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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 25
Saakashvili to Answer People’s Questions today

The President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili will answer people’ questions today, January 25, according to a statement made by the President’s press speaker Manana Manjgaladze on Monday.

Saakashvili will hold a video-conference and answer the questions of Georgian citizens from all over the country.

The subjects of the questions are not limited and may refer to the social, political or any other area. Questions can be made by telephone calls or e-mail.

It is a First Caucasian channel project and will be broadcast by TV channel Rustavi 2 at 18:00 today.

The President’s first video conference was held on January 23, 2009 – he answered questions from the media and citizens at the Rustavi 2 studio.

US State Department removes Georgia from Travel Alert List

The U.S. State Department has removed Georgia from the Travel Alerts list. The decision was made on 21 January.

‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia welcomes the decision. Georgia was removed from the Travel Alerts list published on the official website of the State Department. The decision once again proves Georgia’s progress in areas of supremacy of law, democracy and law-enforcement,’ Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said.

Patriarch Calls on People to Pray for Peace

Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Illia the Second preached on thankfulness to God.

He said that the Georgian nation must be a nation of God and people must keep in mind that peace and power can be found only in God. The Patriarch called on the congregation to pray for peace in the world and especially in Georgia.

‘Peace must rest in our minds, hearts, families and the whole of society. Peace is obtained by kindness, if a person treats you badly and you respond the same way, evil doubles and first of all hurts a person. St. Basili says that evil is not treated by evil but by love and kindness,’ Illia the Second declared.

Georgia’s Patriarchy on the restoration of Georgian Churches in Turkey

Secretary of Georgia’s Patriarchy, Lord Michael Botkoveli clarified the Patriarchy's position in an interview with Kviris Palitra, stating that the Patriarchy isn’t against the restoration process, but they only want to keep it balanced.

“It’s a fact that there are hundreds of Muslim mosques on Georgian territory and they are not banned from functioning by anyone. It isn’t a kind gesture by the Turkish side to call for the opening of one or even four mosques in Georgia and in return promising to restore the Georgian churches on its territory not as functional units, but as monuments only,” Lord Michael Botkoveli said.

There have been negotiations between the Georgian and Turkish parties concerning the restoration of Georgian churches in Turkey in exchange for the restoration several mosques and opening one more in Georgia. Georgia’s Patriarchy made a statement some days ago denouncing that they weren’t involved in the negotiation process. According to Botkoveli the agreement isn’t advantageous for Georgia and the Patriarchy calls for the pursuit of justice and equal rights.

We hope that Turkey will consider our opinion and we will suggest a more acceptable agreement draft. Churches should be restored, but only in terms of the two sovereign states having equal rights,” Lord Michael Botkoveli said.

NATO to consider annual National Programme for Georgia

On January 28 the annual National Programme for Georgia for 2011 will be considered at NATO headquarters in Brussels, stated the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Nino Kalandadze at a briefing on Monday. According to Ms. Kalandadze, the programme will be considered during a sitting of the NATO political committee.

“We hope that the programme will be positively assessed,’ added Kalandadze.

According to the Deputy Minister, the programme includes all matters concerning the implementation of democratic reforms in Georgia.

The State Commission for the coordination of Georgia's integration into NATO approved the Annual National Programme for 2011 (ANP) on January 18.


Two die of H1N1 in Kutaisi and Gori

Two people died of H1N1 in Georgia yesterday - one in Kutaisi and the other in Gori. The number of H1N1 cases is growing as the temperature has dropped during the last two weeks. Clinics are now expecting an increase in the number of cases.

The Ministry of Healthcare met yesterday with directors of Tbilisi polyclinics to give them instructions regarding the virus prevention activities.

Representatives of the National Centre of Disease Control say that despite the growth in the number of H1N1 cases, it is still rather lower than last year. The Centre urges citizens to be careful and follow doctors’ instructions they get from their doctors.

The Ghudushauri clinic has been put under quarantine due to the threat of the virus spreading.
(Rustavi 2)