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The News in Brief

Wednesday, September 23
Elements wreak havoc

As a result of the strong rain which began on Monday night in almost all areas of the region Kakheti’s rivers have burst their banks.

In the village of Eris Imedi the river Balakanchai overflowed and washed away the road. Local residents are afraid that if the rain continues the whole village will be flooded.

In the village of Akhalsopeli in Kvareli the flooding Shilda has destroyed apartment blocks, kitchen gardens and other sites. It has destroyed the bridge connecting the villages Balgodzhiani and Sabue-Shilda, broken electric mains and destroyed potable water sources, leaving some areas without it.

The rivers in Gurjaani and Akhmeta have also overflowed. The village of Cheremi in Gurjaani is now only accessible by a wooden platform as the single road leading there no longer exists.

It is not possible to assess the level of damage done by the rain. (Interpressnews)

Giorgi Tugushi does not plan radical changes at Public Defender’s Office

New Public Defender Giorgi Tugushi does not plan to make radical changes in the work of the Ombudsman. He declared yesterday at his first press conference in his new post he plans structural changes in the office and a reassignment of staff but will not be dismissing employees and asking them to write resignations.

Tugushi declared that Tata Huntsaria, who will begin work on October 1, will be his assistant. He confirmed that his priority in all spheres will be the protection of human rights. (Interpressnews)

Narodnaia Pravda publishes new details of Nino Burjanadze’s Kiev trips

Ukrainian newspaper Narodnaia Pravda has published new details of leader of the Democratic Movement - United Georgia Nino Burjanadze’s Kiev visits. It says that since June Burjanadze has visited Kiev three times – in July and August meeting Leonid Kuchma’s son-in-law Victor Pinchuk's. It says that Burjanadze asked Pinchuk for 2 million dollars to finance the opposition parties, in exchange for a big share in the wine and resort businesses.

The paper writes that Burjanadze also held meetings with the heads of Ukrainian banks. As she is required by Georgian law to state the origin of her funds, she has tried to enter into a transaction with the banks under which they would present false documents about the 2 million dollars being a bank loan for a payment of 240,000 dollars. Companies run by Pinchuk were to act as guarantors. “Despite these efforts Burjanadze was unable to launder this money, though it is supposed she will carry out her plan by means of a friend Pinchuk and Medvedev - Medveduk,” the article says.

Interpressnews has contacted Nino Burjanadze's press service, which says it will not comment on this matter. (Interpressnews)

New municipal company to run parking in Tbilisi

Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava said at a session of the city Government Tuesday that he would create a new municipal company to take charge of parking in the capital. He said that he was very dissatisfied with the City Park company, largely for financial reasons. The company has begun to resemble a cash machine as a result of its charges. He believes that it can be replaced by a municipal company and any dispute can be resolved in court.

The Mayor noted that from October 1 annual parking payment cards will come into force. Owners of motor vehicles can pay their fees at bank branches and their car numbers and details of payments will then be accessible to field parking officers. For visitors a weekly payment system will operate, involving payment by sms.

Ugulava considers that his new system will be simpler, more accessible and cheaper. He urged drivers to observe the traffic regulations, park correctly and not create stoppages and hindrances to traffic in the capital because applying penalties alone will not resolve Tbilisi’s traffic problems.

Opposition member sentenced to 7 years in jail

Young opposition activist Levan Gogichashvili has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Gogichaishvili was charged with hooliganism and inflicting deliberate injury. Another defendant in the same case, Giorgi Alkhazishvili, has been sentenced to four years and fined 2,500 GEL.

Prosecutors had demanded an eight year and six month sentence for Gogichaishvili and five years for the second defendant. The two were arrested on suspicion of injuring Davit Lezhava in a dispute after a birthday party in the Tskneti settlement in June 2009. (Rustavi 2)