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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 9
New hydroelectric power plant to be built in Georgia

A new powerful hydroelectic power station will be built in Georgia. President Saakashvili has signed a memorandum of mutual understanding with a Korean-Turkish consortium at the President's Palace, according to which the construction will begin in the second half of 2011.

The Namakhvani power plant will be a three hydro-station cascade generating 2.5 bln kw/hr of electricity, which equals 450 megawatts. The consortium will invest 850 mln EUR in this project. The hydro-electric power station will employ 20,000 people.

Georgia has been exporting electric power since 2007, and therefore the Government hopes to benefit from the export of the power generated by the new plant in future. (Rustavi 2)



President of Latvia visits Georgia

President of Latvia Valdas Zatlers is paying a working visit to Georgia. On the first day of his visit on Tuesday Zatlers held meetings in Batumi with the Chairman of the Adjaran Supreme Council Levan Vashalomidze, discussing the investment environment in the seaside region.

While he was doing this a group of Latvian businessmen were attending a Georgia-Latvia business forum. About one hundred Latvian businessmen are here, and an enlarged Georgia-Latvia business forum will be held in Tbilisi at which they will be introduced to the business environment and economic situation in Georgia.

The Latvian President will also hold a meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. The two Presidents will sign several bilateral documents. Zatlers will then leave Georgia for Armenia. (Rustavi 2)



Tskhinvali regime declares school holiday due to shortage of heating in Akhalgori schools

The Tskhinvali regime has declared a school holiday in Akhalgori due to a shortage of heating, Interpressnews has been told by local people.

"The school buildings are not heated. Itís freezing and itís impossible for children to study in such conditions. Tskhinvali has simply solved the problem by declaring a holiday," the locals stated. They said that it is not known when classes will be resumed in Akhalgori region schools. (Interpressnews)



Labour Party calls on Government to allocate 5 mln GEL to tackle H1N1

The Labour Party has called upon the Government to allocate five million GEL from national and local reserve funds to help people infected with the H1N1 virus.

Ioseb Shatberashvili of the party has said that the country is facing an H1N1 pandemic but the Government is hiding the number of infected people to prevent panic. "The number of infected is far larger than is said in official reports. The medicines are very expensive; in addition, patients have to pay 100 GEL per day at hospitals.

"We call upon the President and the Government to allocate five million GEL from their reserve funds, which is worth around 50 million GEL at present. This money will be spent on free masks, free treatment of people in risk groups and bonuses for doctors," Shatberashvili said. (Rustavi 2)



CDM proposes legislative amendments

The Christian Democrats disagree with the law about social protection for the families of soldiers who died fighting for Georgia's territorial unity. Magda Anikashvili held a briefing in this regard yesterday, saying that the draft law proposed by the Government was discriminatory.

Anikashvili said that the current draft proposed by the majority stipulated that social assistance would be allocated only to the disabled. "Mobility status does not change the fact of sacrifice. Whether a wife or a mother is disabled or not, these people died for their country and if the state wants to appreciate their deeds, no restrictions should be imposed. Guarantees of social protection must be equal for all such families," Anikashvili said, adding that her party had prepared an alternative draft which they would present to Parliament for consideration. (Rustavi 2)



Diana Ghurtskaia denies that she is been prevented from singing in Russia

Georgian singer Diana Ghurtskaia, who lives in Russia, has denied Vakhtang Kikabidzeís statement that she is not being given an opportunity to sing there and wants to return to Georgia.

The Vzgliad newspaper reports that Ghurtskaia has said that she is surprised by this statement. "There are some problems, but nobody prevents me from giving concerts in Russia. I want to stress that Iím not awaited in Georgia with outstretched arms," Ghurtskaia noted.

Vzgliad writes that Vakhtang Kikabidze told Kviris Palitra that Diana Ghurtskaiaís brother Robert had called him and said that Diana had been banned from appearing on stage and had been removed from all TV programmes. Kikabidze considered that this was happening because Ghurskaia had taken part in an event supporting the President of Georgia in the Sports Palace. (Interpressnews)



Municipal Development Fund conducts 6 projects in Adjara

The Georgian Municipal Development Fund has conducted 6 projects, costing GEL 46 million, in Adjara.

Street rehabilitation projects will be carried out in Keda as part of the Regional and Municipal Infrastructure Development Project. These will cost GEL 1,448,170 and must be finished by April, 2010. They are being financed by the Government of Georgia, the Municipal Development Fund and the Asian Development Bank. (Interpressnews)