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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 3
Vashadze: Monastery of the Cross will not be discussed between Georgia and Israel

The Monastery of the Cross is not an issue that will be discussed between the governments of Georgia and Israel, Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Grigol Vashadze told journalists Wednesday.

Vashadze noted that he has had correspondence with the Israeli Foreign Ministry on the topic, and that they are ready to help. However, he maintained, "This is not an issue to be discussed between the government of Georgia and Israel, as the Patriarch of Jerusalem is independent.”

The Minister stated that it would be inappropriate to comment on any details.

The Israeli Ambassador to Georgia, Yitzhak Gerber, said Tuesday that the issue of the Monastery of the Cross must be solved between the Orthodox churches of Georgia and Greece, and that it has nothing to do with the Israeli government. (IPN)

Baramidze meets Lithuanian PM in Batumi

Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze met with the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Andrius Kubilius, in Batumi Wednesday. The Ministers discussed the prospects of Georgia's integration into NATO, Georgian reforms, and the support of Lithuania in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.

After the meeting, they visited a photo exhibition depicting the presence of Lithuanian troops in Afghanistan.

Kubilius also visited Batumi University where he delivered a lecture, before touring the Batumi House of Justice. (Rustavi 2)

CDM proposes three new initiatives

The Christian Democratic Movement (CDM) has proposed three new initiatives with regards to health insurance programs.

The opposition party believes that the list of the medicines included in current insurance packages should be expanded, high-technology exams should be 80% financed by state funds, and rehabilitation programs for disabled persons should be included.

Party representative Magda Anikashvili said improvement of health insurance programs is impossible without these three major changes. The party plans to discuss their initiative at a forthcoming plenary session of Parliament. (Rustavi 2)

Bakradze celebrates Kutaisi Day

Bells rang in all the churches of Kutaisi yesterday, as locals celebrated the city's anniversary.

Bishop Calistrate conducted holy rites at the Bagrati Temple, where restoration works are still underway.

Speaker of Parliament Davit Bakradze visited Kutaisi to attend the events and speak about development plans for Georgia's second largest city.

"Kutaisi has never met this day with such large-scale plans and prospects for development. This year there will be an event of the decade indeed - the Bagrati Temple will be opened after restoration works are over. Parliament will also move here and thus the city will regain the status of administrative and political centre of the country. Many other things are planned here and the goal of all this is to make the city better, more attractive, and more comfortable for its residents with more chances for employment," he said. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian Dream youth march dispersed in Kutaisi

A protest organized by the youth wing of Georgian Dream was dispersed in Kutaisi, according to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s facebook page.

A group of young people lit candles at the Davit Aghmashenebeli monument at midnight on Wednesday, commemorating Kutaisi Day. A symbolic protest began with a peaceful procession from Rustaveli Street and ended at Aghmashenebeli Monument, where participants spelled out “Happy day of Kutaisi” with lit candles. The young members of the coalition said that a cleaning service car appeared spraying a water cannon at the protesters.

Employees of Kutaisi City Hall appeared on the scene, and there was a brief verbal altercation between the two groups before the youth left the area. (IPN)

Trump hails Georgia's progress

American billionaire Donald Trump spoke about his impressions of Georgia in a live telephone interview with Fox News in America.

Trump, who noted that he had visited the country last week, called Georgia an "amazing" country that was developing very fast, even hailing its tax system in comparison to America's.

"I was in the republic of Georgia over the weekend... You have to see the place... it's booming and it's unbelievable. This was a Russian satellite for a period of time and broke away. [World] leaders are going to that country to find out what they are doing," he said.

Trump singled out Georgia's tourism industry, saying that Batumi "is going to be one of the great places of the world within four or five years".

The presenters asked the billionaire about Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. "He is one of the great leaders of the world right now and leaders of other countries, major countries are going there to find out what he is doing," Trump affirmed. (Rustavi 2)

Two Georgians arrested in the Netherlands

Two Georgian nationals were arrested for robbing a jewellery shop in the Netherlands this week.

Imedi reports that 19-year-old Sandro Grigolia and his accomplice, Zia Borchuk, have been detained. The suspects were caught on camera during the robbery. The video shows Grigolia entering the shop and threatening the jeweller with a gun, before firing it.

Hague police offered a ˆ15 000 reward for information about the suspect. The Embassy of Georgia to the Netherlands is involved in the case. (IPN)