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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 31
Afghanistan ISAF Commander General John R. Allen visits Tbilisi

General John R. Allen, Commander of both the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – Afghanistan and the United States Forces – Afghanistan, will hold a series of meetings with senior government and military officials in Tbilisi January 30, to discuss Georgia’s continuing contributions to peace and stability in that country. General Allen will also address Georgia’s 23rd Infantry Battalion at the Krtsanisi Training Center, where they are currently training for future operations in Afghanistan.

The Commander of the ISAF – Afghanistan is responsible for implementing the United Nations mandate, which supports the Afghan government, combats the insurgency, increases the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces, and promotes socio-economic development.

Prior to taking the lead in Afghanistan, General Allen served as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command.

New coach for Tbilisi Dynamo FC

Tbilisi Dynamo has a new head coach. Club president Roman Pipia appointed Giorgi Devdariani to the position, promoting him from his post as coach of Dynamo2.

Pipia explained that previous head coach Alex Garcia failed to meet the club's demands and secure victory for the team. "I could give three months more to Alex Garcia, though I think this would bring nothing good to Dynamo,” Pipia commented. Garcia will receive severance pay according to his termination agreement with the club.

Devdariani will start work tomorrow, saying that he understands the difficulties faced by Dynamo, and that they do not intimidate him. The new head coach believes that Dynamo has the resources needed to achieve victory in every game.

Apart from changes in coaching, there were two other moves at Dynamo. Former Director General Zurab Pololikashvili was appointed Vice President of the club, while former director of Dynamo Arena, Sandro Shakhov, was promoted to Director General.

Gigi Tsereteli, Mikheil Machavariani visiting U.S.

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mikheil Machavariani and Vice-Speaker Gigi Tsereteli left for the United States on Sunday. There are there to attend meetings with members of Congress and other government officials in Washington.

During the visit, Machavariani and Tsereteli will attend the 60th annual breakfast organized by the Congress, which hosts members of the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as the President, leaders of the diplomatic corps, and more than 3000 representatives of 140 countries to speak informally in a friendly atmosphere.

Georgian MPs traditionally participate in the event; this is the Vice-Speaker's twelfth invitation. The parliamentary delegation will return to Georgia on February 5.

CEC chief meets with CoE program adviser

Chairperson of Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC), Zurab Kharatishvili, hosted Council of Europe (CoE) Programme Adviser Igor Gaon at the office of the CEC Monday. The meeting was closed to the media.

Kharatishvili introduced issues linked to the 2012 parliamentary election in Georgia, including the CEC's long-term strategic plan, which aims to improve the electoral environment from 2011-2015.

"We are witnessing that the Central Election Commission is really paying attention to the forthcoming election and trying to do their best to manage the pre-election period. It should be noted that the CEC is trying to introduce modern standards and improve the quality of its work," Gaon remarked after the meeting.
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Diaspora Minister visits Belgium

Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Papuna Davitaia, is in Belgium, where he visited Saint Queen Tamara Church in Brussels and a Georgian Sunday school, as well as met with members of the Diaspora at the Georgian embassy in Brussels.

The minister's staff prepared a unified teaching program for the Georgian Diaspora abroad, which corresponds to the national curriculum in Georgia.

The Minister also attended the rehearsal of Georgian-Belgian folk band Imedi, and presented the singers with chokha, Georgian national suits sewn especially for them.
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Nani Bregvadze to release a solo album

Popular Georgian singer and actress Nani Bregvadze is working on a solo album, to be recorded in the Bravo Records studio. The collection will include new versions of the 12 most popular hits from her 50-year-long career on the stage.

She will be accompanied by the music of the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nikoloz Rachveli.

The album is expected to be released this spring.
(Rustavi 2)