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The News in Brief

Tuesday, September 22
Patriarch serves liturgy on Nativity of the Mother of God at Sioni Cathedral

On the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God yesterday Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II served the liturgy in Sioni Cathedral and preached a sermon.

After congratulating Georgia on the feast Ilia II spoke about his recent visit to Samegrelo. He declared that he had not been met with such warmth and love in any region. People kissed each other in happiness at seeing him. Some cried. Children wished him good health. Pupils and teachers went out into the streets to meet him. The Patriarch said that the Georgian man has been gifted by God with the power of love and this was an expression of it.

Ilia II said that the Patriarchs of the world who have visited Georgia say that they have never seen such a loving and religious nation. He added that he has expressed the idea of building a Patriarchal residence in Samegrelo so he could visit and meet the local population frequently.

EU Eastern Partnership plan introduced to Georgian experts

The presentation of the new EU Eastern Partnership plan was held in the Tbilisi Marriott hotel yesterday. Representatives of the European Union outlined the details of the new plan to Georgian senior officials and political analysts.

The European Commission has put forward concrete ideas for enhancing the organisation’s relationships with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus (the latter depending on the development of its relations with the EU). This would imply forging new association agreements, including deep and comprehensive free trade agreements with those countries willing and able to enter into a deeper engagement, gradual integration into the EU economy and making travel to EU countries easier through gradual visa liberalisation, accompanied by measures to tackle illegal immigration.

The Partnership would also promote democracy and good governance, strengthen energy security; promote sectoral reforms and environment protection, encourage people to people contacts, support economic and social development, offer additional funding for projects to reduce socio-economic imbalances and increase stability.
(Rustavi 2)

Toronto police search for Georgian girl

The whereabouts of a Georgian national living in Canada, Mariam Makhniashvili, are still unknown. Toronto police are still searching for the 17-year-old girl, who was last seen by her family on Sept. 14, when she left for Forest Hill Collegiate Institute with her brother from their home near Bathurst Street and Eglinton Avenue West. The sister and the brother separated to enter the school by different doors. Mariam has not been seen since.

Her parents reported her missing when she did not arrive home from school that afternoon. School principal Peggy Aitchison said Mariam did not attend classes on Monday.

Police have interrogated locals within a four kilometre radius of the school. They are also searching buildings in the vicinity of the school. The girl did not have a mobile phone or money with her and speaks bad English.

The Makhniashvili family has been in Toronto for only a few months. Vakhtang Makhniashvili said Mariam had not yet made friends since she had only been at school for a week. The family moved to Toronto from the Republic of Georgia for a better life.
(Rustavi 2)

Governor decorates seven civilians with Medal of Honour

Under the order of the President the Governor of the Samegrelo Zemo Svaneti Region, Zaza Gorozia, bestowed the Medal of Honour on seven Georgian nationals yesterday.

The medals were awarded for expressing immediate protest against the Russian occupation during last year’s war. The recipients walked and drove down the streets bearing Georgian national flags despite the danger of becoming victims of the occupiers’ aggression.

Zaza Gorozia says that the seven recipients openly objected to the plans of the Kremlin in the worst days of the conflict.
(Rustavi 2)

25 wine factories working in Kakheti

25 wine factories are processing grapes in Kakheti. Interpressnews has been informed by the Ministry of Agriculture that ‘Vintage 2009’ is successful. It says 12,000 tonnes of grapes are being processed throughout Kakheti.

The State has allotted GEL 25 million for producing the vintage. The farmers who present grapes will receive an additional state payment for each kilogram – 15 tetri for Rkatsiteli grapes and 25 tetri for Saperavi.

The ‘Vintage 2009’ programme began two weeks ago.

Eduard Kokoity awards Ukrainian journalist Order of Friendship

De facto President of so-called South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity has awarded Ukrainian TV journalist Andrei Tsaplienko, a correspondent with Inter, the Order of Friendship, the Res agency reports.

The agency says that the leader of the puppet regime gave this award to the journalist for his “impartial coverage” of the August events. “You were one of the first to inform our brothers in Ukraine about the situation in South Ossetia. We have always been brothers to Ukrainians and this will continue,” Kokoity stated. Tsaplienko stated that the award was a great honour for him.