The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 21
More than 1.2 million families to get electricity vouchers

Distribution of 20 GEL electricity vouchers will begin this week, according to Prime Minister Nika Gilauri. More than 1.2 million families across the country will receive vouchers to offset the cost of heating during the recent cold snap. Approximately 25 million GEL has been allocated from the government’s reserve funds for the vouchers.

President Mikheil Saakashvili announced the voucher program last week.

"A cold winter and heavy snowfall created many problems this year. It is natural that bad weather increased electricity costs. We are trying to help the population with these vouchers," Gilauri said.

The Prime Minister charged the Minister of Health, Labour and Social Insurance, Andria Urushadze, with the job of distributing the vouchers.

Damage to pipeline halts gas supply to Armenia

A breakdown on a major pipeline has left a large part of Armenia without natural gas.

The damage occurred on the Gardabani section of the pipeline, in Georgian territory. Gas began to leak Sunday morning, causing the provider in Armenia to increase pressure, which caused further damage.

The Gas Transporter Company has launched emergency repair works and expects service to resume Monday.
(Rustavi 2)

Kirtadze to open Georgian Houses in Europe

Nestan Kirtadze, head of Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian House, has initiated the establishment of Georgian Houses in Europe.

At a news conference Monday, Kirtadze announced she is travelling to Germany and Belgium, where she will hold meetings about the establishment of Georgian Houses in those countries.

The presence of Georgian Houses in Europe is intended to promote national interests as well as Georgia’s European integration. Kirtadze hopes that the centres will act as Georgian hubs throughout Europe, strengthening Georgia’s identity outside of its territory and popularizing Georgian culture, art, civilization, language and history.

She believes that the future of Georgia should not be dictated only by domestic groups, but that emigrants should have an active part in it as well.

"Georgian Houses should take care to integrate the young generation of the Georgian Diaspora in Europe with their motherland; they should take care of our vulnerable compatriots who went to other countries to find jobs. These houses must also perform the function of lobbyists and monitors in Europe, in acceleration of the signing of a free trade agreement... and an agreement on visa-free movement," she remarked.

Kirtadze’s initiative already has supporters, which she will identify after her return from Europe.

Georgian drivers stuck in Kazakhstan snow

A group of Georgian truck drivers have been trapped in Kazakhstan by heavy snow.

According to the Georgian Ambassador to Kazakhstan, several Georgians are trapped in snow in the Mangistauski province, along with 100 other vehicles. He said that a windstorm has suspended the rescue operation; however, drivers have been provided with food and drink. Road brigades will begin to remove the snow cover and open the roads as soon as the weather improves.
(Rustavi 2)

Wrestler's blood test shows doping

Georgian Olympic wrestling champion, Irakli Tsirekidze, will face a three-month disqualification due to the results of his most recent drug test, which revealed stimulants in his bloodstream.

To avoid any inaccuracy, tests were repeated and in both cases the analysis confirmed that Tsirekidze had a prohibited substance in his blood.
(Rustavi 2)

Owners of Turkish tanker summoned to Georgian consulate

Four Georgian sailors held on board a Panama-flagged ship may soon be allowed to return home. The Turkish owners of the tanker were summoned to a Georgian consulate in Turkey Monday, in order to commence negotiations for the sailors' release.

Representatives of marine organizations will also attend the meeting.

The tanker has been sitting in the port of Sokhumi since last year. Abkhazian so called border-guards halted the ship on a charge of illegal entry into Abkhazian waters.
(Rustavi 2)