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The News in Brief

Thursday, August 1
Four Polish climbers rescued in Georgia

The Polish climbers trapped in the mountains of Georgia for five days, were taken to Mestia by rescuers. The Department of Emergency Situations of Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs reported on Wednesday that four climbers experienced problems while climbing to the top of Shkhara in the mountainous region of Svaneti. One of them broke his climbing belay device and was injured. Rescuers took all measures in their evacuation and took them to Mestia.

According to rescuers, the state of the climbers is satisfactory, and they are going to continue their expedition. (Trend)

Ambassador: Intensification of relations with Azerbaijan is priority for Georgia

The deepening of strategic relations with Azerbaijan is a priority for Georgia, Georgian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Teimuraz Sharashenidze, said during a press conference in Baku on Wednesday.

"Almost the entire staff of the Georgian government and the Prime Minister has visited Azerbaijan," the ambassador added. "This signifies the importance of preserving our South Caucasus partnership. Common challenges, such as territorial integrity and economic development outside of the capital are paramount issues to both governments," he added.

"Choosing TAP as a transport route to Europe will bring about $2 billion in investments to the Georgian economy and create jobs," he said. "The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project is also very important."

"Cooperation between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey is very important for Tbilisi," the ambassador added. "Azerbaijani businesses have already invested $210 million in the country's economy." (Trend)

Prisoners on hunger strike in Georgia make demands

Prisoners serving their sentences in prison No. 14 in Geguti issued a statement addressed to Georgia's Prime Minister, the Speaker of Georgian Parliament and NGOs.

The statement is signed by about 1,300 prisoners. The convicted require reviewing of the cases, effective work of the commission on conditional release and abolition of 223rd Article of the Criminal Code, which deals with members of "thieves' world" and "thieves in law".

Such demands were put forward by the prisoners of correctional facility No. 17 in Rustavi, where 50 prisoners have entered the ninth day of hunger strike. (Trend)

NATO Secretary General notes Georgian President's role in country’s Euro-Atlantic integration success

The NATO Secretary General has noted the personal role of President Mikheil Saakashvili in the success of Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia. This is stated in the NATO Secretary General's letter to the President of Georgia. The letter was placed on the personal page of Mikheil Saakashvili's social network page. The NATO Secretary General said that he was pleased to meet with Saakashvili once again during the visit of the North Atlantic Council to Georgia.

"Let me thank you for the hospitality and friendship you have shown to the Council in Tbilisi," the letter said. The Secretary General thanked Saakashvili for open discussion, which was carried out in relation to the events that took place inside the country.

"The allies will continue to closely monitor the events developing in the country, because this year, the country is preparing for presidential elections," the Secretary General said.

Rasmussen also thanked Georgia for continuing its participation in the ISAF operation, as well as for Georgia's obligations in the post-2014 NATO training and support missions.

"Your special role in the ISAF shows that Georgia is a valuable contributor to Euro-Atlantic security," Anders Fogh Rasmussen's letter said. (Trend)

Strong hail inflicts damage onto 3 villages of Kakheti

Hail has inflicted damage onto three villages in the Kakheti Region - Arashenda, Melaani and Naniani. The hail lasted ten minutes and razed to the ground about 400 hectares of land area. Maize fields, watermelon gardens, orchards and fruit gardens were also destroyed. The farmers have applied to the government to assist them with agricultural chemicals; otherwise they say they will have no vintage this year. The local governor has already viewed the disaster affected villages. The special commission will count the damage soon. (Rustavi 2)

Parliament adopts decree with regard to the Public Defender’s report

Parliament has adopted a decree with regard to the Public Defender’s report with 81 votes. The 6-page decree was drafted by the Human Right Committee. In the decree the parliament addresses the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Legal Assistance and Corrections, the Ministry of Healthcare Protection, the Ministry of IDPs, Refugees and Resettlement, local self-governments and the Prosecutor’s Office.

Parliament also calls on the government to ensure that the Ministries fulfil all recommendations.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili presented the report in before Parliament yesterday. (IPN)

Bidzina Ivanishvili congratulates theatre director Robert Sturua on 75th birth day

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili congratulated Theatre Director, Robert Sturua, on his 75th birthday. ‘It is an important date not only for Georgian, but for world culture. The greatest theatre director of the modern era is 75 years old today. Sturua’s theatre was an island of freedom in the Soviet era. His theatre was a protest on a sophisticated stage and it became a spiritual asylum for many. I want to wish him a happy birthday, long life and success’, Ivanishvili’s letter of congratulation says. (IPN)

Several houses evacuated in Batumi due to gas leak

Residents of several houses were evacuated in Batumi. The workers damaged the pipeline during the gasification of the Parnavaz area, resulting in the leak of natural gas, the Georgian media reported on Wednesday. According to the report, residents of several houses in Batumi were urgently evacuated in order to avoid an explosion.

Employees of SOCAR Gas Georgia, dealing with the gasification of Batumi, have arrived at the scene. The work is underway on the restoration of the pipeline's damaged section. (Trend)