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The News in Brief

Monday, November 22
Saakashvili talks to foreign media

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Chris Lawrence, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said he hoped that Russia’s deepening partnership with NATO would cause Moscow to take a “more civilized approach” in dealing with its neighbours.

“Once Russia becomes less paranoid, more cooperative, more self-confident in a nicer way – because I think lots of things have emerged from their almost paranoid sense of insecurity – hopefully, the small neighbours of Russia will feel safer themselves,” said Saakashvili, who met with Obama on Friday.

After the meeting with President Obama, Saakashvili also talked to a BBC reporter. The Georgian President stressed the points referring to Georgia in NATO’s new Strategic Concept as well as the details of his meeting with President Obama and Georgia-Russia relations.

Mikheil Saakashvili also made a comment on the new concept in his interview with Euronews.

“NATO has always reaffirmed its support for the territorial integrity of Georgia. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Alliance has just adopted a resolution on the subject of the ethnic cleansing committed in the country of course, with Russian participation and employment, unequivocally the Georgian regions, which is obviously an unlawful act under international law,” he said.
(Rustavi 2)

Free Medical Examinations

Free of charge medical examinations will be held for people living in villages next to the occupied territory of Georgia.

According to the President Mikheil Saakashvili’s order, free of charge medical examinations will be conducted for locals of villages adjacent to the occupied South Ossetian territory of Georgia.

Shida-Kartli regional administration reported that the examinations carried out in the village Ditsi of Gori district, will be attended by Andria Urushadze, the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs.

Along with the medical examinations, free medicine will be delivered to the population.

Occupants vandalise Georgian Church

Russian occupiers have vandalised St. George’s church in the village of Ilori, Abkhazia. They have domed the church with a Russian cupola in order to wipe off Georgian traces and repainted the church both inside and out.

The church was built in the first quarter of the 11th century AD and represents one of the most important sites of western Georgian architecture.

Official Tbilisi intends to send a special appeal to international organisations working on protection of antiquities and monuments about this case. The Georgian side urges UNESCO to respond immediately to the actions of the Russian occupiers.

Along with the church of St. George of Ilori, a number of Georgian architectural monuments remain unprotected in occupied Abkhazia.

Ministries conduct staff reorganisations and cuts

During a plenarry session of parliament on November 19 Finance Minister Kakha Bainfdurashvili announced that budgeting bodies have conducted staff reorganisations and cuts.

According to the Minister, the Finance Ministry has reduced its staff by 119, the Ministry of Economy and Susainable Developmet by 3, the Ministry of Probation and Legal Assistance by 15, the Ministry of Agriculture by 35, the Ministry of Envinroment Protection by 32 and the Statistics Department by 20.

The minister said that the above mentioned bodies have implemented the reorganisations and staff curs in order to be more prepared for the 2011 budget planning.

Ivan Langer shares experience with Georgian Colleagues

A former Internal Minister of the Czech Republic, Ivan Langer held discussions with his colleagues on international policy towards drug addicts in parliament on November 19.

Discussions on international policy towards drug addicts will be held at the session of Healthcare committee of the parliament. Ivan Langer delivered a speech at the meeting, referring to Czech reforms and experience in the field.

The meeting is supported by the Netherlands government within the framework of a project, conducted together with NGOs and aimed at the development of a modern efficient policy and programmes for drug addicts.

Caesium 137 found in Tbilisi

A container of radioactive substances was found on Friday in the centre of Tbilisi. Law enforcers seized caesium 137 at 15 Lermontov Street. The container of the dangerous substances was being kept by the Kisishvili family.

Head of the family Jemal Kisishvili and his wife are currently being interrogated. The exact amount of the substances is as yet unknown. It is also uncertain how the container, seized by law enforcers, came to be in the hands of the Kisishvili family.

Reportedly, a one-hour special operation was conducted in the apartment and no other radioactive substances were found.

Representatives of the special services of Georgian Environmental Ministry also arrived at the scene. They said caesium 137 is one of the most dangerous radioactive substances. It is considered a component of pollution in the biosphere.

Caesium 137 is also used for making so-called dirty bombs. Experts say this radioactive substance is more virulent than uranium.

This is not the first time caesium has been seized in Georgia. Georgian law enforcers seized the substance in different regions of Georgia in 1997 - 2007. Apart from caesium various amounts of uranium were also seized in Georgia in 2003, 2006 and 2010.
(Rustavi 2)