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The News in Brief

Wednesday, January 13
EU official demands EU participation in Geneva talks

The European Union should continue to participate in the Geneva discussions on Georgia, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union (EU), announced at a meeting of its Parliamentary Assembly.

The Baroness said that European Union monitors should continue working in the Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflict regions. She also spoke about imposing closer ties with Russia and said that Russia should play a positive role in the resolution of problems in the post-Soviet era.

Baroness Ashton plans to visit Moscow soon. (Rustavi 2)

Grigol Vashadze meets Spanish delegation

Foreign Minister of Georgia Grigol Vashadze has met members of the Spanish Congress of Deputies.

The sides discussed topical issues in relations between Georgia and Spain with emphasis on the necessity of deepening bilateral relations and the importance of Spainís support for the integration of Georgia into European and Euro-Atlantic structures, especially during its term of EU Presidency from 1 January to 1 July 2010. (Interpressnews)

Gigi Ugulava gives awards to 69 Tbilisi Metro staff

Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava has given awards to 69 staff of the Tbilisi Metro to celebrate its 44th anniversary.

Ugulava told journalists that there are 2,800 people employed in Tbilisi Metro, which serves 200,000 passengers daily and is the largest transport facility in the city. He said that the average salary of the workers there is GEL 700, but this is not enough and the system must be developed further.

The Mayor said that his office is seeking to attract donors so that the new Vazha-Pshavela station can be completed. He said that 7 stations have been rehabilitated and 30 wagons modernised since 2006. Didube station will be rehabilitated and 11 wagons renewed in 2010.

Tbilisi Subway opened in 1966. (Interpressnews)

River throws up corpse of a woman

The River Mtkvari has cast ashore the corpse of a woman of about 60. The municipal emergency brigade says the corpse must have been under water for a long time. Employees of the Ortachala Hydroelectric Station first noticed it and called for assistance.

Criminal investigators were expected to visit the site to examine the corpse and take it to the morgue for detailed examination. (Rustavi 2)

Russian border guards find weapon in Znauri

Russian border guards have found a weapon and ammunition near the village of Belta in the Znauri region, the Res agency reports. An 82 mm trench mortar, 3 boxes of 82 mm mines and 11 cartridges were found a kilometre from the village.

The ammunition was taken to the so-called South Ossetian State Security Committee, which is investigating the origins of the weapon and ammunition. (Rustavi 2)

Prosecutor's Office investigates machinations in Sakpatenti

The Georgian Prosecutor's Office is investigating machinations at the Patent Licensing Office, whose Deputy Director has been arrested on suspicion of financial irregularities including making illegal deals with a construction company, the name of which is being kept secret at present.

Reportedly, the Deputy Director helped a specific construction company win a tender and then transferred 700,000 GEL to the company, receiving in return rooms worth 57,000 and 30,000 dollars in the new building. These properties were registered in the names of relatives. (Rustavi 2)

H1N1 flu kills one more

Laboratory tests have confirmed that a 27 year-old man has died of swine flu in the Ghudushauri clinic.

According to official data, 19 men have died of H1N1 and 1,182 people infected with the flu, ten of whom have been registered during the past five days. (Rustavi 2)

Ukraine's CEC fails to agree on Georgian observers

At a session on January 14 members of Ukraine's Central Election Commission will decide if representatives of Georgian NGOs and the authorities will be invited to monitor the Presidential elections scheduled for January 17. At its last session the CEC failed to agree on this issue.

Georgia plans to send over 500 observers to Ukraine for the Presidential elections. (Rustavi 2)

Alliance for Georgia publishes results of international studies

Two leaders of the Alliance for Georgia, the opposition movement founded by ex-Ambassador of Georgia to the UN Irakli Alasania, have published and reviewed the results of various international studies.

Sozar Subari, the former Public Defender, and Tina Khidasheli said that the index of failed states had given Georgia a 91% failure rating, a serious obstruction to investments and the economic development of the country. They added that other reports showed that human rights were being badly violated in the country and that a high level of corruption was still prevalent here. (Rustavi 2)