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The News in Brief

Friday, January 4
Iavnana congratulates Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II with Gala Concert

A gala commemorating the 35th anniversary of the enthronement and the 80th birthday of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarch, his holiness and beatitude Ilia II is to be held at the Tbilisi Concert Hall on January 4, 2013. Musicians living in Georgia and abroad Iano Alibegashvili, Nino Surguladze, Stella Grigorian, Ilona Mataredze, Marika Gulordava, Marie Roinishvili, Natalie Kutateladze, Nana Kavtarashvili, Marie Nachkebia, Paata Burchuladze, Badri Maisuradze, Gia Oniani, Lado Ataneli, Mamuka Nikolaishvili,George Gagnidze and Otar Jorjikia will perform arias from world famous operas as well as pieces of music created by the Georgian Patriarch. The Georgian National Orchestra and the choir will be conducted by Nicholas Rachveli (chief conductor) and maestros Zaza Azmaiparashvili, David Mukeria and Revaz Takidze. The concert is to be attended by invitation cards only. The concert, which was carried out with support of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, will be aired by Rustavi 2. By the end of January, the Patriarch will visit Moscow to receive an award from the Russian Orthodox Church’s International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations (IFUOCN) for contributing to “strengthening unity of the Orthodox Christian nations.” (The Messenger)

Weather will worsen from January 7th

Weather forecasters say the temperatures will significantly drop beginning on January 7. At night, temperatures will fall to lows of -6 degrees in Tbilisi. Rainy days are expected on January 5-6, while snowfall is expected from January 7, the Forecast Department told InterpressNews. (IPN)

Leon Panetta expresses deepest concern over the death of Sergeant Giorgi Kikadze

A telephone conversation was held between Defense Minister of Georgia Irakli Alasania and the United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Leon Panetta expressed his concern over the death of Sergeant Giorgi Kikadze and asked his Georgian counterpart, on behalf of the US government, to extend his condolences to the family members of the deceased Georgian military servicemen, the Defense Ministry of Georgia says.

Deadline for signing amnesty bill expires

The deadline for signing a bill on amnesty by the President of Georgia will expire on January 11. If Mikheil Saakashvili does not sign the document, the only way out of the deadlock is the signature of the parliament chairperson, by which the bill will be enforced. Saakashvili has recently vetoed the bill. However, it was later overturned by the parliament.

The amnesty will affect thousands of prisoners, but not all them will be immediately released– some will have their sentences reduced. Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Sozar Subari says that the ministry is prepared to immediately respond to the process of amnesty.

Nodiko Tatishvili and Sofo Gelovani will represent Georgia at Eurovision 2013

For the first time since Georgia has joined Eurovision song contest, the Georgian Public Broadcasting station (GPB) has used its right to nominate the participants, who will represent Georgia at the European song contest. According to the decision of the GPB, popular young Georgian singers, Nodiko Tatishvili and Sofo Gelovani will participate in Eurovision 2013 scheduled to take place in Sweden. (Rustavi 2)

Lawmakers summarize year 2012

Lawmakers have summed-up 2012. Georgian Dream coalition members believe that the main achievement of the parliament this year was the nullification of the president’s veto on the bill on amnesty. The president vetoed the bill on amnesty on December 27, but the Georgian Dream-led Parliament voted 91-24 to overturn the presidential veto on the amnesty bill on December 29.

However, United National Movement (UNM) MPs believe that the arrests of former officials after the parliamentary elections and the change of government was the most painful issue of the year, which overshadowed social and political issues. MPs from the United National Movement hope that 2013 will be the year of political cooperation. (Rustavi 2)

New Year celebrations held in Mtatsminda Park

Mtatsminda Park celebrated New Year with Santa Claus and Georgian Tovlis Babua. From 12:00 to 16:00, Santa Claus hosted children and gave them presents. Tovlis Babu will stay in Mtatsminda Park until January 15, 2013. (Rustavi 2)