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The News in Brief

Monday, August 10
Russian Government’s cyber attack aimed at Georgian blogger

The cyber attack that brought down Twitter for several hours on Thursday was aimed at a single blogger located in Georgia. The blogger was identified as a dissident who uses the name of Sukhumi, which was also targeted in the attack.

The attack began about 5 a.m. on August 6 with hackers trying to discredit Sukhumi by making him appear to be a spammer, according to analysts at the Sophos online security firm. The initial attack also tried to get a huge number of users to click on the blogger’s Twitter, Facebook and other sites in an attempt to bring them down.

About an hour later, with the blogger sites still operational, the hackers mounted a direct massive attack on the sites. There was such a huge amount of ‘collateral damage’ from the attack that Twitter crashed and Facebook’s operation was compromised.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper in London, the blogger, who declined to give his real name, identified himself as a 34-year old economics lecturer. He said he believes the attack was an attempt to silence his criticism of Russia’s conduct toward Georgia.

“Maybe it was carried out by ordinary hackers,” he told the newspaper, “but I’m certain the order came from the Russian Government.” (Rustavi 2)

French reporters arrive in Sukhumi, Abkhazia

French journalists arrived in Sukhumi on the anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war. Reporters from Le Figaro and Le Nouvel Observateur came to assess the current situation and gauge the general feeling of the population on the ground in Abkhazia.

The journalists met with separatist leader Sergey Baghapsh and members of his Government, after what they expressed a willingness to talk to students. They were not allowed free contact with these, supervisors attending their meeting with them. Despite this, the French journalists said that the Abkhazian young people feel disappointed, saying that only Russia recognising Abkhazia’s independence is unprofitable for the Abkhaz people because it may lead to the Russification of the region without bringing the development of democracy or any other values

The French journalists presented the Abkhaz youths’ comments, and photos taken in Sukhumi, to Georgian colleagues in Zugdidi, adjacent to Abkhazia. (Rustavi 2)

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia protest against Russia’s aggression in Georgia

Dozens of Lithuanians have condemned the Russian aggression carried out against Georgia in August 2008. Locals assembled at rallies held in support of Georgia in Vilnius and fifteen other Lithuanian towns. The rally participants organised various shows. They performed different sketches about the Russian-Georgian war and released doves to symbolise peace.

Locals and Georgian nationals living in Lithuania brought a cake iced with images of the flags of the two friendly countries - Georgia and Lithuania - to the rally. On the anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war, those attending reiterated that Lithuania will always support Georgia.

A rally in support of Georgia was held in Latvia on the anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war. Representatives of ten NGOs working in the country expressed their protest against the Russian aggression in the Latvian capital Riga. People assembled outside the Georgian Embassy called on EU and NATO member countries to show more responsibility and act more energetically to restore stability in Georgia.

“We should not forget the necessity of Russia fulfilling the obligations it willfully took on. Breaches of the ceasefire agreement by Russia are increasing the danger of new military actions starting day by day,” a joint appeal prepared by the organisers of the rally says. Latvians also commemorated the people killed in the August war with a minute’s silence.

The Russian occupation and aggression against Georgia was also protested against in Estonia. Representatives of the diplomatic corps of different countries assembled in the Occupation Museum in Estonia and objected to the Kremlin’s policy. Materials depicting Russian aggression against sovereign countries were released at the rally. (Rustavi 2)

Six die in car crash in Imereti region, near Kopitnari Airport

Six people died in a car crash in the vicinity of the Kopitnari Airport close to Kutaisi on Saturday night. All the casualties died at the scene.

A Mercedes ML and a BMW crashed into each other and blew up. Two teenagers, both 19, were in the BMW during the accident. Law enforcers are investigating the reason for the crash, but one or both cars speeding is being presumed at this stage. (Interpressnews)

Another case of H1N1 virus confirmed in Georgia

Another case of the H1N1 virus has been confirmed in Georgia. Tests have shown that a boy, 18, has the virus. He arrived in Tbilisi from Germany and presumably was infected there.

The Georgian National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health reports that the teenager is being treated at home. His health condition is now stable.

Thirteen cases of the virus have been identified in Georgia so far and all of them were imported from abroad. All the infected persons are in a stable condition and are feeling well. (Rustavi 2)