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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 21
Russia refuses to allow Airzena to run additional flights

The Russian Transport Ministry has refused to allow Airzena-Georgian Airlines to schedule additional charter flights to Russia, Itar-Tass reports. A Ministry representative states that negotiations must be held between the two aviation authorities before regular direct flights can be resumed.

Airzena conducted charter flights between Georgia and Russia on 8, 9 and 10 January. The Russian Ministry says this was a one-off event and the resumption of regular flights was not discussed. Airzena had planned to conduct flights on 16, 18, 20 and 24 January if it received permission.

Regular flights between Russia and Georgia ceased in 2006, were resumed in 2008 and them suspended again after the August war. (Interpressnews)

U.S. congratulates Ukrainian people on successful election

The United States administration congratulates the people of Ukraine on the successful conducting of their Presidential elections, Mark C. Toner, Director of the White House Office of Press Relations has said in a special statement.

"We congratulate the Ukrainian people on the successful conducting of their Presidential elections on January 17. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), have deemed them to have been 'high quality,' showing 'significant progress over previous elections.' This is an important demonstration of the development of democracy in Ukraine. The United States looks forward to the similarly successful conduction of the runoff election on February 7 and to working with whomever the Ukrainians choose as their President," the statement says. (Rustavi 2)

CDM urges Bloc Georgia to fulfil its obligations

The Christian Democratic Movement has appealed to the Ministries of Healthcare and Economic Development to force the Bloc Georgia company to fulfil its obligation to improve the situation in the hospital sector.

Magda Anikashvili of the party announced at a briefing yesterday that the deadline for concluding the project for hospital development in the country expired a month ago. Under its contract the company would be deprived of the project if it failed to comply with its obligations, but the Government had not made a decision on this yet.

"The Government has broken the promise made to Parliament and the situation in the hospitals remains unbearable. They fail to meet elementary standards of service, while patients have to pay a lot for such inferior service," Anikashvili said, calling upon the Government to take special measures in accordance with Georgian legislation. (Rustavi 2)

Zurab Noghaideli in Kiev

Leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia Zurab Noghaideli visited Kiev for a day yesterday. He told journalists at Tbilisi International Airport that important working meetings with political leaders had been planned.

The ex-Prime Minister stressed that he would not be meeting any Presidential candidates. "The most important thing for Georgia is to have normal and good neighbourly relations with Ukraine’s future leader," Noghaideli noted.

In response to a journalist's question Noghaideli said that the aim of his movement was to "get on Saakashvili’s nerves". (Interpressnews)

New CEC Chair and members introduced

Vice Speaker Rusudan Kervalishvili introduced the new Chairperson and members of the CEC to MPs yesterday. Parliament confirmed Zurab Kharatishvili as CEC Chair and Gizo Mchedlishvili, Tamaz Sharmanashvili and Konstantine Kirvalidze as Commission members on 15 January.

Kervalishvili expressed the hope that those elected will hold open and transparent elections in Georgia and show the world the country did so. The Vice-Speaker thanked the opposition, NGOs and the international community for their involvement in work on improving the election environment.

Zurab Khatiashvili stated that fair elections may become a reality in Georgia. He reiterated that he doesn’t intend to make structural changes in the Commission. (Interpressnews)

House at 8 Askana Street collapses

One side of an old house at 8 Askana Street in Tbilisi has collapsed. Interpressnews was told by Old Tbilisi Governor Davit Avaliani that the five families affected will be given the funds to find temporary places of residence, although one of the affected, Manana Antonishvili, says that her family cannot find an apartment to rent with the GEL 300 allotted by the Government.

The house collapsed at 05:00 yesterday. Nobody was injured, but the two children of the Antonishvili family were taken to hospital with shock. Manana Antonishvili says that the residents had informed various organisations that the house was liable to collapse but no action had been taken. (Interpressnews)

Iavnana Charitable Foundation to organise concert for Haiti children

Prominent Georgian opera singer Paata Burchuladze and his charitable foundation Iavnana will organise a special concert to assist the children injured in the powerful earthquake in Haiti. The event will be held at Tbilisi Opera House and world famous opera singers Marcelo Alvarez, Michele Crider and Ambrogio Maestri will take part in it.

The concert will be held on January 21, not January 20 as previously announced and will be a TV marathon broadcast live on Rustavi 2.

Zaza Azmaifarashvili will conduct the orchestra of the Opera and Ballet Theatre. This project is being supported by the Tbilisi Municipality. (Rustavi 2)