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The News in Brief

Wednesday, February 17
Georgia-EU visa agreements to be signed in spring

Agreements on visa regime and readmission simplification between Georgia and the EU will be signed in spring. Tamar Beruchashvili, Deputy Minister of Integration, announced this at a press conference after meeting a Council of Europe delegation.

"Our talks touched on issues of legal migration. We also discussed cooperation under the "Partnership for Mobility". We have to develop a profile which will define the flow of emigration, programmes and suggestions in connection with legal migration. We agreed the action plan within which our cooperation will be developed. The next stage will be formal meetings between our delegations, where we will discuss specific projects," Tamar Beruchashvili said. (GHN)

Russian aggressors assault Spanish journalists

Russian occupiers have assaulted Spanish journalists on the Enguri Bridge (Georgian territory, Samegrelo-Abkhazia). The representatives of the Spanish press were deprived of their identity papers, documents, belongings and documentary materials obtained in Sokhumi and Gagra.

The Spanish journalists were subsequently questioned by Georgian police on the Enguri Bridge. (GHN)

Davitaia: Restoration of air navigation between Moscow and Abkhazia violates all international law principles

Paata Davitaia, Parliamentary Vice Speaker, has said that the restoration of air navigation between Moscow and Sokhumi violates all international law principles. "The visit of Baghapsh to Moscow and the signing of the different agreements once more indicates the continuation of the Russian aggression against Georgia," said Davitaia, commenting on this issue to journalists.

An agreement on the restoration of air navigation between Moscow and Sokhumi was due to be signed yesterday by Dmitri Medvedev, the Russian President and Sergey Baghapsh, defacto leader of Abkhazia. Another document, establishing a Russian military base in Abkhazia, was also due to be signed. Baghapsh is making his first visit to Moscow since his latest inauguration as de facto President and has met the Russian President and Patriarch Kyril. (GHN)

TSU administrative building robbed

Police have launched an investigation into a third robbery at the administrative building of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. This occurred late on Monday night. Security staff found expensive technical equipment missing in the morning and the whole security team and several employees of the University have been dismissed due to the incident.

Rector of TSU Gia Khubua has told Rustavi 2 that large-scale rehabilitation works were underway in the administrative building of the university in which very expensive appliances were being used. These have been repeatedly stolen. The Rector said that robbery has become so frequent that he has decided to dismiss the security staff.

The Rector said that the repair works were being sponsored by a famous businessman and that such large-scale works had not been conducted at TSU since its foundation, i.e. for 106 years. (Rustavi 2)

Fire destroys 150 hectares of woodland in Gonio, Adjara

Fire has destroyed 150 hectares of wood in Gonio in the Adjara region. Fire and police services and rescuers fought the disaster the whole night and only at dawn did they manage to extinguish the fire.

The local population also helped the special brigades but the difficult terrain hindered them. There was a danger that the fire might spread to populated areas but it was extinguished in time.

The Adjaran authorities and the Governors of the two villages affected observed the work of the fire brigades the whole night. (Rustavi 2)

Christian Democrats want investigation of Komakhidze case

The Christian Democrats are demanding a Parliamentary review of the case of journalist Vakhtang Komakhidze. Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the Christian Democrats, stated this at a Bureau sitting yesterday. He asked the Bureau to establish a special committee to look into the statements made by Khomakhidze when he applied for asylum in Switzerland and monitor the behaviour of legislative bodies in connection with him.

Targamadze demands that the case be investigated until the guilt of the accused is proven, without the use of pressure or false confession. Giorgi Arsenishvili, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, said that he has a right to investigate such a case only if asked to, but no one acting on behalf of Komakhidze has made such a request.

Davit Bakradze is ready to involve Parliament in the investigation of this matter within the limits of its competence. (GHN)

Georgian singer records song with Russian colleague

A Georgian singer who now works in Russia will sing a song dedicated to the friendship between the Georgian and Russian nations in the Kremlin on February 23, the Day of Russian Patriots, which was celebrated as Red Army Day in the Soviet era. Soso Pavliashvili previewed his duet with Russian singer Oleg Gazmanov in one of Moscow's clubs yesterday.

Mikheil Khubutia, President of the Union of Georgians in Russia, will allocate money for making a video of this song from his own funds. The composer says the video will be shot in Georgia's remote region of Svaneti. (Rustavi 2)