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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Tuesday, March 18

“Irakli Okruashvili becomes official leader of his party”

Arrested ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili, now in Paris awaiting an extradition ruling, is officially heading the Movement for a United Georgia opposition party he started in September 2007, according to Akhali Taoba.

Party secretary-general Eka Beselia also welcomed four prominent new members at a party congress, and commented on the departure of Gia Tortladze and Gia Tsagareishvili, two well-known opposition politicians who joined Okruashvili’s group last year.

“Tortladze and Tsagareishvili’s decision to leave the party was their private choice and no one has the right to criticize them. I want to add that there are now more than 5000 people enlisted in the party,” Beselia said.

A Paris court is set to decide on April 16 on Okruashvili’s possible extradition to Georgia, where he faces corruption charges, according to Beselia.

“55-year-old woman dies of heart attack after wall collapses in Tbilisi”

Mteli Kvira reports that strong winds collapsed the wall of a Tbilisi home on March 16, causing a 55-year-old woman to die of a heart attack.

Didube-Chugureti district boss Ramaz Sulamanidze said the building was a century old and severely damaged from several earthquakes.

“Berezovsky to finance NGOs in Georgia”

Akhali Taoba writes that exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky will participate in Georgian politics life only in the frames of legislation.

In an interview with the newspaper New Times, the billionaire said, as a foreign citizen, he is not legally able to finance political parties in Georgia. However, he did not shy away from promising support to Georgian NGOs.

“This will be a continuation of the late Badri Patarkatsishvili’s business,” Berezovsky reportedly said.

According to the newspaper, Berezovsky is planning to support the pro-opposition Equality Institute. He met with one of the NGO’s leaders, opposition politician Goga Khaindrava, in London last week.

“Youth patriot camp to be built in Shaori”

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that a youth patriot camp will be built in the in the village of Shaori, in the mountainous Racha region.

Construction should be finished by the middle of May, after which the camp will house 200 ‘young patriots.’ According to the newspaper, the total cost of construction is not yet publicly known.