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The News in Brief

Friday, February 17
August War movie screening disrupted in Baku

A screening of the Russian film August Eighth was disrupted in Baku, Regnum reports. A group of Facebook activists asked the Park Cinema to cancel their planned February 21 screening of the movie.

The group calls the screening unacceptable in Azerbaijan, “where Armenia carried out aggression with the support of Russia”. They believe the film justifies Russian aggression against Georgia, and endorses Russian hegemony in the South Caucasus.

The theatre administration was warned that if the screening proceeded as planned, the group would conduct a public campaign to boycott the film.

In response to the “concern of Azerbaijani society", the theatre cancelled the screening and removed advertisements for the film.

Director Janik Faiziyev co-wrote the film with American screenwriter Michael A. Lerner. The plot follows a divorced woman from Moscow who sends her 7-year-old son to Tskhinvali to be with his father, when the August 2008 war erupts and she must travel to the front lines to save her son. In between, she battles giant robots and other sci-fi elements. Shooting took place in Moscow, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.

August Eighth was financed by the Russian cinema support foundation, and had a budget of 16 million USD. Head of the fund, Sergey Tolstikov, says that this funding was ordered by the Russian government. (Interpressnews)

Georgia to raise issue of attack on minor at PACE

The Georgian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will raise the issue of violence against a Georgian minor in breakaway Abkhazia at an upcoming session. Georgian politicians have compared Wednesday's attack to "fascism".

Russian soldiers beat a minor in Abkhazia on Wednesday, after they found Georgian textbooks in the teenager's bag. Mamuka Phiphia, a 10th-grade student, has a hand fracture and multiple injuries.

Public Defender Giorgi Tughushi says all international human rights organizations will be briefed in detail about the incident. (Rustavi 2)

Changes to driver's license tests

The Minister of Internal Affairs announced today changes to the procedures of the country's driver's license tests. The new, simplified procedures, prepared by the Service Agency, use a computerized system.

The Service Agency has installed sensor cameras on test tracks, while the test itself will be fully controlled by a computer in order to avoid procedural inaccuracies. Cameras will be also installed in test cars and the video will be uploaded to the MIA website. (Rustavi 2)

Maritime unions looking for more members

The chairperson of the Trade Unions of Georgia has called on the government to pay more attention to the issues faced by Georgian sailors.

Irakli Petriashvili told media Wednesday that only one thousand out of a total three thousand Georgian sailors are members of the Trade Union, which he says prevents the Union from sending and receiving vital information about sailors' welfare. He says the situation casts doubts on the reputation of the crews and vessels sailing with non-union men.

Petriashvili recommends that the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Economics cooperate with international marine institutes to increase the competence and professionalism of Georgian sailors, and facilitate their employment by companies operating in accordance with international standards.

Petriashvili also called on Georgian authorities to oblige contractor companies to employ Georgian sailors. (Rustavi 2)

Prime Minister to hold meetings in Hungary

The Prime Minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri, has departed for Hungary on a working visit. In Budapest, the head of the Georgian government will hold a tete-a-tete meeting with the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban.

During the visit, the Prime Minister will also discuss bilateral cooperation with President of Hungary Pal Schmitt, speaker of the Hungarian Parliament Laszlo Kover, and representatives of business and industry. (Rustavi 2)

Icy roads contribute to crash that leaves family homeless

A traffic accident in the village of Naokhrebi, Akhaltsikhe Region, has left a local family homeless.

The driver of a trailer with Iranian license plates failed to control the vehicle, as the road was covered with ice. The trailer crashed into the house of the Muraniani family, causing it to collapse.

No one was injured in the accident; however, the family was left homeless. (Rustavi 2)

Family searching for teenager

A Zugdidi family has been searching for their 14 year-old son, Andria, since yesterday. The child, who suffers from epilepsy, lives in Rukhi.

On Wednesday, the boy was sent to a nearby farm to buy milk but did not return. His parents began to search for him an hour later, before calling the authorities for help.

Police do not rule out that the child may have fallen into the river while crossing a bridge. (Rustavi 2)