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The News in Brief

Friday, November 19
Georgian Orthodox Church Adherents Unable to Hold Services in So-Called South Ossetia – US Department of State

The bureau of democracy, human rights and labour has published a report called 'Religious Freedom 2010' .

According to the report, in South Ossetia, the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) adherents are unable to hold services in churches located near the ethnic Georgian villages of Nuli, Eredvi, Monasteri, and Gera because these areas were under the control of de facto South Ossetian authorities. ‘Individuals living outside Abkhazia and South Ossetia faced difficulties crossing the administrative boundaries and, therefore, were limited in their ability to visit the gravesites of family members inside the territories, especially in South Ossetia. The situation improved somewhat over the course of the reporting period, with some visits being allowed, especially on religious holidays’, the report says.

‘The occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia remained outside the control of the central government, and reliable information from those regions was difficult to obtain. ‘A 1995 decree issued by the Abkhaz leader that banned Jehovah's Witnesses in the region remained in effect but was not enforced. The group reported that it continued to hold services in Abkhazia but limited its activities because of the decree’, the report says.

According to the report, Baptists, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics reported that they were allowed to operate in Abkhazia, but the GOC reported that it was unable to do so.

‘In 2008 the Russian Holy Synod passed a resolution officially recognizing the GOC's jurisdiction over the dioceses in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. However, on September 16, 2009, the Abkhaz Orthodox Church declared ‘independence’ from the GOC’, the report says. (Interpressnews)

Mikheil Saakashvili – I was Afraid of Chechens while Opening Border

'I was afraid of Chechens prior to making the decision to open the border with North Caucasus'; said a statement made by President Saakashvili to a “Novaia Gazeta” journalist .

According to Saakashvili, up to 1000 people cross the newly-opened border daily. “The President was afraid of Chechens but having learnt that there is order in the country and people act differently, the fear faded away. However, Georgians aren’t allowed in Russia”, writes culture reviewer of “Novaia Gazeta”. While having dinner in one of the restaurants in Batumi Larisa Maliukova asked the President about beggar children in Tbilisi.

“They are gypsies, we have tried to allocate them in boarding school and have led negotiations with their bosses, but all in vain. In France they were paid for deportation, but they still returned. You won’t see any of our refugees in the streets. All of them are provided with relevant welfare”, Saakashvili told the “Novaia Gazeta” journalist.

Larisa Maliukova visited Georgia within the framework of a Russian film festival. “Novaia Gazeta” published the interview with Saakashvili in its 17 November edition. (Interpressnews)

Economic Minister dismisses marine administration staff

The Minister of Economics and Sustainable Development has dismissed the authorities of the marine department of the transport administration. The Minister visited Batumi Marine Academy yesterday, where she spoke about the need to bring new staff to the marine administration for more effective work.

Reportedly, the chairperson of the Marine Department, Badri Patenadze was dismissed together with his team today. The Minister said the international marine organization and the European Union discovered several violations in the work of the administration.

`It`s a pity that we found many violations in the work of the marine department of the transport administration; the problems arose from the failure of the staff to provide the ministry with required information in time. We should form a new team, which will care about the future of these children [academy students] and not about their personal interests, ` the minister said. (Rustavi 2)

Forty Georgians deported from Ireland

Forty Georgian nationals have been deported from Ireland. The deportees arrived in Tbilisi from Dublin on a special flight last night.

They resided in Ireland illegally. The deportees say one of the reasons for which they were asked to leave the country was the economic crisis in Ireland.

Relatives and family members greeted them in Tbilisi airport late Wednesday night. (Rustavi 2)

Temur Iakobasvhili May be Appointed Georgia’s Ambassador to USA

Temur Iakobashvili, Minister of Reintegration Issues, may be appointed Georgian Ambassador to the USA, the Resonance newspaper says.

The press service of the Ministry does not confirm the information.

‘We do not possess similar information. Temur Iakobashvili remains on the minister’s post and is now holding an official meeting’, the press service declares.

Temur Iakobashvili himself is not answering telephone calls due to the above-mentioned meeting.

Information on his appointment as an ambassador was released on an internet forum as well. (Interpressnews)