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The News in Brief

Monday, January 9
Orthodox Christians of Georgia celebrated Christmas

Orthodox Christians of Georgia celebrated Christmas on Saturday (January 7). Holy liturgies were conducted in all Orthodox Churches throughout the country late that night.

With the celebration the Nativity Fast has finished which runs for 40 days. The fast was observed from November 28, 2011.

Festive Christmas ceremony called Alilo took place in capital Tbilisi. participants of the traditional procession walked up to the Holy Trinity Cathedral and delivered all the presents gathered during the procession to a special tent to be put up on the territory of the church. The presents including mostly sweeties and fruits, were sorted and delivered to children`s homes and shelters for helpless people.

His Holiness, Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II conducted Holy liturgy in the Saint Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi. The liturgy ended with the patriarch’s Christmas epistle, which was read loudly for worshipers.

The patriarch called on all orthodox Christians of Georgia for solidarity and charity. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian government’s representatives visiting Africa

An interdepartmental group of the Georgian government is in its visit to Africa. The group is actively involved in the process of release of 18 Georgian and Turkish sailors of OLIG vessel captured by Somali pirates about 18 months ago.

According to preliminary reports, intensive activities for release of the sailors are underway. Reportedly, all crew members are safe now.

The intensive activities are going on under the direct supervision of the Georgian president.

Names of the members of the interdepartmental group are kept secret, although it has been reported, that the group is headed by Giorgi Karbelashvili, the Georgian president`s personal envoy.

Karbelashvili is on his visit to Kenya and Somali for several days. He is holding intensive talks with the local authorities.

The ship registered under Maltese flag owned by a Greek company with 15 Georgians and 3 Turks onboard, was captures by the pirates in September 2010. The pirates are demanding several millions in return of their release. (Rustavi 2)

NGO objects to alleged deal between `Alia` and Ivanishvili

NGO Pure Politics objects to an alleged deal between Alia Holding and Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The representatives of the organization suspect that the dismissal of several journalists from the holding must have been tied with the aforementioned agreement, according to which the newspaper will abstain from publishing critical and negative information about the businessman and the politician from now on.

The NGO believes if such agreement was reached, it should become public, because there is nothing to hide.

`We think that such sudden and rough change of policy of the Holding, which all of a sudden turned into a pro-Ivanishvili policy, raises questions that the sides have agreed. That`s why we call on each media organization in Georgia to confirm if such agreement was reached and make it public to avoid political corruption in Georgia,` the head of the NGO Zurab Japharidze said.

The Department of the Political Party Monitoring of the Chamber of Control has responded to the concerns of the NGO, saying they will look into the details of the alleged agreement if they receive an official letter in this regards. (Rustavi 2)

Adjara Finance Minister delivers annual report

Ministry of Finance and Economics of Adjara has summed up its work in 2011. According to the annual report, 149 million dollar investment was made in the region last year, 65 million of which was invested in the development of tourism and 47 million - for the development of industrial sector. The government has issued construction licenses on 300,000 square meters.

Minister Vazha Bolkvadze said 98 objects were sold by auction mobilizing 20 million GEL to the regional budget. He also said the budget of the Adjara Autonomous Republic was increased with 380% since 2004.

Vazha Bolkvadze also spoke about the employment program of the government. He said according to the average data, over 10,000 jobs were created in t he region in 2011. (Rustavi 2)