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The News in Brief

Wednesday, July 23
Georgia pays tribute to victims of flight MH17

Georgia is joining the world in offering its condolences to the Dutch nation and all families of those who were on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine, close to the border with Russia.

To show Georgia’s support, a book of condolence has been put in place at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Georgia.

Since the July 17 tragedy, Georgian nationals have written in the book and expressed their sadness and sympathies to the Dutch nation and all on board the ill-fated flight.

"It was awful tragedy and we care immensely about the families and relatives of those who died in the accident,” Ambassador of the Netherlands to Georgia Hans Horbach said.

"We opened the book of condolence on Friday and many Georgian politicians and citizens have come and expressed their sympathy. I would like to thank them for their support,” Ambassador Horbach said.

Meanwhile in a further show of support, groups representing Georgian non-governmental organizations gathered at the Embassy of Ukraine in Georgia and stood in solidarity.

The Boeing 777 was brought down over Ukrainian territory, controlled by pro-Russian separatists, after it was hit by a surface-to-air missile. The plane was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was carrying 298 passengers and crew.

There were no survivors among the 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

The victims included 192 Dutch, 29 Malaysians, 28 Australians, 12 Indonesians, 10 Britons, four Germans, four Belgians, three Vietnamese, three Filipinos and one person each from the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

BBC reports the bodies of the victims were being placed into bags and loaded into refrigerated trains, which were now parked at Torez train station in eastern Ukraine. Dutch investigators had reached the train station and were examining the bodies. (

Three foreign prosecutors invited to Georgia

The Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia will set up a group of foreign experts - three distinguished criminal experts and former prosecutors, Sir Geoffrey Nice, Moshe Lador and Paul Coffey have arrived in Georgia under the invitation of the office of the prosecutor. The experts from Yugoslavia, Israel and the United States were former prosecutors and high rank officials in the past in their countries who had worked on the high-profile cases and the cases of senior officials in the past. The foreign prosecutors will share their experience to Georgian specialists. (Rustavi 2)

Head of Tbilisi City Hall’s Property Management Agency charged with abuse of power

Head of Tbilisi City Hall’s Property Management Agency Davit Chedia is charged with abuse of power.

According to the statement released by the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, Davit Chedia’s obligation is to privatize real estate property of the capital and to discuss issues related to it.

The case is about Gudauri Ski Resort case. “Investigation is in progress under article 332, part I of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisages imprisonment of up to 3 years” says the statement of the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Finance. (Frontnews)

Green concert against maximum resource extraction

What connects the Khudoni hydro power project, a prehistoric gold mine, shrinking green areas in Tbilisi and human rights abuses in the mining industry? They are all problems caused by the government’s economic policy, according to the youth group Green Fist. Green Fist has gathered together over the last year to protect people, nature and heritage. The Khudoni, Sakdrisi, and Kazreti cases are problems caused by a policy to extract resources to the max, they argue. (DF Watch.)At a demonstration in Tbilisi on Sunday, the young environmentalists brought colorful banners and other paraphernalia to highlight what they see as the root cause of such diverse issues: a policy to extract natural resources at maximum speed, disregarding the impact on health and safety, social conditions, nature and heritage. The youth gathered in Vake Park, marched down Chavchavadze Avenue and to Mziuri Park, where a concert was organized. It’s the second time Green Fist holds a demonstration against the policy of maximum resource extraction. On the same day last year, they gathered in Deda Ena Park, which activists say was the first demonstration of its kind in Georgia. Spokesperson Mariam Gurgenidze tells DF Watch that there is slight improvement in some of the issues they have been working with, but still many things need to be changed in the country when it comes to protecting the environment and cultural heritage, as well as workers’ rights.

Gurgenidze says they have been joined by many new people in the last year. Addressing specific problems, she says there has been no change so far in the social problem in Kazreti, a small mining town in the south of Georgia. Many of the people living there work in the gold and copper mines, and this year almost the entire town went on strike to protest against working conditions, low salaries and the firing of tens of employees. Mariam says people’s attitude has changed and locals have begun to be more forceful about ecological problems in their local surroundings. Positive changes are seen also in the threat to an ancient gold mine called Sakdrisi, which was in danger of being destroyed by a Russian mining company.“We still don’t know what will happen to it, but currently the situation seems in favor of Sakdrisi,” she tells us, adding that during the year more people have learned about these problems and started to care.“The less rallies will be necessary to conduct in the future, the happier we will be.” (DF Watch)