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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 24
Saakashvili due to deliver speech to PACE winter session

Newly inaugurated President Mikheil Saakashvili is due to deliver a speech at the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasburg today.

The speech will go ahead despite protests from the Russian PACE delegation who argue that Saakashvili should not be allowed to address the session in the run up to parliamentary elections in Georgia, which are expected to be held in spring.

Saakashvili will hold a press conference after his speech.

Also today, acting parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze is due to leave on a two-day visit to Austria where she will meet with OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut. (Prime News)

Bird flu prevention measures taken in Adjara

Bird flu prevention measures have been taken in Adjara to protect against the transmission of the disease from Turkey. Acting agriculture minister Petre Tsiskarishvili visited the region yesterday and was scheduled to hold a meeting on the preventive measures being implemented.

He was also due to visit the Sarpi checkpoint on the Turkish border to observe security arrangements there. (Prime News)

Russian Peacekeeper seriously injured in Gali car accident

A Russian peacekeeper sustained serious injuries in a car accident in the village Megobroba in Gali region. The victim was reportedly driving the vehicle when it crashed into a house. He was transported to a Sokhumi hospital. (Prime News)

Georgia’s Ambassador to Russia resigns

Irakli Chubinishvili, the Georgian ambassador to Russia, has submitted his resignation letter to President Mikheil Saakashvili. Chubinishvili said he was leaving the post for personal reasons.

Saakashvili has not yet accepted the resignation. Chubinishvili was appointed to the post in 2006. (Prime News)

Youth activists parody Saakashvili inauguration

On January 23 a group of youth activists, some from the pro-opposition Equality Institute NGO, parodied the recent inauguration of President Mikheil Saakashvili in the centre of Tbilisi.

Young poets and artists used toy tanks and soldiers in the performance. The activists said they were protesting the spending of unreasonable amounts of money on the inauguration ceremony, which took place on January 20.

“We have demonstrated our position: when most of the country faces such hard social conditions…it is unreasonable to spend such large sums for a pompous inauguration ceremony,” poet and activist Zurab Rtvelishvili, who played the role of Saakashvili in the performance, told journalists.

He added that any donations raised by the action would be donated to orphanages. (Black Sea Press)

Assaults on Georgians in Gali continue

Assaults on ethnic Georgians in the Gali region of Abkhazia are continuing, according to the Tbilisi-backed Abkhazian government-in-exile. It is reported than a number of individuals have been beaten and had their money and jewelry stolen.

The government-in-exile also announced that on January 19 an Abkhaz criminal group assaulted a number of Georgian families near peacekeeping post in the village of Tagiloni. (Black Sea Press)