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Compiled by Lera Khubunaia
Friday, February 17
City of Tbilisi offering help to homeless this winter

According to Kviris Palitra, a number of new homeless shelters have opened in Tbilisi. Reportedly, two homeless people have died in the city due to a recent cold snap.

All regions of Georgia provide free dinners and a warm place to spend cold winter nights for all those individuals without shelter of their own.

Kviris Palitra interviewed Mamuka Katsarava, the chief of the Health and Social Affairs committee:

“Tbilisi City Hall's decision to provide temporary shelter for homeless people was announced yesterday, and according to our sources only a couple of people appeared in these temporary shelters. Because of their psychological and living conditions, it is very hard to communicate with this group of people. Georgia is not the only country that has this problem; the entire world is facing the same issue. The United States is also one of those countries that has to face the problem of homeless people.

The freezing weather is dangerous for those people who do not have any place to live. The temporary shelters will not solve the problem, of course; but, as Tbilisi City Hall announced, we will keep in mind to provide permanent shelters for those who need one. Also, for now we provide free dinners for homeless people, which will be in every region of the country. These spaces will be transformed into a 24-hour stay-in place in case of a weather emergency for those who need a bed and hot meal to keep warm.

We ask the entire society to show some compassion and inform any homeless person they see in the streets about these temporary shelters, or notify the board of municipal service about those people. Of course, representatives of the Tbilisi Municipality will look out for those homeless people, but as usual people always have more information,” Katsarava told the paper.

Military service terms debated

According to Rezonansi, there will be some changes to the regulations of the "Military Duties and Military Services" legislation.

One of the proposals is to increase the term of military service up to 15 months. Until now, service only lasted for 12 months, for men in their early twenties. According to the explanatory bill, 12 months is not enough to undergo complete military service.

Rezonansi newspaper asked three prominent Georgians about the proposed increase to military service.

Jemal Chkuaseli, artistic director of Erisioni: “There is no doubt that our country needs a well-trained army. It depends on the conditions in which the soldiers will have to be, and what kind of patriotic encouragement they will have... I still think that one year is enough time to prepare a soldier for the military. I would prefer to have an army that works entirely on a military contract-based service, as in every well-developed country. Anyway, it does not matter if the Georgian army has mandatory or contract-based service. For me, as a citizen, it is important to know that our forces all have the ability to perform their work. I am not a specialist in this field, but I do think that it is better for the country to have a contract between the state and the soldiers.”

Alexander Elisashvili, journalist: “I think it is bad to increase the term of the military service. I do not think that it will be good for the country to make such a drastic and quick change to the military service. I think military contract-based service has many positive aspects. I do not believe that it will be a realistic thing for the country to send conscripts into military service.”

Vakhtang Dzabiradze, lawyer: “It is obvious that no one will be very enthusiastic about the fact that the term of military service will be increased. It must be explained why they are increasing the terms of service. As there is no specific reason to explain why it is so important to prolong the terms of military service, I believe that it is done for someone's personal interest and not for the interest of our country. And, additionally, I am guessing that the payments for those who will not go into military service will be increased. I believe that this is a useless decision for our country".