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The News in Brief

Monday, May 20
Georgian government approves Village Support Programme

On May 17 the Government of Georgia approved projects being financed under the State Village Support Program. About 7,000 projects will be financed at the national level. The projects are distributed in the regions of Georgia as follows: about 630 in Adjara, 580 in Guria, 550 in Kakheti, 530 in Mtskheta-Mtianeti, 445 in Kvemo Kartli, 320 in Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, 430 in Samtskhe-Javakheti, 1140 in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and 490 in Shida Kartli.

A number of meetings with the population will be held in 3,500 Georgian villages in order to decide which development direction in the regions should be a priority.

Monitoring of this process is conducted by non-governmental organizations and regional media. Most projects will be funded in the fields of water supply, construction and reconstruction of rural roads, street lighting and the restoration of kindergartens.

MoD: Alasania, Hagel have phone conversation

During a phone conversation with his Georgian counterpart Irakli Alasania on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressed his condolence over the deaths of three Georgian troops in the May 13 insurgent attack on an outpost in Helmand province of Afghanistan, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said.

The MoD said that during phone conversation Hagel and Alasania also discussed further cooperation in the frames of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The MoD reiterated Georgia’s continued commitment to the ISAF mission, as well as reiterated its readiness to continue its contribution after 2014, when the NATO combat mission is due to end.

MIA releases Georgian citizen detained in Tskhinvali

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has released a Georgian citizen arrested by the Tskhinvali de-facto government. According to the MIA, the Georgian citizen was released as a result of negotiations carried out by the analytical department of the ministry, regional officers and representatives of the EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia. Giorgi Gogoladze, a resident of Gori was detained for illegally crossing the border on 14 May.

Saakashvili awards former US President with Georgian order

President Mikheil Saakashvili awarded former President of the United States Bill Clinton with the St. George Order of Victory during his ongoing tour to the USA. The president's administration announced the award had been bestowed upon the former president for strengthening ties between the two countries and his special support for Georgia.

“You changed a great part of the world. Few people were able to do it in such a short period. You worked hard on social equality. I think you can save similar small countries. You are a great person not only for Georgia, but for the whole world,” Saakashvili said.

Clinton expressed his gratitude for the award and noted his honor for bearing the prestigious order. Bill Clinton served as president from 1993-2001.

Armenian Ambassador, Adjara head discuss cooperation in tourism

Armenia’s Ambassador to Georgia, Hovhannes Manukyan, paid a working visit to Batumi, the capital of Adjara.

Ambassador Manukyan met with the representatives of local Armenian organizations to discuss activities of Armenian structures and the socio-economic situation of the Armenian community.

During the meeting with the head of Adjara, Archil Khabadze, officials discussed cooperation, in particular within the tourism sector.

They expressed their readiness to continue cooperation to reach an effective solution to the existing problems and the strengthening of contacts.

Georgia ranked 15th at Eurovision Song Contest

Sopho Gelovani and Nodiko Tatishvili, Georgian contenders in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) finished in 15th place in the ESC final, which was held in the Swedish city of Malmo on the 18th of May. Sopho and Nodiko performed the song "Waterfall".

It was an exciting evening at Malmo where in front of thousands of people and millions of TV viewers, Emmelie de Forest from Denmark won the 2013 edition of Europe's Favorite TV show with her song “Only Teardrops”, reports. De Forest managed to gather 281 points, followed by Azerbaijan with 234 points and Ukraine with 214 points. The final outcome was decided by a 50-50 split between professional juries and TV-voting from all 39 participants.

Denmark will host the Eurovision song contest next year. Georgia took part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2007, when Sopho Khalvashili finished 12th with her song “My Story”.

Catholicos Patriarch visits Istanbul

Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II, visited Istanbul regarding the Edict of the Milan jubilee, the Patriarchate informed InterPressNews. The patriarch was invited to Istanbul by Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The document known as the Edict of Milan is found in De Mortibus Persecutorum of Lactantius and Eusebius of Caesarea's History of the Church with marked divergences between them. In February 313, Constantine I, emperor controlling the western part of the Roman Empire and Licinius, controlling the Balkans, met in Milan and, among other things, agreed to treat the Christians benevolently. Whether or not there was a formal ‘edict of Milan' is debatable. The version found in Lactantius is not in the form of an edict; it is a letter from Licinius to the governors of the provinces in the Eastern Empire he had just conquered by defeating Maximin later in the same year and issued in Nicomedia.

Setup of Cross marked in Mtskheta

Setup of cross was marked in Mtskheta this Sunday. Episcope Jacob delivered a service at Svetitshkoveli temple while afterwards three crosses were taken to the temples of Mtskheta Jvari, Tkhoti and Ujarma. Celebration of this day was restored in 2007. It is linked with Georgia’s conversion to Christianity by St. Nino and was declared as a holy day at the time of King Mirian’s reign.