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The News in Brief

Thursday, February 9
Extremists vandalize monastery in Jerusalem

A Jerusalem monastery, built on the spot where tradition holds the tree carved into Jesus' cross once stood, was defaced with graffiti bearing the hallmarks of militant Jewish settlers.

"Death to Christians" was written in Hebrew on the outer walls of the Monastery of the Cross, an 11th-century fortress-like holy site situated in a valley overlooked by Israel's parliament.

"Price Tag" was also painted overnight by vandals, who damaged two cars parked outside the monastery in a rare attack on a Christian shrine in Jerusalem.

The slogan, used by Jewish settlers in vandalism attacks on mosques and Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, refers to the retribution they say they will exact for any attempt by the Israeli government to curb settlement in the territory. (Rustavi 2)

President opens new hospital in Dusheti

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili opened another new hospital on Wednesday, in Dusheti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region. Constructed by GPI Holding, the new hospital is intended for 15 patients and has a staff of 80 doctors.

Saakashvili toured the building, and presented gifts to new-born babies in the maternity ward.

The President also met with pediatrician Irakli Tsitsishvili, and awarded him the Presidential Order of Brilliance.

"On behalf of each of us, I want to decorate Mr. Irakli Tsitsishvili, great Georgian doctor, saviour of children of many generations... with the Order of Brilliance, as a demonstration of our gratitude for his great work in the country of Georgia," Saakashvili said.

Earlier, the president also spoke to the local population. (Rustavi 2)

Court rules against Natelashvili in Palitra suit

The Tbilisi City Court has ruled in favour of Palitra Media in their libel suit against Shalva Natelashvili, leader of the Labour Party.

Zviad Kordzadze, acting in the defense for Palitra, explained, “The court considered Palitra’s suit against Shalva Natelashvili today. Neither Natelashvili nor his representative attended the trial. Consequently, the court delivered a verdict in absentia. The court obliged Natelashvili to deny reports that he earlier spread via Maestro TV, Kviris Kronika newspaper, and Alia newspaper. Namely, Natelashvili accused Palitra Media of depriving children of school and getting millions from Bidzina Ivanishvili. Our suit was fully satisfied". The lawyer added that Natelashvili can appeal the court’s decision.

Palitra Media filed a complaint against Natelashvili in December, for dissemination of false information damaging the business’s reputation. In order to win the suit, Natelashvili would have had to renege on his claims or provide evidence in their support. Kordzadze noted that there were basic factual errors in Natelashvili's statements, including that the media holding is financed by Ivanishvili, and that millions of lari have been transferred to his accounts by Cartu Bank.

Natelashvili also accused Palitra Media of “misappropriation of the school building on Saburtalo Street,” by enacting a claim of ownership and evicting the school from the property. The building was never owned by Palitra Media. (Interpressnews)

Russia bans products made in Ukraine and Norway

After banning products made in Georgia, Belarus and Moldova, a Russian food inspection body has turned its attention to Ukraine and Norway.

Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor will impose a ban on imports of cheese produced by some Ukrainian companies, which they claim have failed to cooperate with Russian quality control inspections.

Rospotrebnadzor head, and Russia's chief epidemiologist, Gennady Onishchenko also announced today that laboratory tests found intestinal bacillus in fish products made in Norway. (Rustavi 2)