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The News in Brief

Friday, November 27
Group of Russian scientists and experts scheduled to visit from 1-3 December

A visit by a group of Russian experts and scientists is scheduled for 1-3 December. The visit will be held on the initiative of the Caucasian Research Centre of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Nikolai Silaev from the Centre has told Interpressnews.

Silaev said that the group will comprise Deputy Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimer Baranikov, leading scientist of the Science Information and Public Science Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Aleksandre Miller and the Rector’s Advisor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Artiom Maldin. Andrey Medushevsky, the Editor-in-Chief of History of Russia, the magazine of the Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, will arrive later.

Silaev said that the group will meet Georgian colleagues in Tbilisi, namely members of the Club of Experts and the Georgian Institute for Russian Studies. Not only Russian-Georgian relations but Georgian and Russian experts’ cooperation and perspectives will be discussed.

"I don’t know the situation in Georgia, but there is a deficit of knowledge about Georgia in Russia. A language barrier is added to this which is deepening daily. There are only a few specialists on Caucasian issues in Russia, people who know the Georgian language. One of the key aims of our visit is to eliminate this deficit," Nikolai Silaev noted. However he believes that none of the problems between the two countries will be resolved in the short term. (Interpressnews)

Ex-PM has noisy meeting with Georgian diaspora in Moscow

The meeting of former Georgian PM and current opposition party leader Zurab Noghaideli with the Georgian diaspora in Moscow turned out to be quite noisy. The Georgians residing in Russia who attended the meeting reminded the leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia of his activities as Prime Minister in Saakashvili's Government. The audience was also interested in what Noghaideli was doing during the August war in 2008 and slammed him for "doing nothing" to stop the Russian aggression. The audience disapproved of the policy of the former PM, who had arrived in the Russian capital to 'resume ties' with the Russian authorities.

Noghaideli said after the noisy dialogue that the goal of that meeting had been to become familiar with the views of these people. Despite their critical comments, Noghaideli said that he was devoted to his political course and principles. (Rustavi 2)

Training Centre opens in MOD

A training centre has been opened at the Ministry of Defence of Georgia by Deputy Minister of Defence Nikoloz Vashakidze and Programme Officer David Johnson as part of the NATO Professional Development Programme (PDP). The Ambassadors of the United Kingdom and Latvia also attended the ceremony.

The first event held in the centre was a conference regarding the enhancement of media involvement and transparency on defence and military issues. The seminar was organised within the scope of the NATO PDP. Discussions were mainly oriented on public relations issues and the media's role and function in crisis situations.

Representatives of local public relations offices and partner states delivered reports on three key topics: 1. Public Relations Service functions; 2. media transparency; 3. transparency during conflict and crisis situations. Among the participants were representatives of both Georgian and foreign press service offices, military, civil and media institutions, journalists and experts. (Interpressnews)

State Minister holds meetings in Brussels

The Georgian State Minister for European Integration, Vice Premier Giorgi Baramidze, is holding meetings at the Council of Europe. He has already addressed the European Parliament and called upon it to intensify its efforts to secure the release of the four Georgian minors detained by the South Ossetian separatists on November 4. He and his delegation have also outlined the situation in Georgia's occupied regions to MEPs, who have reiterated their support for Georgia`s territorial integrity and sovereignty and say that only condemnation of Russia's actions has not proven sufficient to achieve peace in the region.

During this visit the Minister will participate in a special conference at which a document about easing the visa regime with Georgia will be presented. (Rustavi 2)

bmi announces new codeshare with Continental Airlines

bmi has announced a new codeshare with Continental Airlines as the U.S. airline becomes the 25th member of the Star Alliance. The new agreement will provide bmi customers with access to a wider range of destinations in America on a single booking.

Continental is the world’s fifth largest airline and the new codeshare is effective immediately. The codeshare agreement covers Continental’s Newark, Houston and Cleveland routes. Return fares start from Euro 439 return to Newark, Euro 549 to Houston and 469 to Cleveland.

Zuri Shakarishvili, the Sales and Marketing Manager of bmi, said that the new agreement is part of the airline’s strategy of increasing its Star Alliance partnerships. “Our new codeshare agreement with Continental will mean our customers have the opportunity to travel on new services between Tbilisi and the United States. Starting with Newark and Houston, we hope to extend our collaboration with Continental to other destinations in America. One of the greatest advantages though of this codeshare agreement is that people travelling from Georgia can now relax and not worry about luggage transfer, as it will be carried through to their final destination “ (The Messenger)

Rehabilitation of Samtavisi Cathedral underway

The fourth stage of the rehabilitation of Samtavisi Cathedral, in the Kaspi district of the Shida Kartli region, has finished. A basilica and bell tower from the 6-7th century AD, even older than the cathedral itself, have already been reconstructed. They were discovered by archaeologists during earlier work undertaken several years ago.

Different domestic buildings, a wine cellar and a bakery have also been found at the Samtavisi complex. The Georgian National Agency for Cultural Heritage is leading further excavations.

Samtavisi is an eleventh-century Georgian Orthodox cathedral in eastern Georgia, some 45km from Tbilisi. The cathedral is now one of the centres of the Georgian Orthodox Church Eparchy of Samtavisi and Gori. (Rustavi 2)