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The News in Brief

Monday, January 12
Minibus accident in Tbilisi

A Ford minibus travelling from the Martvili district to Tbilisi turned over on the main road yesterday. The accident occurred on the Dighomi highway at about 4 p.m.

The skidding minibus first collided with a tree then turned over on the highway. Fortunately no one died as a result of the accident. The minibus was carrying fourteen passengers.

It is assumed that exceeding the speed limit caused this accident. The minibus driver is being examined for traces of alcohol or drug use. It has been alleged that driver negligence caused the accident.

Seven persons were taken to hospital, three of them to the Ghudushauri Clinic. Three children have been taken to the Zhvania Pediatric Clinic, the mothers of two of the children accompanying them. Their condition is stable,and they will be discharged from hospital in the near future, having suffered no serious injuries.
(The Messenger)

Davit Sikharulidze meets his US counterpart

The Ministry of Defence of Georgia reports that Georgian Defence Minister Davit Sikharulidze and a group of senior Georgian officials has paid an official visit to Washington. The purpose of the visit was to deepen the relationship between the two countries in the defence sphere through discussing defence and security issues covered in the Charter on Strategic Partnership between Georgia and the USA.

During the visit the Georgian Defense Minister also met U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates. At a closed meeting the colleagues agreed on plans for future cooperation in the military sphere and discussed the process of Georgia`s integration into NATO and regional security issues.

After the closed meeting Sikharulidze pointed out that its goal was consistent with the Charter and proceeded from the need to strengthen the security of Georgia. Davit Sikharulidze also stressed that the main objective of future cooperation is the deepening and expansion of military cooperation between two countries.

The Strategic Partnership Charter envisages the expansion of partnership and cooperation between Georgia and the USA in the fields of defence, security, economy, energy, democratic reforms, diplomacy and culture.

Heavy snow in regions of Georgia

The villages of Mestia are still isolated from its administrative centre. The snow cover there has exceeded two metres, and temperatures of minus 30 degrees celsius have been recorded.

Almost all the Mestia villages are in the same situation. Emergency ambulances cannot enter the villages. Rescuers are not able to reach people due to the heavy snow on the roads.

The local population have demanded that special vehicles be brought into the region, as they need urgent help. The Jvari-Mestia central road is being cleared of snow, but humanitarian aid, food, medicines and personal belongings have had to be dropped to people from helicopters.

The situation is also very difficult in Racha-Lechkhumi. Due to avalanches which have fallen on the road from Oni to Shovi four villages have been cut off from the outside world. They have been left without an electricity supply, and the snow cover excesses two metres there.

Eighteen villages in Lentekhi district have also been cut off from the outside world, but rescuers and electricians have already restored the electricity supply to the villages. The local population has food and medicine too.
(The Messenger)

Israeli sentenced to preliminary detention

Simon Shashaushvili has been sentenced to preliminary detention by Tbilisi City Court after being accused of committing premeditated murder. Officers of Special Operations Department of the Interior Ministry of Georgia had detained Shashuashvili near Lisi Lake as he was trying to buy a firearm with a muffler.

It is alleged that Shashuashvili arrived in Tbilisi on January 5, 2009 in order to commit the premeditated murder of Lia Zonenashvili and her sons Davit Gur and Mikheil Gur. Israeli citizen Ronen Gur, a stepson of Lia Zonenashvili, allegedly ordered Shashaushvili to commit this murder. Ronen Gur is the son of Ephraim Gur, an ex-Israeli MP. His motive for ordering the murder was to take control of his fatherís assets, it is suggested.

An investigation has been launched under clause of the Criminal Code dealing with premeditated murder. Shashuashvili`s attorney says the suspect does not admit to committing any crime. He may face life imprisonment if found guilty.
(The Messenger)

Electricity supply to be resumed to Georgian villages

About 15,000 electricity users have been blacked out in Georgia by the recent snows. Electricians from JSC Energo-Pro Georgia are working to repair the damage.

Representatives of JSC Energo-Pro Georgia say the electricity supply has been restored to 160 customers. Rehabilitation works will also soon finish at the Lejanuri Hydroelectric Station. Four villages in Racha, cut off from the outside world, are now being resupplied from this station.
(The Messenger)