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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 20
Andy Garcia is in Tbilisi

American actor Andy Garcia is in Tbilisi, where he arrived late on Sunday night. Garcia will play a key role in Rene Harlin’s film on the August Georgia-Russia war. Andy Garcia will play Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. He is presumed have arrived directly from Denmark, where he was attending a prestigious music awards ceremony.

The first Tbilisi scenes were shot at the Presidential residence. These portray the period when the leaders of five European states visited Georgia to act as a human shield against the Russian aggression. Further scenes will be shot outside Parliament today. At a special press conference yesterday the Georgian producer of the movie Papuna Davitaia said that these would portray the rally at which President Saakashvili addressed the crowd during the war.

The film is being sponsored by the Gold Invest Company and over 150 Georgian professionals are involved in making it. The conflict scenes have been already been shot in the Tsalka region village of Bektasheni and the Gori military base. Further shooting will take place in Mtskheta and at the Vaziani military base in a few days.

The film may be premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 7, 2010
(Rustavi 2)

Sokhumi regime denies mining Abkhazian-Georgian ‘border’

The Sokhumi regime and Russian border guards categorically deny reports of the mining of the so-called Abkhazian-Georgian border, the internet journal Kavkazski Uzel states. The de facto Abkhaz President’s envoy to the Gali region, Ruslan Kishmaria, says that “routine reinforcement work is taking place at the border now.”

The legitimate Government of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic reported on 18 October that Russian occupiers had started to mine the Abkhazian administrative border intensively and told the local population about this by issuing pamphlets. It also said that the occupiers had blown up the bypass road which Gali region residents use to get to Zugdidi by bus.

World Bank Managing Director visits IDP settlements

World Bank Managing Director Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has visited the IDP settlement in the village of Khurvaleti. He was accompanied by Minister of Refugees and Resettlement Koba Subeliani.

Okonjo-Iweala viewed the living conditions of 140 families who fled their homes during the Russian military intervention in August 2008. The cottages in which these families were housed by the Government were constructed with funds allocated by the World Bank.

The World Bank Managing Director met the IDPs and listened to their problems. He subsequently met the Georgian President, Prime Minister and other Government members.
(Rustavi 2)

Bacterial meningitis detected in School No. 63

A case of bacterial meningitis has been detected in Tbilisi School No. 63

Rusudan Chkhikvadze, epidemiologist of the National Disease Control Centre, has told Interpressnews that the patient is Nodar Ablotia, a pupil in the 3rd grade, who is now undergoing treatment in the Iashvili clinic. His life is not in danger.

Chkhikvadze stated that the clinic had informed the public healthcare service of the city about the infection. People who have been in contact with the sick person will be observed and the school will be disinfected.

The school has said that the child had had a high temperature for a few days. The school may be quarantined if necessary.

The National Disease Control Centre says that bacterial meningitis provides no reason to panic. In 90% of cases the bacterium causing meningitis is impossible to detect. About 90 cases of the disease have been recorded in the last 9 months.

Noghaideli urges Government to subsidize farmers in Shida Kartli

Leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Noghaideli has urged the Government to allocate funds to subsidise farmers in the Shida Kartli region. Noghaideli talked about the problems of farmers at a briefing yesterday, saying that apples were so cheap in Gori that farmers will starve in winter unless the Government assists them. He also said that the residents of the Shida Kartli region have collected signatures on a demand that subsidies be given to them.

“It should be noted that while the situation is already concerning, the Government plans to reduce the funds allocated for agriculture in the state budget by 47 million GEL. The Government is busy investing money in defence and security spheres simply to prolong its life. There is no market for farmers and if we consider the tension in the political relations with Russia it is easy to guess that the absence of such a market will be a problem in Georgia for a long time to come,” Noghaideli said.
(Rustavi 2)

Convict given temporary probation thanks to Megafood company

Private company Megafood has become the first to respond to the initiative of the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance and act as guarantor for a convict in the number 3 prison. The convict, serving a sentence for a less serious crime, will live with his family for 3 days and then return to the prison. If the convict violates the terms of his temporary release the Megafood company will pay a 10,000 GEL fine.

The Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance hopes that the example of the Megafood company will be followed by other companies and individuals. Such support will help convicts reintegrate and resocialise upon release and also further public safety and crime prevention. The Megafood company provides nutrition and employment for convicts and prison workshops.
(Rustavi 2)

Entrepreneur arrested for machinations

The Investigation Department of the Ministry of Incomes of Georgia has arrested entrepreneur Ushangi Makaradze on suspicion of financial machinations. Reportedly, these involved issuing counterfeit invoices for 12,000 GEL worth of goods, five per cent of which was transferred to the entrepreneur.

According to the investigation, the fraud seriously damaged the state budget. The detainee may face from five to seven years in prison.
(Rustavi 2)