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The News in Brief

Friday, April 12
Commander: NATO's support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia unchanged

Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme NATO Commander in Europe, reaffirmed NATO's support for Georgia' s sovereignty and territorial integrity on Wednesday after meeting with Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania in Tbilisi.

"NATO's support of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity remains unchanged. We are striving to bring Georgia into the Euro-Atlantic sphere. Georgia's contribution to the ISAF mission is important. 15 countries are taking part in missions and Georgia, based on its population, is making the greatest contribution, " Stavridis said.

Admiral Stavridis thanked Georgian soldiers for their contribution to the mission in Afghanistan.

Alasania described his meeting with Stavridis as productive. "The meeting with the Admiral was very fruitful. We talked about issues like NATO partnership and bilateral relations"Alasania said.

James Stavridis also met with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and visited Georgian soldiers injured in Afghanistan. (Trend)

Minister: Energy security is of great importance to Georgia

Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze described Georgia as having large potential in terms of energy when speaking at the Hudoni hydroelectric power station presentation on Wednesday.

The experts advised postponing construction of the Hudoni hydroelectric power station for at least for a year to prepare a full report on the possible consequences of the construction. When completed the station will be able to produce 1300 megawatts of electricity and will be the second most powerful station in Georgia.

"Our approach is to maximally use the country's resources. That is, to build hydroelectric power stations to turn Georgia into a self-sufficient energy producing country," Kaladze said.

He said that energy security is of great importance for Georgia and the ministry will do everything to achieve this goal. (Trend)

PayPal Launches Service in Georgia

PayPal, the largest online payments business owned by eBay Inc, has launched service in Georgia.

PayPal said in a press release on April 11th, that the launch in Georgia came as internet and e-commerce were on a growing trend. Last year the National Bank of Georgia registered a record volume of internet transactions, up 162%.

For the moment, PayPal is exclusively available for individual consumers in Georgia but plans to gradually enable additional functions. (Civil.Ge)

U.S. Department of Defense to fund 75,000 emergency vaccinations in response to the recent measles outbreak in Georgia

U.S. Ambassador Richard Norland announced that the U.S. Department of Defense is funding 75,000 emergency vaccinations in response to the recent measles outbreak in Georgia, the US Embassy in Georgia says.

The donation is a direct response to the March 28th request by the Georgian Ministry of Health to help prevent the spread of measles in Georgia. So far this year, there have been over 700 reported cases of measles in Georgia, while only 32 were reported in 2012. 179 cases have required hospitalizations and there have been two reported deaths, including an 11 month-old baby girl.

The United Nations Children’s Fund will handle procurement and the Georgian National Center for Disease Control will be in charge of distributing the vaccinations to the most vulnerable groups. The U.S. and Georgia enjoy a broad range of excellent cooperation across a range of issues, including health and human services. (IPN)

Ministries of Georgia and Turkey to discuss the Ishkhani restoration issue on April 12th

The Ministries of Georgia and Turkey will discuss the Ishkhani restoration issue in Ankara on April 12th, Culture Minister Guram Odisharia said at a briefing at the Ministry of Culture yesterday.

According to Odisharia, a meeting about the issue was scheduled as part of the negotiations under way between the two countries. The meeting to discuss the issue will be held between the Deputy Culture Ministers of Georgia and Turkey. Representatives of the Georgian Embassy to Turkey will also take part in the meeting.

According to Guram Odisharia, restoration efforts have been suspended. Further details will become known on April 12th and the information will be absolutely open to public. (IPN)

Experts say fire in trade center was not caused by faulty electricity

The criminalists have completed work at the Saba Trade Center in Tbilisi, where a fire on February 26th destroyed over 7000 square meters of space inside the building. The owner of the center Paata Kacharava says that experts told him that the fire was not caused by faulty electricity, but have yet to offer an explanation as to why the fire occurred.

He also added that merchants affected by the fire were given compensation at 2000 GEL each, as well as free cash machines and free rent. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian singer receives praise for his performance on Ukrainian TV

Mikael Kiladze , a 24-year old singer with Georgian origins, performed at the Ukrainian version of "The Voice" singing competition. Kiladze - born in the seaside city of Batumi but residing in the Ukrainian city of Odessa- performed "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder and received the judges' approval, with Svyatoslav Vakarchuk in particular expressing his delight with the young singer. (Georgian News TV)