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The News in Brief

Thursday, July 16
Two Georgians die in Iranian plane crash

It has been confirmed that the Financial Manager of the Georgian Embassy in Armenia, Givi Chkadua, and the wife of the Head of the Georgian Mission in Tehran, Natela Nikolava, were on board the Iranian plane which crashed early yesterday.

The Russian-built Tu-154M plane, flying in the colours of Iranian company Caspian Airlines, crashed shortly after take off in Tehran and broke into several pieces. All 168 people on board, 153 passengers and 15 crew, died in the accident, whose cause is not yet known. Most of the casualties were Iranian, many from that country’s Armenian minority. The plane was bound for the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

In recent years Russian-made planes have been responsible for two air disasters in Iran. (The Messenger)

Kopitnari Airport receives first international flight after reconstruction

The Kopitnari Airport in Kutaisi has resumed making international flights. The airport, which was damaged by bombs during the Russian aggression last year, has been restored and the 2,500 metre-long runway reconstructed.

Yesterday the airport received its first new international flight from Ukraine, carrying a group of Ukrainian businessmen. Later a flight was made from Kutaisi to Kiev. The Governor of the Imereti Region greeted the Ukrainian guests. (Rustavi 2)

Changes expected in the Government at the end of July

Lobby interviews suggest that the following Government changes are expected at the end of July. Two Ministries will be united: the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Energy. David Tkeshelashvili is expected to be appointed as the head of the new combined Ministry. It is also expected that Minister of Economy Lasha Zhvania will be appointed a diplomat and Irakli Giorgobiani, the Deputy Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, will replace Alexander Kvitashvili.

Either Zurab Adeishvili or Gigi Ugulava will probably be appointed Prime Minister and Nika Gilauri will again become Minister of Finance. Minister of the Environment Goga Khachidze and Minister of Refugees and Accommodation Koba Subeliani will be changed too. (Interpressnews)

Young opposition activists released

Opposition activists Dachi Tsaguria, Misha Meskhi, Giorgi Sabanadze and Merab Chikashvili were released from 30 days of imprisonment yesterday. Opposition leaders and the detainees’ families greeted them with applause on their release.

Dachi Tsaguria said they had been treated awfully in the isolator, there was no opportunity to even have a bath. Only on their last day of imprisonment could they have a bath.

“Misha Meskhi and I were kept separate. They tried to destroy us. Misha was fasting for the whole Apostles Fast (until June 29) on bread and water,” stated Tsaguria, adding that officers had beaten them and created a ‘corridor of shame’ for them, calling them Russian agents and traitors.

Tsaguria stated that they will continue to struggle for the release of political prisoners. Misha Meskhi confirmed this. He said that the Government fought against those of a different point of view with fascist measures.

Giorgi Chitarishvili also talked about beatings. He said that the police had asked him to take off his bracelet bearing the slogan ‘LIVE SANDRO’ when he was caught, and when he refused the policemen tore it off him, humiliated him and spat at him.

Law enforcers detained the four outside the Police Main Division building on June 15. (Interpressnews)

Exiled Minister – the situation of Gali schools is alarming

Dali Khomeriki, Minister of Education of the Tbilisi-loyal Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, has described the situation in Gali schools as alarming. She says teachers in the district are being put under pressure to stop holding Georgian language classes.

“These measures are being undertaken to Russify the population of the region. I appeal to all international organisations to protect the rights and ensure the security of Georgian teachers and pupils,” stated Khomeriki, who has discussed this matter with Chairman of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of Parliament Giorgi Arsenishvili. (Interpressnews)