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The News in Brief

Monday, February 6
Ilia the Second: No country can compare with Georgia

No country can compare with Georgia, according to the Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia the Second, who spoke at St. Trinity church on Saturday.

“I was in Germany, where I met doctors who gave me hope that everything will be all right. I want to tell you that no country can compare with Georgia. We were seen by 500-600 people who arrived from various towns. I told them that there may be a lot to drink and clothes to wear [in Germany], but there is not what there is in Georgia. Here is God’s protection and grace and we especially feel this when we go to a foreign country. Our Georgian countrymen are not well off, they are also in hardship. Some of them work, some study. I called on them to return to their homeland and find jobs here in our country,” the Patriarch declared.

Ilia the Second thanked the congregation for praying for his health. He left for Germany on January 22, where he underwent medical examinations. The Patriarch returned on Sunday, and was met by priests and followers at the Tbilisi airport.

Meteorologists predict weather will improve this week

Meteorologists forecast warmer temperatures and less snow for the upcoming week. Ministry of Environmental Protection representative Tamar Gulediani told InterPressNews that snowfall will decline in Eastern Georgia and Tbilisi beginning Monday.

It snowed in Tbilisi, Bolnisi, and Telavi this weekend, while Western Georgia enjoys sunny weather. Weather forecasters predict that temperatures will increase from 8 to 13 Celsius there.

The temperature will drop to -2 or -3 degrees tonight in Tbilisi, while some regions of Western Georgia will see temperatures of -6 to -9 degrees.

Gulediani expects the temperature to be 2 degrees in Tbilisi for Monday.

Victoria Nuland comments on Obama-Saakashvili meeting

Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Victoria Nuland, commented on the recent meeting of the Georgian and U.S. presidents at a press briefing on Thursday.

Nuland reiterated the statements made in the Oval Office, about the initiative to begin negotiations on free trade relations between the two countries, as well as the enhancement of cooperation in the defense and security spheres.

"The United States and Georgia have agreed to continue to develop our bilateral defense and security cooperation. This cooperation is built on the successful programs that we already have to help the Georgian military in its reform effort, something that we do with many militaries around the world, including many of Georgia’s neighbors," she said, emphasizing Georgia's role in the Afghan mission. The U.S. intends to "sustain the work that Georgian forces do in ISAF in Afghanistan and to help them remain interoperable with NATO. Georgia is one of the largest non-NATO contributors to the ISAF mission," she noted.
(Rustavi 2)

Saakashvili delivers speech at Georgetown University

Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili delivered a speech at Georgetown University in Washington after meetings with President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and World Bank officials earlier this week.

Saakashvili was hosted by the Dean of the Foreign Relations School, Carol Lancaster, and the Director of the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown, Angela Stent. An audience of about seven hundred was in attendance, including Georgian nationals, students of the University, and American political experts.

The Georgian president gave a brief overview of Georgian history, its modern reforms, and Russia-Georgia relations in recent years.

He also discussed his talk with U.S. President Barack Obama and other senior officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry.

Saakashvili said America is a great power that benefits the whole world, and is an inspiration for those countries where political changes are currently taking place.

The President answered questions from the audience after his speech. Most of the questions revolved around relations between Georgia and Russia, reforms implemented by the government, Georgia's breakaway regions, economics, the reduction of crime and corruption, and the modernization of the health and education sectors.
(Rustavi 2)

Search operation resumes off Turkish coast

The search operation at the site of a recent shipwreck off the Turkish Black Sea coast has been resumed. The Vera sank in stormy weather last week, but the freighter’s whereabouts at the bottom of the sea were only recently discovered.

Divers dove into the hull of the freighter on Sunday, but the fate of the missing sailors remains uncertain so far. Rescuers continue to search for Georgian mechanic Murman Darsadze, the only Georgian crew member.

Eleven crew members were on board when the accident took place. The ship's second and third captains and its cook, a woman, were rescued and hospitalized.
(Rustavi 2)

CDM leader attends traditional prayer breakfast in Washington

The leader of the Christian Democratic Movement of Georgia attended the U.S. President's annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday. The breakfast, which has been held for the past 60 years, was attended by politicians and representatives of religious and business organizations.

President Obama addressed those assembled at the breakfast and spoke about global challenges.

While visiting the United States, CDM leader Giorgi Targamadze and the Party's International Secretary held meetings with Congress, the Department of State, the national Democratic and Republican institutes, and other government bodies.

The leader of the CDM also met with Georgian Diaspora in Washington.
(Rustavi 2)