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The News in Brief

Wednesday, November 11
McCain slams Russia for invading its neighbour

U.S. Senator John McCain has accused Russia of being more authoritarian inside its borders and more aggressive in its relations with its neighbours. McCain delivered a speech at the John Hopkins University in Washington in which he slammed Russia for occupying Georgian territory, violating human rights and conducting an incorrect foreign policy.

“Look at Russia - is it a coincidence that Russia has reverted into an authoritarian state at home and also become more aggressive abroad? Is it coincidence that Russia, where peaceful critics of the Government are murdered, has invaded its neighbour Georgia and occupies part of it to this day? Is it a coincidence that the leader who described the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union as the geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century now wants to dominate the nations of the old Soviet Union?” asked McCain, adding that he wished these things were coincidences, but unfortunately they are not. “If we do not realise that the nature of a regime determines its behaviour, policy conducted in this way will be harmful,” McCain said.

The professors of Johns Hopkins University agreed with the position expressed by the U.S. Senator. Former Ambassador of the United States to NATO Kurt Walker agreed that Russia was using its power to dominate small nations. “Russia has used military force to change borders in Europe,” Kurt Walker said. (Interpressnews)

About 15 families damaged by earthquake in Oni still live in tents

About 15 families damaged by the earthquake in the village of Chinchvisi, in the Oni region, are still living in tents.

Leader of the Alliance for Georgia Irakli Alasania, Co-Chairman of the Alliance Davit Gamkrelidze, Sozar Subari and other members visited the village today. The villagers told the Alliance members, that the Government only makes promises but does not act. The Governor of the village also visited it and promised to start rehabilitating houses with second category damage from today, though the locals doubt that the Government will keep this promise either.

The people living in tents, say that they have started to use heaters but electricity payments are costly for them. There are families with babies there, who say they don’t know what to do.

2,200 families suffered second category damage due to the earthquake and 711 first category. (Interpressnews)

Moscow Patriarchate says it’s too early to talk about the Patriarch visiting Georgia

The Russian Patriarchate has stated that Patriarch Kyril has confirmed his intention to visit Georgia but it is too early to declare the exact date of the visit, Interfax reports.

Archpriest Nikolai Balashov stated that a visit to Alexandria is scheduled at present. The Patriarch of Russia has already paid his first official visited to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Patriarch intends to visit all the Orthodox Churches in communion with each other in their order of precedence, which is: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Poland and Czech Republic. (Interpressnews)

Philippine-Georgian Business and Friendship Association involved in release of Georgian sailors

The Philippine-Georgian Business and Friendship Association has become involved in securing the release of the 13 Georgian sailors detained in the Philippines, one of the founders of the Association, Levan Akhveldiani, has told Interpressnews.

Akhveldiani said that the Association was founded in 2004 and will do everything to return the Georgian sailors to their families as soon as possible. He added that Philippine-Georgian Business and Friendship Association Executive Director Thelmo Luis O. Cunanan is in Georgia and has met Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Nalbandov. They discussed this topic, as well as other issues.

Thelmo Cunanan has said that the Philippine-Georgian Business and Friendship Association has visited the Georgian sailors in the emigration camp in Manila several times. The Association provides them with food and medicine and has hired a lawyer for them. The Executive Director gave photos of the Georgian sailors in the camp to Interpressnews and expressed the hope that the Georgian sailors would return to their homeland soon.

Levan Akhvelidiani explained that Thelmo Cunanan is a journalist and businessman living in Philippines and also the son of an influential father. His father was Ambassador of the Philippines to Cambodia and now heads the social insurance and pension system of the Philippines. (Interpressnews)

Parliamentary Commission on the late President`s death holds first session

The first session of the Commission examining the cause of death of Georgia’s first President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was held in Parliament yesterday. Members of the Commission elected a Deputy Chairman, Lasha Tordia, and Secretary, Rati Maisuradze a member of the Christian Democrats. Members also approved the regulations of the Commission.

The Deputy Chairman will replace Commission Chairman Konstantine Gamsakhurdia if the latter is unable to fulfil his duties for any reason. The Secretary of the Commission will be obliged to organise the sessions of the Commission and write a protocol and other required documents.

Four MPs who have been elected members of the Commission missed yesterday’s session.

The Commission was formed on the initiative of MP Jondi Baghaturia and the son of Georgia’s late President, Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, has been elected Chairman. (Rustavi 2)

Vice Speaker objects to membership of de facto university rector at European club

Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Paata Davitaia is objecting to the enrolment of the Rector of breakaway Abkhazia University in the European Club of Rectors. He voiced his protest at a session of the Parliament Bureau yesterday.

Daviataia said that the European Club of Rectors was a private organisation, but its members represented independent states. He said the membership of the Rector of the de facto Abkhazian University was unacceptable, because this university is not licensed by the Georgian Government.

Davitaia urged the Foreign Ministry and Education Ministry to address the aforementioned Club and deprive the self-proclaimed Rector of his membership. Speaker Davit Bakradze agreed with the Vice Speaker. He said the de facto university is a symbol of the ethnic cleansing which has taken place in Abkhazia, because there is not a single ethnic Georgian student there. (Rustavi 2)