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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Friday, January 18

“Drunken citizen damages Petre Tsiskarishvili’s car”

Akhali Taoba reports that a drunken young man wrecked Minister of Agriculture Petre Tsiskarishvili’s car, which was parked on Rustaveli Avenue, late on the night of January 15.

The ministry’s spokeswoman said the damage was accidental, somehow done after the man slipped on the ice. Police arrested the young man and informed the minister about the damage to his car.

The spokeswoman said Tsiskarishvili did not press charges against the young man, who police took to the hospital to treat for wounds to his face.

“Megrelian-language radio opens in Gali region”

The de facto Abkhaz separatist authorities have opened a radio station in Gali district broadcasting in Megrelian, according to Rezonansi.

Megrelian is a Georgian dialect widely spoken in the west of the country; Gali is the predominantly ethnic-Georgian populated southern portion of secessionist-controlled Abkhazia.

The Gali coordinator for the Tbilisi-backed Abkhazian government-in-exile said they have not yet confirmed the report.

“Nino Burjanadze promises to assist the State Theater of Music and Drama”

Sakartvelos Respublika writes that the president’s reserve fund will pay for repairs to the roof of the State Theater of Music and Drama.

Acting president Nino Burjanadze promised the money in a January 16 visit to theater, where the theater’s director told her about damage caused by heavy rains and snow this winter.

“I knew that rehabilitation of this theater was in progress, and the facade and the entrance hall were totally restored,” Burjanadze said. “I was really surprised when I was told the building faced serious danger [from the damaged roof].”

She added that the country, despite the poverty it faces, should not disregard its cultural institutions.

“Gali resident Emzar Ekhvaia beaten for participating in early presidential elections in Georgia”

Abkhaz separatists attacked the home of Gali resident Emzar Ekhvaia, Akhali Taoba reports, assaulting him and his family on January 16.

Ekhvaia was first taken to a local police station, then to a hospital in Sokhumi.

The newspaper claims he was attacked for voting in the January 5 presidential election.

“President-elect Mikheil Saakashvili visits Terjola”

Sakartvelos Respublika reports on the trip of president-elect Mikheil Saakashvili to the district of Terjola on January 16, where he inaugurated a new natural gas distribution system.

He went to the village of Ghvankisi, visiting a local family and lighting a natural gas stove.

Creating a natural gas system for the area was one of Saakashvili’s campaign promises; the president-elect received about 60 percent of the vote in Terjola in the January 5 election.

“After Ghvankisi, all villages in Terjola will soon have a natural gas supply,” Saakashvili pledged.

Right now, only 145 families have natural gas in Ghvankisi, with another 650 expected to be hooked into the grid within a month.