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The News in Brief

Monday, August 18
Pope calls for opening of humanitarian corridors in Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone

Pope Benedict XVI, during the traditional Sunday mass held in his summer Residence in Castelgandolfo, has called for the opening of humanitarian corridors in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone to render aid to people who have been wounded and the ensure the dignified burial of the dead. “I ask for the opening of humanitarian corridors between South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia without delay”, the Pontiff said.

In the presence of many believers he also called for the defence of ethnic minorities in the Caucasus. “I continue to observe with attention and anxiety the situation in Georgia and I feel sympathy for the victims of the conflict”, the Pope said.

Pope Benedict also expressed hope that “the truce which was made with a great contribution from the European Union” will grow into a stable peace. “I call upon the international community to continue rendering support for the settlement of this situation though dialogue and common goodwill”, he added. (Black Sea Press)

Bodies of Georgian Journalists Killed in Tskhinvali transported to Gori

South Ossetian forces have transferred to Gori Hospital the bodies of two Georgian journalists who were killed in Tskhinvali last week, RIA Novosti agency reports, quoting a representative of the Russian Federation Infantry. The bodies of the journalists were transported to Gori in coffins for subsequent handover to relatives.

Photo correspondent Alexander Klimchuk and “Newsweek” reporter Grigol Chikhladze were killed during hostilities in Tskhinvali on August 9.

Tbilisi photo agency Caucasus Images has begun collecting donations to assist the families of journalists killed in Tskhinvali whilst fulfilling their duties. Alexander and Giga were the only breadwinners in their families. Alexander’s elderly parents and Giga’s wife and two small children need aid at this hard time. (Black Sea Press)

88,000 Georgians Displaced – UNHCR

The UN refugee agency UNHCR reports, based on data provided by the Georgian authorities, that up to 15,000 people have fled from South Ossetia into Georgia proper. In addition, the agency said, some 73,000 people have been displaced from areas outside South Ossetia, including most of the population of Gori.

MP Koba Subeliani said on August 16 that the number of displaced people who have been registered in Tbilisi has reached 60,000. He specified that this number includes only those displaced persons who have been registered by officials and are living in collective reception centres. Most of them have found shelter in schools and kindergartens.

UNHCR also said on August 15, based on data provided by the Russian authorities, that some 30,000 people from South Ossetia were still sheltering in the Russian Federation. (Prime-News)

Azerbaijanis in Ponichala in Tbilisi assist refugees

Azerbaijanis living in the Ponichala district of Tbilisi have provided assistance to 150 displaced persons lodged in Zahesi Secondary school.

Reportedly, a committee headed by Habil Pasha gave food and clothes to the refugees. (Prime-News)