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The News in Brief

Thursday, January 12
Pope Benedict XVI hails Georgian legislation on religious minorities

Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the protection of the interests of religious minorities in Georgia at the annual meeting with foreign diplomats in Vatican on Tuesday.

Benedict XVI reviewed the amendments made by Georgian parliament to the law, which allows religious minorities to get the status of legal entities. Pope said it was a step made forward towards religious freedom.

`We should not use religion as the substitution to the law hoping that it serves something good. In this context, I am proud of my homeland, Germany, where Christian vision became the grounds for significant laws. I want to focus your attention on specific examples of religious freedom progress, for example, the amendments, which allowed religious minorities to get the status of public legal entities,` Pope announced.

Pope holds annual meeting with the Diplomatic Corps accredited in Vatican in the beginning of the year to sum up the results of the past year. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian sailors, released from Somali pirates, talk to their family members

The Georgian sailors, released from Somali pirates, have talked to their family members . The family members, like the Naval Transport Administration, do not want to talk about conditions of the release before the return of the sailors to Georgia.

‘I talked to my son yesterday. Details of the release will become known after their arrival in Georgia’, a father of one of the sailors told InterpressNews.

The released sailors are on a ship heading to one of Kenya’s port. An armed guard is protecting them. They will enter the Kenya port on 12 January, while they will arrive in Georgia on 14 January.

Information about release of the sailors was spread on 8 January. The ship with 15 Georgian sailors was seized by Somali pirates in September 2010. The pirates requested a ransom. However, the Greek company, owning the ship, refused to pay it. (Interpressnews)

People`s Party leader comments on party`s financial activities

The leader of the People`s Party Koba Davitashvili made definitions about the financial resources the party has received from the funds of Georgian billionaire and politician Bidzina Ivanishvili. Davitashvili briefed at the Prime Time Press Club today. He confirmed that the party had really taken funds from Ivanishvili, however, it was the funds intended for the interests of the political coalition formed by the billionaire.

The opposition party leader has also commented on the documents published by the Chamber of Control yesterday, which reported in details the money transferred and paid to various political figures by Ivanshvili. High salaries paid to several opposition politicians became the subject of controversy yesterday. Davitashvili said the fact that a billionaire politician was paying money to other politicians should not surprise people. (Rustavi 2)

Free Georgia Party disapproves new Electoral Code

Opposition party the Free Georgia disapproves the new electoral code. Kakha Kukava, the leader of the party briefed in this regard yesterday saying the code does not reflect the recommendations of the opposition parties and the international organizations. He said the recommendations about the elections in regions, party sponsoring restrictions and media environment.

The Free Georgia has prepared a special project of amendments to the Electoral Code, which they plan to introduce to international organizations. However, the opposition party leader says his party will take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections even if his recommendations are not accepted. (GHN)

Body of killed Georgian to be transferred to Georgia in few days

The body of the Georgian national Revaz Churadze, who was killed in Italy on January 9th, 2012, will be transferred to Georgia after the Italian prosecutor signs corresponding documents. Georgian embassy in Italy is reporting that the expertise is over and the investigation is conducted by the prosecutor`s office of the city of Bari and the details of the crime and its motive will be clarified after it is over.

The body of the killed man with multiple shots was found in the central part of the city of January 9th. Police is working on two versions - one of which is a criminal dispute. Churadze ran an office of money transfers in Bari. Police found over ten thousand Euro in his apartment. In addition, the police are also working on the version of espionage, as they found a picture of Churadze`s friend taken with the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. (Rustavi 2)