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The News in Brief

Tuesday, June 23
Animal rights activist demand to shut down Tbilisi Zoo

A group of animal rights activists demonstrated Sunday outside City Hall in Tbilisi, demanding to shut down the zoo, after a flood killed more than 50 percent of the animals held there, whilst others escaped.

The demonstration was organized by Vegan Georgia and a few dozen people carried posters saying ‘Zoo is jail’ and ‘We don’t want a zoo’.

Activists believe zoos are just for entertainment and that animals are made to suffer. It is possible to study about animals from the Internet, they argue.

The activists believe the zoo in Tbilisi offered the animals terrible conditions, and should have been shut down years ago.

They also think the best solution would be to create an animal reserve outside of Tbilisi, where they will have proper conditions.

Even though only up to 30 people came to the protest, an online petition has gathered more than 1,500 signatures demanding the shut down of the zoo.

“In a country where animals can’t be treated right there should notbe any zoo,” the statement reads. “Beasts shouldn’t spend their lives in the city when they are meant to be in the tropics or tundra.”

When it comes to the animals that escaped from the zoo on the night of disaster, one tiger and one hyena are still missing. Over the last few days, there have been tens of reports to the emergency call centre from citizens suspecting that they have seen an animal, but none of them were proven correct.

Two days ago, a white tiger, that also escaped the zoo, attacked a man working in a warehouse, who died from his injuries. The tiger was put down.

The Georgian government is now considering the possibility of building a new zoo at a location next to Tbilisi Sea, the largest lake near the capital.
(DF Watch)

Local gov't employs taxi driver who carried Tbilisi flood volunteers for free

A 24-year-old taxi driver in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi has been praised by authorities for his selflessness in the aftermath of the deadly flood.

Private taxi driver Giorgi Lomidze was offered employment by the local government in recognition of his service to the community in the days following the June 13 flash flood.

Lomidze accepted the employment offer with Tbilisi Natdzaladevi Gamgeoba, a local self-governor body of one of Tbilisi districts.

Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania took the young man to his new office and presented him to other staff.

Lomidze offered his taxi services free of charge to Tbilisi flood volunteers for six days. He parked his car near the flooded areas and offered free transport to any volunteer who helped clean the damaged streets.

Lomidze did not even ask for fuel, his passengers said.

Giorgi Lomidze's car. The caption says "Free taxi for volunteers".

"Everyone did whatever they could do for our city,” Lomidze said.

"I could not work physically so I did what I could. I don’t think it was a big deal,” said the driver who was reluctant to take credit for this.

Lomidze has worked as a private taxi driver for about two years.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili praised the young man’s efforts and his civic devotion and responsibility at a special press briefing where the PM summed up the cleaning activities after the major flooding.

He asked Tbilisi's Mayor to employ Lomidze and stressed the young man’s behaviour was "generous”.

Lomidze’s new role at Natdzaladevi Gamgeoba will be to monitor the implementation process of the projects that are currently being implemented in the district.

"Giorgi knows this part of Tbilisi very well and his work will be very beneficial for our city,” the mayor said.

Hundreds of Georgians volunteered to help affected families and clean the city’s streets after June 13 deadly flash flood in Tbilisi’s Vake-Saburtalo district.

Spades and gloves were in short supply in Georgia’s capital after volunteers gathered in the city centre and started cleaning the mud-drenched streets.

Georgian gymnast wins bronze medal in European Games

Georgian gymnast Salome Pazhava has won a bronze medal in First European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Salome Pazhava presented an original dance to audience. Her performance included a number of Georgian dance movements.

European Games are being held in Baku on June 12-28, 2015. More than 6 000 athletes from 6 national olympic committees are taking part in the games.