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The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 31
As far as we are aware Giga Otkhozoria’s killer has not been arrested - Vakhtang Gomelauri

According to Vakhtang Gomelauri, Chief of the State Security Service, he cannot confirm reports on the detention of Giga Otkhozoria’s killer.

As Vakhtang Gomelauri told journalists, the information was neither denied nor confirmed by Abkhazian representatives at the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meeting.

"At first it was reported that this person had been arrested. This turned out not to be true. As far as we are aware he has not been arrested. We know that an investigation has been launched, and this was confirmed at the Gali meeting too. However, Rashid Kanjioghli has not been detained,” Vakhtang Gomelauri told journalists.

He did not rule out the possibility that the killer had been arrested and then released.

"As far as we know, he was interrogated, but then released,” said Gomelauri.

He also denied reports that the State Security Agency and police officers were at the scene during Giga Otkhozoria’s murder but failed to act.

"This is the so-called buffer zone. International observers do not recommend that we move there, to avoid dangerous provocations and incidents,"- said Gomelauri.

Georgian citizen Giga Otkhozoria was shot dead by the Abkhaz border guard in the village of Khurcah, Zugdidi, on May 19.

Tbilisi Ugly Walk – Green activist group against disfiguring city’s urban image

About thirty people, Tbilisi-born Georgians as well as number of foreigners, gathered on Sunday to take an unusual tour of the capital, the Tbilisi Ugly Walk, which was aimed at exposing the city’s recent architectural history with three different political periods – the ‘Shevardnadze Era’ (1993-2003), the ‘Saakashvili Era’ (2003-2012) and the ‘Ivanishvili Era” (2012 to present).

Irakli Zhvania, an architect and urban planner, carried out the tour organized by ‘Iare Pekhit’ (‘Walk’), a green activist group focused on Tbilisi's urban problems. The tour started from the Vera district and ended on a bridge near the Eliava Bazaar, just on the opposite bank of the Mtkvari from Tbilisi City Hall.

The major goal of the event was to show how unplanned development negatively affects Tbilisi's aesthetics, ecology, society and transport.

As the organizers of the tour say, Georgia’s capital attracts many tourists for the blended architectural styles of the East and the West.

“But in recent years, the cit'sy image has been changing significantly and we see more and more urban jungles of concrete high-rise buildings devoid of any architectural values,” the group states on its Facebook.

Irakli Zhvania said that once, Vera, a historical district in Tbilisi's centre, was probably the most popular and the most expensive place to buy an apartment, but since construction companies rushed in to build houses without any architectural or urban consideration, Vera has lost its popularity because there are no recreation zones; there is no space between the houses.

Zhvania said that unrestricted and haphazard construction negatively affected socialization among Vera residents too, as well the ecology, as Mtatsminda’s famous breeze during hot summer nights no longer blows here.

One of the stops during the tour was behind the Sports Palace, often referred as the ‘concrete jungle’; due to its overcrowding, some also call it the ‘Gaza Strip’.

“Nowadays, pieces of land are sold like cheese in a bazaar,” Zhvania said, adding that the authorities have never avoided treatment with investors even if they had evidently disfigure the city.

It is also ironic that right in the middle of the ‘concrete jungle’ is the flat of Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania, who permanently resides there. Oddly enough, the office of the Tbilisi City Hall is also buried among ugly and unfinished construction projects on Saakadze Square, two bus stops away from the ‘Gaza Strip’.
(DF watch)

Parliament's Committees reject German model of electoral system

Parliament's Committees of Human Rights and Regional Self-Governments did not support the German model of electoral system. The relevant bill was considered at the joint session of the committees today.

The bill of amendments’ to the Election Code was initiated by the Republican faction. MP Vakhtang Khmaladze presented the bill to the Committees of Human Rights and Regional Self-Governments today.

According to the so-called German model, all winner majoritarian candidates will take seats in the Parliament regardless of his/her party’s results in the proportional system.