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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 16
PM and Health Minister make statement on spread of H1N1

Health Minister Alexander Kvitashvili made a statement regarding the spread of the H1N1 virus at a Governmental session yesterday. He said that 1,750 people had been hospitalised in November-December. Only four of these died, in each case because they delayed seeking treatment. All the others have recovered.

45,000 people in all applied to medical facilities with various respiratory problems, but only the abovementioned four people have died out of this number, he pointed out. The Minister said that Georgia has more Tamiflu (146,000) and Relenza (35,000) than recommended by the WHO, he said.

Self-treatment of the virus and taking Tamiflu and Relenza as a preventative measure are inadmissible, the Minister said. He called on people to visit doctors promptly in case symptoms characteristic of the virus present themselves. The number of ambulance calls has decreased over the last 2-3 days and this is a good sign, he added.

PM Nika Gilauri also called on people to go to the doctor in time. He said this at the beginning of a Government session, adding that the virus is quite easy to treat if revealed in time. He called on people to go to doctors in case of high fever, etc.

The PM has said that the country has enough medicines and masks, and that treatment in polyclinics and medicines for this virus is free.

On Monday three people died from the H1N1 virus in Georgia, one in Batumi and two in Tbilisi. All were women, one pregnant. The baby she gave birth to does not have the virus. Doctors say the reason for the deaths was delayed treatment, which led to total pneumonia. The information on the victims was spread by the Ministry of Health. (Interpressnews)

Temur Iakobashvili discusses release of Georgian teenagers with OSCE delegation

Minister for Reintegration Issues Temur Iakobashvili has met an OSCE delegation, including the special representative of OSCE Chair Greece Charalambos Christopoulos and representative of next Chair country Kazakhstan Bolat Nurgaliev at the State Chancellery.

The release of the Georgian teenagers detained by the Ossetian side was discussed at the meeting, Temur Iakobashvili stated. "We discussed this along with other issues. We are waiting for the Council of Europeís High Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg to arrive to see the resolution of this problem," he stated.

"We have also discussed the state strategies regarding the occupied territories. I think the OSCE should change its tradition and work not only in South Ossetia, but in Abkhazia too," he added.

According to the Minister, Kazakhstan has a unique political and geographical position and OSCE activities might become wider in Georgia during its Chairmanship. (Interpressnews)

Storm damages Kakheti region

There was a heavy storm in the Kakheti region on Monday night. The districts of Dedoplistskaro, Sighnaghi and Telavi were damaged. The Sagarejo district was damaged most of all, as the storm tore roofs off houses and uprooted trees.

Electricity lines have also been cut. The electricity supply has been suspended to part of the Kakheti region. According to preliminary information, the losses incurred by the storm exceed GEL 60,000 in Sagarejo alone. (Interpressnews)

Police arrest serial murderer

The Tbilisi Main Department of the Interior Ministry and officers of the Prosecutor's Office have arrested a serial murderer, 55 year-old Venera Obolashvili. An investigation has revealed that the suspect contacted singles, gained their confidence and then killed them to appropriate their apartments, which she then sold.

Venera Obolashvili has admitted three murders. Police report that in 1984 she killed her legal husband Yuri Yurkin and sold his apartment for 4,000 dollars. In 2008, she killed her common law husband Anatoly Kalinka and sold his apartment for 50,000 dollars. In 2009 she killed a woman, Maria Arzamaseva and sold her apartment for 20,000 dollars. (Rustavi 2)

Alasania accuses Government of pressurising his allies

The leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats has accused the Government of putting pressure on his allies. Irakli Alasania held a briefing with party member Zaza Gogsadze yesterday, at which they said that officers of the Interior Ministry had intruded into Gogsadze's house late last night and searched the rooms without a special order.

Alasania's party described this act as political pressure on his party and urged the Government to investigate the incident immediately. (Rustavi 2)

EUCOM humanitarian assistance programme in Georgia

The Chief Logistics Officer of the United States European Command (EUCOM), Rear Admiral William A. Brown, is visiting Tbilisi from December 15-16 to assess the commandís Humanitarian Assistance Programme in Georgia. He will hold planning meetings at the Republican Hospital, where EUCOM is constructing a nursing school. He will also visit Kindergarten Number 215, one of four kindergartens in Tbilisi that educate children with disabilities, to which he will donate $10,000 in supplies on behalf of EUCOM.

The Admiral will also donate $10,000 in equipment to the Georgian National Federation of Sports for Children and Students, an NGO that promotes health and fitness for children of all ages, including those with disabilities. (US Embassy)