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The News in Brief

Monday, August 26
Georgian International Airlines to receive new airplanes in September

Georgian Civil Aviation Agency completed the inspection of airplanes of Georgian International Airlines, the company reported. According to the statement, the inspectors of the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency implemented the technical inspection of the company's aircraft in the German city of Saarbrucken. The statement said that two inspectors of the agency were accompanied by the flight and technical director of the company and they stayed in Saarbrucken for three days to receive two Fokker-100 airplanes for Georgian International Airlines.

"The inspection confirmed the suitability of the airplanes for flight," the airline company noted.

Presumably, the airlines will arrive in Georgia in the first half of September.

Batumi Summer Set Fest 2013 finale Concert disrupted due to a heavy rain

Due to a heavy rain, Batumi Summer Set Fest 2013 finale Concert was not held. As the PR Manager Nika Dvalidze told InterPressNews yesterday, a heavy rain in Batumi damaged the stage as well as the whole city. Thus, the closing ceremony of the festival was disrupted.

Dvalidze stated that each ticket-holder can keep their tickets for the closing ceremony of the same festival,which is now planned to be held in September. The music Festival was opened on August 22. Famous foreign musicians and well-known Georgian artists were performing electronic music during the festival.

TI Georgia releases report on judicial monitoring of high-profile criminal cases

Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) published the results of the monitoring of high-profile criminal cases. The report covers the period from February 2013 to July 19th, Rustavi2 reports.

In this period, the organization`s observers attended court hearings where high officials were tried. Provided below is the analysis of these proceedings detailed by our monitors. This report includes cases that have already been completed with their final judgment rendered, as well as cases with pending proceedings. Several interesting trends were identified throughout the trial observations.

The principles of the adversarial system and equality between parties were observed during the court trials. Both the defense and the prosecution enjoyed equal opportunities to present their positions, and they could freely exercise the rights safeguarded by procedural legislation.

Remarkably, the prosecution mainly built its cases solely on the testimonies of witnesses. Other pieces of evidence, apart from a few exceptions, were not presented until the drafting of this report.

There seems to be a trend for the prosecution`s witnesses to later change their testimonies (several such cases were reported). Several representatives of the defense often made political statements during the proceedings. At the trials, the court had to thrice apply disciplinary measures against the parties and the defendants.

All defendants rejected the offer of trial by jury, stating that the general public was already prejudiced against them and so could not deliver a just decision.

The courts did not release information in advance about the hearings at which the decisions on applying preventative measures were made. Such practice undermines the publicity of the high-profile cases.

Despite the high public interest, in the Bachana Akhalaia Case the prosecution objected to video recording the trial, which would have publicized the proceedings.

During the trials, public representatives and organized groups rallied against the defendants.

There are several cases where a final judgment has not yet been reached by the court. Other cases have had their judgments delivered by the first instance court, however these decision can be appealed, leading to potentially differing outcomes. TI Georgia therefore is refraining from assessing the court’s decisions on these cases. The organization continues to monitor the high-profile cases and will continue to provide its analysis in the future as well,` IT Georgia has reported.

MIA rescue officers evacuate tourists

Rescue department officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia have conducted a successful rescue operation in Svaneti mountains. Reportedly, two tourists from the Czech Republic were moving towards the Chatini peak, which is on 2,200 meters above sea level, when one of them had health problems and called the 112 emergency management center. The rescuers of the MIA joined the special operation with the necessary equipment and found the lost tourists in a few hours. One of them was transferred to Mestia hospital and his health state is satisfactory now.
(Rustavi 2)

President Mikheil Saakashvili plans to open an education center for viticulture

President Mikheil Saakashvili said this is a plan for what to do after he is finished serving his second presidential term. He said work has already started to first establish the center in Kakheti, and eventually open the same type of center in Ateni Valley in the Kartli region.

“We are establishing wine associations everywhere because I think wine is a field where a small land village industry can be beneficial, unlike many other fields of agriculture, where it requires a lot of money,” he said. “But here it is possible at a small costs to make our people have an income in the tourism that we already have.” President Saakashvili also plans to set up another education center of political sciences in Tbilisi after he leaves office, because he believes that political education is ‘the weak spot’ of the country. “I will do what I will be able to do in education, and in addition I will continue the popularization of our country,” he said.

After the change of government in October 2012, the president has often complained that his duties have been reduced and that he doesn’t have anything to do anymore, except sitting in his office and feeling bored. In an earlier interview this summer, Saakashvili said that he will only agree to meet with the government if he has the opportunity ‘to implement large projects’. But he still plans to stay in politics, because of the large potential and because of his party’s ‘grand programs, which aren’t yet finished.’
(Democracy & Freedom watch)