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The News in Brief

Monday, August 22
Burjanadze Meets Russia’s State Duma Speaker in Moscow

Nino Burjanadze, leader of the Democratic Movement party, met with Russia’s State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin in Moscow on August 17.

“Prospects of bilateral relations between Russia and Georgia, as well as the situation in the Black Sea and South Caucasus region, were discussed,” the State Duma’s press office said.

It was Burjanadze’s fourth visit to Russia for talks with Russian officials since July 2015.

Burjanadze’s campaign for the October 8 parliamentary elections centres on the proposal to give Georgia “non-bloc status”, implying “rejecting the joining any kind of military blo,c be it NATO or any other military alliance.”

“This meeting [with Naryshkin] has shown once again how important it is to have direct dialogue with senior Russian officials. I assure you that after the elections I will spare no effort to have high-level dialogue with Russia,” Burjanadze told journalists upon arrival back from Moscow.

200 tons of produce enters Akhalgori every day

Every day, about 200 tons of agricultural products are brought from Georgia into the Akhalgori district of South Ossetia, Sputnik Ossetia reports.

Akhalgori is a part of the breakaway region which was under Georgian control until the war in 2008. Many people cross here on a daily basis, through the checkpoint at Mosabruni, or Razdćxćn in the Ossetian language.

But until now, the extent of this flow of people and goods has not been measured. This is because the border guards are not performing custom checks here, and neither tracking the number of people nor volume of goods.

But recently, the breakaway region’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozaev instructed a representative of the Interior Ministry of the de facto republic in Akhalgori, or Leningor, district to find out why agricultural products from Georgia to South Ossetia are sold three to four times more expensive.

The border guards were instructed to carry out monitoring for a week and write their findings in a report.

The conclusion was that every day, about 700 people cross the Mosabruni checkpoint, which has been in operation since 2010. According to Sputnik Ossetia, the people who cross are mostly vendors who bring fruits and vegetables from Georgia in order to sell it in Akhalgori.
(DF watch)

The California of the Caucasus – New York Times on Tbilisi

The New York Times has published a long article about Georgia entitled ‘The California of the Caucasus.

The article begins with U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly’s words: “When I was studying in Leningrad in the ’70s,” says Ambassador Ian C. Kelly, currently stationed in Georgia, “a group of us were taken to Tbilisi. Arriving there was like arriving in Oz — suddenly everything went from black and white to colour.”

The article reads about Tbilisi’s ancient culture, thermal baths and quality meals.

‘Having survived civil war in the early ’90s, then a peaceful, pro-Western revolution in the aughts, Tbilisi has rebounded mightily, and newfound ambition is visible everywhere,’ reads the article.

Global Innovation Index: Georgia promoted to 64th place

Georgia is now enjoying a better position in the Global Innovation Index thanks to the country’s recent push in innovation-oriented policies and opening of new facilities that support entrepreneurship and creativity.

The annual Global Innovation Index (GII), published this week, ranked Georgia 64th out of 128 countries. This was a promotion of nine places compared to last year’s results, where Georgia positioned in 73rd place.

The Global Innovation Index ranked the innovation capacity and performance of 128 countries and economies around the world, based on 82 indicators.

“The Government of Georgia invests heavily and pays huge attention to developing innovations and technologies in the country. There are number of interesting projects that have been implementing in Georgia that contribute to the development of innovations,” said head of Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency Irakli Kashibadze.

Georgia's Innovation and Technology Agency, Technology Park, Start-up Georgia and different laboratories have opened recently that each promotes innovative projects. As a result Georgia enjoys a better position in the international rankings,” he added.

The GII was annually published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and evaluated countries according to various criteria such as innovation orientation, economic growth and business development.

Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US) and Finland retained the top five positions in the GII survey, as they did last year.

Meanwhile Turkey was ranked 42nd, Russia was 43rd and Ukraine gained a ranking of 56th. Armenia placed 60th while Azerbaijan ranked 85th.