Georgia News

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A landslide caused by heavy rains which have hit eastern Georgia has cut communication lines with 18 Georgian villages. The population of the stricken region are experiencing a lack of food supplies, water and medical aid.

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On the initiative of the department of tourism and resorts of the city of Akhaltzihe and the UK-Georgian chamber of trade, Akhaltzihe and Newcastle will sign a memorandum on cooperation, Georgia Online reports. The document provides for study and cultural exchange programs and joint assistance to small business developments.The mayor of Newcastle is on a visit to Akhaltzihe. It is expected that she will be granted the title of honorary citizen, during the celebrations marking the Day of the City.

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No chief on the squares

The authorities have finally found the courage to dismantle monuments of Iosif Stalin from the main squares of Gori and Tkibuli.

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The Georgian parliament will hold a presentation of the program "Strengthening of the Parliament" under the National Democratic Institute (NDI) project today, Trend reports. As part of the event, the Georgian parliament and the U.S. government will sign a memorandum of understanding. The presentation will be attended by US Ambassador to Georgia John Bass, who will speak at the presentation. Georgian Parliamentary Speaker David Bakradze and director of the NDI Georgia Branch Luis Navarro will also speak at the event.

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Tbilisi will start negotiations on July 15th on associate membership of Georgia in the EU. Georgia expects the arrival of a high-ranking delegation from the EU, Mikhail Saakashvili said on Tuesday at a session of the National Security Council of Georgia, Interfax reports.He also said that they plan talks on the free-market agreement with EU in autumn. Saakashvili recalled that Georgia and the EU have an agreement simplifying the visa regime between them, which comes into force in the second half of 2010.

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Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said at a session of theGeorgian National Security Council that Georgia is ready forhigh-level negotiations with Russia on normalizing bilateralrelations, without any pre-conditions. But Saakashvili sees thenegotiations as decisive – Russia must leave South Ossetia andAbkhazia.According to Saakashvili, normalization can be understood asreturning 500,000 refugees to South Ossetia and Abkhazia and restoringtheir citizenship. Russia is expected to leave the part of Georgianterritory it occupies.

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Georgia will soon receive the first grant for the establishment of solar energy systems under the program "Implementation of clean energy by means of solar energy", reports Business Georgia. Under the agreement, Japan will allot $5.2 million to the project.

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Georgian winemaking companies have rejected the proposal of uniting under common brand. A month ago the Georgian minister for agriculture called on winemakers to take this step in order to strengthen the position of Georgian wines on the EU markets, Business Georgia reports.The negotiations on this issue between the leading winemakers of Georgia have reached a dead-end. Meanwhile, the World Bank has also urged Georgia to create a common brand, which will represent thecountry abroad.

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Heavy smoke in the building of the Georgian Defence Ministry in Tbilisi has been cleared. The Tbilisi Emergency Situations Service said there was no fire, only heavy smoke, which caused panic. Fifteen fire engines were involved at the scene and the area around the Defence Ministry building was surrounded by police patrols.Defense Ministry employees were evacuated and still cannot enter the building.According to the Emergency Service, it turned out that the strong smoke emerged from the ventilation system after incorrect welding operations were conducted.

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Recent changes in the Georgian government have resulted in changes in the 2010 Georgian budget, reports GeorgianTimes. According to the amendments, the culture ministry's budget will amount to 55 million lari, and the sports ministry's - 29 million lari.Funds allotted to the Ministry of the Economy will be increased by 23 million lari, as new departments have been included into its structure.

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The Constitutional Court of Georgia has approved the action brought by Georgi Tugushi, an ombudsman. People who do not have Georgian citizenship have the right to apply to the Constitutional Court of Georgia as of that moment. In the opinion of the ombudsman, such a restriction contravenes the 42nd article of the Georgian constitution on citizens' right to go to law.

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Starting from the new school year the English language will be taught in Georgian schools by native speakers. According to the Minister for Education, Dmitrii Shashkin, 50 English-speaking teachers will arrive in Georgia in July, Georgia Online reports.He also noted that the teachers are from the US, Canada, the UK and New Zealand.

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A new deputy foreign minister has been appointed in Georgia - Tornika Gorgadze will become the sixth assistant of the Georgian minister, reports Novosti Georgia."Another post of deputy minister has been established within the foreign ministry" deputy minister David Dzhalaganiya said.Gorgadze will supervise European issues, as he is a well-known political analyst in France.

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Russia has satisfied Georgian foreign minister Grigol Vashadze's application to be divested of Russian citizenship, Rosbalt reports.The decision was made on June 23rd 2010 and will come into legal force on July 23rd 2010.Earlier in 2009 some Russian parliamentarians proposed Vashadze abandon his Russian citizenship and he has applied personally to President Vladimir Putin.

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Georgia is not going to change its view on Russia's entering the World Trade Organisation, reports Georgia online, citing the leader of the parliamentary majority, Georgii Gabashvili.Georgia insists on regaining customs control over the checkpoints at the Rokskii tunnel and Psou, which are currently controlled by the authorities of the unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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The Georgian Airline company "Airzena" has applied to the Russian transportation agency 'Rosaviatsiya' for permission to carry out flights between Tbilisi and Moscow, Sochi, Rostov-on-Don, Kavminvodi, Samara and Ekaterinburg. Moreover, the company is ready to carry out flights on the Moscow-Kutaisi route. According to the application, the company will use SAAB 340B and Fokker 70 aircraft.

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New law passed in Georgia

The ‘United National Movement’, the Georgian party that won the elections on May 30th with 66% of the votes, has initiated a tax reform.

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The 33th World Congress of Vine and Wine, in which more than 300 participants from 42 countries took part, has finished today in Tbilisi, Business-Georgia reports.The director of the International Organization of Vine and Wine, Federico Castelucci, elaborated on the main tendencies of the world market of wine-making.

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In the Georgian town of Tkibuli a three metre high statue of Joseph Stalin has been dismantled, Interfax reports.This monument had already been taken down in the beginning of the 90's by the government of president Zviad Gamsakhurdia, but it was re-estated at the end of 90's, while Eduard Shevarnadze was in power.

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