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The News in Brief

Monday, September 8
Chuck Hagel visits Georgia

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Georgia on Sunday.

The US Embassy’s Facebook page says Hagel wishes to thank the Georgian people for their sacrifices and contribution to the missions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition, within the framework of the visit, Chuck Hagel will meet with the representatives of the government of Georgia.

More compensation for victims of Soviet Union repressions

Thousands of Georgian victims of Soviet Union repressions could receive additional financial compensation, officials announced this afternoon.

Georgian lawmakers approved a draft law that would see the Government increase compensation for victims of the Soviet Union regime increase from 200 GEL to 2,000 GEL. This decision was made at today’s Governmental meeting.

"This draft law is [protects] the rights of victims of repression during the Soviet era. It affects about 8,000 people, including the elderly who were tortured and became victims of the Soviet regime,” Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani said.

Current law stated a person may be considered a victim of political repression if they were victims of a variety of violence including death, imprisonment, torture, exile, forced psychiatric treatment or other anytime from 1921 to 1990, when the Soviet Union collapsed. Most victims were now elderly.

The Government said the additional financial aid was a way officials could express their respect toward affected individuals.

Minister Tsulukiani said two people had applied to the Strasbourg Court in 2010 for compensation for the unlawful action against them, won their cases, which resulted in Georgia being instructed to change its law.

Meanwhile people can apply in Tbilisi City Court for the additional financial compensation. If a person lived in West Georgia or were unable to go to Tbilisi, they are able to apply for the compensation at the Kutaisi Court.

Since 2011, those affected by Soviet repression were able to apply to a court of law to claim financial compensation.

French Navy Ship Makes Port Visit in Batumi

French navy ship, Commandant Birot (F 796), is visiting Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi on September 6-8.

Joint diver training exercises with the Georgian coast guard officers will be held, according to the Georgian officials.

This is the third French navy ship making a port visit in Georgia this year.

Light stealth frigate FS Surcouf visited Batumi in mid-July and intelligence-gathering ship Dupuy de Lome made a port visit also in Batumi in late April.

PM accuses media of misleading public on crime growth

The Georgian Prime Minister has accused Georgian TV media of misleading the public by deliberately causing hysteria regarding the surge of crime in the country. Irakli Gharibashvili announced at the meeting of the Cabinet today that the crimes are under the control of law enforcement, who work non-stop to provide safety in the country.

“During the past two-three days I have seen a campaign of hysteria on Georgian television, where this issue is promoted deliberately - I want to touch on the issue of alleged crime growth. With full responsibility, I am declaring that the situation is absolutely stable in the country from the point of view of law enforcement. The Interior Minister and the whole staff of the ministry are entirely motivated. The police officers work 24-hours and their work is immeasurable indeed,” the Prime Minister said.

Wind storm and hail inflict serious damage in Kakheti Region

Last night`s windstorm and hail has inflicted serious damage onto some parts of the Kakheti Region. The wind unroofed one of the block of apartments in the Dedoplistskaro municipality, affecting 32 families residing in the block. The removed roof fell down falling and affecting two vehicles parked in the yard.

Rescue officers and the local municipal authorities went to the disaster area and announced that the repair works would start the next day; however, it has not been clarified whether the damaged vehicles will be also repaired with municipal funds.

The disaster has also affected Telavi municipality - hail and heavy rain destroyed vineyards in the villages of Saniore and Napareuli and the Kvareli municipality`s village of Shilda. The ten-minute hail damaged about 100 tones of grape harvest.

The municipal government says that the government will organize the sale of the damaged harvest; arguably, a state-run company Gruzvinprom` will buy the damaged harvest from the farmers.

The U.S. is developing plans to support states on Russia’s periphery, particularly Moldova and Georgia – White House

The U.S. is developing plans to support states on Russia’s periphery, particularly Moldova and Georgia, the White House statement says.

“U.S. support to NATO Partners typically falls into three categories: (1) direct security assistance, (2) training and exercises, or (3) long term institutional reform. We have actively engaged in each of these areas for Ukraine, and measures are underway to intensify support for Moldova and Georgia”, the statement says.

“We are also developing plans to support other states on Russia’s periphery, particularly Moldova and Georgia. In addition to high-level engagements, we plan to intensify security assistance over the longer term. If funded, the U.S. European Reassurance Initiative will include provisions for increased assistance to build capacity in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia to provide for their own defense and increase interoperability with Western forces. In addition, here in Wales the Alliance announced a number of new initiatives in our engagement with Georgia. Finally, we are working closely with NATO to develop more robust assistance and engagement programs for these three nations”, the statement says.