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The News in Brief

Friday, November 14
Lasha Tordia: We have questions for the Defense Ministry

Auditor General Lasha Tordia has said the State Audit Office started to study the financial activities of the Defense Ministry by the Ministry’s request.

According to Tordia, the State Audit Office received a written request during Irakli Alasania’s term in office.

"We started to check the Defense Ministry on July 7, 2013. We are checking the period of 2011, 2012 and 2013. The State Audit Office received a written request for it during Irakli Alasania’s term in office," said Lasha Tordia. According to the Auditor General, the materials raise questions with regard to some purchases carried out both during and before Alasania’s term of office.

"We have questions with regard to some purchases carried out both during and before Alasania’s term in office, but our materials are not related to the so-called cable or soldiers’ meal provision cases", said the Auditor General. According to him, the materials have already been sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. Audit of the agency will end in about month and a half.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013 the Defense Ministry was led by Bacho Akhalaia, Dimitri Shashkini and Irakli Alasania. (IPN)

“We are concerned about the persecution of Georgia’s former political leaders”

We are concerned about the persecution of Georgia’s former political leaders, Denmark's Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said on Wednesday at a briefing with Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili.“We are concerned about the persecution of former political leaders; we hope that it will be possible to highlight areas, within which we will be able to assist Georgia”, Martin Lidegaard said. (Frontnews)

Pankisi Gorge: President’s Adviser visits challenging region

The President Adviser in ethnical minority issues visited the Pankisi Gorge, a valley mainly inhabited by the Kist sub-ethnos in northeastern Georgia that bordered the Chechnyan republic of the Russian Federation on November 13. Sophie Shamanidi spoke to locals about the problems they faced and were most concerned about. Pankisi elders said unemployment was a major problem which had resulted in an exodus of the youth from the region. High unemployment and a lack of opportunities were believed to be the reasons behind the trend to leave the gorge – the area that once sheltered rebels from the Russians during the Chechen wars. The Pankisi Gorge remained one of the most challenging areas for Georgia. In 2003 it was a place of major military engagement where a special operation involving police and US-trained special forces were required to repress the threats of Al-Qaeda. The gorge was also home to Tarkhan Batirashvili - also known as Abu Omar al-Shishani, a military leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).It has been reported that a growing number of young men from the Pankisi Valley have recently left the region to join ISIS.

Meanwhile today Shamanidi also visited schools in the area and listened to teacher’s problems. She also met the Council of Elders of Pankisi and discussed the ways of solving the unemployment problem with them."We need to implement projects which will give new opportunities to the gorge’s youth and prevent them from leaving the area,” Shamanidi said.Earlier, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili visited the Gorge. On his visit he told the locals the Government was working on a special program for the Pankisi Gorge which aimed to create better living conditions there. (

TSU rector speaks out

TSU Rector Vladimir Papava links the accusations made against him with his statements regarding the cemetery and the construction of the gas station near the University premises.

"When the academic and the representative councils and I made several statements regarding the state funding, issues related to the cemetery and the construction of the gas station, I knew from my own experience that some pointless accusations would be made against me. Everything is not perfectly arranged in the University yet; there were some problems, but our goal is to solve the problems in accordance with the law and not through repression. It is obvious that this gas station should not be built near the University. My dignity is more important to me than my position. I have never been accused of corruption; now, I have to respond to these accusations made against me. I require maximum support from the government. As for the persons who are carrying out the above-said campaign against me, if I were not a rector, I would announce their surnames", - Papava said. Papava has protested building of gas station near one of the university buildings. He has stated that constructing the station was risky and the area should have been used for the students’ needs. (

UNM Wants Parliament Resolution on Russia’s ‘Attempt to Annex’ Abkhazia

Less than a month after the Parliament adopted a statement condemning Russia’s “attempt to annex occupied Abkhazia” through a new treaty currently negotiated between Sokhumi and Moscow, lawmakers from opposition UNM party called on the legislative body to pass a resolution on the same issue. NM’s push for a Parliament resolution comes few days before its planned rally in Tbilisi center on November 15 to protest against, what it calls, Georgian government’s inaction amid Russia’s “attempt to annex” Georgia’s breakaway region. UNM also runs TV ads about its planned rally. Speaking at a parliamentary session on November 12, UNM MP Nugzar Tsiklauri said that November 15 will mark the launch of a “decisive struggle” against government’s “capitulationist” policy vis-a-vis Russia. Wearing white t-shirts reading “No to Annexation” and “November 15”, UNM lawmakers at a parliamentary session on November 12 tried in vain to put the draft resolution directly in Wednesday’s agenda of Parliament’s work, but their demand was rejected as the proposal has yet to go through other procedures, including parliamentary committee hearing, before it is put for discussion at a plenary session. When on October 17 the Parliament adopted the statement proposed by GD ruling coalition, UNM refused to support it and instead pushed for its draft resolution, which was calling for Georgia’s withdrawal from informal bilateral talks with Russia. UNM MPs said on November 12 that their new draft resolution was “balanced” and “moderate”, which should not cause any major divergence of opinions among the lawmakers. (