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The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 4
Gharibashvili visits Brussels on February 3-5

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili is paying a visit to Brussels on February 3-5.

He will meet with Commissioner for European Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

The Georgian prime minister will meet with Commissioner for European Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom and European Energy Commissioner Gunther Ottinger. After the meeting with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, Gharibashvili and the president of the European Council will hold a joint briefing.

PM will also meet with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

He will attend a session of the NATO-Georgia Commission and deliver a speech at a conference at the Egmont Institute.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Wild fire close to gas pipeline in Georgia

Three acres of a nature reserve is on fire in Kobuleti, a coastal town in the Adjara region.

The fire was close to the juice processing plant in Kobuleti and firefighters say it is close to populated areas. A gas pipe in the area makes it difficult to put out the fire.

Sulkhan Bazadze, head of the emergency service in Kobuleti, says it is necessary to cross the river to fight the fire, so boats have been sent up the coast from Batumi to assist in the effort. He says the firefighters are doing their best to prevent the fire from reaching the pipeline.

According to rescue worker Davit Chimakadze, dried grass in a swamp next to the plant is on fire.

Helicopters may also be sent to help extinguish the fire.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Reason of 17 year-old girl’s death unknown

The reason of the death of a 17 year-old girl is still unknown. The girl`s frozen body was found in the vicinity of the 31st aviation factory on Sunday. The preliminary examination of the body revealed no traces of violence. Her friends say they thought the girl went home and did not call her anymore. On the next day the girl was found dead.

The body of the dead girl has been taken to the expertise bureau. The investigation is underway.
(Rustavi 2)

Snow to stop, but frost will increase in Georgia

According to weather forecast, the snow will come to an end throughout Georgia, but the temperature will continue to fall during the next few days. The frost will reach -22 C in the Eastern regions of the country. The weather forecast predicts that temperature will begin to rise from February 5th.

The dry and frosty weather has been forecasted in Tbilisi as well.

Currently, no traffic restrictions are imposed on Rikoti pass. On other problematic highways, the movement is allowed only with wheel chains.

Tbilisi special services have work in 24 hour regime.
(Rustavi 2)

International cybercrime uncovered by Georgia’s Interior Ministry

An international cybercrime syndicate has been squashed after Georgia’s Interior Ministry uncovered more than half a million US dollars had been fraudulently obtained by online criminals.

In total, $267, 000 USD was illegally obtained from British citizens’ credit cards, Georgia’s Interior Ministry revealed.

Two Georgian citizens have admitted to illegally obtaining bank accounts and using fake Visa cards registered in foreign citizens’ names. Police believe six Ukrainian citizens are also involved in the scheme.

Police allege the online criminals fraudulently obtained British citizens’ bank details by hacking into their accounts and replicating fake Visa cards with their personal details. They would then transfer money from the British accounts to their own fake cards, and withdraw cash at Georgia-based banks.

Police arrested and charged two Georgian men in relation to the crime. Both men admitted committing online fraud.

Georgian Government respects Ukraine people’s choice

Georgia has vowed to continue cooperating with Ukraine and will respect the choices of Ukraine’s people, Georgia’s vice-Prime Minister announced on Monday.

Kakha Kaladze said the Georgian Government would respect the choice of Ukraine’s people regardless of any political decision.

His words were made after protesters in Ukraine rejected terms of a new amnesty law aimed at ending the country's unrest.

Kaladze believed Georgia’s position towards Ukraine was "clear”, where Ukraine was Georgia’s friend and strategic partner the country should return to normality.

"The lives and safety of every citizen should be protected. As for political decisions, it is the only job of Internal Affairs of the Government and the opposition that is in confrontation with the authority,” he said.

Kaladze lived in Ukraine for three years and used to play football for FC Dinamo Kiev.

Georgia’s Olympic team flies to Sochi

The first members of Georgia’s Olympic team competing at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will arrive in Sochi on February 4.

Georgian National Olympic Committee vice-President Mamuka Khabareli and Secretary in General Emzar Zeniashvili are to arrive in Sochi to manage organizational issues before the rest of the Georgian Olympic team arrived in the Russian city.

The main group of Georgia’s Olympic team, including athletes, will travel to Sochi on February 6 – one day before the international competition begins.

Georgia will be represented at the Sochi Olympics by four athletes: skiers Nino Tsiklauri, Iason Abramishvili and Alex Benianidze. Figure skater Elene Gedevanishvili will arrive in Sochi on February 14 from Canada.

Tsiklauri has been given the honor of Georgia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

A statement by the Georgian Olympic Committee said Georgia was sending a team of 19 people to Sochi. These included four athletes, Olympic Committee President Leri Khabelovi and 14 other Committee members.