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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 5
Ilia the Second Turned 79

Georgia is marking the 79th birthday of its Patriarch, his holiness and beatitude Ilia the Second.

A charity concert devoted to Patriarch’s birthday was held yesterday at Griboedov theatre. The concert was organized by “Iavnana” Foundation with support from TBC Bank.

Ilia II was born as Irakli Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili in Vladikavkaz on 4 January, 1933. He is a descendant of the influential eastern Georgian mountainous clan with family ties to the former royal dynasty of the Bagrationi.

He graduated from the Moscow clerical academy in 1960 and returned to Georgia, where he was assigned to the Batumi Cathedral Church as a priest. In 1961, he was promoted later to archimandrite. On August 26, 1963, he was chosen to be the bishop of Batumi and Shemokmedi and appointed a patriarchal vicar. From 1963 to 1972 he was also the first rector of the Mtskheta Theological Seminary - the only clerical school in Georgia at that time.

In 1967, he was consecrated as the bishop of Tskhumi and Abkhazeti and elevated to the rank of metropolitan in 1969. After the death of the Patriarch David V, he was elected the new Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia on December 25, 1977. He began a wave of reforms, enabling the Georgian Orthodox Church, once suppressed by the Soviet ideology, largely regain its former influence and prestige by the late 1980s.

As patriarch, he has received the highest Church awards from the Patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and almost all other Orthodox Churches.

The number of Georgian churches' dioceses increased to 42 during the last 34 years. Some tens of monasteries have been created. The largest church in Georgia, St. Trinity temple was built. (Interpressnews)

Prime Minister outlines priorities for 2012

The Cabinet held its first session in 2012 at the government`s chancellery reported yesterday. The ministers discussed 19 different issues. However, Prime Minister Nika Gilauri made a traditional statement at the beginning of the session. Gilauri said the top priority of the government in 2012 was the social programs, which in the first place include the growth of pension package from September 1st, 2012.

`Pensioners from the age of 67 will have their pensions grown up to 140 GEL. The pension package will include the insurance voucher too. In addition, every child up to five years` old will be also insured within the government`s social programs,` Gilauri said and added that the construction of new hospitals would continue this year.

He said 30 hospitals were opened in December 2011 and the process would continue in January. Larger hospitals will be opened in the regions of Georgia this summer. (Rustavi 2)

New Company May Join Poti Free Industrial Zone Management

Poti Mayor Vakhtang Lemondzhava told InterPressNews that a new company may join Poti free industrial zone management . The Mayor explains that along with “Rakia Georgia - Free industrial zone”, new entity may partially enter the management and a certain number of stocks may be sold. Poti’s Mayor hasn’t named the new group from the corporative interests of “Rakia Georgia-Free Industrial Zone”.

Lemondzhava said that entry of one more financial group would revive the industrial zone.

The Mayor comments about inefficient work of the Poti Free Industrial Zone and states that the roadblocks in the vicinity by Russian occupation troops in 2008 hindered the zone’s development naming also inefficient management.

“The situation in the industrial zone was worse two years ago. You know that Russian occupation troops set up one from the two roadblocks in private territory, paralyzing the industrial zone for a year and a half. The second large problem was lack of infrastructure – roads, electricity, railway, water and gas”, the Mayor stated.

It was an initiative of the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili to set up Poti Free Industrial zone in 2007. On 15 April 2008, the official ceremony of opening the industrial zone took place. (Interpressnews)

Labour Party objects to paid service of emergencies hotline

Georgian Labour Party objects to the paid service of the emergencies department`s hotline. They say a call for physical entities on hotline 112 costs 0,20GEL and for legal entities - 0,50 GEL.

The opposition party call on the government to annul the decision on making the hotline paid.

The Deputy head of the Emergencies Department Koba Bregvadze has downplayed the allegations of the Labour Party saying the service will remain free as before, accusing the opposition party of trying to win the voters` support by populist statements. (Rustavi 2)

Adjara Tourism Department`s annual report

Tourism Department of the Adjara Region summed up the year 2011 at the briefing yesterday. Department`s authorities said the year was very successful from the point of view of the tourist attraction, as the number of visitors to the region increased with 39%.

In 2012, the department offers five novelties to the visitors in 2012. Within the infrastructure development project, the department foresees opening of new hotels, new tourist info-centers, holding agriculture exhibitions, development of cycle racing track in Batumi and skiing-tourism in mountainous regions of Adjara.

The head of the Adjara Tourism Department Vazha Diasamidze said the international prize given to Batumi as the best resort city and the record number of visitors in winter proved that the region was developing. He said the results were satisfactory, however, the department would intensify its efforts to further improve these results. (Rustavi 2)