make his architectural mark on the capital. Not content with having his own sprawling mansion, he initiated the Panorama Tbilisi, a project of pharaonic proportions that includes a gargantuan luxury hotel, conference centre and golf course on another nearby hilltop, which will be connected to branches of the complex at other sites in the city by a series of cable cars. One of his bulbous glass blocks is already under construction at Freedom Square, built with the clumsy indifference to its surroundings you might expect.     The Panorama has been described as the largest real estate development in Georgia's history, and it is also one of the most controversial. Built on a site of protected natural landscape overlooking the city's botanic gardens, there are questions over its legality, the transparency of procurement and permissions, and the impact of the project on the environment. Regular protests have been held since it was announced, at which activists have been arrested, including a then member of the city assembly, Aleko Elisashvili, but the bulldozers and cranes proceed unabated. The huge stack of concrete terraces is now evident from all around town, like a fortress hovering menacingly above the city. Joseph Alexander Smith, a Briton who has lived in Tbilisi for the last six years, was driven by what he witnessed to stand for local election last year on a platform of environmental activism, campaigning against chronic traffic problems, pollution and the unabated development that has blighted much of the city. "We have lost one of the city's oldest streets, Mirza Shafi," he says, "and now developers are hand-in-glove with politicians, intent on destroying everything that is left. Everyone has a right to air, not just the right to breath clean air, but to look out of their window and not be confronted by the concrete wall of a new illegal building." He says things are beginning to change - construction permits are now available to view online, and people call the city hall inspectorate when they see something being demolished illegally - but that many contractors still begin digging then apply for permission afterwards.Gurgenidze agrees. "People are only starting to protest now because these catastrophic projects are so visible everywhere," she says. "They are changing the landscape, reshaping our mountains and destroying our heritage, but it is not clear who these seven-star hotel complexes are for." She and her co-curators have decided to focus their efforts at the opposite end of the scale, shining a spotlight on the conditions in which ordinary citizens are forced to live, and how a different kind of spatial ingenuity comes from below. Rather than staging their events in the centre of the city, they have chosen Gldani, a Soviet-era suburb of crumbling concrete apartment blocks half an hour's metro ride north, as the site for their inaugural exhibition and events. There the stark reality of how the majority of Georgians make-do and mend, while the political elite erect their towers, is plain to see. Gldani is a place where "kamikaze loggias" of self-built extensions stick out precariously from the side of 1960s concrete blocks, where balconies have been bricked up in the desperate need for more space, where tiny garages have been taken over as bakeries, wineries and hair salons, where a half-built Soviet swimming pool has been occupied with makeshift homes. Subject to a large influx of refugees after the Abkhazia war in the 1990s, it is a place bursting at the seams, transformed by a whole host of ad hoc, hastily built additions and adaptations, a kind of informal urbanism the curators have taken as their focus for the biennial. "To deepen our understanding of people's needs," they write, "it is essential to study the ideas behind the self-made structures, informal housing and urban responses that shape the current urban landscape of Tbilisi."Their exhibitions and installations offer the usual mixed bag of such shoestring-budget events, with much of the work on show being indistinguishable from the self-built shacks of Gldani itself, but there are some powerful pieces amid the chaos. An anonymous group called Anti-Material-Architecture has built what it calls an "informal monument", a long colonnade of mangled scaffolding poles bound together with wire that extends through a courtyard, over a couple of buildings and across a bridge. "The locals think it's garbage," says one member of the group, from Basel. "But if you can make such a big structure out of garbage, then maybe it's not garbage any more." It might have been provocative in a different setting (marching over Ivanishvili's lair, perhaps?), but, in such impoverished surroundings, it feels uncomfortably like fetishising trash. The Viennese architects Adrian Judt and Helene Schauer were more pragmatic in their approach, although their work didn't last long. Their installation, To Be Constructed, took the form of a pile of building materials placed on a blue platform, free for anyone to take for their own use. Which the enthusiastic self-builders of Gldani did, with relish. The breeze blocks, wallpaper and tubs of paint were gone in 30 minutes.The Venetian group Babau Bureau, meanwhile, realised that one of the district's courtyards was about the same size as the mausoleum of Santa Costanza in Rome, so they painted the footprint of the building in bright pink paint on the floor. It is one of the simplest of the interventions, but it has had one of the most profound effects: children have already devised new games involving hopping between the columns, and the cracked tarmac yard has been elevated into something special. "We wanted to show that the basic signs of a building have the power to define occupation and use," says the architect Stefano Tornieri, "even when it is not built." A former secret service building has been taken over as the main venue for the indoor exhibition, where student work focusing on informal architecture from a number of international schools is shown alongside conceptual work by artists and architects. The highlight is the oldest piece on show, dug out from the archive: the original hand-coloured drawings of Gldani's covered bridge connecting a pair of tower blocks, designed by the suburb's architect, Temur Botchorishvili. It is a pastel Ponte Vecchio wrought with Soviet concrete muscle, now home to a boxing gym and a hotel. It has been occupied by further interventions for the biennial, including a photo exhibition and a series of gnomic wooden huts on the roof by famed Russian "paper architect" Alexander Brodsky (which rather make you wish he had stuck to drawing).   There are many other curious things to be found in the backstreets and slung across bridges, but the installations generally pale in comparison to the spirit of the place itself, and the imagination with which people have adapted it. It is telling that the most popular part of the biennial at the opening was Block 76, a chance to look inside a number of regular families' apartments in Gldani, complete with their time-warp Soviet interiors and icon-studded hallway shrines. As the American architect Jesse Vogler, who teaches in Tbilisi, puts it: "The curators have already succeeded, simply by getting people to come out to Gldani and look around. It is way outside of most Tbilisians' regular comfort zones." It is a bold step in the right direction. With a little less conceptual art and a little more critical focus on the city's urgent problems in forthcoming editions, the biennial could grow into a powerful tool for airing debate and effecting change, providing a much-needed brake on Tbilisi's untrammelled steamroller of development.  Author: Oliver Wainwright Politics 2019-04-10 11535 TOP 10 things to do while in Tbilisi Tbilisi is the largest city in Georgia, located on both sides of the Mtkvari River with a population of roughly 1.5 million inhabitants. It was founded in the 5th century but was rebuilt around 29 times since then. The old town Tbilisi is largely intact with narrow alleys and big crooked houses built around small courtyards. The newer parts of the capital recently got a huge facelift with modern architecture. It doesn't yet offer world-class shopping opportunities that you will find in other capitals around the world. But Tbilisi offers something that you will not find in modern capitals charm!  1. TAKE A STROLL THROUGH THE OLD TOWN. Old Town Tbilisi has over the recent years gotten a huge "facelift." These days, there´s local art shops, wine houses, small family run guesthouses. You can spend hours getting lost in the old alleys and backstreet, just to find a small local bar or Kinkhali house.  2. TAKE A SULPHUR BATH. The famous Sulphur Baths are located in the Abanotubani district in the middle of the old town. The sulphur baths are an amazing place to relax for an hour or two, especially during the colder months of the year.  3. VISIT THE HOLY TRINITY CATHEDRAL OF TBILISI. There´s no shortage of churches in Tbilisi or Georgia; you will never be far from one. The one you will see the most is the huge Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi or locally known as "Sameba". The construction of Cathedral was only completed back in 2004, so it doesn't offer the same amount of history as most of the other churches in Tbilisi. But the Holy Trinity Cathedral is impressive in other ways. It´s with its height of 97,5m the third largest Orthodox cathedral in the world only after the Saint Isaac´s Cathedral in Saint Petersburg and Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.  4. VISIT THE MTATSMINDA PARK FOR THE STUNNING VIEW OVER THE CITY. Mtatsminda Park is the highest point surrounding Tbilisi; the park has a small amusement park, a Paris wheel (that´s the highest point in Tbilisi), a lot of restaurants and small bars. It´s a popular hangout for the couples in the evening to enjoy the amazing view of the city landscape. The park can be reached by bus 124 or by the Funicular railway 5. TRY THE LOCAL CUISINE. Georgian cuisine is vegetarian-friendly, and recently, a vegan cafe has opened up in the city. I’m neither vegan nor vegetarian, and I love the anti-vegan food. Georgian food, for me, is up there with Chinese, Mexican and Thai food. Cheese and meat are used in almost every dish.  6. TAKE THE CABLE CAR TO THE MOTHER, GEORGIA STATUE. The Mother Georgia is located on a high hill overlooking the city, you can either walk up, or you can take the cheap cable car from the eastern part of the city. The ride is only 1 lari. You will enjoy a panoramic view while riding over the old town.  7. TRY THE LOCAL CANDY. There are two types of homemade candy´s in Georgia, Churchkhela, and Taklpi. These are sold from old babushkas on street corners to big shops on the main streets. It´s impossible to walk around Tbilisi without seeing a shop or two selling it. Churchkhela is a sausage-shaped Georgian candy stick with walnuts on the centre. They are dipped in thick hot grape juice. The other local candy is Taklpi which are fruit rolls. There are numerous varieties, including plums, pear, apple and even kiwi. 8. WATCH THE PUPPET SHOW. The leaning clock tower was created by the famous Georgian puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze. Each hour a window opens at the top and an angel strikes the bell. Below the clock, a screen opens and shows the circle of life: boy meets girl, marriage, childbirth, and funeral.  9. CHECK OUT THE LOCAL NIGHTLIFE.   Tbilisi is considered by many to be the best clubbing city in Eastern Europe and almost on a level with Berlin in western Europe. The partying and clubbing culture has become a lifestyle and music is a sacred thing in the city. There´s also a club underneath the national football stadium. If you are not into clubbing, there are many local bars spread around the city, from small jazz clubs to pubs, frequented by the locals and foreigners, selling a glass of draft beer or glass of wine for 2lari. 10. TAKE A DAY TRIP OUT OF THE CITY. Since Georgia is a relatively small country and Tbilisi it almost located in the central part, it is easy to do a day trip out of the city and still come back by evening.   Source: TOP 10 things to do while in Tbilisi Politics 2019-04-10 11534 Doctor finds four sweat bees living inside womans eye A Taiwanese woman was found by doctors to have four small sweat bees living inside her eye, the first such incident on the island, BBC reported. The 28-year-old woman, identified only as Ms He, was pulling out weeds when the insects flew into her eyes. Dr Hong Chi Ting of the Fooyin University Hospital told the BBC he was "shocked" when he pulled the 4mm insects out by their legs. Ms He has now been discharged and is expected to make a full recovery. Sweat bees, also known as Halictidae, are attracted to sweat and sometimes land on people to imbibe perspiration. They also drink tears for their high protein content, according to a study by the Kansas Entomological Society.Ms He was weeding around her relatives' graves when the insects flew into her left eye. She was visiting the grave as part of the annual Chinese Qing Ming tomb-sweeping festival, which is traditionally observed by sprucing up loved ones' graves. When a gust of wind blew into her eyes she assumed it was dirt that had entered, she told reporters. But hours later, her eyes were still swollen and in pain, leading her to seek medical help at the hospital in southern Taiwan. "She couldn't completely close her eyes. I looked into the gap with a microscope and saw something black that looked like an insect leg," Dr Hong, an ophthalmology professor at the hospital told the BBC. Doctor finds four sweat bees living inside womans eye Politics 2019-04-10 11533 SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF GEORGIA AT THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF GEORGIA AT THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE.    "Madame President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Excellences, Distinguished members of the assembly, I am honored to address you at the house of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We have just heard a beautiful piece of song, a piece of authentic Georgian polyphonic singing, where different voices come together in a complex union, embrace and enrich each other, developing and moving ahead. This is a very strong marker of Georgian national identity - when I think of being Georgian this polyphony comes to my mind in the first place. And this is very symbolic that we hear it today, as we are celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Council of Europe and 20th Anniversary of Georgia's accession to it. Yesterday, on April 9, Georgia marked 30 years after tragic event. On this date in 1989 an anti-Soviet peaceful demonstration demanding freedom and independence from the Soviet Union was violently dispersed by the Soviet Army using tanks and guns on Rustaveli Avenue, in the center of Tbilisi. I was very young back then, but I still remember these events just like it happened yesterday. On 9th of April 1989 small nation united to defend its freedom, freedom of sovereign existence. During those events, the Georgian people dared to exercise their right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech in the Soviet Union. This attempt was suppressed in a bloodshed but their fight for independence, for freedom and for democracy has not been lost. After 2 years since those tragic events took place, on the very same day the Act of Reestablishment of Independence was signed. With this fight and sacrifice Georgia has gained its European identity back, which seemed so distant 30 years ago. For that very reason, my today's appearance in front of you is dedicated to all the people who have sacrificed their lives for my country's unity and freedom. Since those years, we have faced many other challenges, and despite all of them, we still have achieved a lot, we have achieved almost impossible. This success of my country accomplished during last 20 years, belongs to both, Georgia and the Council of Europe and therefore we both can be proud of it. Together we have created a country that has emerged as a true democracy between two continents, bridging Europe with Asia. In this challenging region, Georgia has an ambition to dictate peaceful rules of coexistence and create a model of democracy, which would be sustainable.   Ladies and Gentlemen, In the last 20 years, since accession to the Council of Europe, Georgia has managed to make a dramatic transformation and today we are a country on the rise. 20 years ago, Georgia had serious challenges and upon accession we undertook a list of commitments. By these commitments, Georgia pledged: to create a truly democratic state; to strengthen rule of law; to carry out judicial reform; to fight against corruption; to fight torture and ill-treatment; to guarantee freedom of speech and free media; to protect minorities; and to strengthen national human rights mechanisms. Georgia has demonstrated progress in all above directions through close cooperation with the different bodies of the Council of Europe. And I would like to use this opportunity to express gratitude on behalf of the Georgian people to the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers, the European Court of Human Rights, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Venice Commission, the Office of Commissioner for Human Rights and other human rights monitoring bodies. As I said, we have achieved everything together. Please let me elaborate on major achievements, worth your attention. After many years Georgia has finally managed to establish a fair system of checks and balances and hence made democratic progress irreversible. Discussing our new Constitution and all the deliverables that it brought to the building of our democracy, the best I can do, is to refer to the most reputable body to judge, that is Venice Commission, which said: quote: "The Constitutional reform process completes the evolution of Georgia's political system towards a Parliamentary system and constitutes a positive step towards the consolidation and improvement of the countries' Constitutional Order, based on principles of democracy, the rule of law and protection of fundamental rights". Unquote. Our Government became the first one to refuse one-party domination. New Constitution implies that we will introduce a fully and purely proportional electoral system from 2024. Meanwhile Georgia goes through important transitional period. This will create better political balance, will give minority parties a better chance of winning seats in the Parliament. With an introduction of a proportional electoral system, Government will require greater consensus in policy-making, this is our choice, a choice that is value-based and we will never divert from this path. We are proud that for the first time in history, Georgia has elected its female President. This is a profound milestone achievement in the modern history of Georgia. We are writing a new chapter in the multi-centennial history of our country. With the election of a new President, new Constitution came into force. Now Georgia is a Parliamentary Democracy, where I am accountable in the capacity of the Prime Minister towards the Parliament and its Members... Members elected by people. As a result of the recent reforms Parliament became stronger than ever. Strong Parliament means a robust executive oversight; for that very reason, we understand importance of accountability towards our population, we understand how important it is for every single citizen to be informed about our day-to-day initiatives and reforms and we are determined to further strive towards more development and more accountability. Just 7 years ago, Georgia had serious challenges in the field of rule of law and the functioning of independent judiciary. We have made a significant progress, which is best measured here in Strasbourg. In fact, the European Court of Human Rights is the best indicator of shortcomings and improvements in the field of human rights. More people started to seek and find justice at the national level with no need to go further to the European Court of Human Rights. This is confirmed by the significant drop in the number of applications filed against Georgia at the Court of Law. In particular, in 2011 we had 395 applications to the European Court, and in 2018 - only quarter of that figure. On the execution side, the total number of Georgian cases closed by final resolutions of the Committee of Ministers represents 76. In particular, around 80 percent of cases were closed since 2013. This demonstrates that current government of Georgia effectively executes the European Court Rulings. Since 2013 applications to the Constitutional Court of Georgia by common courts have increased by more than 5 times. Before it was literally 0... Let me repeat myself once again LITERALLY 0. Quantity of administrative imprisonment cases has decreased by 68%. Use of imprisonment against juveniles has decreased by 70%. In addition to that, in the recent years, we have opened courtrooms to media and ensured full transparency of the trial. Georgia has made immense progress in the fight against corruption and in ensuring accountability and transparency of Government. In nineties Georgia was amongst the most corrupt countries and today we are proud to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world. Georgia is ranked 5 in Open Budget Index just below countries like Sweden and Norway. Georgia is a proud member and former chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which is a major international partnership aiming at global openness, transparency and accountability. Our Government inherited a system of oppressive penitentiary machine with systematic practices of torture and ill-treatment. Penitentiary system - was failing. Therefore, the system needed decisive measures. Reforms, which were carried out had drastically changed situation within the penitentiary establishment. As a matter of fact, in 2018 the Georgian penitentiary system has rightly deserved its place in "Good Human Rights Stories" of the UN and EU. Georgia has also transformed its attitude towards political freedoms. Freedom of Expression and Right to peaceful manifestation, often violated previously - are fully respected now. Georgia has vibrant civil society, free media and internet and freedom of expression is fully respected. The unfortunate practices of violent dispersion of peaceful protests belong to the past and government fully respects the right to assembly and manifestation. Justice system became more responsive against the hate crimes, discrimination and protective mechanisms became stronger. Here I would like to underline that in April 2017, Georgia has ratified the Council of Europe's Convention (Istanbul Convention) on preventing and combating violence against Women and Domestic violence. Last but not least, Georgia has developed robust human rights mechanisms. For the first time in recent years, Government of Georgia developed strategic approach to protection of Human Rights; Empowered the Ombudsman's Office and established effective oversight mechanism at the Parliamentary level. Indeed, we have achieved a lot, but we are determined to progress further. We are building a modern European country where people are the center-point of gravity, a country that grants equal opportunities to every single citizen, no matter of their social status or position, where every citizen's voice gets heard and government feels the aspirations of its people. I often say that we have two main challenges in Georgia: occupation and poverty. This became my precept and serves as a basis of every reform or initiative that Government introduces in the country. One of such reforms, is truly revolutionary - I would say even a real game-changer - reform of the education sector. Throughout the past decades, education has become a real bottleneck and human capital development lagged behind the demands of a modern world. We are going to devote increasing portion of our GDP to education sector starting from this year and reach a 6% of GDP, which is a quarter of our total budget. This will be ensured by the legislation so that every following government will have the obligation to invest in the development of our human capital, people that advance our country, people that made the value-based choice to support us in our European aspirations. It is the human capital development that will serve as a solution to our existing challenges. Only educated professionals will be able to raise our country to the heights that we envisage for our future generations. Despite all this progress, we still face the major Human Rights challenges on our Occupied Territories. 20 percent of our territories are occupied, occupied by Russian Federation. More than 300 000 IDPs cannot go back to their homes, every day we have to deal with barbed-wire fences, de-population of occupied territories, grave human rights abuses and general situation that is nothing but humanitarian disaster in every sense of this term. The growing militarization of these regions is in full swing and de-population is intensifying by the minute. Because of the grave humanitarian, socio-economic and human rights situation, the population in the occupied regions has decreased by 5-6 times since the occupation. As a result, we have Russian military bases in the heart of Georgia. We still deal with the threats of abduction, torture and murder of Georgian citizens up until today. Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and a 18 year-old David Basharuli are the recent victims. Just several weeks ago another Georgian citizen, Irakli Kvaratskhelia was illegally detained, his subsequent death is still obscured with unclear circumstances. One fact is clear, Georgian citizen has been illegally detained on the illegally occupied territory on the military base which is illegally built by Russian Federation. Here I would like to thank the Parliamentary Assembly for backing and supporting Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List. We should all line up against the grave human rights violations in order to ensure that a deliberate disregard of the rule of law will never be tolerated! Russian Federation tries to undermine our peaceful initiatives, with this kind of diversions they try to block all our efforts, with ethnic discrimination they try to fully eradicate Georgian identity but this won't happen, we will never give up! Our Government just recently introduced a new, comprehensive and inclusive peace initiative by the name Step2Better Future. With this initiative we seek to provide our population in the occupied territories with access to a proper healthcare and education services, to create opportunities for micro and small commerce and entrepreneurship for them to feed their families and to ensure their physical survival. Russian Federation is continuously ignoring the obligations they took under 2008 Ceasefire Agreement - to withdraw their troops from our territories. We only believe in peaceful resolution of the conflict, this is one and only position that we have towards the conflict resolution. Our joint victory will be only then, when our IDPs will be able to return to their homes, bridges between people will be fully restored, Rule of Law and Human Rights will be ensured throughout the whole territory of Georgia. Today, from this stage I would like to send message to all our Ossetian and Abkhaz citizens - our every success is your success! And only future that we see together with you, - united in peace and prosperity. I would like to thank the Council of Europe for the unwavering support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country, for keeping the issue of occupation of Georgian territories on high political agenda of the council; I would like to thank you for Annual Decisions of the committee of ministers on the issue and consolidated reports of Secretary General. We greatly appreciate the close cooperation and coordination, especially in the direction of confidence building measures and in the restoration of "bridges" between the divided communities; bolstering people-to-people relations by manifesting that we are one country, one sovereign and united European nation! In spring next year we will be hosting Tbilisi Peace Forum in Georgia, - our goal is to contribute to peace and stability in the wide region and thus give all the countries possibility to utilize the huge opportunities that hasn't been unleashed yet. As for the outstanding issue of Russia, we firmly believe that the member States should not allow a lowering of the Council of Europe's standards or any downgrading of our common values in order to overcome the challenges, including the financial crises. Georgia supports efforts aimed at solving current financial difficulties, however position of Georgia remains that non-payment by Russia should not become a factor or condition for changing existing rules of procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly or statute of the Council of Europe. Georgia has been benefiting from different bodies of the organization for the last 20 years and as a sign of our gratitude, the government of Georgia has decided to make voluntary contribution to the Council of Europe in the amount of 500 000 Euros. It should be particularly emphasized that Actions Plans of the Council of Europe remain a very important instrument in terms of helping and assisting certain member states in fulfillment of recommendations which are issued by various independent human rights monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe. It is important that the Council of Europe continues its work in both directions, on the one hand it identifies shortcomings in members states through its monitoring bodies and on the other hand continues to assist member states in rectifying shortcomings which are identified; actions plans are crucial in that regard. Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen! 20 years ago, in 1999, the then Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, [the] late Zurab Zhvania, here in this wonderful city of Strasbourg, speaking at the historical moment when Georgia was joining the Council of Europe, made his famous statement. I vividly remember the words. And thus today, 20 years after, I would like to reiterate Zurab Zhvania's words spoken here in the Council of Europe - I am Georgian, therefore I am European! Since this historic words 20 years have passed and symbolically, this year we will take up the chairmanship of the Council of Europe, the organization that has been a principal supporter on our path and its now our turn to accept the torch and pass it to our future generations. Thank you!", said the prime minister of Georgia at the Parliamentary Assembly Of The Council Of Europe. Chronicles 2019-04-10 11531 Council of Europe Commissioner Commends Georgia?€™s Human Rights Achievements As Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovi?‡ stated during today's meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, she commends Georgia's achievements in the field of human rights. Special emphasis during the meeting was placed on the existing positive dynamic and steps taken by the Government of Georgia toward empowering national human rights mechanisms, including in terms of ensuring the freedom of speech and expression. The meeting at the Council of Europe also underlined the dire humanitarian situation in Georgia's occupied territories, and concerns were expressed over the fact the Council of Europe Commissioner's lack of access to the occupied territories, an obstacle preventing her from fulfilling her mandate. As it was pointed out, every available resource and mechanism will be used to provide the international community with access to the occupied regions. The discussion also touched on Georgia's upcoming chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe Commissioner wished success to Georgia and reaffirmed readiness to continue active cooperation. The meeting was attended by Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Tamar Chugoshvili, and leader of the parliamentary majority Archil Talakvadze. Politics 2019-04-10 11532 First ever black hole image released Black holes have finally been dragged out of the shadows. For the first time ever, humanity has photographed one of these elusive cosmic beasts, shining light on an exotic space-time realm that had long been beyond our ken. "We have seen what we thought was unseeable," Sheperd Doeleman, of Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said today (April 10) during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.Doeleman directs the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, which captured the epic imagery. These four photos, which were unveiled today at press events around the world and in a series of papers, outline the contours of the monster black hole lurking at the heart of the elliptical galaxy M87. The imagery is mind-blowing enough in its own right. But even more significant is the trail the new results will likely blaze, researchers said. "There's really a new field to explore," Peter Galison, a professor of physics and the history of science at Harvard, said in an EHT talk last month at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. "And that's ultimately what's so exciting about this." Galison, who co-founded Harvard's interdisciplinary Black Hole Initiative (BHI), compared the imagery's potential impact to that of the drawings made by English scientist Robert Hooke in the 1600s. These illustrations showed people what insects and plants look like through a microscope.  "It opened a world," Galison said of Hooke's work.  A telescope the size of Earth The EHT is a consortium of more than 200 scientists that has been in the works for about two decades. It's a truly international endeavor; funding over the years has come from the U.S. National Science Foundation and many other organizations in countries around the world. The project takes its name from a black hole's famed point of no return - the boundary beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape the object's gravitational clutches. "The event horizon is the ultimate prison wall," BHI founding director Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard's astronomy department, told (Loeb is not part of the EHT team.) "Once you're in, you can never get out." It's therefore impossible to photograph the interior of a black hole, unless you somehow manage to get in there yourself. (You and your pictures couldn't make it back to the outside world, of course.) So, the EHT images the event horizon, mapping out the black hole's dark silhouette. "We're looking for the loss of photons," EHT science council member Dan Marrone, an associate professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, told The project has been scrutinizing two black holes - the M87 behemoth, which harbors about 6.5 billion times the mass of Earth's sun, and our own Milky Way galaxy's central black hole, known as Sagittarius A*. This latter object, while still a supermassive black hole, is a runt compared to M87's beast, containing a mere 4.3 million solar masses. Both of these objects are tough targets because of their immense distance from Earth. Sagittarius A* lies about 26,000 light-years from us, and M87's black hole is a whopping 53.5 million light-years away. From our perspective, Sagittarius A*'s event horizon "is so small that it's the equivalent of seeing an orange on the moon or being able to read the newspaper in Los Angeles while you're sitting in New York City," Doeleman said during the SXSW event last month. No single telescope on Earth can make that observation, so Doeleman and the rest of the EHT team had to get creative. The researchers have linked up radio telescopes in Arizona, Spain, Mexico, Antarctica and other places around the world, forming a virtual instrument the size of Earth. Politics 2019-04-10 11530 PASHA Bank Sponsors TMG 2019 - Telecom Meetings in Georgia On April 10-11, TMG 2019 - Telecom Meetings in Georgia will be held. PASHA Bank will be sponsoring the event for the third time, which emphasizes its good will to support local business and economic development of the country. PASHA Bank is a Baku-based financial institution operating in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, providing corporate and investment banking services to large, medium and small enterprises. Telecom Meetings in Georgia has been held since 2010. Dozens of delegates from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Europe attend TMG to network on bilateral meetings, exchange information and establish new formal relationships. TMG is a very important event for local, as well as international companies that operate in telecommunication industry. There are several large companies that participate in the project this year, such as: China Mobile (China), RETN Capital (United Kingdom), NewTelco (Germany), DanTelco (Denmark), IPVOIP s.r.o. (Czech Republic) and others. “PASHA Bank will sponsor Telecom Meetings in Georgia for the third time. We are more than happy to take part in initiatives that serve development of local enterprises and economy. I hope that this gathering just like in previous years will be productive and successful for the telecommunications’ sector as a whole” - said Goga Japaridze, Commercial Director and Member of Board of Directors at PASHA Bank Georgia. “PASHA Bank will sponsor Telecom Meetings in Georgia for the third time. Besides financial aid, receiving support and sharing mutual goals and visions to facilitate economic growth and development of the country, is very important for us” - said Sophie Amiranashvili, organizer of TMG 2015. For registration click the link: Those who wish to apply, registration deadline is April 9th. <span>PASHA Bank Sponsors TMG 2019 - Telecom Meetings in Georgia</span> Politics 2019-04-03 11529 Olive oil from Georgia can cause a furore in the world markets In the coming years, Georgia is able to fill a substantial niche in the olive oil market. According to experts, if today the country has just begun to implement a new unique program for growing olive trees, then tomorrow it will be able to claim to become one of the leading exporters in the world. Evidently, the olives are still a new business segment for Georgia, but those who take a chance of investing in it now, will receive decent dividends in the nearest future. Moreover, as the analysis of the olive business in Georgia shows, it provides an opportunity for profitable investments to both large companies and private investors. More importantly, today it is Georgia that, unlike other countries where the olive business has already been established, can make unique offers, allowing even individuals, not to mention small and medium-sized companies, to have their own profitable business ensuring regular and constantly growing income. The fact that Georgia has earned the image of a country of successful reforms, where bureaucracy and corruption are no longer a hindrance for entrepreneurs, inspires much optimism. This has created investor confidence, and trust is the key to long-term planning. In the "ease of doing business" rating of countries of the world, which the World Bank prepares annually, Georgia ranks 6th, ahead of economic giants such as the United States, Great Britain and China. Moreover, according to two criteria out of ten, on the basis of which the rating is compiled, - the simplicity of business registration and investors protection - Georgia is the 2nd in the world. In business circles, the data provided by such a reputable institution as the World Bank is a clear signal, indicating where it is worth investing in, and which countries to stay away from. At the end of 2018, the amount of foreign investment in the economy of Georgia amounted to 1 billion of US dollars. This is about USD 280 per person. In Italy, this figure is, for example, USD 215, in China - USD 251, in Greece - USD 267. At the same time, the exports to other countries grew by 24%. This is the evidence that Georgia is viewed as a reliable trading partner, and entrepreneurs have been convinced that doing business in Georgia is easy and safe. In many respects, growth indicators are related to the fact that the Georgian government correctly sets priorities in economic policy and selectively supports individual sectors, triggering a powerful development. Growing olives is one of such industries. When in 2010, 20,000 olive seedlings were planted first in modern history in Georgia, it was emphasized at the government level that this would become a new segment in the country's agriculture and allow the villagers to earn a good income. The unique situation is that ten years ago, olive plantations in Georgia were only mentioned in historical chronicles. Today it is not a myth, but a real commercial product. At the present stage of economic development in Georgia, they started systematically and purposefully developing the olive branch of agriculture. And at present, hundreds of hectares in Kakheti have been not merely planted, these are the so-called "investment" fields supported by the state. In other words, everyone investing in the olive business today will be able to convert their investments into serious profits and almost unlimited export opportunities in the coming years. At the same time, being under the protection of the state and having the full support from the government. "Olives is a new crop in Georgia, it is important to promote it, since it is very much in demand in almost all countries. Georgia has great potential for growing perennial crops. That is why the state implements the Plant the Future program. Such programs promote the cultivation of perennial crops in Georgia, the development of fruit growing, which is important in terms of the country's economic progress," Georgian Minister of Agriculture Levan Davitashvili said. The basis for the prosperity of the olive business is the climate perfect for growing this crop. Kakheti is at the same latitude with such countries as Greece, Spain and Italy, where the cultivation of olives has become cultish. No wonder that these countries are leading in the industry. Moreover, with an average yield of mature olive trees from 60 to 80 kg per a tree, here the figures can reach 100 kg, including due to the use of irrigation systems by local farmers at a very early stage, when the trees are very young and are just beginning their development. The fact is that productivity depends on many factors from a technological point of view - the distance between the trees, tree watering and care, the type of olives grown, soil fertility, etc. In Kakheti, owing to investments and involvement of qualified international specialists, state-of-the-art technologies are used, which make it possible to produce a competitive product of the highest quality. Investors who have already entered the olive market in Kakheti note another important detail. When planting properly selected seedlings, and with a proper care, the crop can be harvested starting from the 4th year. Therefore, the return on investment can be forecast and assessed as rather high. Businessmen even admit that it was the olive business in Kakheti that substituted for bank deposits and investments in real estate as a source of passive income. Figuratively speaking, money simply grows on trees. In addition, olives and olive oil today are one of the most liquid goods, considering the increased demand in the world. In the past olive season, which traditionally lasts from October to October, in just two months the imports of olive oil to China grew by 65%, to Australia by 42%, to the USA - by 5%. The upward trend in the demand is noted by almost all leading economic platforms. Therefore, no one is surprised that dozens of millions of dollars are invested today in the olive business of Georgia. And since this business is still quite young, it has a great potential. Olive oil from Georgia can cause a furore in the world markets Politics 2019-03-28 11528 Donald Trump responds Mueller report - No collusion, No obstruction "No collusion, No obstruction. Complete and total exoneration. Keep America Great!" - Donald Trump wrote on Twitter when responding to the summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. "This was an illegal takedown that failed and hopefully somebody is going to be looking at their other side," According to "Politico" Trump told reporters Sunday. US President Donald Trump's campaign did not conspire with Russia during the 2016 election, a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report says. Donald Trump responds Mueller report - No collusion, No obstruction Politics 2019-03-28 11527 Mamuka Bakhtadze: Bank of Georgia and Silknet attracting new finances into our economy is indicative of high level of trust of international investors in Georgia As Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated during the briefing before today's Government meeting, the fact that the Bank of Georgia and Silknet are attracting new finances into our economy is indicative of the high level of trust of international investors in Georgia. It is important that the Bank of Georgia has attracted 100 million USD in hybrid capital, the Prime Minister said, while the Silknet telecommunication company has issued unsecured bonds worth 200 million. "It is very important to us that the apparent demand has proved much higher than that initially indicated by Georgian companies, which means that international investors' trust in Georgia, its legislative framework and economic prospects, is very high. It is not an episodic achievement. These are international investors' expectations for Georgia. I wish these transactions took place in our capital market. However, I am convinced that the reform to be implemented by us will enable Georgian companies to attract capital not only from international platforms, but also from the Georgian capital market," Mamuka Bakhtadze stated. Mamuka Bakhtadze: Bank of Georgia and Silknet attracting new finances into our economy is indicative of high level of trust of international investors in Georgia Politics 2019-03-28 11526 Students Enrolled at Private Vocational Schools to Receive State Voucher Financing, Vocational Teacher Salary to Increase by 30% Under the educational reform, we are implementing changes to finance private schools, Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated during the briefing before today's Government meeting. According to the head of Government, it is very important for the country to have a system enabling young people to find employment immediately after graduating from vocational school. Students at such schools will receive voucher financing. "Until now, the state has been financing only state-run vocational schools, not the best practice, of course. We are implementing changes to finance private schools. Commendably, more and more companies are trying to engage in vocational education. In line with the priorities defined by the Georgian Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, these schools will receive voucher financing. Consequently, students enrolled at private vocational schools based on the exams facilitated by the National Examinations Center will receive state voucher financing," Manuka Bakhtadze said. According to the Prime Minister, the salaries of vocational teachers will increase by 30%. In vocational education, the Government relies on German, Swiss, and Austrian experience, the Head of Government emphasized-that is, countries that have succeeded in creating strong vocational education systems through active private-public cooperation. "In this educational reform, an idea of national importance poised to help us overcome every challenge, vocational education plays a special role. Today's decision, I am convinced, will enable us to take a giant step toward solving the extremely painful challenge stemming from unemployment. The adoption of this model, at the same time, will promote further public-private sectoral integration," Mamuka Bakhtadze underlined. Students Enrolled at Private Vocational Schools to Receive State Voucher Financing, Vocational Teacher Salary to Increase by 30% Politics 2019-03-28 11525 60 New Kindergartens to Be Built, and 60 Million GEL to Be Allocated in 2019 This year alone, the Municipal Development Fund will start building 60 new kindergartens, and we will invest up to 60 million GEL to this end, Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated during the briefing before today's Government meeting. According to the Head of Government, smaller kindergartens with 50 or fewer children will receive financing from the state budget, and the Government will use EIB loans to finance larger kindergartens. "Building kindergartens is a very important priority. Preschool education is part of our educational reform. I maintain close communication with our population in every region, and a lack of kindergartens is one of the main problems cited by them. I am convinced that this initiative will enable us to solve this issue within a few years," Mamuka Bakhtadze pointed out. On the Government's decision, an enhanced budget will be set up for equipping schools with wireless internet connection. "Apparently, there is a growing demand, and we will, by all means, increase financing in this direction, so that every school in Georgia may enjoy quality wireless internet connection," the Prime Minister emphasized. 60 New Kindergartens to Be Built, and 60 Million GEL to Be Allocated in 2019 Politics 2019-03-28 11524 While Theater is Alive, Georgia is Alive as Well - Salome Zourabichvili President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili, together with the Prime Minister and representatives of the Adjara autonomous government, unveiled the renovated building of the Batumi Ilia Chavchavadze State Drama Theatre. The Minister of Education, Culture and Sport of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, Inga Shamilishvili, hosted the President and the Prime Minister and informed them on the history of the building and its renovation works. The historic building's wall and ceiling artwork, as well as important details of the structure were renovated and reverted to their authenticity. Besides the renovation works, systems of illumination, sounds, and new staging mechanisms and technologies were installed. Thanks to this new progress, it is now possible to hold different performances on the big and medium platforms of the stage. The President of Georgia attended the opening of the theater and assisted the premier of the play "KLDIASHVILI.GE #rtsmenitadaimedit", based on the dramatic works of Davit Kldiashvili. President Salome Zourabichvili praised the theater's renovation as a significant event and stated that similar projects should happen in all regions of Georgia. "Theaters play an important role for residents of our regions as they incentivize people to return and empower regional economies. Without such cultural developments, it is impossible to empower our regions. More culture starts with regional theaters and we should never forget that theater was always a precondition for our national reestablishment; while theater is alive, Georgia is alive as well," said the President of Georgia. The renovation works for the theater, built in 1950s, was funded by the Cartu Fund. While Theater is Alive, Georgia is Alive as Well - Salome Zourabichvili Politics 2019-03-28 11523 Elton John the piano man to play live shows at Black Sea Arena Elton John, multiple Grammy-winning legend and flamboyant superstar, will hold a performance before Georgian public on September 16. The Bank of Georgia's personal service group Solo and the well known Eastern Promoution (main organizer of all international festive events in our country) prepared his arrival. The press conference on the event will be held tomorrow for disclosure of details. <br /> On September 16 Elton John the piano man to play live shows at Black Sea Arena Politics 2017-05-30 11522 Andrzej Duda Polish President pays an official visit in Tbilisi today Andrzej Sebastian Duda, President of Poland alongside with his wife pays an official visit to Georgia. The Georgian delegation met him at the Tbilisi international airport. The official meeting ceremony will be held at the Presidential Palace of Georgian President. Maka Chichua, First Lady of Georgia will take part in this ceremony too. After the meeting ceremony, in the frames of Polish President's official visit, Polish and Georgian Presidents will hold discussions and sign documents on mutual cooperation between our countries. Meetings of Polish President with different high ranks are planned too. Polish President will deliver a public lecture at the National Public Library. The visit will be accomplished on May 31 after Andrzej Duda will visit Batumi. Andrzej Duda Polish President pays an official visit in Tbilisi today Politics 2017-05-30 11521 Moldova declared persona non grata five Russian diplomats Moldova followed the Estonian model and declared persona non grata five Russian diplomats. Unofficial sources tell they are involved in espionage. Till the end of the day they are to leave the country. Moldova declared persona non grata five Russian diplomats Politics 2017-05-30 11520 Georgian EU scandal with Herbert Salber Need for corrective actions Herbert Salber, EU special representative at Geneva talks congratulated Anatoli Bibilov with a victory (at Presidential elections in selfproclaimed secessionist entity - South Ossetia) and wished him a success in his ‘future' activity. This denotes that EU official representative, first - recognizes the legitimacy of such elections (at the time when Georgia does not recognize them); and second - wished him a success in his activity, that mean, that according to his preelections program, he encouraged him to detach the oldest, bone and flesh Georgian territory in favor for Russian Federation. At the same time, the EU officially recognizes the unity and integrity of Georgian territory and condemned the fact of so-called presidential elections, not so long time ago. In such situation, if the EU will not recall this envoy to replace him with someone else, this makes us think that the EU changed his position towards us in this vitally important question. This simple conclusion is derived from the elementary logics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . To put aside all unnecessary emotions, first of all we have to find out why this happen. If we will not untangle this knot with a precise diligence, we will not be able to avoid emotions and make additional burden of mistakes that we have plenty of, for the last 30 years. We can tell for the sure, only thanks to the absurdist and inconsistent policy of our government from 1992-1994 up to today, towards both secessionists, all this staff happens in Tskhinvali, as a consequence. Herbert Salber is a bone and flesh diplomat. And any novel and student knows that the basics of the diplomacy an etiquette is, correctness at the diplomatic negotiations. To imagine a model of the above mentioned situation, the following is clear; We are complaining why Salber tells, what he tells at the meeting with Anatoli Bibilov. He will be a bit surprised "But what could I tell at the official diplomatic meeting in Tskhinvali: "You jerk..., who are you at all - there were not any elections!" - But You could tell nothing in this respect. - I am sorry, but I was holding a meeting with the president and the diplomatic ethics demands to tell such phrases. - Ha, President, South Ossetia also is not any republic, it is nothing, and you are talking with them at the diplomatic language.. - But why you yourself are talking with them as with the equals starting from 1992 up to today. Why were you signing with them agreements - with Abkhazia and South Osetia? Acting in such way denotes you are admitting them as a party. And if so, I have to hold with them negotiations as with the ‘party' in a conflict. And the negotiations are to be hold in a frames of an etiquette. - But why you attended these negotiations at all. You could avoid them. - This absurd is. I am an EU representative at Geneva talks. And in this format Georgia and South Osseta are taking part as equals, do you like this or not. At Geneva negotiations format you indeed equal are. As for me, I am obliged to talk politely with all three parties, saving the diplomatic etiquette. Do you think I will be selective when talking with you? In no case. If Anatoli Bibilov bandit is but not politician and the South Ossetia is nothing, then why are you admitting them as parties so many years! Why were you holding negotiations with them as with the legitimate entities. Why you yourself were concluding with them the ‘peace agreements' starting from 1992? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . But we are not able to understand such logics. And maybe the public will be irritated too with this. At the same time our ‘friend' Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is a diplomat of extra class, knows very well, what will follow after the meetings of the same kind in another secessionist ‘entity' - Abkhazia. According to the diplomatic protocol, logics and traditions such meetings will be conducted in the same way as with Anatoly Bibilov. That's why he insists eagerly for meeting of Geneva talks co-chairs with the ‘leaders' of both secessionists. In other words, the EU representatives have to, either refuse meeting with leader of secessionists, or if the meeting will be held they are obliged to congratulate them with the victory in elections. This not only a tradition is, but a professional instinct of the diplomat, and the diplomat will not sacrifice it for Georgia's sake. In fact, we have no reasons to be angry at Salber. Really, we have to look back and think that for the last 25 years our unwise policy did everything possible ‘to help' making legitimate its entities - ‘to help' secessionists and Moscow. All this happens starting from Dargomis agreement where Saakashvili was involved and was continued with Goga Khaindrava, Temur Iakobashvili and Paata Zakareishvili. You yourself recognized the South Osstia as a party, and if so, it is a legitimate entity. And the ‘entity'... has a right for elections. Europe cannot sacrifice for your sake the diplomatic etiquette, not the values and neither a common sense! Nika Imnaishvili <p> Georgian EU scandal with Herbert Salber Need for recall and corrective actions </p> Politics 2017-05-26 11519 Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with Federika Mogerini Being with official visit in Jordan, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgian Prime Minister me wit Federika Mogerini, EU High Commissioner in politics and security questions. The process of integration to EU and Euro Atlantic bodies was discussed at the dinner. Prime Minster expressed his hope that Brussels's summit that is to be held in November will be fruitful in practical terms. Prime Minister underlined that Georgia continues the effective implementation of Association Agreement and questions on agenda for 2017-2020 yy. They discussed as well the next steps after visa-liberalizing process. The situation on occupied territories was on focus as usual. Fdeerika Mogerini once again expressed her support for the territorial integrity and unity of Georgia. For information the economic forum is pending in Jordan, Georgia is taking part in this event alongside with 50 different countries. Giorgi Kvirikashvili hold a meeting with the King of Jordan - Abdula Second and other official persons. Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with Federika Mogerini Politics 2017-05-21 11518 Herbert Salber was not correct diplomatically Mamuka Mdinaradze Mamuka Mdinaradze, chair of the Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia, denied the behavior of Herbert Salber, OSCE co-chairman at Geneva negotiations. The German diplomat congratulated newly elected so-called President of Russia-occupied South Ossetia with new post. Mdinaradze believed this action very undiplomatic was and needs a proper reaction from EU and Georgia too. "This was an inappropriate behavior for a diplomat!" - he tell. GD-DG member strongly advises to take an appropriate decision on such fact to restore the balance and fairness. Herbert Salber was not correct diplomatically Mamuka Mdinaradze Politics 2017-05-21 11517 On August 26 Goran Bregovich to hold a concert at Black Sea Arena Goran Bregovich accompaigned with his music band Funeral and Weddings will hold a concert on invitation of Georgian party. The  Black Sea Arena will host him on August 26. The tickets are available on Goran Bregovich is a composer not only many popular sound tracks. He is an author of melodies for Emir Kusturica (a Serbian filmmaker, actor and musician) Iggy Pop and Sezaria Evora. Balkan folk, rock and symphony are mixed together in his beautiful songs. This blend of radically different music makes an unforgettable impression. For instance his song In the Deathcar: In The Death Car (Advisory - the following lyrics contain explicit language) A howling wind is whistling in the night My dog is growling in the dark Something's pulling me outside To ride around in circles I know that you have got the time 'Cause anything I want, you do You'll take a ride through the strangers Who don't understand how to feel In the deathcar, we're alive In the deathcar, we're alive I'll let some air come in the window Kind of wakes me up a little I don't turn on the radio 'Cause they play shit, like You know When your hand was down on my dick It felt quite amazing And now that, that is all over All we've got is the silence In the deathcar, we're alive In the deathcar, we're alive So come on mandolins, play When I touched you I felt that you still had your baby fat And a little taste of baby's breath Makes me forget about death At your age you're still joking It ain't time yet for the choking So now we can see the movie and see each other truly In the deathcar, we're alive In the deathcar, we're alive I want to hear some mandolins Goran Bregovic est né le 22 mars 1950 à Sarajevo, d'une mère serbe et d'un père croate. On August 26 Goran Bregovich to hold a concert at Black Sea Arena <p> &nbsp; </p> Politics 2017-05-21 11516 Former FBI chief to investigate ties with Russian intelligence The possible interruption of Russian intelligence to the USA President's elections will be investigated. In this process Robert Muller, former FBI chief will take part as an advisor. He was a head of FBI in 2001-2013. Former FBI chief to investigate ties with Russian intelligence Politics 2017-05-18 11515 1983 airplane boys and the soviet government The film "Hostages" (Rezo Gigineidhvili - film director) appeared on screens very timely, when we are very happy for the lifting of visa regime with EU. Now we can ‘simply take a ticket and fly to the Europe'. The freedom of movement a natural right of a person is, (according to John Loki). We cannot count this freedom as a non-classic one. The essence of such non classic rights was blissfully expressed in simultaneous translation of ‘left discussion' by some critics: "yes, now you can fly freely and ..., work as servants, waitresses and in laundry." The tragedy that happen in Tbilisi in summer of 1983 (a case of hijacking of an airplane by the group of Georgian boys) and its modern ‘interpretation', a classic model is - for understanding how important is the époque and its born mentality for the perception of a historic event. The person who has had no experience of living in a soviet époque cannot understand in no way, not actually "what happen", but as well "why" and "how" this happen. And this is not a problem of the intellect of a person, contrary one has to live a life in a soviet époque to understand fully all aspirations of these boys who were surrounded with the ‘atmosphere' given by that hard period. The case is not about the past several tens of years, because we, the public, society and the general ‘atmosphere' now are distant from 1983 not for 34 years but for thousands of years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The young film director Rezo Gigineishvili alongside with the fact that he is a gifted person, also very clever is. This proven by the misunderstanding from his critics. Many of them simply could not take adequately this movie, and even were not able to notice many very important details. Those who are telling the "Hostages" is a film without any idea, are very mistaken. Because namely this is an aim of the film - to restore the historic context with the surroundings, aspirations and hideous mystical phenomena's that we call an ‘atmosphere'. The film, like a finest mosaic, is staffed with dozens of fragile details, that seems like are less important, but this is not the case. Those details and things (starting from the box of Marlboro to the Beatles's album and Bob Marley and Mick Jagger's posters) are in fact the expression of directions. This is an art in cinematography - to present naturally and unforcefully before the public such ‘matrix'. This art is presented deserving to talented film director, first of all, and all other staff together with a blissful team of actors. However, the critics who are telling that film without any idea is, are not taking into account they can criticize with the same success the Munich of great Steven Spielberg, The neutral position of a film director a purposeful choice is. Notwithstanding the fact, he was not a contemporary of that époque, he ‘restored the time' fully. This creation for a discussion is, and naturally, we cannot criticize a person for the things he was not aimed for. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The tragedy that happens in 1983 was surrounded with several myths. But authors are well aware about real context of the happening. They destroyed all myths with proven evidences. For instance, up to today many are telling "those boys were from families of ‘high ranks' and they had no problems with traveling abroad. Even though; they choose such terrible terrorist way ..." This an absurd is. Those people who are accusing these boys in attempt of pursuing own interests in expense of other's life's and happiness, are mistaken in essence. In fact they were not allowed to travel abroad freely. (In a better case they could visit such semi socialistic countries as Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, GDR, but in no way capitalist countries - UK, France or Spain). They were not affiliated in obligatory for all pupils youth communist organizations like "Komsomol" and this was a biggest obstacle for getting any visa for traveling abroad. Unlike his film critics, Gigineishvili studied this historic material very well. Despite of his age he obviously competent is, what he was filming of. Eventually, the boys were sentenced to life imprisonment (they were given a death penalty) The film raises questions. One of them is - ‘who killed airplane boys?' And another question ‘who killed innocent passengers of airplane, victims of the happening during the special operation?' The explanation is given through this film; that if people could freely travel abroad at that soviet period, nothing might EVER happen. However, there was a strongest policy of ‘iron curtain' that is an answer to the question: who killed those people. <p> 1983 &quot;airplane boys&quot; and the &quot;soviet government&quot; </p> Politics 2017-05-14 11514 Unfortunately most part of Judges are corrupted Nika Gvaramia tells Nika Gvaramia, Director General of broadcaster Rustavi 2 tells that most part of Judges in Georgia for today biased are. He declared this being at the TV program "Archevani". He noted that after the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights delivered a decision on Rustavi 3, "we all have a right to criticize freely our Judges". Commenting the expected changes in legislation touching Judges and a Freedom of Speech, he noted that: "The main in this law is that the burden of proof lays on a person who is arguing he was unfairly assaulted. This is a difference of the Right for the Freedom of Speech from all other rights. The restrictions on the Freedom of Speech differs from restrictions on all other rights. This a main test of this law is." - Gvaramia tells. At the same time, he noted that "unfortunately most part of Judges are ‘in service of the government' and are forgetting its dignity for sake of retaining chairs as far in the 3 years period, its trial period expires, and they need to be appointed again to its posts" Unfortunately most part of Judges are corrupted Nika Gvaramia tells Politics 2017-05-03 11513 Aslan Abashidze s return We remember the past The Batumi Court gave another qualification to a criminal case against former Ajara government head Aslan Abashidze. He was accused in predetermined murder of his own deputy manager Nodar Imnadze. This unexpected decision of the Court was preceded by the notion that Aslan Abashidze in his age of 78 fathered a child. We can only tell, let's this child be happy. But at the same time an ordinary logics tells us that Aslan has not any ‘plans' in connection with Ajara and moreover with Georgia. However, Aslan Abashidze played quite a big role in the nearest past of Georgia, to quit the politics so quietly and peacefully. If we follow the legislative logics, this sensational court decision concerning Aslan Abashidze, denotes that the burden of guilt might be totally lifted. In other words, the killing of his deputy in his own Office might be reviewed as a necessary self-defense. Moreover, he has such a strong fact as, Nodar Natadze's invasion into his cabinet. Natadze was first who opened a fire in the Office of back-than Ajara's High Council's chair. The situation was totally absurd. And this absurd overgrew to the biggest bloody absurd - to the civil war. No ways were left except of the confrontation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . However, in the ‘current' history, that we are trying but cannot forget, we have to point out four important moments: First - one of the UNM ‘patriarchs', Gela Nikoleishvili, former dissident was appointed as a defense lawyer to Aslan Abashidze. He very skilled and clever lawyer is, and most likely Aslan Abashidze will be found not guilty in this criminal case, more over he might be freed from all accusations that Saakashvili's government investigated against him, - in his huge corruptive dealings and misappropriation and wasting of public funds. He was sentenced for such crimes in absentia. Generally, one of the phenomenal talents of Abashidze was his ability to make close ties with persons from absolutely opposite side. He could cooperate, with ‘Kremlin colonels' like Lebed, Alksnis, and others. He could be in close ties with leaders of different movements despite of its adherence or dislike of Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Also, he was pretending as if this was not his direct order when, Colonel Kochetkov bombed the Choloki bridge. And when the Ajara Constitution was passed in 2002, that stipulated almost full independence form Georgia; and this was not ‘blessed' by Kremlin. This hideous political ‘movement' around him so mysterious and intellectual is that, we cannot predict any next developments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The second important moment is that the Batumi Court decision makes an additional ‘head ache' for the current Tbilisi's government. The present government has many new and old undecided cases, and this one makes an additional burden, at the time when Aslan Abashidze was assumed to be left in a political past forever. Tbilisi government would never take such decision to make an illusion of political reincarnation of Aslan. Such decision would be very dangerous for the Georgian Dream. At the same time, for the reasons that UNM will exploit such failure in its favor. Very strange is the fact that, the more the Court will became ‘independent', the more unreasonable decisions we will get. This touch the question of judges' appointment policy, that very complicated is. The NGO's ‘team' did everything possible for total independence of Judges' clan, and now we often will be surprised with its ‘independent' decisions in connection (for instance the appointment of Murusidze) and lifting a burden of guilt from Aslan Abashidze. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Third - the political reincarnation of Aslan Abashidze was preceded by the well known events developed in Batumi. The secessionists (!) disposed against Tbilisi totally burned one of the central streets in Batumi. The ‘Ajarian elits' are giving to such action quite a different from official Tbilisi estimation. And the Batumi Court's provocative and sabotage decision on Aslan Abashidze's case, proves this secessionism. The Ajara Court gave a notice to Tbilisi, that the ‘case is not as it seems', and it is necessary to take in view the interest of the local elite. And finally the fourth - indeed everything what happens in Ajara since 1991 is connected with Aslan Abashidze, But the question arises: how he came into the power. How deputy Minister became a head of the High Council of Ajara's Autonomous Republic. The Case was as following: back then so-called "Round Table" member, the "Traditionalists" pushed him into the power, for the silliest reason that he was a representative (ancestor) of oldest family who ruled the Ajara region for 500 years. Such a ‘clever' advice was given to Zviad Gamsakhurdia, with the false promise that Aslan will annul the autonomy. First of all the annulment of the autonomy was a total absurd (previously and as well now), as far this autonomy is decided by the international agreement, and Turkey and Russia are involved in it. Moreover, people in Ajara (especially in high mountain region) would never agree to the annulment of the autonomy, and such decision may lead to the civil confrontation. But the main is that the Ajarian elite swiftly recognized Aslan as its own allay, who will make even stronger the autonomy from Tbilisi. And they were not mistaken. And who will be responsible for such situation? Aslan himself, or those who made a silliest, childish decision on his appointment to this post? Fortunately, Aslan appeared to be a clever and realistic politician (in May of 2004 he refuse all suggestions from Moscow, except of his evacuation). He understands well the difference between desirable and possible. The Batumi Court decision in fact - the ‘message' is which Ajarian elites sent to Tbilisi, and it is very dangerous. Mikheil Getsadze Aslan Abashidze s return We remember the past Politics 2017-05-02 11512 Irakli Alasania met with Davit Usupashvili Irakli Alasania, former leader of Free Democrats confirmed that he has had a meeting with Davit Usupashvili on May 1. Alasania declared to Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) that meeting was occasional and informal one, it was not connected with any political aims. For information, Davit Usupashvili, former chair of the parliament hold a press conference recently, announcing his return into politics. He suggests a 3-point plan on implementation of civil and political initiatives. He intends to implement these initiatives in a broader partnership format. He indicated that the main reason of problems, is not a definite politician or a political party, but a general destructive political area. Also he told that main enemy of our country becomes more and more liberated from political and moral obligations before the international society. At the end of the press conference Davit Usupashvili suggested  all interested persons to establish a Centrist political party. Irakli Alasania met with Davit Usupashvili <p> &nbsp; </p> Politics 2017-05-02 11511 We are forced to open Russian-Armenian railway Moscow starts to exploit well known levers Some time ago Russian Foreign Minister paid an official visit to Abkhazia for opening new embassy building. The building quite a big one is. Such a grand construction looks inadequately at the destroyed urban background of Sokhumi. Such action was a message to the world: "I will stay here forever!" Looks like they did this in turn for construction of new biggest USA's embassy in Tbilisi in Dighomi district, when Americans tell - "We are here and are not going to go!" Sergey Lavrov was met at the Airport by President himself. At the joint press conference Russian diplomat declared, that Moscow passed to the Abkhazian party a project of agreement for "Dual citizenship". The document stipulated the dual citizenship (Russian-Abkhazian) not only for Abkhazian citizens, but as well for any Russian, who are willing to settle in Abkhazia and purchase a real estate. Sokhumi was strongly against such move up to today. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Naturally, Tbilisi has had expectations that Abkhazian side will fail the agreement using any tricks, to not to allow local property for sale. Tbilisi expected that "allies" will clash with each-other on this ground. After this Moscow will impose sanctions, and close borders banning Abkhazian export, but expectations appeared to be overestimated. Many times before, Abkhazians were not afraid to fail negotiations for signing a ‘framework agreement" that touched sale of real estate. They also refused to pass the "Mussera" constructed in Soviet period to Vladimir Putin as a Presidential villa. However, this was not followed by any serious irritation from Russia. Moscow was not willing to confront with Abkhazia openly. This is not favorable for Putin in many aspects, moreover he still has many undecided questions in Ukraine. For sake of good PR Russians are refraining from harsh decisions. That's why we should not expect any confrontation between Moscow and Abkhazia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . At the same time quite another situation is with demands of Moscow against Tbilisi. Segey Lavrov diplomatically responded to the question about restoration of railway with Armenia. "Russia has no problems for restoration of railway, everything depends on the country where it is to pass through." This means on Georgian party. Abkhazia and Armenia are for such decision undoubtedly. "But Georgia disagrees with such decision." But why Georgia will disagree? Abashidze and Karasin already deliberated (using a Saakashvili's signed document in 2011) on the "Trade corridor". That's because the Abkhazian party demands to sign not a bilateral but three-party document: Russian-Georgian-Abkhazian for restoration of railway. Naturally, the official Tbilisi will not agree to this in no way, as far this would be a recognition of independence of Abkhazia. At the same time in the 2011 agreement there were not terms: ‘Abkhazia" and "South Ossetia". When this document was signed, Russia reconciled with such wording, as soon Moscow needed a green light from Sakashvili's Tbilisi for WTO membership. Deriving from this Moscow has to make Abkhazia agree for opening a "trade corridors" without participation of Abkhazia as an independent subject. In such case the official Tbilisi definitely agree to open the railway. But in fact the following happens, Being in Sokhumi (according to Abkhazian media), Lavrov was told: "Why spoil relations with us (Abkhazians) when we have such a powerful levers against Tbilisi to force them to make a favorable decision for us. We have to make a three-party agreement and exclude Georgia's participation in reconstruction of the railway and ban to transport any Georgian goods. Only Armenians will be allowed to travel to Moscow through Tbilisi with no stop in Georgia." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . So, what levers they were talking about? 1. For the several last days Georgian goods were banned too often at Lars check-point. Not totally banned, but it is expected to be so. As far Moscow sends a clear message to Kvirikashvili - we can close the trade. 2. In a few days after Lavrov's visit the Russian company Inter RAO (that was very loyal and ‘attentive' even in 2008 August) unexpectedly made a many million pleading against Georgia to the International Arbitrage, because of Georgian national currencies fail against the USD. 3. The same case happens with the main gas supplier to Georgia KazTransGas that is totally depended on Russia's GazProm. Less likely this a coincidence is. 4. So-called incidents of ‘illegal crossing of borders' became very frequent. Detained Georgians in Abkhazia and South Ossetia are now prosecuted not under the administrative but under criminal law. This denotes a many years of imprisonment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What has to do Kvirikashvili's government in response? Unfortunately, nothing. Again and again the only hope the West is. But this a very weak hope is, for the lack of resources to impose sanctions against Russia, defending Georgia. Accordingly many things now are depended on Georgian society and political establishment. We have to understand that the Russian market never was a stable one for us. Also we have to urge our citizens that crossing borders now will became very dangerous. We will face very big challenges for the future. Especially after Grigori Karasin will talk with Zurab Abashidze with the language of ultimatums.   Nika Imnaishvili We are forced to open Russian-Armenian railway - Moscow starts to exploit well known levers Politics 2017-04-29 11510 Georgia in our region as economic and normative center to be - Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister took a floor today at the forum dedicated to the 25-th anniversary of Georgia-USA diplomatic relations. He particularly stressed that our region needs Georgia as an economic and normative center. Prime Minister declared that Georgia harmonizes the infrastructure and normative base, to became a place at the Black Sea south costal line, were business is blossoming, were trade and energy-economic routs are crossing each other. Here chains of values are coinciding too. Georgia is ready to became an economic corridor and transport and energy center in this complex region. Our country also strongly decided to be a solid base for USA and a reliable partner. "Except of increasing cooperation in defense area we have to strengthen our trade-economic cooperation even more," - Kvirikashvili declared. &nbsp;Georgia in our region as economic and normative center to be - Prime Minister Politics 2017-04-29 11509 Press Secretary of Agramunt accuses Soros in attempt of destruction of PACE Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's (PACE) President Pedro Agramunt who was exposed to harsh criticism recently tells John Soros guilty is in the crisis that arise in PACE. Agramunt's press secretary aired this statement today. He tells that behind all this mess Soros is, he pays money to Agramunt's rivals, he wishes to destroy PACE. For information, yesterday Pedro Agramunt refused to step down despite of demands and vote of no confidence. Press Secretary of Agramunt accuses Soros in attempt of destruction of PACE Politics 2017-04-29 11508 Levan Berdzenishvili tells he lost an interest Levan Berdzenishvili, one of the leaders of Republican Party talks about the return of Davit Usupashvili to the politics. "Nobody can restrict anybody to return to politics. It is natural that he will be in politics. Unclear is only what team he will present this time. Until we will not see the team, we cannot predict if he will be an alternate force for the ruling government. One person is not a team," - Levan Berdzenishvili tells. For your notice Davit Ususpashvili announced today his return to the politics at the press conference. He presented before the public a 3-point plan for implementation, He intends to implement the actions in a broader cooperation with political forces. Levan Berdzenishvili tells he lost an interest Politics 2017-04-28 11507 Usupashvili has resources to return to politics Mamuka Areshidze "The decision of Davit Usupashvili for return was not unexpected one, - Mamuka Areshidze, political scientist tells in conversation with GHN. "I believe still he has political resources for making politics. Supporters of the Republican Party (they are about 2-3%) were supporting his party namely for sake of Davit Usupashvili, especially in regions. Despite the fact that for today for him will be quite difficult to reach a decisive advantage, but if he will demonstrate new approaches, everything is possible. I think he will be a moderate opposition force." He as well talked about rumors on joint actions of Usupashvili with the President, and tells that no such notions are apparent as yet. <p> Usupashvili has resources to return to politics Mamuka Areshidze </p> Politics 2017-04-28 11506 Tina Khidasheli has very interesting plans that makes our children happy Usupashvili Davit Usupashvili, former chairman of the parliament tells that his wife Tina Khidasheli has very interesting plans that makes children very happy. "In 2005 I decided to be involved actively in politics, and agreed with my wife that she will back me in this hardest service, were is not no income, neither honor. But in a week I find out that she joined our political party too. Nowadays no such moves are expected from her, at least for the several years. She is occupied with her work as an expert in a security and defense questions. She does not plan to join politics, that makes our children very happy," - Usupashvili tells. For your notice Davit Ususpashvili announced today his return to the politics at the press conference. He presented before the public a 3-point plan for implementation, He intends to implement the actions in a broader cooperation with political forces. Tina Khidasheli has very interesting plans that makes our children happy Usupashvili Politics 2017-04-28 11505 Davit Usupashvili returns to politics Former Chairman of Parliament Davit Usupashvili, former leader of the Republican Party returns to the politics. He suggests a 3-point plan on implementation of civil and political initiatives. He intends to implement these initiatives in a broader partnership format. "For the last several month I was discussing the current problems of Georgian society and Georgian government with the representatives of different circles, profession and political views. We were discussing the challenges of past and ways for improvement of the situation. I made an analysis of my own mistakes and mistakes of other politicians. Today I am presenting to the public the 3-point plan, "- Davit Ususpashvili told at the press conference. "First, - we have to agree and point out the main reason of all problems in Georgia. Second - we have to establish a civil partnership for strengthening of the statehood. Third - we have to establish new political force, with new approaches." He indicated that the main reason of problems, is not a definite politician or a political party, but a general destructive political area. Also he told that main enemy of our country becomes more and more liberated from political and moral obligations before he international society. He described main characteristics of the destructive political area: 1. Disorder in our statehood. In our country still an absence of the Rule of Law is and Supremacy of the Justice. 2. Neobolshevism and monopoly to the truth. 3. Disintegration of the society. Cultural and linguistic barriers inside the country besides Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 4. Fundamentalism in the governance. 5; Social -Political relations based on negativism. 6. The present born out of the Communistic past. 7. Incorrect governance. 8. Vague general future At the end of the press conference Davit Usupashvili suggested to all interested persons to establish a Centrist political party. Davit Usupashvili returns to politics Politics 2017-04-28 11504 Today draft resolution on occupied territories of Georgia submitted to PACE Tamar Chugoshvili, First Deputy Parliament Speaker prepared a draft document "The Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Territories of Georgia". The document, has been registered today at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by the Parliamentary Delegation of Georgia led by Tamar Chugoshvili. The resolution concerns the occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by the Russian Federation and the steps taken for the annexation of these regions, including the signing of the so-called integration agreements, the conduct of the so-called referendum in the Tskhinvali Region and so-called parliamentary elections in Abkhazia. Also the resolution reads about the humanitarian situation in the occupied regions, the violation of the fundamental rights of citizens living along the administrative border, and the restrictions on freedom of movement, which has been further halted by the closure of checkpoints at the administrative border. According to the document, the Assembly calls on the Russian Federation to allow international monitoring mechanisms in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Assembly also urges the Russian Federation to revoke the recognition of the occupied territories of Georgia, stop the occupation and carry out international obligations, including the August 12, 2008 Agreement on Ceasefire Agreement. Head of the Permanent Delegation of the Parliament of Georgia to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe told journalists, the initiative gained strong support. Today draft resolution on occupied territories of Georgia submitted to PACE Politics 2017-04-28 11503 Judges must be defended from offensive statements Levan Murusidze tells "We demand a support in connection with our initiative presented against offensive statements and unfounded allegations against the judges."- Levan Murusidze, High Council of Justice Secretary tells at the international conference of Judges. Murusudze tells the case does not touch sanctions and hardening of the regulations against offensive statements. But the Council plans to hold a public discussion on the matter, because such discrediting of the Court must be prevented. For your notice, few days ago Murusudze announced: "Offensive statements and unfounded allegations against the judges might become punishable." This initiative owns the High Council of Justice Secretary Levan Murusidze Judges must be defended from offensive statements Levan Murusidze tells Politics 2017-04-28 11502 I refuse any government suggested defense Eliso Kiladze Eliso Kiladze, Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper "Chronicle" disseminates information via social networks. "Appears to be that Archil Talakvdze demanded for me a special defense, for the reasons of avoiding any provocative actions from UNM. "I categorically refuse any kind of defense from the government. I m not afraid and I need not any defense. You can suggest yours special program for defense for yours corrupted Security head Joseph Gogashvili!"- Kiladze wrote, For information, Archil Talakvadze, representative of minority in Parliament demanded special defense system for Kiladze, as he believes some provocations are expected against her. I refuse government suggested defense - Eliso Kiladze Politics 2017-04-27 11501 High Council of Justice cannot understand properly notion of Freedom of Expression Giorgi Mshvenieradze, chair of the organization Democratic Initiative of Georgia tells that the initiative of the High Council of Justice about curbing the public opinion expressed against Judges is directed to the fight against the Freedom of Expression. "Very sad is the fact that the High Council of Justice understands improperly the notion of Freedom of Expression, and its importance in the democratic society. This is a clear indication of the level of qualification, as well this indicates to the problems with values. They believe that censorship can stop critics against the Judicial system," - Mshvenieradze tells. High Council of Justice cannot understand properly notion of Freedom of Expression Politics 2017-04-27 11500 Business-oriented policy creates safe environment for foreign investors Levan Kalndadze tells Levan Kalandadze, economic scientist tells in conversation with GHN that the terror against businessmen as a weapon against them already is annihilated since 2012, He talked about a President's decision to impose criminal sanctions for economic wrongs committed for sum of money level upper than GEL 50 000, namely from 100 000. As he tells this a very useful decision is for promoting our business. He tells we need to establish favorable conditions for business, by changing our legislation. "Themes touching decriminalization in business were up to date for some period of time in the past, but now the market increased, and we need to revise such questions in our legislation. The decriminalizing components must be stronger." - Kalandadze tells. He added that such initiatives might be implemented earlier, but it is not too late to do this now. The question very complex is and needs appropriate work out. He underlined as well that some laws need to be amended to make them in accordance with the current challenges. Outdated legislation is hindering to the economic development of our country. "Also some classifications in the legislation should be revised, as sanctions for avoiding of taxes and for hiding the taxes are the same. In this view such themes must be divided. We need to conduct business-oriented policy. In such case the business environment will be much more attractive for foreign investors." Business-oriented policy creates safe environment for foreign investors Levan Kalndadze tells Politics 2017-04-27 11499 9 thousand policemen fired in Turkey The Turkish Interior Ministry explains such actions were provided in the interests of a state security. Before this fact Turkish lawenforcers detained over one thousand suspects. The mass arrests in Turkey started in 2016 after failed coup. Over 40 thousand people were arrested. 9 thousand policemen suspected in ties with Fethhulah Gullen were fired in Turkey. Politics 2017-04-27 11498 Pedro Agramunt faces hardest political crisis Eka Beselia We were telling this many times before. And now, in one year, we are facing the fact. The Assembly (PACE) openly declares that Pedro Agramunt has to step down. Eka Beselia declared this being with visit in Strasbourg. She tells that President faces a hardest political crisis. Almost all political groups among them the EPP are against him. Georgian Parliamentary delegation also joins this protest against him. "We remember well how he was supporting the UNM members. We remember his open controversy against our government. We naturally joined the vote of no confidence demanding him step down. Very hard accusations are against him. And we hope this process will be accomplished.' For information, Pedro Agramunt Font de Mora (born September 12, 1951) is a Spanish and European politician. <br /> Pedro Agramunt faces hardest political crisis - Eka Beselia <p> &nbsp; </p> Politics 2017-04-26 11497 Roman Gotsiridze commented on opposition political party Girchi Roman Gotsiridze, UNM member, financial expert told that the political party Girchi laughed at us and examined our adherence to the principles of the Rule of Law. He commented on his facebook wall the fact of establishing a new religious organization by Girchi. "They made a next one provocative step after case with cannabis (planting marijuana in headquarters). The establishing of a religious organization a constitutional right of a person is. At the same time the government is in a big confusion, as members of this "Biblical Free Church" can apply for freeing from the compulsory military service, as far its belief prohibits violence." Such move of this political party will remain as a clever test for the degree of democracy in our country, - expert tells. For your notice, the New Political Centre - Girchi is a Liberal party in Georgia, split from the United National Movement, and chaired by Zurab Japaridze. Girchi is demanding the legalization of the private consumption and cultivation of marijuana and other associated products. Roman Gotsiridze commented on opposition political party Girchi Politics 2017-04-26 11496 Ramaz Sakvarelidze tells passivity of opposition minimizes its chances at elections The news agency GHN talked with political scientist Ramaz Sakvarelidze. He estimated current political events and made prognoses for future developments. He discussed the activities of the political parties. - What do you think about a much political activity of a President, when our country a parliamentary ruling is? Does this resemble rehearsal before pre- elections campaign? - Would-be surprising if not. Any person can take part in elections. Legally there are not bindings for limitation of political activities in this sphere. As yet for me it is difficult to make any definite conclusions on the matter. -  Do you think that constitutional amendments prepared by the  Constitutional Commission may invoke tensions in our country. And protest actions . - Actually the tensions may overgrow into the protest actions and manifestations. Generally the opposition always in tense relations with the government is. However the above mentioned reason has less grounds. -What chances the opposition has at the forthcoming elections? I hardly believe they can take any posts after elections. After the Presidential elections the opposition became even more inactive. They minimized own chances for success. Its rating decreased with uninterested political activities and in addition its passivity makes them useless. GHN Ramaz Sakvarelidze tells passivity of opposition minimizes its chances at elections Politics 2017-04-26 11495 Possibly government to try strengthening control over non dominant religions The civil movement ‘No to phobias' disseminates the information over attempt of the governmental organizations to collect the personal information about clergies of different confessions in Georgia. The movement claims that such actions of the government violates the law on Personal Information. Moreover, members of civil movement are declaring in a special statement that instead of facilitating conditions for minority religions organizations, the governmental bodies are about to establish new control mechanisms to limit activity of non-dominant religious organizations. This against the principles of secularism and freedom of religion is, - the statement reads. Possibly government to try strengthening control over non dominant religions Politics 2017-04-26 11494 Kumsishvili amendments in tax law directed to strengthening of private business Dimitri Kumsishvili, first vice-Prime Minister, Finance Minister took a floor at the 10 years anniversary since a foundation of the Revenue Service. He stressed that those amendments to the tax law that are to be made soon are directed to the maximal support and strengthening the private sector. Namely the air transportation and air services will be freed from the value added tax. Also from the v.a.t. will be freed the import and export of aviation fuel that are used for internal flights. ‘This will be an additional stimulation for development of tourism in our country even more. The local and international tourism will be promoted" Kumsishvili - amendments in tax law directed to strengthening of private business <p> &nbsp; </p> Politics 2017-04-26 11493