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The News in Brief

Tuesday, June 5
EUMM draws attention to mine issue after explosion at Gremiskhevi

The EU Monitoring Mission has released a statement with regard to yesterday’s incident in Gremiskhevi.

"In light of the mine explosion that injured forest rangers near Gremiskhevi on 3 June, the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission, Ambassador Andrzej Tyszkiewicz calls on all sides to take practical steps towards clearing conflict affected areas of remnants of war," the statement read.

The EUMM has repeatedly raised the issue of mine clearing operations along the administrative boundary lines between Georgia and South Ossetia, at Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings. The organization hopes the issue will be addressed adequately at the next meeting, to improve safety for the local population.

Avaliani denies being abducted

Georgian judo champion Ambako Avaliani is denying reports that he was abducted.

Georgian Dream released a statement claiming that Avaliani, a member of the coalition, was abducted around 10pm on June 3. "Eyewitnesses say an old acquaintance was calling Avaliani all day long and was asking him to leave the Georgian Dream coalition. He was also insisting that Avaliani meet him. Finally, Avaliani agreed to meet him. The old acquaintance arrived at the meeting accompanied by five cars and about 20 people. They took Avaliani in their car. No contact could be established with Avaliani for some time. He returned to the place where they first met after just a few hours," the statement read.

Avaliani maintains that he was in a meeting with Lado Vardzelashvili, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs.

"I had a meeting with the Sport Minister on sport issues. We did not talk about political issues. It was a friendly conversation," he told InterpressNews.

MIT students in Georgia to review reforms

President Mikheil Saakashvili met with students from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fifty students from the United States attended the meeting at the Presidential Palace in Tbilisi.

The group of students are on a special tour organized by MIT, in order to observe reforms in countries around the world. Before visiting Georgia, they were in Singapore.

Saakashvili spoke about successful reforms in Georgia and emphasized the country's economic progress and reforms in the education sector.

The President also discussed the new technical university, which is under construction in Batumi, and spoke about its role in the development of education in the country.
(Rustavi 2)

Foreign Minister visits Brussels

Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze is on an official visit to Brussels, where he opened a dialogue about Georgia-EU visa-free travel with the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom.

Vashadze and Malmstrom said that an agreement would benefit of the citizens of Georgia and support to the process of Georgia's European integration.

"The dialogue will be concluded with an agreement, which will allow the citizens of Georgia to travel to Europe without visas. If we take into consideration that negotiations on associate membership and enhanced trade relations with the European Union are underway, then it will be clear that after the successful conclusion of these negotiations, Georgia will enjoy a similar situation legally as Norway, Switzerland, or Iceland," Vashadze said.
(Rustavi 2)

Eight injured in explosion in Eastern Georgia

Eight people have been injured in an explosion in Dusheti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti. Representatives of the local forestry department were wounded when their vehicle hit a mine close to the Russian border.

Emergency brigades transported the injured passengers to a local hospital, where one of them is being treated for a broken leg.

The other injured passengers are undergoing intensive medical examinations. Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs Zurab Chiaberashvili is in Dusheti to visit the victims.

As reported, the vehicle exploded on a Russian mine, leftover from the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008.

An investigation is underway to ascertain the exact cause of the explosion.
(Rustavi 2)

Mayor unveils Tbilisi Internet City

The Tbilisi government has launched a new project called Tbilisi Internet City, which aims to provide free Wi-Fi coverage to all districts of the capital.

Mayor Gigi Ugulava spoke to residents of the Varketili district about the plan. Ugulava said it would make Tbilisi the first city in the world with free Wi-Fi service.

Fast internet access will be available in streets, parks, universities, and even public transportation by connecting to the "Tbilisi Loves You" network.
(Rustavi 2)