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The News in Brief

Wednesday, August 18
Tbilisi – Trabzon route for Air Batumi

Air Batumi will begin flights from Tbilisi to Trabzon following constant requests from passengers. Flights will be twice weekly, tickets will be priced from 50 Euro.

After its direct flights from Tbilisi to Batumi, Trabzon will be the first international destination for Air Batumi.

Flight time from Tbilisi to Trabzon will be 80 minutes. (Rustavi 2)

Melor Vachnadze Plans Hunger Strike

So called political prisoner Melor Vachnadze plans to start a 2-month hunger strike, InterpressNews was told by the head of the movement ‘Ara’ (No), Levan Chitadze.

He says that representatives of movement ‘Ara’ and lawyers will hold protests by Gldani Prison No.8.

Vachnadze’s demand is the release of political prisoners.

Levan Chitadze states that Melor Vachnadze was on hunger strike demanding the release of political prisoners, though he felt bad on the 22nd day and stopped the strike.

Head of the opposition movement ‘Join us’ Melor Vachnadze was detained on 9 April meetings. He was accused of fraud and sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment. (Interpressnews)

Police arrest organised crime gang

Constitutional Security Department of the Ministry of Interior has detained a gang of organised criminals, which had been persistently stealing books from the depot of the National Library of Georgia and selling them in Georgia and abroad. The director of the library depot, Zurab Etsadashvili and his accomplice Robert Mnatsakanov stole unique books from the 18-19 centuries. They removed the library seals from the books' pages and with the help of mediators, sold these books to various people.

A third person, Archil Gelovani, the director of the JSC Kartuli Philmi [Georgian film] has also been arrested for the intentional purchase of illegally obtained items. He regularly purchased books from the aforementioned people.

Police found over 2500 wrapped books in Zurab Etsadashvili's home, together with 52 books prepared for sale in Robert Mnatsakanov's house. A further 41 books were discovered at Archil Gelovani's residence. (Rustavi 2)

Turkish citizens arrested for counterfeit USD

The Investigation Department of the Ministry of Finance arrested two citizens of Turkey over suspicion of money counterfeiting. Reportedly, the suspects sold counterfeit US dollars and were going to transfer their profits to their accounts in Turkey. It is alleged they sold a total of USD 8,200 in counterfeit notes for 2,200 in Georgia.

The suspects were caught red-handed. The investigation is in progress. If found guilty, the accused could face 7-10 years in prison. (Rustavi 2)

Mayor inspects gas works in IDP settlement

IDPs from Georgia's breakaway regions will be provided with natural gas by September. Tbilisi mayor's office has been conducting the necessary work in the location of the IDPs' compact settlements to connect them to the gas network. Mayor Gigi Ugulava inspected the works in Old Tbilisi District today. The Mayor met the IDPs living in the former Hotel Kavkasia. 120 families in that building will have natural gas supply by next week. (Rustavi 2)

Chris De Burgh tours Svaneti

British singer Chris De Burgh visited Svaneti Region on Monday. The famous singer traveled to the remote region from Batumi by helicopter. The star viewed Mestia and Ushguli districts, saw museums and other sights. The singer said he was surprised with the history and culture of Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

Ilia University student wins beauty contest in Batumi

Student of Tbilisi's Ilia University, Anuka Bukhnikashvili won the Miss Student beauty contest which was held yesterday evening in Batumi. The jury had to select the winner from 18 participants from 18 different universities in Georgia.

The winner was presented with a monetary prize and golden crown. In second place was Salome Abramidze and third place winner was Lika Abramia. Other participants won various other nominations. (Rustavi 2)