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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 26
Mikheil Saakashvili awards architects restoring Bagrati Cathedral

President Mikheil Saakashvili awarded the architects who worked on restoring Bagrati Cathedral with orders of Excellency. Saakashvili thanked the former Minister of Culture Nika Rurua and the former head of the national agency of Monument Protection Nikoloz Vacheishvili for their support. He said the restoration of Bagrati Cathedral has been an example of what the interference of politics in national cultural matters means.

Maia Panjikidze to visit Portugal

Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze will visit Portugal on April 1. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Davit Jalaghania said at a traditional Monday briefing that the Minister will meet with the state secretary Carlos Moedas, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Paulo Portas and members of the Georgian friends group of the national assembly.

Jalaghania states that bilateral and multilateral relations between the countries, trade economic perspectives and the development of cultural an educational ties in the future will be highlighted during the meeting. Jalaghania noted the importance of opening a Portuguese language and culture center at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.

Salome Zourabichvili holds meetings at Georgian MFA

Salome Zourabichvili held meetings at Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Department on Monday. Zourabichvili arrived in Georgia on a two-day visit as head of an experts’ group and is authorized to speak about the implementation of the UN sanctions’ committees and UN resolutions.

Metal workers fired as others block railway

The management of the metallurgical plant in Poti has fired nine employees the day after the port workers there went on strike. This decision led to a renewal of the workers’ rally, who at first demanded better working conditions and normal salary, but now also are demanding that the company rehire the fired workers, which they think were unfairly dismissed. According to reports in the local media, the striking workers have blocked the main railway line, stating that if the management doesn’t satisfy their demands, they won’t lift the blockade.

“Instead of starting a dialogue with the employees, they have fired five trade union members and four rally activists, who were leaders of this process,” Tamaz Dolaberidze, Chairman of the Metallurgical Trade Unions, told Interpressnews. Davit Kvitsiani, lawyer of the metallurgical plant claims on the contrary that strikers do not let Indian workers work. He also said that the demands of the strikers are in the process of being reviewed and ‘within the frames of the law, management will soon make the decision.”

Georgian FM's honorary consulate to function in Hague and Rotterdam

Georgian Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze will visit the Netherlands on March 24-26. Within the visit the head of the foreign policy department will meet Dutch colleagues and discuss a wide range of questions concerning bilateral and multilateral relations, as well as the main directions of Euro-Atlantic integration, said deputy minister of Foreign Affairs David Zalkaliani.

The opening of honorary consulates in the Hague and Rotterdam with the participation of the minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is also scheduled. "The minister will meet with Georgian diplomats in European governments on March 24 in the Hague. As you know, we have no ambassadors in the leading European countries and the US, so we had to resort to this form. The diplomats in the Hague will get the instructions from the minister," noted the deputy minister.

Georgia in Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013

The World Economic forum published the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 that assesses 140 economies worldwide based on the extent to which they are putting in place the factors and policies to make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector. Georgia moved to 66th place in the rating, while it was 73rd in 2009 and 2011. As well as providing insight into how countries are fostering the development of their travel & tourism industry, the report also offers a snapshot on the health of the industry and its role in driving global economic growth. Georgia is ranked 51st regarding security, heat and hygiene - 37th, air transport infrastructure - 101st, ground transport – 61st, tourism competitiveness index – 82nd, education quality in traveling and tourism – 77th, Cultural resources - 84th, Affinity for Travel and tourism – 53rd, by Attitude of the population towards foreign visitors – 33rd.

The 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) reveals that Switzerland, Germany and Austria lead the world in terms of travel and tourism competitiveness, with Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Canada, Sweden and Singapore completing the top 10.
(Georgian News TV)

Mathieu Valbuena excels as France beat Georgia to leapfrog Spain

Mathieu Valbuena scored a goal and created two others to help France defeat Georgia 3-1 at home in a World Cup Group I qualifier on Friday and leapfrog Spain at the top of the table before the sides meet at the Stade de France on Tuesday.

Olivier Giroud headed home a neat Valbuena free-kick on the stroke of half-time, breaking the deadlock for a home team who had earlier failed to convert their chances as Karim Benzema’s goal-drought extended to an 11th game.

Valbuena, who had scored in France’s two previous games, doubled the lead two minutes into the second half with a powerful half-volley, then delivered a long cross for Franck Ribéry, who ran down the left and shot to make it 3-0.

Georgia, who had had their chances in the first half, were rewarded for their efforts 10 minutes later when Aleksander Kobakhidze took advantage of a deflected cross to find the net.

France climbed to the top of the group with 10 points from four games, two ahead of the world and European champions, Spain, who could manage only a 1-1 home draw with Finland.
(The Guardian)