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Compiled by Sopo Datishvili
Wednesday, January 21
Georgian passport holders in Abkhazia will pay higher taxes

24 Saati reports that Abkhazian separatists are continuing to pressurize the Georgians citizens of the Gali region. The separatist regime has begun an intensified campaign of imposing Abkhaz ‘passports’ in Gali villages. Those who do not have or take Abkhaz passports have certain pressures put on them.

The head of the Georgian administration in Gali region, Paata Shamugia, says the separatists intend to raise taxes for those who have Georgian passports. “Children are checked at schools to see if their parents have Georgian passports. They have abolished access to medical services and other sorts of assistance for children with Georgian citizenship. Some people couldn’t resist the separatists and took Abkhaz passports, but in spite of everything the majority of local people are still Georgian citizens,” says Paata Shamugia.

Tsagareishvili is against elections in spring

Strong Georgia Parliamentary faction member Gia Tsagareishvili has said that any political figure that calls for elections in spring is just “playing Saakshvili’s game,” Rezonansi reports.

The MP claims that if elections are held in spring they will be catastrophe for the opposition. “Under the present election code and administration talk about possible snap elections is not well thought out, especially when we take into consideration the financial and administrative resources the administration has at its disposal and the low level of media independence in the country. Those who want these elections play the game of our Government as elections in spring would give worse results for the opposition than any previous ones,” said Tsagareishvili.

Commenting on the planned but subsequently postponed protest manifestations and the proclamations of opposition parties about creating a united front, Tsagareishvili called these suggestions “aimless” and “incomprehensible”.

Ex-journalist asks for attention from the Government

Alia reports that the head of PR at Enguri Dam, Malkhaz Basilaia, will start a hunger strike at the Presidential residency.

“I haven’t received my salary for three months already and I’m in difficult social conditions. When the Abkhazian separatists kidnapped me, I was the centre of attention and I even received an award for heroism. Since then nobody has paid any attention to me.”

“I’m also asking them to start an investigation into the fact I was kidnapped for a second time, on August 10, 2008. I’m going to explain my situation at a press conference and if my complaints aren’t followed by any necessary measures, I’ll start a hunger strike at the President’s residency,” said Basilaia.

Malkhaz Basilaia was detained by Abkhazian separatists on February 27, 2008 and imprisoned for 10 days. He was then a journalist at Mze TV.