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The News in Brief

Wednesday, June 2
Air Batumi makes first flight

Air Batumi made its first flight to from Tbilisi to Batumi yesterday. Minister of Economic Development Zurab Pololikashvili, representatives of various tourist companies and other officials were among the passengers, who were met at Batumi airport by Levan Varshalomidze, head of the Adjara Government.

Air Batumi ticket prices start from GEL 19. The Tbilisi-Batumi flight lasts 40 minutes and is made by a Boeing 737.

Air Batumi will offer international flights to Antalia, Baku, Kiev and Tel Aviv in the near future. (Interpressnews)



NATO Secretary General comments on local government elections

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has responded to the May 30 local government elections in Georgia, saying that these elections were assessed as free and fair by international organisations. He said that the alliance had expected this, adding that the democratic conduct of elections would have a positive influence on the process of Georgia's integration with NATO.

The NATO Secretary General is attending the session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Riga. (Rustavi 2)



President opens strict regime prison in Rustavi

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili opened the first strict regime penitentiary institution in Rustavi yesterday. The three-storey building meets all international standards.

The prison is surrounded by gardens, stadiums, gyms, a medical centre, library and shop. The prisoners there will soon be employed on several other building projects in the prison grounds.

The President recalled what the colony was like before reconstruction and said that it was a source of filth, chaos and illegal activity in Georgia. (Rustavi 2)



Russian occupiers kill two Abkhazians

Conflict occurred between Russian and Abkhaz soldiers near the Saberio-Dikhazurgi administrative border yesterday morning. Two Abkhaz soldiers were killed and several badly wounded.

The conflict was caused by a dispute over how to divide up money taken from the local population, Tornike Kilanava, representative of the Abkhaz legitimate Government, said. The wounded were taken to Gali hospital. (Interpressnews)



Gia Chanturia to start negotiations with Government next week

Gia Chanturia, last week's Christian-Democratic Movement Mayoral candidate, is planning to start negotiations with the Government next week. "Our projects canít be fulfilled without cooperation with the Government," Chanturia told Interpressnews.

It has been reported that Chanturia met President Mikheil Saakashvili on Sunday, but Chanturia has not confirmed this. (Interpressnews)



CEC discusses eight complaints

A session of the Central Election Commission was held late on Sunday night at which the members discussed complaints from various parties. They managed to discuss eight complaints, but there were many disagreements about these. The Commission rejected most of the complaints and forwarded the rest to the district commissions for consideration.

The complaints referred to the delayed delivery of ballot papers from printing houses to the polling stations and political agitation at the polling station. However, the CEC members said that only political agitation by the mass media on election day was prohibited, not the actions of individuals at polling stations, citing articles of the electoral code of Georgia. (Rustavi 2)



Blue Gallery renamed Tbilisi National Gallery

The famous Blue Gallery on the main avenue in Tbilisi has been renamed the Tbilisi National Gallery. Rehabilitation work has been underway at the Blue Gallery, built in 1888, over the past few years. The Georgian President visited the renamed gallery today and said that the sights of Tbilisi would be renewed for visitors.

"This will be a high-level gallery like those we may see in Paris, London or Madrid. Some foolish people have accused me of abducting Pirosmani from the museum, but this was a rumour invented by authors who then believed their own rumour afterwards. The problem is that paintings by Pirosmani and other geniuses are kept in very bad conditions in the basements of museums and we do not have the possibility to display them all. Though there is still much to be done, we have no moral right to abandon our national heritage," Mikheil Saakashvili said. He added that the museum system would develop in Georgia and meet international standards soon. (Rustavi 2)