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The News in Brief

Monday, January 28
Orthodox Church marks St. Nino’s Day

The Georgian Orthodox Church marked St. Nino’s Day on January 27th with special liturgies at all Orthodox temples. Christianity was declared the state religion of Georgia in 326 thanks to the prophecy of St. Nino, during the reign of King Mirian and Queen Nana. The Georgian Orthodox Church marks St. Nino’s Day twice a year. June 1st is the day when she arrived in Georgia, while January 27th is the day of her death.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry orders visas issued to Georgian delegation

Russia’s Foreign Ministry Department ordered the embassy of Switzerland in Tbilisi (Russian interests Section) to issue visas to the Georgian delegation, Ria Novosti reports. According to the agency the Georgian delegation will hold talks regarding the return of Georgian wine and other products to the Russian market. “Genady Onishenko’s request entered Russia’s Foreign Ministry regarding issuing visas to the Georgian delegation arriving to Russia for negotiating with Federal Service on Customers’ Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing Surveillance,” the statement of The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads. The meetings between two sides are scheduled for February 4th. Head of the national wine agency Levan Davitashvili will lead the Georgian delegation.

Ex-Governor released on GEL 200, 000 bail

Tbilisi City Court ruled on Saturday to release former governor of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region Cesar Chocheli, arrested on January 24 on charges related to illegal entrepreneurship and money laundering, on GEL 200,000 bail. Prosecutors wanted Choceli to be detained pending his trial. Chochenli, who was governor of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region from early 2008 until November 2012, denied the charges filed against him.

The finance ministry’s investigative service said that while serving as governor, Chocheli was “illegally involved” in businesses of a construction and energy company New Energy, which was a state contractor in various projects claiming that Chocheli received about GEL 5.4 million in undeclared income. Preliminary court hearing into the Chocheli’s case is scheduled for March 14. However, Vano Merabishvili Secretary General of the United National Movement (UNM) thinks Chocheli was arrested on “absolutely ridiculous and fabricated” charges.

Labour Party leader re-emerges

Leader of the Georgian Labour Party has re-emerged on the political stage after a 100-day moratorium. Shalva Natelashvili held his first briefing after his time-out on January 25. “Only decorations were replaced on the stage on October 1. Foreign and internal policy is unchanged, the oppressive system is unchanged, but I am taking this responsibility on myself, because, I think I did not do enough, I failed to confirm people and to mobilize and organize our nation,” Natelashvili said adding that the winning party (Georgian Dream) and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili have ignored their election promises and did not launch the campaign for impeaching president Saakashvili.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgian Military Servicemen Wounded in Afghanistan

Three Georgian military servicemen have been wounded in Afghanistan. Corporal Erekle Kharshiladze and Junior Sergeant Iago Kakulia were patrolling when insurgents opened fire. As a result both of them received minor injuries. Their health conditions are stable. They are undergoing medical treatment in the US Military Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. Private Guram Chimakhidze was injured after anti-personnel mine exploded while he was on patrol. He was seriously injured. The wounded soldier was immediately hospitalized. His health condition is also stable. Private Guram Chimakhidze will be transferred to the Lanstuhl Military Hospital in the nearest future for further treatment.

Ex-minister breaks silence and returns to politics

Former security Minister Valeri Khaburdzania plans to return to politics. Khaburdzania announced his intention in the interview with Alia newspaper. “Once I broke the 8 year-long silence it means that I am back to politics,” Khaburdzania said, reviewing the current political situation in Georgia. He said ignoring Russia while determining foreign policy priorities was unacceptable. “The Russian influence cannot be artificially marginalized in society, especially, when its influence is great. Governments should not be inventing chimeras even like Euro-Atlantic unions, for its short-term political comfort,” Khaburdzania said confirming to Rustavi 2 that he plans to return to politics.
(Rustavi 2)