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The News in Brief

Monday, March 13
Patriarch comments on Imedi TV programme

Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II has condemned Saturday’s simulated news report of a Russian invasion broadcast on the Kronika programme on Imedi TV and called on the Government to be more attentive in this regard.

"A TV channel should be controlled and should not broadcast such ugliness," Ilia II stated at the Holy Trinity Cathedral yesterday. The Patriarch said that the programme had outraged each person living in Georgia and Georgian troops. "The programme was taken by people to be real, so if what is shown really happens now people will not believe it is happening," Ilia II stated.

The spoof report depicted what would take place on June 7, 2010, if the opposition lost the election and started a rebellion, used by Russia as a pretext to annexe the whole of Georgia. It also said that the President of Georgia had been assassinated. Part of the opposition is seen helping Russia annex Georgia.

Rasmussen: NATO disagrees with Russia over Georgian issue

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen tried on Friday March 12 to assuage eastern European concern that the alliance does not fully safeguard its security now it is faced with a more assertive Russia.

Poland, the Baltic States and others have been rattled by Russia's brief 2008 war with Georgia and irked by large-scale Russian Army exercises in Belarus and Moscow's new military doctrine which sees NATO expansion as a threat. This doctrine, approved last month, identifies NATO expansion to Russia's border as one of the "main external threats of war" and also sees U.S. plans to create an anti-missile shield in Europe as a national security concern.

"There is a consensus within NATO that we disagree with Russia when it comes to its aggression against Georgia. We will insist on the continuation of our open door policy despite Russian objections, but on the other hand there is also consensus that we should cooperate with Russia in areas where we share security concerns, like Afghanistan, terrorism, proliferation of nuclear weapons, missiles, piracy. This is a two-track approach and there is a broad consensus in the Alliance on that," Rasmussen told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Warsaw devoted to NATO's plans for a new strategic blueprint.

Commenting on NATO's new strategic plan, which are due to be approved later this year, Rasmussen said that it would restate that the main task of the alliance was defending all the territory and populations of member states. "I think the best reassurance of all would be to engage in a true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia. We have our disagreements but we also have a number of areas in which Russia and NATO countries are faced with the same threats," Rasmussen said.
(Rustavi 2)

Memorandum signed by Ministry for Diaspora Issues and Trade Chamber

A memorandum of cooperation has been signed between the Georgian State Ministry for Diaspora Issues and the Trade Chamber. It was signed on Saturday by Minister Papuna Davitaia and President of the Trade Chamber Jemal Inaishvili in the State Chancellery.

Under the memorandum the Ministry will establish contacts with Georgian businesspersons living abroad and therefore they will become members of the Georgian Trade Chamber. The document is a precondition for fulfilling one of the priorities of the action plan drafted by the apparatus of the State Ministry for Diaspora Issues. The document will assist the popularisation of Georgian businesses in foreign markets.

Representatives of businesses who have already drawn up concrete plans to present abroad attended the signing ceremony.
(Rustavi 2)

Floods inflict damage on Samegrelo Region

Floods have inflicted damage on the Samegrelo Region. The flooding River Tchanistskali has damaged the new bridge connecting the Zugdidi and Tchkorotsku districts. The supporting structure of the bridge, which connects more than ten settlements, has collapsed.

Traffic movement on the motorway has been suspended. About thirty families in the village of Kirtskhi in the vicinity of Khobi River have been affected, houses and yards have been flooded.

Residents have urged the local authorities to take flood prevention measures immediately.
(Rustavi 2)

Occupiers assault peaceful civilians in occupied Abkhazia

Russian occupiers opened fire on peaceful residents of the Gali district yesterday. They attacked minibuses taking citrus fruit from Gali to sell in Zugdidi.

The occupiers ambushed the minibus in the village of Khurcha, where there is only one way to pass from the occupied region to the rest of Georgian territory. Two minibuses managed to cross the boundary in time, but the occupiers halted five other buses, took the fruit from the passengers and detained the drivers, who are now being held in the Gali district headquarters of the occupying forces.
(Rustavi 2)

Centre of Japanese culture opens at TSU

The Centre of Japanese Language and Culture has been opened at Tbilisi State University. This project has been implemented with intensive support from the Embassy of Japan in Georgia. The University received a Japanese grant with the support of the two Governments.

The University administration and the representatives of Japan's International Cooperation System signed a relevant memorandum of cooperation yesterday. The project will sponsor courses in Japanese language too. The Mitsubishi Company will provide technical equipment to the centre in future.
(Rustavi 2)