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The News in Brief

Monday, October 18
Grigol Vashadze meets Elmar Mammadyarov

On October 15 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov, as part of his official visit to Georgia, met with his Georgian counterpart Grigol Vashadze in Tbilisi.

At the meeting the sides discussed topical issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Georgia and Azerbaijan, underlined the importance of the existing strategic relations between the two countries in the process of ensuring security and strengthening stability and identified priorities for further development.

The Ministers welcomed the activation of consultations with the EU on the association agreement as part of the "Eastern Partnership" framework.

Tbilisi City Hall to replace Buses with Electric Vehicles

Tbilisi City Hall is working on a plan to replace buses with electric vehicles, Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava stated yesterday in front of the parliament building as part of the International day of Climate Action.

‘Buses under City Hall consume GEL 29 million of diesel annually. Apart from the fact that Georgia does not produce diesel and money leaves the country, chemicals significantly pollute the city. We have a plan to gradually replace the buses with electric transport,’ Ugulava noted.

Climate Week was opened yesterday in front of parliament by Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, Minister of Environmental Protection Goga Khachidze and the head of the EU delegation in Georgia, Per Eklund.

Ukraine finds Georgia’s reforms exemplary

In a speech at the Ukrainian-American Business Forum in Kiev, Ukraine’s Economy Minister Vasyl Tsushko said that he was jealous of President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili’s reforms.

“Yes, we envy them,” said the official, explaining that he was struck by the quick rise in Georgia’s ranking in terms of a country’s investment climate and the success of the government in fighting corruption, and the formalisation of property rights.”

Tsushko also said Georgia’s success was achieved with the assistance of the US

“In Georgia, property documents can be obtained by going to the office and using a machine by pressing the button without even seeing an officer, and then this certificate can be directly held in the bank.” said the minister.

He also gave an example that in Georgia from allocation to the start of construction is three months, while in Ukraine it takes two years and stated that the Ukrainian authorities will follow the same path of deregulation and economic destruction of corruption.
(Rustavi 2)

Homes flooded in Western Georgia

Over 50 families were evacuated in Khobi district, Samegrelo Region in Western Georgia. The Rioni River overflowed, flooding homes in the village of Small Poti at about 5 a.m. on Sunday.

Cattle and poultry were killed in the flood and winter food stores destroyed. About 90 families have been affected. Rescuers and reservists assisted locals in leaving their flooded homes.

The Rioni River overflowed after the dam broke. Repair works is now underway at the site.

The situation is stable for now. Locals have already started returning to their homes.

(Rustavi 2)

Former MP among those arrested for abduction

Police have detained former member of Georgian Parliament, Eduard Surmanidze, together with Giorgi Berulava and Murtaz Meurmishvili.

The detainees are accused of abducting a German investor who was working in Georgia. They forced the investor with intimidation and threatened his life, demanding USD 270 thousand.

If found guilty the accused could face 10-years imprisonment. The investigation is being conducted by the constitutional security department of the Georgian Interior Ministry.

A German businessman, Dieter Schwembley rented an apartment in 18, Phasanauri Street in Tbilisi for about a year, which is where he was held for 2 weeks against his will to try to extort money from him. Security guards for the apartment block and neighbours said that Eduard Surmanidze and his friends had recently been seen often visiting the German businessman, although they had not noticed anything suspicious.
(Rustavi 2)

Saakashvili views new Holiday Inn in Tbilisi

The Georgian president viewed Holiday Inn Hotel in Tbilisi on Friday. Final construction works are underway and it will open very soon.

The 4-star hotel has 253 rooms. USD 28 million has been invested in the project. The construction was carried out using Georgian funding.

Mikheil Saakashvili said construction of similar objects is especially important for the development of tourism in the country.

150 people have been employed in the hotel. It will have trading outlets, 24-hour banking as well as a business centre and conference room.
(Rustavi 2)