The Daily Beat

The Daily Beat: 11 January  

The International Committee of the Red Cross helped transfer three patients from the occupied Tskhinvali to Tbilisi hospital for urgent treatment. The local media said these were a mother and her two children who got seriously injured when their house caught fire. The Red Cross runs the medical evacuation program out of the Russia-occupied areas since 2008. 


Tbilisi City Court continued its hearing on the merits of deferral or suspension of Mikheil Saakashvili’s prison sentence on health grounds. Stuart Finkel, an American gastroenterologist, testified that Saakashvili faces an increased risk of stomach cancer.


Rusudan Tevzadze, who administered the University for Theater and Cinema in Tbilisi, claimed that she was forced out of her job by Tea Tsulukiani, the Minister of Culture, “on political grounds.” The official claimed the Minister withheld the governmental subsidy to her University until Tevzadze quit the job to shield her colleagues. She is a member of the For Georgia party of Giorgi Gakharia, who left the post and fell out of grace with the ruling party. The Ministry has not responded to the charge yet. Tsulukiani lost several court battles over wrongful dismissal before, while holding the cabinet portfolios of Culture and Justice.


Ambulance paramedics walked out on Wednesday. They requested a pay rise and said their employment conditions worsened. Their employer, the Emergency Coordination and Assistance Center, refuted the claims while promising a better health insurance package. The protest comes a day after the government promised to increase pay for some hospital doctors and nurses.


Tbilisi City Hall confirmed that the metal cross erected by hate groups in front of the parliament on July 5, 2021, was placed there “without a required permit.” This came in response to an official query by the opposition MP Khatuna Samnidze. The rights groups have long decried the city’s unwillingness to take down the structure. They feel that the violent mob, which mobilized against LGBTQ activists and ended up violently assaulting several journalists in 2021, placed the metal cross as a sign of their “victory.” The City Hall told Radio Liberty that the metal cross would remain “until the renovation project is implemented” without providing a specific timeframe for such works.


The Henley Passport Index, which tracks the ease of travel for holders of various national travel documents, bumped the Georgian passport up by two spots, giving it 50th place globally. The press release by Henley Index says there is a “direct link between passport strength and economic power.”


The Fact of the Day   

The World Bank said Georgia is doing better than expected economically after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The ten percent economic growth was fuelled by the consumption boom, a recovery in tourism revenue, and increased remittances from Russia. The World Bank predicts the growth to slow down and reach 4-5% as Georgia’s neighbors feel the bite of the global economic downturn in 2023.

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