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The News in Brief

Friday, June 7
Foreign Minister updates the UN Secretary General on the situation in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone

Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, who is currently in New York, updated the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the situation regarding the Russian military's recent actions on the Georgian-Ossetian border.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that during the meeting at UN headquarters, Panjikidze stressed that such actions create a humanitarian problem for local residents, by limiting their right to free movement. The Minister will also discuss the UN resolution on the right of refugees to return home. This issue will be discussed at the UN Security Council on June 13 and at the UN General Assembly in September. Last year, around 65 countries voted in favour of the resolution , while 12 voted against. (Trend)

Russian border guards stop activities around Ditsi

The Russian border guards have not been seen in the vicinity of the village Ditsi for the fourth day. A week ago, the soldiers had moved the line of occupation and were patrolling the territory. After setting the posts, they were about to add the barbed wire fences which would enclose lands, cemeteries and irrigation systems which are officially part of Georgian territory, as well as pastures and houses of several local residents. The Georgian Government sought international assistance in the matter. The locals of Ditsi managed to talk to the Russian border guards who said they were suspending their activities. (Radio Tavisupleba)

The UNM says the economic situation in Georgia is alarming

The United National Movement says the economic situation in the country is alarming. Party member, Giorgi Baramidze quoted a report of the National Department of Statistics of Georgia at a briefing, stressing that the number of jobs in the private sector has fallen by 42, 000 in the first quarter of this year.

“This is an alarming figure, which indicates that the economic situation in the country is very grave; business is facing many problems and the situation is very difficult” Baramidze said. (Rustavi 2)

Merabishvili’s attorneys to apply to the Strasburg Court

Attorneys of the United National Movement`s Secretary General, Vano Merabishvili say they are starting work on a new complaint, which they will send to the European Court of Human Rights. The defense is objecting to the ruling of the Tbilisi Appeals Court, which confirmed the ruling of Kutaisi City Court, whereby Mr. Merabishvili was put into custody.

The lawyers are also demanding that the defendant be permitted to have a TV set in his cell. Thus they have already made an application in this regard to the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

Mutual compensation of debts between Georgia and Kazakhstan impossible

The Kazakh Company, KazTransGas owes money to Georgia and the Georgian Government owes money to the Kazakh Government but the mutual forgiveness of debt has been ruled out, Georgian Minister for Finance, Nodar Khaduri said on Wednesday.

"The mutual forgiveness of the debt between the Government of Georgia and KazTransGas is impossible. We work hard to ensure both sides are happy with the arrangements, but these two issues are legally unrelated and therefore, forgiveness is impossible," Khaduri said.

The minister said that during his visit to Kazakhstan, he met with his counterpart, Bolat Zhamishev and discussed the debts of both Kaztransgas and Georgia.

"We have reached an agreement that provides for the scheme of restructuring Georgia's debts", Khaduri said.

KazTransGas-Tbilisi owns $80 million to Georgia's state budget. Georgia has a debt of $140 million to Kazakhstan. (Trend)

Adjarian population protesting against HPP construction

The population of the villages of Kirnati and Maradidi of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, Georgia, are protesting against the construction of a hydropower plant near their settlements. Residents are complaining about the lack of information and the failure to resolve the issue of compensation.

According to them, the construction will cause an environmental disaster, including increased humidity and soil erosion.

According to the regional authorities, the villages are not threatened by an environmental disaster, but in order to protect the interests of the population, a working group will soon be created to hold talks with investors and to keep the residents informed of all new developments.

The Ministry of Energy called on the residents to approach the investors with any comments and/or questions and where these comments and/or questions are ignored, to contact the Ministry directly. (Trend)

Onishchenko will not send group of inspectors to Georgia this June

Russia’s Chief Sanitary Doctor, Genady Onishchenko said that the inspection team will not be coming to Georgia for the third phase of their inspection process of Georgian wine in June, as was initially planned. The head of Russia`s consumer watchdog says his office has not received the appropriate documents or the list of companies, which are required before any inspection team can be sent to Georgia. Onishchenko has also said he is not going to come to Georgia to inspect Georgian wine companies and the system of wine quality control. (Rustavi 2)

Over 9 500 students register for Masters Degree exams

The National Examinations Center (NAEC) has stated that the unified Masters Degree entrance exams will be held in Georgia on July 9-10. Over 9, 500 university entrants have registered to take the exams. The types of tests differ. Enrolees will be tested according to their desired professions. The tests consist of four parts: reading comprehension, analytical writing, logical analysis and quantitative discussions. If the entrant is successful in three of these parts, he/she will have the right to take a specialisation exam at their chosen universities and become MA students. (IPN)

Laima Vaikule holds a concert in Tbilisi

Laima Vaikule,a popular Latvian singer visited Georgia to hold a concert on June 4 for the first time in five years. The singer performed old and new songs for the audience gathered at Tbilisi Concert Hall saying “it is difficult to speak about Georgians without getting emotional.” (Georgian News TV)