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The News in Brief

Thursday, December 10
Georgian journalists attend media forum in Moscow

Georgian journalists have attended a European-Asian media forum in Moscow. Proprietor of The Georgian Times Malkhaz Gulashvili and Editor-in-Chief of Arsenali magazine Irakli Aladashvili were among the attendees.

The featured guest of the forum was Russian President Dimitri Medvedev, who was asked by Georgian guests about the possible resumption of flights between Georgia and Russia, and the reopening of the Russian export market to Georgian goods. Medvedev stated once again that he is not going to resume diplomatic ties with the current Georgian administration but has never thought of severing ties with the Georgian people.

“I think that direct flights between the countries and the opening of the Larsi Checkpoint are absolutely normal themes to discuss. I do not see any obstacles in these respects because they concern ordinary peoples’ interests,” Medvedev said. (Rustavi 2)

Families say the Red Cross is not helping them

The families of the two Georgian boys still held in detention in Tskhinvali have said that the International Committee of the Red Cross has not offered to help them visit their children. The mothers of Levan Khmiadashvili and Viktor Buchukuri say that, “If they tell us they can help us see them we will arrange a meeting together with Khmiadashvili’s family,” Eka Buchukuri said.

“Representatives of the International Red Cross were with us 2 days ago, but they did not say anything about this. If they will help us we will go to Tskhinvali and see our children,” Sophio Tetunashvili, Levan Khmiadashvili’s mother, said.

The Tskhinvali regime has said that the parents of both detained children will have the right to see them between December 9 and December 12. (Rustavi 2)

Another court hearing for Georgian sailors in Manila

The hearing of the case of 13 Georgian sailors has finished in Manila without a verdict being reached, however the Georgian-Philippine Business and Friendship Association hopes that the sailors will be freed soon, its founder Levan Akhvlediani has told Interpressnews.

Akhvlediani noted that according to the information from Manila the Georgians were questioned on December 8; and the hearing of two captains of the vessel they worked on, Lawrence Bence and Bruce Jones, is scheduled for December 16. Philippine Minister of Foreign Affairs Alberto Romero has already conducted some meetings on this issue, and if further hearings are not postponed the Batumi-based sailors will be released soon.

A vessel sailing under the Panamanian flag with 13 Georgians on board was detained on August 17. According to reports the ship was illegally transporting weapons. (Interpressnews)

H1N1 related medical services will be free for Tbilisi residents

Tbilisi Mayor Gifgi Ugulave stated at a press conference on Wednesday that H1N1 flu-related medical services will be free for Tbilisi residents.

“Tbilisi City Hall has decided to provide funds for the clinics so that doctors can allow citizens use this service free instead of paying GEL 12-20. In order to achieve this, City Hall will pay each doctor an additional GEL 225 and each clinic an additional GEL 50,” stated Ugulava.

According to the Mayor the free service will cover only flu cases. 1,000 doctors will serve Tbilisi residents for four months.

The H1N1 virus has been identified in 370 flu cases. Georgian Healthcare Minister Alexander Kvitashvili stated at a press conference on Tuesday that “Georgia is on the border of an epidemic, however there is no reason to panic.” (Interpressnews)