The Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch – August 5

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SAFE PASSAGE For the fourth time Sokhumi allowed its residents to return from Georgia proper. Due to pandemic concerns, the passage has been closed since February 27, 2020. But starting in May, so-called “humanitarian corridors” allowed some 3700 people to move back to their homes. Many ethnic Georgians regularly cross the boundary line for work and family business.

CHEMICAL TRAIL After the news broke that ammonium nitrate shipped from Georgia in 2013 was blamed for a deadly explosion in Beirut, the Georgian Maritime Transport Agency explained that the chemical represents one Georgia’s leading exports. The ship, flying Moldovan flag was to deliver the cargo to Mozambique (Port Beira) but was detained by the Lebanese financial inspectors. The company defaulted, filed for bankruptcy, and the cargo was then stocked in Beirut, the Agency noted. It added that the country of origin is not responsible for the storage safety, and assured Georgians that similar facilities in the port of Batumi are checked by international safety experts every two years.

MELTDOWN Shalva Natelashvili, veteran leader of the Labor Party known for his sharp tongue, experienced a monumental meltdown. In a lengthy Facebook philippic dedicated to the alleged pending criminalization of sex without consent, he accused NGOs that they are “grabbing foreign grant money” and in effect throwing thousands of Georgian men behind bars. According to Natelashvili – who used to be an investigator and then a defense lawyer before enriching Georgian politics with his colorful personality – the new clause will be used by scorned damsels to threaten befuddled Lotharios into marriage. In cahoots with the Ombudsperson, these non-governmental malfeasants are “confronting men with the Criminal Code, while they are trying to fulfill their national [reproductive] function in their own beds” – horrid, truly horrid! The United Opposition, which chose the Labor Party office as its meeting grounds, may well be advised to take some social [media] distancing measures from this toxic rant.

GETTING SERIOUS? The Georgian police detained a 28-year-old man who verbally and physically abused transgender persons in Tbilisi. If convicted, the detained is facing a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison. This is a rare case of police actually following up on gender-based violence against trans people. In recent years several fell victims to violent attacks in Tbilisi.

That’s full lid for today!


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