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The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 7
Georgia will participate in Sochi Winter Olympics

Georgian athletes will take part in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. This is according to Georgia's National Olympic Committee President, Leri Habelov. He said the committee voted unanimously in favor of Georgia’s participation.

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili had said earlier that Georgia must take part in the games. President Mikheil Saakashvili's party wants a boycott of the games, saying Georgian athletes cannot take part in an event held in a “the country that occupies 20 percent of Georgia's territory.”

Orthodox Christians mark Saint George’s Day

The Orthodox Church of Georgia marks St. George Day on May 6. Patriarch Ilia II conducted a holy mass at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.

St George was a soldier of the Roman Empire and later became a Christian martyr. He is the Savior of Georgians. The traditional account of his life is considered to have originated in the 4th century. Saint George was a commander of the Emperor Diocletian’s army, but opposed him due to the oppression of Christians. After various tortures, George was executed by decapitation in front of Nicomedia’s defensive wall.
(Rustavi 2)

Miracle of Christianity: Holy Fire appeared in Jerusalem

The Holy Fire appeared at the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem at 15:12 PM Tbilisi local time on May 4. The fire was brought out for the gathered pilgrims – who had been waiting for the annual miracle since the morning – by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. The celebrating pilgrims then distributed the fire to each other.

The patriarch entered the church at around 15:08 PM Tbilisi time, after which the tomb was closed down. Theophilos III carried out special prayers at the spot and was the first to be met with the fire, which first appeared in III century AC in the Jerusalem Church of Easter.

According to the legend, the Easter ceremony that day ran dry on oil for the icon lamp. Patriarch Narcissus issued a blessing for using font water for the lamp and fire appeared from the skies to light up the candles and burn until the end of the ceremony.
(Georgian News TV)

Romania Accepts Georgia's Neutral Travel Documents

Romania became the eleventh country to recognize Georgia’s neutral travel documents designed for residents of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration said on May 2. It said that Romania notified Georgia that it would start accepting neutral travel documents starting from May 15.

Other countries that have so far agreed to accept these neutral travel documents are: Bulgaria; Estonia; Israel; Japan; Latvia, Lithuania; Poland; Slovakia; the Czech Republic and the United States.

Only 27 such documents have been issued by the Georgia since they were introduced in 2011, according to the Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration. Moscow slammed Georgia’s neutral travel documents as “provocative” and Sokhumi said it was “a trap” through which Tbilisi “wants to lure” Abkhazians back to its fold.

EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia helps free minors

An EU monitoring mission welcomes the release of minors who were detained in the Sachkhere district for crossing the border, the mission said on Thursday. “After obtaining the information on May 1, the monitoring mission intensified the hotline and urged the immediate release of the juveniles,” the statement said. “Despite that fact that minors are seldom detained while crossing the border, the EU observation mission calls on all parties to respect the children's interests.”

Meanwhile, the Tskhinvali court will make a decision concerning three adult detainees who were picking berries in the frontier forest.

Ivanishvili: Processes could have been organized in a better way in agriculture program

Processes could have been organized in a better way in the agriculture program, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says in his exclusive interview with the Guria News. He said he was paying great attention to this program, but noted he could not control everything. He said he knew that an investigation had been launched into the affairs under way in the agricultural sector.

“In general, we are controlling the situation. Processes could have been organized in a better way. I will not make preliminary conclusions, but I have questions with regard to vouchers. The process was developing quickly and could not have been perfect, but it might have been carried out in a better way and I have some complaints. At this stage I do not want to encourage or criticize anybody, because the investigation is ongoing,” Ivanishvili said.

Bill to partially decriminalize illegal entry in breakaway regions on agenda

Parliament will continue discussing a package of bills on the partial decriminalization of illegal entry into breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia at a session on May 15 after the lengthy and at times deliberately dragged-out first day of heated debates failed to lead to vote as lawmakers run out of time on May 2.

The government-proposed bill offers to make first time illegal entry to the breakaway regions by foreign citizens the subject of administrative punishment, involving GEL 400 fine, and keeping criminal punishment, involving prison term from two to four years, in case of repeat violation by a same person.

Journalist Sopo Mosidze takes office of GPB Information Service

Journalist Sopo Mosidze has been appointed to the position of Head of GPB Information Service. She will be presented to the employees May 7, Head of GPB Public Relations Service Tiko Berdzenishvili told

Sopo Mosidze is a celebrity in Georgian journalism; she has anchored programs at the GPB First Channel, Mze TV and Imedi TV. Mosidze was also appointed to the position of Head of Mzera TV Information Service; the given TV-company was to be launched February 2013.

Maka Gaprindashvili was acting head of GPB information service since GPB Director General Giorgi Baratashvili fired Khatuna Berdzenishvili, currently the Gamgebeli (governor) of Krtsanisi District of Tbilisi.