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The News in Brief

Friday, December 21
Financial Inspection of Rustavi 2 is not Planned – Nodar Khaduri

The Minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri claims that Nika Gvaramia’s arrest is not connected to his directorship of the Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company.

“An investigation has been launched into the issue and the Court will make a decision about the sentence. The Investigative Department of the Ministry of Finance is interested in Nika Gvaramia’s activities in relation to bribery about tax agreements. The same kind of tax agreement was made with Rustavi 2 TV for around 24 million lari.” Nodar Khaduri said.

Khaduri claims that an audit of Rustavi 2 is not planned as the Ministry of Finance has complete information about the activities of all tax payers. He said the previous government violated the competitive environment when it “forgave” the 24 million lari in taxes Rustavi 2 owed the government but fined Kavkasia TV 2.5 million GEL.

Rustavi 2 employees, UNM members and some NGO's have characterized Gvaramia’s arrest as an act against freedom of the media. (

NGO's protest against “Political Arrests”

Several NGO's have organized a rally on the Bridge of Peace saying “No to Political Arrests.” Representatives of the NGOs condemned the latest detentions in the country. “We are concerned with the arrest of the Rustavi 2 Broadcasting Company's Director General. We call on all government bodies not to make arrests that interfere with the activity of an independent TV-company. We are also concerned about the Kutaisi incident on December 19th when the President and his escort were attacked,” a statement reads.

NGO's plan to establish a coalition named Public Initiative, to support the development of democratic principles in the country. (

Ucha Nanuashvili – Nika Gvaramia is Shocked

Nika Gvaramia is astonished and has no idea what is going on, Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili stated today. Nanuashvili visited Nika Gvaramia and detainees at the Tbilisi Main Divisional Jail.

According to the Public Defender, Gvaramia has pleaded not guilty and claims he was arrested because he is Director of Rustavi 2. Nanuashvili also met with Kakha Damenia, Devi Kandelaki, Izabela Gotidze and Giorgi Nemsitsveridze. All of them plead not guilty. The Public Defender claims all the detainees are in a highly emotional state after being arrested and questioned repeatedly. According to Nanuashvili none of them understand why they were arrested but they haven't complained about ill treatment. (IPN)

MoD: Georgian Soldier 'Missing' in Afghanistan

A Georgian soldier serving in NATO-led operations in Afghanistan “has been missing” since December 19th, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on Thursday.

“The circumstances are not known yet,” the MoD said in a brief statement on its website.

Regional Command Southwest, whose area of responsibility is Helmand and Nimroz provinces, “is conducting a search and rescue operation”.

“All Georgian units in the theater of operations have been moved to the highest state of alert,” the MoD said, before adding that it was not appropriate to give more details due to the ongoing search and rescue operation.

Georgia currently has two battalions in Helmand province of Afghanistan: the 12th Battalion of the First Infantry Brigade and the 32nd Battalion of the Third Infantry Brigade; for the latter it is a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Georgia has lost a total of 18 soldiers in Afghanistan since joining the ISAF mission in November, 2009, seven of them this year. (

Terms for submitting applications for General Director’s post of GPB expires

The deadline for submitting applications for the position of General Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) expired on December 20th.

Over 100 applicants applied for the position.

The post of GPB's General Director has been vacant since December 14th after Gia Chanturia, the former General Director, resigned. The Board of Trustees of GPB accepted Chanturia's resignation.

Head of the GPB Technical Department Giorgi Baratashvili is now serving as Acting General Director of GPB. The Board will have to approve a new General Director of GPB within one month as required by law. The application process will be held in 2 stages. (GHN)

Agara Sugar Plant employees go on strike

Agara Sugar Plant employees went on strike today. The striking workers have two main demands.

The protesters claim their salaries are incommensurate with the difficult working conditions. The striking workers claim the maximum monthly salary for employees at the plant is 180 lari.

The striking employees demand an increase in salaries and that those were recently fired should be rehired.

The management of Agara Sugar has not officially responded to the workers' demands nor have they made a statement to the media. (IPN)

Roads Department works in 24-hour regime

All roads in Georgia are being cleared of snow including central highways. Employees of the Roads Department are working 24 hours a day to clear the snow from the streets and salt is being distributed to prevent icing.

Traffic movement is partially restricted across the Tkibuli-Ambrolauri, Natakhtari and Kobi-Gudauri sections of the highways due to unfavorable climate conditions. Transportation for heavy vehicles is prohibited but is allowed for cars with wheel chains. (GHN)