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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 8
PM meets Muslim community leaders

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili met with Georgian Muslim community leaders at his private seaside residence in Ureki on October 5.

State Minister for Reintegration, Paata Zakareishvili, and head of the government of the Adjara Autonomous Republic, Archil Khabadze were also present.

In a brief video taken from the meeting, Ivanishvili says that the “rough actions” in the removal of the minaret in the village of Chela by the authorities “was a huge shame.”

“For about four hours the Prime Minister was listening to us… He is a very sincere person, who promised assistance,” Jemal Paksadze, the mufti of the Georgian Muslims' Directorate said. He also thanked the PM for discussing the problems that have been accumulating for dozens of years.

“The issue of the mosque [in Batumi], as well as the minaret [in the village of Chela], was also discussed. With respect to the mosque, discussions are ongoing now. We are sure that problems will be solved,” Paksadze said.

MIA publishes statistics of crime for past 9 months

Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) released statistics of crimes committed and investigated during the first nine months of 2013. According to the statistics, the number of crime committed in the same period of 2012 has been reduced by 5,589 in 2013 and the statistics of opened crime has increased with 37,2 % and is 57,2 % currently.

The Ministry has also published the statistics of the month of September and compared it with the same period in 2012. The number of crime is 644 less than in 2012 and the statistics of opened crime is 68,4 %.
(Rustavi 2)

Margvelashvili says post-Soviet era will end upon Saakashvili’s departure

The post-Soviet era will end with President Mikheil Saakashvili’s departure, Georgian Dream presidential candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili told Russia's Mir TV.

“I cannot talk about [Mikheil] Saakashvili and [Eduard] Shevardnadze separately. I can say that their era is going away. The era of a modern European state is now coming to us,” he said.

As for Ivanishvili’s departure from politics, Margvelashvili said that Ivanishvili was not going from politics and he would be actively engaged in the formation of public opinion and into the business sphere. Describing Prime Minister Ivanishvili as an influential person, Margvelashvili said his resignation from the PM’s post does not mean that he will disappear from the public spotlight and political life. Stressing that the Georgian Dream coalition has managed to change a lot in the country over the last year, Margvelashvili said that “social policy has changed and it is more oriented on people now.”

Parties accuse government of negligence regarding creeping occupation

New Rights Party, Free Georgia, Georgian Group and Christian-Democratic Movement accuse the government of Georgia of negligence regarding the creeping occupation, and believe that nothing has been done to stop this. In a joint statement, the parties said that Russian troops continue to invade the territory under Georgia’s control. Currently, barbed-wire fences are being erected in the villages of Ditsi and Dvani. The population is under constant fear and terror and is now being completely abandoned by its government. They are not getting any social or economic assistance. Meanwhile, the government does not take any effective steps against this process.

“We understand that in the given situation the government does not have enough power to completely stop the occupation, though the statements made by the PM and other officials are absolutely irrelevant,” the statement says. According to them “the problem cannot be solved by accusing Russia and the former government.” They call on the Georgian government to take adequate steps.

Georgia’s first lady’s radio station on verge of closing

Radio Muse, owned by Georgia's First Lady Sandra Roelofs and financed by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's 'Cartu Fund' for many years, is on the verge of closing, according to the Facebook page of Georgia's first lady.

"Support the 24-hour classical music radio channel that faces the threat of closure," the message said.

A special page "Do not kill Muse" was opened on Facebook in support of the radio station. An open letter of Georgia's cultural and arts workers to the country's Minister of Culture, Guram Odisharia, was posted on this page which refers to the need for the existence of such a radio station.

Agency: Flight Safety at Tbilisi airport is satisfactory

The Georgian Civil Aviation Agency made a statement on Thursday refuting some media reports that the situation with safety at Tbilisi International Airport continues to be unsatisfactory. The Agency called the information erroneous and unfounded. Stressing that the agency constantly holds continuous supervision of the Georgian airports, including Tbilisi International Airport, it was explained that in cases where flaws are detected, the agency takes the appropriate measures. For instance, there is currently intensive repair work of the damaged sections of the runway by the Tbilisi airport operator TAV Urban Georgia. The statement said that currently, planned rehabilitation work is being carried out at the airport. The work is consistent with the Civil Aviation Agency and is being done under the constant monitoring of the specialists of the agency. The existing runway of Tbilisi International Airport was commissioned in 1995. With the increase in the intensity of flights, the construction of a new runway is on the agenda.

U.S. Coast Guard staff visits Georgian ports

The staff of the U.S. Coast Guard is on a visit to the Georgian city of Batumi.

The U.S. Coast Guard staff visited Batumi, Kulevi and Poti ports and learned about their counterparts' doings. Representatives of the delegation said that the cooperation between the countries is very important.

They also noted that meetings in such a format are facilitating the deepening of trade relations between Georgia and the U.S.

A similar meeting was held in the U.S. in mid-September.