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The News in Brief

Wednesday, May 13
Construction of Opera and Ballet Theatre begun in Batumi

The construction of a world class Opera and Ballet Theatre in Batumi has begun and will last until next year. It is being built on Batumi Boulevard, where the summer theatre burnt down during the rule of Aslan Abashidze.

President Mikheil Saakashvili stated at the construction launch ceremony that the new building would be the most grandiose Opera Theatre in the Black Sea region. “As I promised you we will turn Batumi into the most bountiful city on the entire Black Sea coast. Many may say, “this is no time for opera houses and music halls, when the enemy is standing on our territory and we are hungry and without jobs.” But I tell you that this is an additional source of employment, a source for attracting tourists. If today Adjara is hosting 200,000 tourists [annually], in two years the figure will grow to 1.5 million and in five years it will be from 4 to 6 million,” the President stated. (The Messenger)

Civil society regards holding military parade on 26 May as unreasonable

Civil society considers that it is unreasonable to hold the military parade on 26 May. A special announcement signed by a number of public figures says that the military parade was held on this day in Soviet times, but was often the subject of criticism.

”It has not been a year since the tragic war in the country and this is no time for celebration. Parts of the country are occupied and the dangers from abroad are real, so it is not reasonable for military men to change their location and decrease the country’s defence capacity by doing so,” the statement says.

The signatories of the announcement consider that it is not necessary to hold a parade while there is a political crisis in the country. “Military parades are associated with non-democratic countries, they are designed to demonstrate power,” the announcement reads.

The announcement is signed by Archil Gegeshidze, Gia Khukhashvili, Giorgi Tskhvitava, Irakli Sesiashvili, Irina Putkaradze, Kakha Katsitadze, Koba Bochorishvili, Lado Papava, Lasha Bliadze, Lia Mukhashavria, Nana Kakabadze, Nina Khatiskatsi, Nino Tsikhistavi, Ramaz Sakvarelidze, Shalva Tadumadze, Soso Tsiskarishvli, Tamar Chikovani, Teona Akubardia, Ucha Nanuashvili, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, Zurab Abashidze and Zurab Putkaradze. (Interpressnews)

Patriarch visits France

Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia Ilia the Second is visiting France, where he will take part in the opening of a new Georgian church. The new Georgian church of Saint Tamar will be opened in Paris on 14 May, on the feast of Saint Tamar. Ilia II will bless the church and conduct the first service there. Meetings with representatives of the Government of France, the Cardinal of France and the Georgian Diaspora are planned.

The Patriarch will conduct a service commemorating people who died in exile. His delegation will return to Georgia on 15 May. (Interpressnews)

Government session held in Tsinandali

A Georgian Government session has been held in Tsinandali. The Cabinet of Ministers discussed 38 issues and the Foreign Ministry of Georgia presented its 2009 plans at the session.

Prime Minister Nika Gilauri emphasized the importance of infrastructure projects before the session started. He said that more than GEL 100 will be spent such projects in total. “GEL 15 million will be spent on rehabilitating the drinking water system, GEL 13 million on schools and kindergartens, GEL 62 million on road projects,” Gilauri stated. He added that the Gombori road project is one of the most important, this being financed by the budget and the World Bank. (Interpressnews)

Kokoity`s opponents accuse him of pressurising them

Discontent with the South Ossetian separatist regime is growing as the Parliamentary elections in the separatist region approach. Four political parties entered the contest, but two have already been kicked out. On the day of the elections, May 31, polling stations will be opened in Tskhinvali, Vladikavkaz and Moscow.

Former premier of the non-recognized South Ossetia republic Oleg Teziev held a briefing in Moscow today, where he said that Kokoity`s opponents had had to move to Moscow with their families to protect them from oppression of Kokoity`s regime. The leaders of the Homeland and National parties have asked the Russian authorities to postpone the elections in South Ossetia and intervene in the political process there. (Rustavi 2)