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The News in Brief

Friday, December 20
Orthodox Church marks St. Nicholas the Wonderworker day

Orthodox Christians marked the Day of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the patron of the Georgian Church, on December 19. Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II, delivered a service at Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Born in Asia Minor, St. Nicholas was favored by God with the power of miracles. He was a beloved bishop in the Church. He used his inheritance to provide dowries for three sisters who were about to be sold into slavery due to their family's poverty. St. Nicholas is famous for his love of children. He is credited with several miraculous rescues of sailors at sea. He participated in the Council of Nicea in 325, until he was ejected for slapping Arius on the face. After a period of penance, he was restored to office.

St. Nicholas is called ‘Wonderworker’ for his miracles, which he performed and still performs, both during his life and afterwards. The remains of St. Nicholas are now in repose in Bari, Italy, having been transported there in 1087 AD.

St. Nicholas Day is marked twice a year, on May 22 and December 19. (Georgian News)

Georgia expresses condolences over the death of the US soldiers in Afghanistan

The President and Prime Minister of Georgia expressed their condolences over the death of six American soldiers in Afghanistan.

"I would like to express my great sorrow at the death of six U.S. soldiers in today's crash of a NATO helicopter in Zabul, Afghanistan. Before their lives were tragically cut short, these soldiers were making an invaluable contribution to strengthening global security as members of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. On behalf of the people of Georgia, I convey my deepest condolences to the families of those lost, as well as to the American people and the United States government,” the letter of the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, reads.

PM Irakli Garibashvili also expressed his sorrow at the death of the US soldiers."On behalf of the Government of Georgia I express my deepest condolences on the death of six American soldiers in Afghanistan. We share the immeasurable pain and tragedy of the family of those killed. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the American people and the Government of the United States of America. We wish the American people perseverance and spiritual strength in this time of trial,” Gharibashvili said in his official letter.

According to the Pentagon, the initial report indicated that six members of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed. (Agenda.Ge)

Ex-local government authorities released on bail from court

The former governor of the Old Tbilisi district, Lasha Purtskhvanidze, and his deputy, Koba Kharshiladze, who is also a former head of the security service of the late Zurab Zhvania, were released from the court on bail at 400 thousand GEL each.

According to the investigation, Greenservice - the company founded by Purtskhvanidze and Kharshiladze, was participating in tenders despite having a serious conflict of interests since the two accused people had been the City government’s tender commission members as well. Consequently, the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Finance arrested them for illegal participation in entrepreneurial activities and legalization of illegal income.

The Prosecutor’s Office stated that they had tried to launder up to 2 million USD in illegal income. (Agenda.Ge)

State Committee session held on cross-border villages’ social conditions

Social conditions in the villages across the occupation line were discussed during the State Committee session on December 18.

Several ministers and other members of the session talked about land legalization issues and economic resources in cross-border villages. They also discussed how to provide cross-border villages’ residents with heating equipment and how to provide jobs in the region. The municipalities of the provinces across the occupation line were also involved in these debates.

"We try to support the cross-border villages’ residents step by step,” the Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukian said, adding that 62 lands across the 150 km from the occupation line are ready to be registered as property. (Agenda.Ge)

Government to set limits on prices of public servants' cars

State institutions will only purchase cars under common standards. The Chancellery of the Georgian Government has already started working on the regulations. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that the Chancellery started creating the general standards back in the period when Bidzina Ivanishvili was Prime Minister.

"These standards will concretely regulate which public servant is supposed to have what kind of car. A lot of expensive cars were bought previous years and that will never happen again. When I was Interior Minister, I rejected a lot of expensive and non-economic cars. Even today, cars are bought in a chaotic way because there is no general standard for this. All the Ministries will purchase cars under these regulations,” Garibashvili said.

This issue became realized after the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Adjara Autonomous Republic, Avtandil Beridze, announced a tender to purchase a Toyota Prado produced in 2014 for GEL 83,000 (about 49,000 USD).

During the past year, Beridze had been driving in a Toyota Prado and Toyota Camry produced in 2012, but he said that he then needed a better car, providing the argument that otherwise he could not reach the mountainous locations of Adjara.

The central government criticized Beridze for spending budget money on luxury items. (Agenda.Ge)

Embassy of Latvia in Georgia names new honorary consuls

On December 19th, 2013, two Honorary Consuls of Latvia – Beka Odisharia in Batumi, Adjara region and Mikheil Khundadze in Telavi, Kakheti region - began the undertaking of their duties.

Since September 2013, Bondo Davitashvili, the Honorary Consul of Latvia in Georgia has been working to promote Latvian - Georgian economic relations.

Consular commissions were presented by the Latvian Ambassador to Georgia, Elita Gavele. (The Messenger)