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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 10
Saakashvili addresses tourism conference in Batumi

Batumi is currently hosting a UN World Tourism Organization conference, where Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili addressed participants and hailed the development of the tourist sector in Georgia.

"I have not heard about a country around the world where tourism is developing as fast as it is in Georgia in recent years. When I became President, we had 120,000 visitors to Georgia and the greatest majority were Georgians with foreign passports. Two years ago we had two million visitors, last year we had three million, this year we are expecting four and next year - five million visitors to Georgia," Saakashvili said, adding that the growth of the number of tourists in the country is tied directly to the growth of the economy as it means more employed people in Georgia. (Rustavi 2)

American soldiers awarded by Georgian government

The Ministry of Defense of Georgia has awarded six American military servicemen. Five US marines and one sailor were honored for their contributions in support of the Georgia Deployment Program for the ISAF mission (GDP-ISAF). The medals were awarded to them by Commander of the 31st Battalion LTC Alexander Tugushi, who had been wounded while performing a peacekeeping mission within the ISAF operation. An award ceremony was held at Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group, Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story in Virginia.

Marine Col. Christopher McCarthy, Lt. Col. Daniel Thoele, Maj. Joshua Anderson, Capt. Arlon Smith, and Staff Sgt. Everett Brown were presented with Gen. Giorgi Mazniashvili Medals. Also recognized was Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Tilley, who was presented with the Georgian Ministry of Defense Medal. According to Ministry representatives, these Marines greatly contributed to the expansion of the Georgia Deployment Program.

GDP-ISAF is a training and equipping mission designed to prepare four Georgian infantry battalions in sequence for operations in Afghanistan. (Rustavi 2)

Meeting with students employed within Summer Job Program

Minister of Education and Science Dimitri Shashkin and Deputy Minister of Justice Giorgi Vashadze recently met with students employed by the government program, Summer Job. The meeting was held at the House of Justice in Rustavi Tuesday.

The 320 students were familiarized with the terms of their one month contract, for which each employed student will be paid 500 GEL. They will work at the National Archives of Georgia, the Civil Registry Agency, the Notary Chamber of Georgia, the Justice Training Centre, the Public Registry Agency, and the National Bureau of Execution. (Rustavi 2)

Saakashvili: Poverty remains in "beautiful buildings" of Tbilisi

President Mikheil Saakashvili visited the Tskhovrebauli family in Gldani, a district in Tbilisi. There, he spoke about the poverty that persists in the city, even within "beautiful buildings".

The President declared that the government is active in solving this problem. Saakashvili familiarized the family with the infrastructure projects taking place in the outskirts of the city, and spoke about new health insurance programs. He noted that everyone in Georgia will soon be insured.

The President also mentioned that people with technical skills are difficult to find, so this field has to be developed. (IPN)

Bakradze attends presentation in Germany

Within the official visit of a Georgian parliamentary delegation to Germany, Speaker of Parliament Davit Bakradze attended the presentation of the book written by Wolfgang Boernsen - Exemplary People With Mere Demerits. The book was translated into Georgian and in it the writer reviews German democracy, parliamentarianism and the significance of elections. (Rustavi 2)

Duruji festival contestants revealed

Groups of actors from 19 theatres will perform 30 plays seeking the top prize at the Duruji drama festival. The list of contestants was published Tuesday, and is available on the websites of the festival's corporate sponsors.

A new nomination - best artist - was added this year. The winners will be revealed at the closing ceremony on June 16. (Rustavi 2)

Police detain stabbing suspect

Police have arrested Giorgi Akopyan, 29, who injured one and assaulted another in a fight two days ago.

Akopyan is accused of having stabbed Kakhi Bibiluri, 46, with a knife and assaulted Davit Sakvarelidze, 31, on Sunday. The incident occurred on Abashidze Street, Tbilisi, where the suspect and the injured worked in the street washing the cars parked outside cafes. As eyewitnesses say, Akopyan assaulted the two because they washed cars parked in "his zone".

Both injured were transferred to hospital; Bibiluri was operated on yesterday and doctors say is stable after the surgery. (Rustavi 2)