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The News in Brief

Tuesday, November 3
Disease Control Centre asks WHO for H1N1 Vaccine

The Disease Control Centre and Public Healthcare Centre has applied to the World Health Organisation to get supplies of H1N1 vaccine.

Director of the centre Paata Imnadze has told Interpressnews that this vaccine is already available in some countries, namely Germany, Britain, the USA and China, and is recognised by relevant agencies in those countries but not yet by the WHO. “We are waiting for the WHO to recognise these vaccines so we can bring them into Georgia,” Imnadze noted.

Imnadze said that the Centre expects 50-100,000 doses of the vaccine to arrive from the WHO.

He hopes that they will be here by January, when growth of the virus is expected.

27 cases of swine flu have been detected in Georgia. In 25 the virus entered the country from abroad, in the other two the victims were infected after contact with people returned from abroad.

General Director of Thames Steel Limited again asks President of Georgia for help

Thomas Blake, General Director of Thames Steel Limited, which owns the Rustavi Metallurgical Plant, has once more asked the President of Georgia for help.

An auction of Cast Iron-XXI and Georgian Steel, owned by Energy and Industrial Complex Ltd, at Kvemo Kartli’s executive bureau failed yesterday. The executor of Kvemo Kartli, Davit Jachvadze, officially opened the auction but declared it closed after five minutes as no bids had been submitted. The property will be handed over to the creditor within 15 days if asked for. This property is actually owned by Thames Steel Limited, which claims it has been misappropriated by the Georgian management without its consent.

According to official information the Tax Inspectorate is one of the creditors as the company owes around GEL 380,000 to the tax inspectorate. Another creditor may receive the property, but this company or individual has not been named.

Thomas Blake states that he will apply international court for compensation for the loss of his property. He has tried to get into the Rustavi Metallurgical Plant but has been prevented by guards.

US Ambassador to Georgia comments on incident at Varazi Hotel

The US Ambassador to Georgia has commented on an incident which took place at the Varazi Hotel on Sunday. John Bass stated at Tbilisi Medical University that an incident had occurred between US servicemen and citizens of Georgia, although nobody had been injured. He said that it is too early to make other comments on the issue, as the case was being studied.

It is reported that three drunken US servicemen physically and verbally abused two Georgians yesterday at the Varazi. Eyewitnesses say that one of the servicemen lightly injured one of the Georgians in the head.

Gang of swindlers detained by law enforcers

Officers of the Constitutional Security Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have detained members of an organised criminal gang, Shakro Qatamadze, Edisher Trapaidze, Gocha Bolkvadze and Tristan Kharaishvili, who had falsely promised citizens that they would be employed in road construction activities on the Choloki-Sarpi road sector and would receive 1,350 GEL as a monthly payment.

The webpage of the MIA reports that the detainees extorted 60 GEL from those willing to be employed. At this stage of the investigation it has been established that hundreds of Georgian citizens have been victims of this swindle.

The offence envisages a term of imprisonment of up to ten years.

Opposition leader advocates for independent media outlet

The leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia, Zurab Noghaideli, defended the Batumi based television station TV 25 at a briefing yesterday. Noghaideli said that he would fight to protect the independent media until his goals are achieved.

Noghaideli told reporters that the opposition have achieved some result for the TV company. He said that accounts have been released which have prevented the selling off of the company by auction. However, Noghaideli says, justice has still not been done in this case and the TV company still has some problems.

“We have grounds for being sceptical. For example, the statements about restructuring the debts of the company are groundless, because the company management asserts that it has no debts which can be restructured,” Noghaideli said.
(Rustavi 2)

Pensions to be increased from November 15

Minister of Health and Social Care Sandro Kvitashvili has said that pensioners and disabled people will receive a 5 GEL increase in their allowances from November 15. He added that despite the economic crisis in the country the priorities of the Government remain unchanged.

Kvitashvili said that in many countries pensions have been reduced by 35%, therefore even a minimal growth in pensions is significant in Georgia.

The state budget for 2010 does not stipulate a further pension increase but the Minister does not rule this out in the event of possible growth of incomes.
(Rustavi 2)

MP complains about non-transparency of Government expenditure

MP Gia Tsagareishvili has accused the Government of hiding official data on expenditure and is threatening to use “unprecedented methods” to obtain this public information.

The MP said he has become interested in the expenditure of the Government’s and the President’s reserve funds but this information was not made available to him.

At a briefing with member of Defend Georgia Levan Chikvaidze, Tsagareishvili said that Defend Georgia had also made numerous attempts to obtain this information but in vain. He said that this information was public and the relevant offices were obliged to release it when asked to, but neither the Ministry of Finance nor the Government’s or President’s chancelleries had responded within the required timeframes.
(Rustavi 2)