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The News in Brief

Wednesday, June 16
Defence Minister visits Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan

Georgian Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia has visited Afghanistan, where Georgian soldiers are conducting a peacekeeping mission.

The Georgian delegation led by Akhalaia was received by the US Commander of the International Coalition Forces General Stanley McChrystal in Kabul. The sides talked about the importance of Georgiaís participation in the ISAF mission. The Coalitionís command expressed its gratitude to the Georgian delegation for its contribution. General McChrystal positively evaluated the preparation level of the Georgian peacekeeping contingent and added that their French and German commanders were satisfied with their professionalism.

Following this meeting the Georgian delegation visited the province of Helmand, where Georgian soldiers are engaged in a full range of military operations under US commanders. During the visit the Georgian dignitaries acquainted themselves with the daily activities and living conditions of the Georgian soldiers at their bases. (Prime News)

PACE President visits Tserovani IDP Settlement

President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Mevlut Cavusoglu met IDPs in Tserovani in the Shida Kartli region on June 15.

The President of the Parliamentary Assembly also visited the village of Ergneti in occupied South Ossetia. He inquired about the problems currently facing locals.

The PACE President arrived in Georiga on June 14 on a three day visit. He will leave Georgia on June 16. (Prime News)

President visits Svaneti

The Georgian President visited the Svaneti region yesterday. Mikheil Saakashvili viewed the dated cableway which will be restored in near future and interrogated the local authorities regarding tourist routes and road infrastructure.

The President visited the Svaneti Ethnographic Museum and promised the staff that he would allocate funds for resolving their problems. The President also saw the skating stadium. He then met the sister of the late Georgian alpine sportsman Mikheil Khergiani and promised Nazi Khergiani that he would fund the construction of a house museum dedicated to him.

Saakashvili also visited the village of Ushguli, where he attended the shooting of a promotional video for the Sukhishvili National Ballet and talked to locals. (Rustavi 2)

8 Georgian citizens still at Osh Airport

Eight Georgian citizens are still at Osh Airport, Georgian Ambassador to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Paata Kalandadze told Interpressnews yesterday. They were due to fly to Bishkek. Kalandadze said that their plane was still carrying the wounded from Osh and therefore their flight had been delayed.

Four Georgians have also refused to be evacuated. "They have private property in Osh. Thatís why they do not wish to leave the city," Paata Kalandadze said. (Interpressnews)

Cathedral plundered in Rustavi

The Saint Vakhtang Gorgasali cathedral in the city of Rustavi has been plundered. The plunderers broke into the church at 5 a.m. by removing a lattice behind the altar. Police say jewellery, donations and a safe were taken from the church.

Law enforcers have been at the scene since yesterday morning. An investigation is in progress. (Rustavi 2)

Turkish police arrest Georgians on prostitution charges

Thirteen citizens of Georgia and two citizens of Azerbaijan have been arrested by Turkish police on prostitution charges in the city of Sakaria. Local sources have reported that the police have also conducted raids in Istanbul, arresting citizens of Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the same charges.

The Turkish police claim that a criminal network operates in the country running nursing and house cleaning agencies. They lure females from various countries promising them well-paid jobs and advance payment and then deprive them of their IDs and force them to serve their clients. (Rustavi 2)

State Constitution Commission Chair meets political party leaders

Chair of the State Commission working on amendments to Georgia's Constitution Avtandil Demetrashvili introduced the basic draft of the new constitution to the leaders of the National Democratic Party and the Tortladze-Democrats yesterday. The leaders said that the model proposed is acceptable for them but it should determine when the new constitution will come into force and not be amended after being submitted to Parliament for a vote.

The draft has been sent to the Venice Commission, which is expected to respond in July. The draft will then be submitted to Parliament for adoption. (Rustavi 2)