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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Monday, January 28

“The opposition coalition met with a delegation from Finland”

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that opposition coalition leaders, after meeting with a Finnish delegation in Tbilisi on January 24, told media the delegation would bring fair reports on the January 5 presidential election back to Finland.

Conservative leader Kakha Kukava said his colleagues in the opposition coalition, while meeting with the Finnish delegation, brought up their allegation that the presidential election was rigged.

“Regarding the parliamentary elections scheduled in the spring, the world would witness an enormous risk of destabilization if they are fraudulent like the presidential election was,” Kukava is quoted as saying.

“Ex-president Eduard Shevardnadze turned 80”

Former president Eduard Shevardnadze turned 80 on January 25, according to Akhali Taoba.

The octogenarian ex-Soviet foreign minister celebrated the day with close friends and family.

“I don’t like noisy events,” Shevardnadze said. “My grandchildren wanted to celebrate this birthday in a Tbilisi theater, but I categorically opposed the suggestion.”

“Presentation of the Strategic Defense Review held”

Rezonansi carries a slightly rewritten press release on the Defense Ministry’s January 24 presentation of the Strategic Defense Review.

Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kutelia presided over the event, speaking on the importance of the review, which is meant to exhaustively document the state and needs of the Georgian military.

“This is an unprecedented example of transparency. No NATO member state has published a similar [strategy defense review],” Kutelia said.

Program Manager of the Georgia Defense Reform Program Ronald S. Mangum also commented upon the issue.

“The Strategic Defense Review is extremely important for Georgia,” Ronald S. Mangum, Georgia Defense Reform program manager said. “Not because of NATO, but because this is the foundation of the growth of modern and transformed military force for Georgia.”

“Georgian kidnapped in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone”

Sakartvelos Respublika claims that Taler Badzaghua, an ethnic Georgian in the Abkhaz conflict zone village of Kochara, was kidnapped on January 26.

Badzaghua is reportedly involved in the lucrative hazelnut business. The newspaper cites rumors that the man was kidnapped by three assailants who are now demanding ransom from his family.