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The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 16
Giant tree-moving operation halted as Ivanishvili inspects site

Ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili halted work at Tsikhisdziri on Saturday, where three giant trees are being prepared to be carried by ship and replanted in a garden further north on the Black Sea coast.

An environmental group joined by United National Movement activists tried to stop the work a few days ago.

Inspecting the site Saturday morning, Ivanishvili said that he thinks all the documentation for the moving operation is in order, but will have it checked and if something is found to be wrong, work will be halted.

“I purchased this tree. To be exact, the Zimo company, which I have ties to, bought them,” the former PM explained.

The United National Movement party, which brought up the tree-moving issue in two parliamentary committees this week, claimed that the police are acting on orders from Ivanishvili when clearing away its party activists, but the former PM denied this.

The UNM wants him to spend the money on planting new trees, instead of moving old ones.

“You have no right to tell me what to do,” Ivanishvili hit back.

Later the same day, Zimo director Zurab Kiknadze told journalists that work has been suspended temporarily. He claimed that the company has all its documents in order and is ready to submit them. But still, he continued, the company lacks a document from the land owner, who is not a citizen of Georgia.

“His company is registered in Panama, and we aren’t able to find the owner. The territory from the railway to the beach belongs to him,” Kiknadze explained.

The trees were sold as movable objects, he continued.

“Mr Ivanishvili asked us to stop work. He told us to clear out everything and sort out the situation. As soon as everything is in order we will continue.”
(DF watch)

Another Georgian detained in so-called South Ossetia

Another Georgian has been detained in the occupied South Ossetia region. According to the so-called security committee, a Rustavi resident, born in 1974, has been detained.

According to the so-called committee, a resident of the Dmenisi village has found out the Rustavi resident planned to arrive in Tkshinvali bus station and decided to hand him over to the law enforcement agency.

An investigation has been launched. The so-called committee reports the detained crossed the so-called border on February 13.

Georgian Govt no longer intends to buy additional electricity for de-facto Abkhazia

As per Georgia’s Deputy Energy Minister Mariam Valishvili, the Georgian government no longer intends to buy additional electricity to meet the needs of Abkhazia.

"Certain restrictions have been imposed on the Enguri HPP. We are not going to import electricity to Georgia at the expense of our consumers. Should we supply the Russian military bases and their families with electricity from Georgia? This will no longer continue. Today, the Georgian side pays $ 100 million for the Enguri HPP," Mariam Valishvili said. As per Levan Mebonia, General Director of the Enguri HPP, if the issue of energy consumption is not settled in Abkhazia, the region may be left without electricity after two years.

Six Georgian wrestlers accused of doping

Six members of Georgia’s wrestlers’ team have been accused of doping. As reports, they are still being checked and the number of possible drugs cheats may increase.

The wrestlers' names have not been released yet. Georgia’s anti-doping agency will send them the examination results today. The athletes will then be able to appeal the results.

Most of the accused are winners or runner-ups of the Georgian championship this year. If they are proved to have cheated, they all will be deprived of their medals, have their salaries suspended and be prohibited from taking part in championships.