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The News in Brief

Monday, January 23
Bass comments on forthcoming Obama-Saakashvili meeting

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, has commented further on the forthcoming meeting between presidents Barack Obama and Mikheil Saakashvili, scheduled to take place in the Oval Office of the White House on January 30th.

Bass stated that with this meeting, the two nations are expected to tighten their already close relationship.

"It's an important opportunity for both leaders to touch base after they have not seen each other in several months. We've got a lot to talk about. There are a lot of ways we are working together, both in this region and in Georgia, but also further afield in places like Afghanistan."
(Rustavi 2)

Saakashvili calls Putin's statements anti-Georgian

The Georgian president has commented on the recent statements made by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Saakashvili asserted that, with his comments regarding famous writer Boris Akunin's ethic origins, Putin has clearly acknowledged his problems with Georgia.

"If someone still continues asserting that Putin has no problems with the Georgian government, the Russian prime minister has poured cold water on him. When he said Akunin is fighting him because he's Georgian he confirmed that he has problems with Georgia, the Georgian nation and any government of Georgia. We already knew that, but this man also said this himself," Saakashvili stated.
(Rustavi 2)

Ilia the Second in Germany

Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia the Second, has departed for Germany. As his doctor Tsisana Shartava told journalists, the Patriarch will undergo a cardiac examination in the same clinic where he was examined four years ago.

“The clinic contacted us and requested to conduct research [on the] Patriarch. It will need approximately 10-12 days. [He] may receive [a] very short rehabilitation course there,” Shartava said, adding that it is only a planned medical examination.

Borjomi-Bakuriani metropolitan Serafime released the information about the Patriarch’s health condition through a social network.

The Patriarch addressed a congregation before leaving for Germany, at the Sunday service of St. Trinity temple. He said that he is leaving for Germany hoping for their prayers. “I’m going to Germany today. Doctors must examine me. I go with your prayers. Pray for us.”
(Rustavi 2)

Embassy of Georgia in Greece does not know identity of Georgian thief-in-law

The Georgian embassy in Greece does not know the identity of the Georgian "thief-in-law".

Ambassador Irakli Tavartkiladze stated that, as the detainees have several fake passports, their identities have not been clarified yet. He noted that the detained Georgians are suspects in various criminal activities committed between 2005-2009 in Spain, including murder, robbery and money laundering.

A local court will hand down a temporary verdict on Monday, and the detainees will be extradited to Spain. “Then it will be easier to identify them and find out whether they were wanted by Georgian law enforcers,” Tavartkiladze said.

Local media sources were informed about the detention of the eminent Georgian thief-in-law.

The 51-year-old suspect was arrested near Athens, living in an expensive hotel with a fake passport. His 36-year-old guard, a citizen of Georgia, was also detained. A criminal group headed by the unidentified suspect operated in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria. He is wanted by Interpol for money laundering and murder.

New contemporary tennis courts open in Tbilisi

New tennis courts have been opened in the Isani district of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The complex comprises nine open and two closed courts.

The new complex is equipped in accordance with contemporary standards. It is provided with ventilation and heating as well as cooling systems.

The new courts are expected to host the upcoming Youth Sports Festival in 2015.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, alongside the Mayor of Tbilisi, inspected the new complex yesterday. During the visit, Saakashvili proposed that children from socially vulnerable families be able to use the courts for free.

During his visit, Saakashvili was presented with a racket belonging to the world's number one tennis player, Rafael Nadal. The president then used the racket to play a game with noted Georgian tennis player, Leila Meskhi.
(Rustavi 2)

Survivor Georgian sailors return to their homes

Four Georgian sailors, who survived an explosion on an oil tanker in the Adriatic Sea, arrived in Batumi from Istanbul on Friday. They were met by their family members and relatives at the Batumi airport.

In a conversation with reporters, the sailors recalled details of the explosion, saying they were able to survive thanks to a lifeboat.

The sailors commemorated another sailor who died in the explosion. They said they last saw Beka Urushadze on deck during the explosion.

The sailors find it difficult to recall where 52-year-old boats man Malkhaz Lazishvili was when the blast took place. Albanian rescuers have been searching for body of the Georgian national for several days, although the operation was suspended Saturday night due to poor weather conditions.

The tanker's owner has covered all transportation expenses of the Georgian sailors. The Turkish company will also cover the expenses of the transfer of any bodies home after they are found.
(Rustavi 2)

4 passengers, including 2 children, die in car accident

Four people were killed in a road accident in the town of Marenuli in Eastern Georgia last night.

As reported, a Daihatsu car collided into a Moskvitch car, in which mother, father, two under-age children and one other passenger were driving.

The crash was followed by an explosion. Passengers in the Moskvitch car died instantly. Those injured were transported to hospital.

Both of the vehicles were burnt.

An investigation is underway to ascertain the cause of the collision.
(Rustavi 2)