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The News in Brief

Tuesday, December 25
The Messenger would like to wish our readers a Happy Holiday and very special New Year!

Moderate Quake Strikes Off Coast of Georgia

A 5.7- magnitude earthquake hit in the Black Sea more than 30-km from the Georgian coast at about 5:31pm local time, according to the Georgian Seismic Monitoring Center (GSMC).

Tremors were also felt in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, more than 300 kilometers away from the Black Sea coast. There were no reports of major destruction, but reports from Adjara say that some houses close to the sea coast were damaged.

According to the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center, which measured the magnitude at 5.8, the earthquake hit 46 km in south-west of Ochamchire, a town in the breakaway Abkhazia and 62 km north-west of Georgian port of Poti.

Georgia’s ambassador to Ukraine resigns

Georgia’s ambassador to Ukraine Grigol Katamadze announced that he will leave his position after his long service in the Georgian diplomatic corps. Grigol Katamadze was appointed as the head of the diplomatic mission in Ukraine in 2009. The new ambassador will arrive to Kiev in 2013. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said Katamadze’s term was expiring in January, 2013. Panjikidze explained that in such cases ambassadors are changed.
(The Messenger)

MIA Puts Expensive Vehicles up for Auction

The expensive vehicles on the balance of Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) will be sold at auction. The management of the Ministry already decided that about 50 vehicles will be put up for auction. Costly vehicles like the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Vogue, Mercedes S class, ML, BMW X6, X5 and M5, which were purchased by the Ministry before the new Minister was appointed will be part of the auction. Each car’s price exceeds USD $100,000, their technical maintenance cost over one million GEL a year. Head of the MIA’s transport service Manuchar Katamadze states that the combined price of the vehicles is 3.000,000 GEL. MIA has already purchased up to 40 Toyota vehicles.

Obudsman to probe into Gvaramia’s case

Public Defender of Georgia will be handed over the documents tied with the detention of Rustavi 2 Director General Nika Gvaramia and five other people charged in the same case. Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili addressed the prosecutor’s office and the lawyers of the defendants. Nanuashvili found many questions in Gvaramia’s detention; he said the case should be probed in detail to find proper answers.

All six that were arrested for financial machinations have posted bail. All of them deny their guilt.

Georgian Sailors Trapped in Panama to return on 25-26 December

Georgian sailors in Panama will return to Georgia on 25-26 December, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maia Panjikidze said on Monday. According to Panjikidze 8 sailors will return on 25 December and the other 4 on 26 December.

“Their issue is solved. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did everything it could. We received funding to bring these people home,” Panjikidze said.

The Georgian sailors will arrive in Georgia via an Istanbul flight.

There are 16 crew members on board the ship which sails under the Nigeria flag. 12 of them are Georgian sailors. The “Maria del Carmen 2” has been 5 kilometers from Panama’s coast for 3 months. The 42 year old ship is not seaworthy and the local government won’t allow the vessel to sail.