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The Week in Brief

Friday, June 6
Georgia accused Russia of preparing an invasion after it deployed a team of military engineers to patch up the railways in breakaway Abkhazia. Tensions have continued to grow around the separatist enclave, prompting an international diplomatic scramble.

Opposition parties are planning to picket the first session of the government-dominated parliament, which they allege was elected in a rigged vote. They once vowed to physically stop the session from convening, but now promise less confrontational tactics.

The relatively moderate Republicans said they would not take part in the opposition picket of parliament. Party leader Davit Usupashvili said any scuffles between opposition demonstrators and MPs-elect could give the government an excuse to crack down on its political foes.

The human rights ombudsman warned of Ďsystematicí political violence after a string of assaults on opposition campaigners in the last week.

The Georgian Public Broadcaster board chairman stepped down after disagreements over his role in managing the state-funded stationís editorial line. He complained that political bias was seeping into news coverage.

Joseph Kay sacked Radio Imediís top management without public explanation and replaced them with a former government spokeswoman. Kay took control of the formerly opposition-minded Imedi media group after the death of its billionaire founder, Badri Patarkatsishvili.

Leading opposition politician and MP-elect Levan Gachechiladze failed two successive drug tests but passed a third. The tests are mandatory for MPs-elect, and one ruling party member said he would give up his seat after failing the test, blaming the results on painkillers for a back malady.