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The News in Brief

Thursday, November 28
Russian border guards install boundary markers around Dvani

Russian border guards have installed boundary markers along the whole perimeter of the village of Dvani. The boundary markers are written in Georgian and English on one side and Ossetian and Russian on the other, saying that this territory is the so-called South Ossetian state border.

In addition, banners have been placed along barbed wire fences which surround the village. Residents say that are not able to visit their agricultural land which lies on the other side of the barbed wire fence. On Tuesday evening, Russian soldiers appeared to be working in the vicinity of the occupation line. (IPN)

Mayoral race in Tbilisi starts with bickering

A dispute has developed between the current Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava and his likely successor Davit Narmania, currently Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure.

The dispute has to do with infrastructure projects in Tbilisi which the incumbent mayor claims Narmania has stopped.

Specifically it refers to a bridge between Gelovani Street and Samtredia Street, a project which was halted for unknown reasons.

Narmania responded that the Infrastructure Ministry only stopped construction after receiving a letter from Tbilisi City Hall. Ugulava, claims this was a letter sent by the residents of Samtredia Street and that it was sent to the ministry for further clarification but not for the cancelation of the project.

“The minister is attempting to blame other people by spreading false information in order to mislead the population.” Ugulava claims. He added that the bridge was intended to alleviate heavy traffic.

Ugulava suggested holding a debate, but Narmania rejected the offer and said he does not have time because he has too much work but expressed readiness to debate with each of the mayoral candidates.

“If he [Ugulava] decides to run for Tbilisi mayor again and there is a debate, then I will debate with him.” Narmania said.

On Tuesday, Narmania accused Tbilisi City Hall of being responsible for problems in the city, like the Baratashvili Bridge, which he claims is in a poor condition. Narmania added that he does not plan to respond to Ugulava’s statements every day.

The Georgian Dream coalition a few days ago nominated Narmania as their candidate for Tbilisi mayor. The Tbilisi mayoral election will be held in May 2014. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Switzerland and Georgia simplify visa procedures

From January 1, 2014, visa issuing procedures between Switzerland and Georgia will be simplified. As the Georgian Foreign Ministry reported on November 27th, both sides have completed relevant domestic procedures.

The agreement is aimed at creating convenient conditions for Georgian citizens visiting Switzerland. In particular it relates to resolving issues concerning the visa fees, visa application and other procedures.

In addition, Georgian citizens holding diplomatic passports will be able to enter Switzerland without a visa and pass through the country in transit. (Trend)

Socially vulnerable to be given 50% discount on minibuses

Socially vulnerable people will use a 50% discount on Tbilisi minibuses, beginning on November 28, 2013. The Tbilisi City Assembly made the decision on November 20th. According to amendments in the 2013 Tbilisi budget, 300,000 lari will be allotted to socially vulnerable people for public transport. (IPN)

Agreement on Georgia joining EU civilian missions and military operations to be signed

A framework agreement on Georgia's joining the EU civilian missions and military operations is expected to be signed as part of the Vilnius Summit on November 28th.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that the agreement will be signed by Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission.

The agreement will provide Georgia with an opportunity to engage in crisis management operations under EU auspices and to contribute to the security process in the world together with the EU. (Trend)

2 citizens die at Sadakhlo, 6 people detained

Police officers arrested six individuals on November 25th on the charge of murder. The group is alleged to have shot three individuals, Merab Kalandadze, Dilar Mukbaniani and Giorgi Piralishvili at the Sadakhlo border checkpoint at 7 PM in the evening. The three wounded men were taken to the Geo Hospital in Marneuli, but Kalandadze and Piralishvili died from their wounds soon after arriving at the hospital.

The assailants reportedly used a car to attempt an escape, but police officers arrested them on the highway minutes after the incident. The Makarov make gun allegedly used in the crime was also found. (Georgian News)

Two people arrested with prostitution charges

Police officers in Batumi have arrested the owners of the Lile Cafe and the Tiko Hotel for providing lodging for prostitution.

An investigation established that the proprietors of the two establishments offered rooms for prostitution in return for cash payments. Female workers of the cafe and hotel have already been interrogated by the investigation.

Providing lodging for prostitution is considered a crime under article 254 of the Georgian Criminal Code. (Rustavi 2)