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The News in Brief

Friday, January 15
Minister of Internal Affairs holds meeting with the Director of the Middle East Regional Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Giorgi Mghebrishvili held a meeting with the Director of the Middle East Regional Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Mr. Kyle Williamson.

Minister Mghebrishvili informed Mr. Williamson about accomplished and ongoing reforms at the Ministry related to combating drugs. The Minister noted that the fight against drug related crime remains one of the MIA’s top priorities.

Both parties positively assessed the cooperation that was established between the DEA and Georgian law enforcement agencies in recent years and discussed ways to further deepen the existing relations.

Mr. Mghebrishvili emphasized the importance of joint efforts and training to successfully fight drug crime. The Minister extended his gratitude to the representatives of the DEAD for their fruitful and close cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. (

Tbilisi TV Tower lights up for Lithuania

Tonight, Tbilisi’s iconic TV Tower will be illuminated in yellow, green and red to mark Lithuanian Freedom Defenders' Day, commemorating victims of Soviet aggression in 1991.

A number of events have been scheduled in the Georgian capital city to mark the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Defenders’ Day today.

To mark the date, a special discussion featuring Georgia’s Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili, Vice Speaker Giorgi Baramidze and writer Davit Turashvili at the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia at 5pm.

Symbolising Georgia’s solidarity to the people of Lithuania, Tbilisi’s TV Tower will be illuminated in the colours of the Lithuanian flag from 7pm to 9pm this evening.

The day will be concluded with Georgia’s Public Broadcaster airing an interview with Vytautas Landsbergis, who held the role of Chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament during the January Events. A documentary entitled Freedom’s Trajectory by Lithuanian and Swiss directors will also be broadcast.

Each year on 13 January, Lithuania marks Freedom Defenders' Day to honour the memory of those killed by the Soviet Army in Vilnius in 1991.

On January 13, 1991, the Soviet Union used force to overthrow Lithuania's legitimate government which had declared the country's independence on March 11, 1990. More than 1,000 unarmed Lithuanian civilians were injured and 14 were killed during an attempt by the Soviet army and Special Forces to take over the Vilnius TV Tower.

Although the Soviet troops managed to seize control of the TV Tower and the Radio and Television building of Lithuania, they did not dare attack the thousands of people who guarded the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania.

The Lithuanian Embassy to Georgia said that January 13 was comparable to the incident in Georgia on April 9 1989, when at least twenty people were tragically killed as Soviet troops attacked peaceful protesters in Tbilisi.

Earlier this afternoon, Parliament Speaker Usupashvili and the Lithuanian Ambassador to Georgia Giedrius Puodziunas laid a wreath at the memorial of the April 9 victims in Tbilisi. (

Ukraine to send first train via Georgia

On January 15, 2016, Ukraine will send its first train via Georgia. As BBC reports, the cargo train will bring Ukrainian goods to Middle Asia and bypass Russia’s territory.

Apart from Georgia, the railway route crosses Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

According to BBC, Ukrainain PM Arseny Yatseniuk announced the train’s journey during a governmental session. He said that the train will cross both the Black and Caspian seas.

The train will depart from the town of Ilichevsk, near Odessa. Ferries will be used in order to cross the Black Sea and the Caspian. (

Georgian airports served 12% more passengers in 2015

Georgian airports served 12 percent more passengers in 2015 than the previous year, according to figures published on Tuesday by the Aviation Agency of the Ministry of Economy.

Airports in Georgia served a record 2,261,006 passengers in 2015, according to the report.

Usage of Georgian air space also increased by 6.60 percent. The total number of flights in 2015 was 123,364. The number of regular and charter flights increased by 4.53 percent. 11,409 regular and 2,259 charter flights in 2015.

1,847,111 passengers passed through Tbilisi airport, which was 17.25 percent more than last year. Batumi airport served 226,476 passengers – 5.91 percent more than in 2014. The airport in Mestia, in northern Georgia, hosted 232 percent more than in 2014.

The number of passengers at Kutaisi’s airport was reduced by 35,049 and totaled 182,954. The agency explains this was due to Wizz Air’s cancellation of flights to Ukraine.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, there were 7 percent more visitors to the country in 2015, in total 5,897,685 people. (