News in Brief
Monday, December 24
Officials deny reports of fights between CIS peacekeepers in Abkhazia
Officials with the CIS peacekeeping forces in Abkhazian conflict zone deny Georgian media reports of shootings between peacekeepers, the news agency RIA Novosti reports. Georgian media sources had reported a large fight among the peacekeepers which left a number of Russian troops injured.
“No incident has happened. This is another provocation of Georgian media agencies against Russian peacekeepers who execute their obligations in compliance with the mandate for the peacekeeping mission,” Alexander Diordiev, aide to the commander of the CIS collective peacekeeping forces, declared. (Black Sea Press)
Protests held in Tbilisi and Kutaisi
The political opposition held protests in Georgia’s two largest towns on December 21.
The largest rally was in Tbilisi, in front of the residence of incumbent presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili.
Organized by the youth wing of the opposition coalition, demonstrators mockingly wished Saakashvili, who turned 40 that day, a happy birthday.
“We call to account the people who created an undemocratic situation in the state in the last four years,” protestors told journalists. (Black Sea Press)
Polling booths given fabric ceiling to block video cameras
All polling booths in the January 5 presidential election will be covered with a special fabric designed to prevent cameras from recording voters casting their ballots, the Central Election Commission has decided.
“The decision was made because of the presence of video cameras in polling stations. The fabric will be applied so that video cameras can’t shoot the voting process by accident,” the CEC stated.
The video cameras will be looking towards the ballot boxes and election administrators, with election staff banned from pointing them in other directions.
More than two thousand video cameras are being installed in polling stations across Georgia, with over GEL 2 million allocated for editing the footage.
The footage will initially be kept by lower-level election commissions, and later moved to the CEC. (Black Sea Press)
Civil Registry Agency to work overtime
The Ministry of Justice’s Civil Registry Agency will work overtime as the election approaches, announced Justice Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili.
She said the agency will work seven days a week issuing ID cards. (Prime News)
Radio station files suit against GNCC
Radio Hereti, a regional broadcasting company in Kakheti, is filing a suit with the Tbilisi City Court against the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC).
The GNCC fined Hereti GEL 5000 for broadcasting without a license, which has since been granted.
Hereti representatives say, however, that the GNCC violated the law in delaying the issue of the radio station’s license.
Hereti will be represented by the Telavi office of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association. (Prime News)
Landslides threatens newly-renovated town
After being extensively renovated in the last year, the eastern tourist town of Sighnaghi is under threat from landslides, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources.
On December 21, geologists from the ministry visited Sighnaghi to assess the danger.
34 homes and the main road leading to the town are in a high-risk zone for landslides, the ministry found.
About 100 homes in total could also face a threat, with the damage from a landslide potentially amounting to GEL 1 million.
The geologists are also going to look at the situation Lechkhumi and Adjara. (Black Sea Press)