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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Monday, December 17

“The Patriarch’s new initiative”

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II has introduced an initiative to encourage larger Georgian families.

The Patriarch has promised, from now onward, to personally christen the third newborn of every family in Georgia.

Announcing the proposal on December 14, the spiritual leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church also said that these babies would receive Church stipends up until they turn 18.

The Patriarchate, in cooperation with the Georgian State Institute of Demography, began the project to combat a feared demographic crisis in Georgia, where the birthrate has fallen below replacement levels in the last decade.

“It will be good if every family in Georgia has at least three children,” the Patriarch stated.

“Shalva Natelashvili promises to give high salaries to teachers”

Labor Party presidential candidate Shalva Natelashvili is promising to increase teacher’s salaries to at least GEL 500 a month, Rezonansi reports.

Public school teachers are currently paid about GEL 200 a month.

Natelashvili held a briefing in central Tbilisi on December 14, outlining the numerous benefits he would bestow on Georgians, including teachers, should he win the presidential election in January.

Teachers’ salaries should be no less than judges’ salaries, he said.

“Georgian teachers are real heroes, and currently their salaries are very low, so if I become the president I promise to give them at least GEL 500 per month,” Natelashvili announced.

“Gia Maisashvili challenges his competitors to televised debates”

Sakartvelos Respublika writes that Party of the Future presidential candidate Gia Maisashvili threw down the gauntlet on December 14, calling on his competitors to debate him on the airwaves.

To hold a fair and democratic election, Maisashvili says, it is crucial that all the presidential candidates participate in televised debates.

“Right now, some of the candidates are giving baseless, false promises, and those will be revealed for what they are in televised debates. I am ready to debate any of my competitors,” Maisashvili declared. He also met with students from the European Institute, presenting to them his platform and fielding questions.

“The prime minister and the minister of refugees and resettlement visited South Ossetia”

Rezonansi reports that on December 14, Prime Minister Lado Gurgenizde and Minister of Refugees and Resettlement Koba Subeliani visited Georgian-controlled portions of breakaway South Ossetia.

The ministers, together with Dmitry Sanakoyev, head of the Tbilisi-backed South Ossetian alternative administration, viewed the state-funded construction works underway in Liakhvi Gorge and met with locals.

Local residents asked the prime minister to help them solve problems with their roads, drinking water and marketing their harvest.

Local farmers have had trouble selling their produce, they said, as South Ossetian secessionist authorities are blocking them from exporting goods to Russia.