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The News in Brief

Friday, March 19
Simulated Kronika programme tops list of shocking hoaxes

TIME magazine has released a list of the top ten shocking hoaxes in which the 13 March simulated Kronika programme on Imedi TV takes first place.

The magazine says it decided to compile its list after the fake report on Imedi TV caused panic in the Georgian population on 13 March. "Georgians were in for the shock of their lives on March 13 when the pro-Government Imedi station reported that Russian tanks were invading again, barely 18 months on from the short war of 2008. In honour of this bizarre news hoax, TIME takes look at more of history's most outrageous deceptions," the magazine says.

The other hoaxes in the list include Orson Welles' radio adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds, which is regularly cited as the best hoax of all time. It caused many listeners to believe that an actual alien invasion was taking place in 1938. Another is ‘B is for Beyond Belief’ - a hoax claim by 20-year-old Ashley Todd in 2008 that she had been assaulted at knifepoint for being a John McCain supporter. Todd, who later admitted to a history of mental illness, told police on Oct. 22, 2008, that her assailant had carved a backward letter B into her right cheek, telling her, "You are going to be a Barack supporter."

The list also includes ‘A Balloon that Didn’t Fly’, one of the strangest tales of 2009: as the world watched in horror, authorities in northern Colorado chased down a runaway helium balloon believed to have been carrying 6-year-old Falcon Heene as high as 6,000 ft up. The horror turned to relief when it was revealed that young Falcon hadn't taken flight but was instead hiding in his parents' attic. The list ends with the false report of Napoleon’s death. In 1814, a uniformed officer who gave his name as Colonel du Bourg arrived at the Ship Inn in Dover, England, bringing news that Napoleon Bonaparte had been killed. This meant that England's long war with the Bourbons was over. (Interpressnews)

Investigation launched into assault on Alexandre Chkuaseli

An investigation has been launched regarding the assault on Alexandre Chkuaseli, First Secretary of the Georgian Embassy in Bratislava, Madona Kikacheishvili, his mother, has told Interpressnews. She said that the Georgian and Slovakian sides are conducting this investigation jointly.

Madona Kikacheishvili said that her son has already been discharged from the hospital. Chkuaseli, born in 1979, was assaulted by unknown people near his home on Wednesday night, in what is presumed to be an attempted robbery. The assailants grabbed a watch and various documents. (Interpressnews)

Opposition protests outside SOD office

The opposition parties who have formed the National Council, rallied outside the office of the Special Operative and Constitutional Departments yesterday demanding the release of illegally detained people whom they call "political prisoners". The protestors said the rallies would continue to be held until the last illegal prisoner was released.

Kakha Kukava, who is one of the leaders of the Conservative Party, said they would inform the media in advance about similar rallies. "No one should think that only Saakashvili will be brought to justice when his regime is over. Everybody who has participated in the detention of innocent people, including the prosecutor, false witnesses and others, will be brought to justice too," Kukava said. (Rustavi 2)

Rugby Union robbed

The Georgian Rugby Union was robbed late on Wednesday night. The Financial Director of the Union was the first to find the lattices damaged and the window broken and called police immediately.

Mikheil Kalandadze says he did not enter the office but called police after seeing the signs of the robbery. It is as yet unknown what the robbers took from the office.

Police are inspecting the Rigby Union office. Members of the Union say that the robbers could only have taken a computer from the office because they do not keep money and tickets there. (Rustavi 2)

U.S. Ambassador visits professional qualification centre in Kutaisi

Ambassador of the United States John Bass has been visiting Kutaisi since Wednesday. Yesterday he saw the Professional Qualification Centre sponsored by USAID.

The Ambassador said that the United States would continue to support programmes, which will make professional qualifications available for Georgian youth. He said encouraging professional education would create many new jobs in the country.

1,900 students have taken courses at the Kutaisi Professional Centre since 2007. (Rustavi 2)