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Katie Lomiladze, 29, bought her cell phone for 1300 lari in December last year. She could buy it now for 600 lari.

Georgia, which was briefly shielded from the world financial crisis by the $4.5 billion in donor money it received after last August’s war with Russia, is starting to feel the crunch, and its luxury electronics goods sector is the first to suffer badly.

“We’re having to concentrate on goods that have more demand and are more accessible to our customers in prices,” said Ia Gogoladze, advertising manager of JSC Elit Electronics, a retailer selling home appliances, cellphones and laptops..

The crisis spread from the banking sector to business, said Emzar Jgeneria, an independent finance expert. Banks aren’t lending people money so they aren’t able to buy high-end electronic goods.

Elit Electronics, which has been operating in Georgia for 13 years, missed its sales target last year and expects figures to fall further this year. In 2008, sales revenue was expected to be 360 million lari, but the actual figure due to the current situation was 255 million lari. Company’s sales will decrease by 30% for this year, Gogoladze said.

62-year-old Yura Sarukhanov bought a TV set for 290 Lari two months ago, but now it costs 260 lari. He thinks companies are cutting prices because of the crisis, something Gogoladze denies.

Other problem is decreasing selling of technology. Jgeneria said, it decreasing 80%. According to him, the cause of this problem is people do not have money for buying them. Therefore, demand of people goes down.

Lali Elikashvili, 40 said she bought her washing machine a year ago. She wants to buy refrigerator but she has no money.

Gogoladze said that the demand of people is very low now. Customers now prefer low priced techniques. Therefore, the demand on expensive items has decreased.

Many firms held discounts to increase their sale.

Shavershova Khatuna, 34 bought her computer in discount. It costed 950 lari, but she bought it for 755 lari.

Gogoladze said Elit Electronics concerns discount on every type of products and campaigns will be held in every two weeks. However, expert Jgeneria said discounts do not have big influence during economical crisis. Indeed, people have not money buy them, he said.

Elit Electronics said that, they have not any loss of discounts. Nevertheless, there are some cases the company gains no profit, as campaign products price is the same as the cost of sale, Gogoladze said.

The future of technology consumer market is considered to get down and down. Jgeneria said the selling of computers decreased for five times in the first quarter in 2009 than fourth quarter of 2008.

Jgeneria said that consequently, firms passed to standby regime. Gogoladze also said that they frizzed several important projects. “We had to close 6 stores”, she said.

Jgeneria also said the firms like Elit Electronics, Vestel and Beko stopped their activity in fact. Their sale is zero.

Elit Electronics have plans to avoid from the crisis. Gogoladze said, they make focus on low priced and everyday use items. They bring new products in their stores and plan to increase their sales. They also are preparing for various stimulating campaigns.

Jgeneria said they should change their strategy for real time. Because economical crisis might be, last 2 or 4 years more. For little suffer they should diminish their stores and workers. Another case they can be bankrupt.

Eka Janashia, Head of Public Relations Department of Ministry of Economic Development said that if companies are closed, Government will give them Cheap Credits.

Cheap Credits program started in 2008 and has being existed 2 years. The goal of this program to help businessmen to increase their business. They will not pay for credit in the first two years. After 2 years, they have to pay for credit during 7 years.

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After participating in Transition Online’s (TOL) New Media Workshop for Media Professionals and NGO Workers (30-31 May of 2009) in Tbilisi I decided write something about it. Starting from this I’ll write about every training which I participate… Ok! Let’s begin..:)))

30 of the May- the first day of this training. Training held in ZP Hotel, 11 Betlemi Street in Tbilisi. As it is my column, I will write here all my opinions about it.

Training started at 9 in the morning.

The day before the manager of Georgia, Elza Ketsbaia called me and asked me to come before the time (before 9). Moreover, I decided to come there at time. J  I took a taxi and after 15 minutes was at hotel.

At 9 workshop began. It held in the second floor of the hotel. This was a right-angled hall. The tables were arranged face to face. There were papers of schedule, a pen and a notebook in a portfolio for each (20) participant on the tables. In the up of halls is fixed a projector for presentations.

So, at first, began Elza Ketsbaia.

Elza Ketsbaia– is country manager of TOL for Georgia. She worked for different media organizations many years and now has blog on new media situation in Georgia. (georgianblog.wordpress.com)

She gave brief information about situation in Georgia. After 15-20 minutes, Kevin Anderson showed his presentation and began talk about Traditional and New media. Then we had a 15 minutes coffee break, and then Anderson continued and added Twitter and Mobile services to his speech.

Kevin Anderson– Kevin Anderson is the blogs editor for Guardian.co.uk, where he focuses on journalism innovation. He uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.
Kevin has been a digital journalist since 1996, writing for both web and print, and broadcasing on the web, television and radio. Before joining the Guardian, he worked at the BBC for eight years. He joined the BBC in 1998, as their first online journalist based outside of the UK. From their flagship Washington bureau, he covered the US for the BBC’s award winning news website, and covered politics and technology coverage for BBC radio and television.
Kevin came to the UK in 2005 to develop a blogging strategy for BBC news. After coming to the UK, he was worked on the launch of Radio 5Live’s programme covering weblogs and podcasts and also the launch of interactive radio programme World Have Your Say on the BBC World Service.

Traditional and New Media: Why should blogs matter to traditional media? Transforming mass media into social media, Case studies: successful blogs and social media, building community and involving your audience, using blogs to cover niches and cater to personal passion, video as a new form of engagement.

At one, we had lunch. After lunch, Anderson continued 1 hour more.

At 3 Emin Huseinzadeh started his presentation.

Emin Huseinzadeh– (TOL Project Manager for the Caucasus) is a Baku-based new media expert and media trainer who has worked for RFE/RL and numerous Azeri online and print publications. Most recently, he worked as managing editor of the Caucasus Times, editing articles from all over the Caucasus and overseeing 10 reporters in the region. He received a master degree from the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management and holds an MA and BA from Azerbaijan State Economic University. Up until now,  he has conducted more than 15 local workshops in Azerbaijan and one international training in Georgia. He is teaching Cyber Diplomacy at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy.

It was about Security and privacy.

Security and PrivacyEstonia, Azerbaijan and Georgia cases, viruses, malware, firewalls, free software and security issues, crowd sourcing as a basis of ultra-security, introduction to privacy issues, weakness of systems and sensitive information, Tor. proxies, ISP’s and stolen information, emails, IM, encryption, saving files for own use, slow Internet solution, is it possible to be totally secure?

It lasted until 6 pm with one coffee break.

The second day was the term of Dan McQuillan.


Dr. Dan McQuillan FRSA is currently Digital Guru at the Make Your Mark campaign. an is a former Director of The Open Rights Group and is lead consultant for Interactive Tech Tools for Transparency which uses crowdsourcing and mashups to promote anti-corruption and good governance in Central & Eastern Europe. In 2007 he co-founded Social Innovation Camp and he blogs about open source activism and social innovation at www.internetartizans.co.ukHe trained for Transitions Online in Prague and Riga, and is one of the founders of Social Innovation Camp. He also used to be Internet guru at Amnesty International.

He talked about his lovely websites, which we approximately everyday looks at. Ex:

http://irrepressible.info/

http://www.savvychavvy.com

His topic was “Social media, social impact”.  He explained why we have to open blogs, and what we can achieve in this way and meaning audience for blogger.

After his workshop we had a brainstorm, so we- each of us had to write an idea. Then Dan grouped it. we  separated to 3 group. The first was young group, second- environment, third- refugee group. I was in young group. Each group presented the project of the Website which they’d like to create.

Actually, I liked this training. I learned a lot of  Websites, type of blogs, privacy and etc. And the main thing is that I got new acquaintances… Thanks to everybody… :)))

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Activists from the Why? Public Movement reported a second attack on two groups of activists at 9.30 pm on Friday, April 10.

The activists claim one of their attackers was a National Movement Party member, President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party. But the public defenders office, who is investigating the attack, refused to confirm whether anyone Saakashvili’s party was involved.

No one was hurt in the attack, which occurred on Tabukashvili Street, near the activist group’s office. The group members had earlier in the evening noticed two unfamiliar cars parked near their office. When two of the activists, a male and female, walked to a nearby shop, ten men carrying clubs got out of the two strange cars and confronted them on the street. They tore the man’s shirt, and tried to grab the girl and put her in the trunk of a car.

At this point, the woman said, she recognized one of the attackers as a National Party member and personal acquaintance. He told them to release her, and both ran back to the office.

Five minutes later, about eight other Why? Activists were returning to the office, and were also attacked by the same group of men, according to Natia Kobalia, a Why? Leader. Again, the attackers approached the group with their clubs. But several activists fought with attackers and broke one of their car windows. Then activists run into the office, Kobalia said.

The women who recognized her attacker said she later received a phone call from him, claiming that the attacks were a “joke” and she should “leave the movement.”

This is the second attack on the group in two days. Three activists were pulled out of their car and beaten Thursday night by attackers, giving one of them a concussion.

The Public Defenders Office is investigating both incidents, and will hold a press conference later today or tomorrow with more information on the attacks.

 

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The Why? Public Movement says they don’t want answers to the provocative questions they’ve been posting to President Mikael Saakashvili around Tbilisi city streets for the past three months.

“Why war? Why do police do terrorism act to people? Why people are being killing in the streets? Why court is under pressure of the government? Why did Saakashvili bring masseuse during the war with budget money?” and thousands of “Why?” questions were reason of creating this Movement. They give these questions to Mikael Saakashvili, President of Georgia and his political team.

“These aren’t questions, these are verdicts,” said Irakli Kordzaia, one of the leaders of “Why?”

The activities of “Why?” Public movement were started by seven activists secretly. The organization began to spread banners, stickers in the street at nights. But three weeks ago they held press-conference in an underground in Freedom Square and began to open activity. They thinks that this action means to go out from darkness to freedom. The movement has 160 members from Tbilisi and 20 from Batumi. Now they are working to draw in more people from whole Georgia. They have 15 coordinators which are responsible to draw in the movement.

According to Kzodzia, movement is financed by Georgian businessmen who are unhappy with the Georgian government. Kzodzia said that they will remain anonymous unless Saakashvili’s resigns.

The activists of “Why” will carry out flowers and candles to the Freedom Square at 5 in the morning to remember memory of the April 9 tragedy, happened in 1989 by Soveit Army.

At 12 am they will join to protestors.

Kordzaia said, they did not know in which direction they will join. “We will be there where we are needed. We will be in the epicenter of the protest,” he said.

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She sits and sells sweets at the entrance to a building on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi.

She has a stout body and face, with large eyes and silver hair. She is 50-year-old Nana Barsmanshvili, a private street vendor. 

She says that this work is not interesting, although she finds it easy to sit and sell goods —chewing gum, cakes, sweets, French fries or pop-corn which her boss brought from the Railway Station Bazaar. 

But she says it is hard for her to spend all night at work. She works 24 hours straight, and then takes off for two days. She earns 10 lari per working day.

She graduated from the chemistry faculty of Georgian Technical Institute (GTI) and then worked as an engineer for a chemistry factory. But the factory was closed in 1992. Barsmanshvili has worked as a vendor since then. She says she did not look much for work at that time. She applied for one or two jobs, but after getting negative responses, she gave up.

She said that she is ashamed to introduce herself.

“I graduated from weighty faculty, but I work here now,” she said. Now, she said, she cannot find work because the jobs are only for younger people. No one wants to employ a 50-year-old woman. 

Barsmanshvili has never married and says she has no family. Although the money she earns is not enough for her, she tries to get along on it, paying for gas, light, water and food. But she said she doesn’t have any problems other than her unemployment. Barsmanshvili wants to work as an engineer again.

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About one journalist…

Khanim Javadova comes to Journalism because of liking tireless activity. She is a 22-year-old Azerbaijani journalist. Javadova says that she learned skepticism, curiosity, thinking differently from journalism. But she likes photojournalism, shooting video and editing.

In 2004 Javadova entered the journalism faculty of Baku State University and graduated in 2008.

She began working when she was in the fourth course in 2007. Her first work was in “Chabir Novruz’s Fund” (“CNF”) production. It is a private film or program producer place. She worked for the morning program “Khazarin sahilindeh” (“At the beach of the Caspian”) as a reporter from October 2007 to April 2008.

Then she worked for a local magazine from May to October in 2008. She left her work because she didn’t like it. Javadova said that this magazine is about wedding culture of the world. And she thinks she hadn’t any perspective here. She also was an announcer of news at Internet-radio www.baku.fm, a new Internet radio. She worked there from October to December, 2008. She also took the public/civil journalism course at Dutch School of Journalism in Baku. It was three months journalism course from October to December, where they were learning public/civil journalism.

Javadova says that she has a lot of friends and she tried to spend time with them everyday when she was in Baku. But Javadova doesn’t like liar and two-faced people.

Javadova says that she sometimes is lazy. She calls it as a minus side of her character.”

She hates shopping. But every month she needs to buy shoes because they are worn out often.

Her hobby is information technology, computers, learning languages and traveling. She likes surfing on the Internet. Also she has a Web site (www.ses.fm- (voice)) where she wants to open the first podcast blog site in Azerbaijan. She noted that she wrote a proposal for this. But she could not start her project because she’s in Tbilisi now for studying at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA)/Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management .

Her immediate plan is to learn all sides of journalism well. But her general aim is to be a foreign correspondent.

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