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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 7
Former first lady says her husband may return to politics

Sandra Roelofs the wife of the former President Mikheil Saakashvili said her husband does not rule out returning to politics. In her interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw Roelofs said her husband has a desire to return to politics eventually. “He can write books, deliver lectures, although it is not the real Misha. He feels that he is not ready for this," she said.

Roelofs also said that last year when Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) lost the elections the new government launched a policy of revenge against her husband’s team members. “Former ministers were judged, and the former interior minister was arrested. Diplomats advised my husband to leave the country and for this reason he left Georgia in mid-October. Fortunately, he is met with pleasure in many countries. However, it's hard when you know that your husband is not doing what he really wants to do," she said adding that Saakashvili is not interested in becoming a president again. “So, in the future I will not be a first lady. However, no one knows if I will be a Prime Minister's wife or not," Roelofs said.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Sandra Roelofs also said that despite the recent political changes in the country, she still feels a lot of attention from the people.

"Fortunately, I have felt much attention from the Georgian people. In this regard nothing has changed. The only thing that really changed is my agenda. Now I have fewer responsibilities," she said.

Ivanishvili’s fortune shrunk 1.1 billion during year in politics

Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s fortune shrunk by USD 1.1 billion during the year he governed his country as prime minister. What happened? In 2012, Forbes magazine listed Ivanishvili in 153rd place among the world’s billionaires with an estimated fortune of USD $6.4 billion. In 2013, his fortune had shrunk to USD $5.3 billion, dropping him to 229th place.

More details are now revealed about how he spent his money. The government published financial details about the former prime minister which show that the businessman-turned-politician had an income of USD $56, 120 and GEL 79 7100 022. He made donations to individuals in the amount of USD $178, 000, EUR 11, 500 and GEL 787, 268.

When it comes to expenses, Ivanishvili spent GEL 74, 147 and EUR 36, 048 on different types of services. In addition, he spent EUR 296, 000 on transport services, GEL 124, 201 on utility fees, GEL 84, 779 on legal services and GEL 2, 971, 233 on revenue liabilities.

In 2013, Ivanishvili received GEL 9, 423.91 in salary as prime minister. The same year he purchased Apple Inc shares in the amount of USD $1, 334, 568 and now owns 2,400 shares in that company. The total amount of shares that the businessman owns in different companies is USD $126, 940, 150, including Apple, Google, Volkswagen, Rolls-Royce PLC and others.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Church robbed in Gldani village

A church robbery in the village of Gldani resulted in the loss of a donation box holding three thousand Lari, as well as personal items, the church leader Father Tadeoz Tandashvili told reporters. The church servants also said another robbery of a donation box had taken place days ago, before the box was discovered empty in the woods.

Imedi TV reported on the latest robbery.
(Georgian News)

Patriarch awards Gia Kancheli, Temur Chkheidze and Besik Kharanauli

Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II awarded composer Gia Kancheli for developing Georgian music on international level, director Temur Chkheidze for developing Georgian culture and bringing up next generation and Poet Besik Kharanuli for his role in Georgian poetry with St. George gold orders.

“We pay our respects to these three scientists. Their service is very great”, Patriarch stated.

Georgia to abandon Russian helicopters

The Georgian Ministry of Defence intends to completely change its Soviet and Russian helicopters for U.S. ones in 2014, Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Alasania said on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

"We intend to withdraw the Soviet and Russian military transport or attack helicopters for the Georgian armed forces and began to develop a fleet of U.S. helicopters," Alasania said. "We are currently holding negotiations with other countries. Such an opportunity appeared in France after my recent visit."

Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili stressed the need to replace the obsolete Russian helicopters in 2010.

French court to presumably consider Davit Kezerashvili’s extradition from January 23

The French court will presumably start consideration of the issue of former Georgian Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili’s extradition on January 23.

According to Kezerashvili’s lawyer Shota Mindeli, in the French court Davit Kezerashvili’s interests are defended by local lawyers.

In addition, Mindeli said he had visited and talked to Kezerashvili in the French prison. ‘’He considers the charges against him and Gigi Ugulava are politically motivated and absurd’’, Mindeli said.

Kezerashvili was detained in France on 14 October. Two criminal cases have been brought before the court against him in Georgia. Tbilisi City Court is considering his cases. The Prosecutor’s Office accuses Kezerashvili of alcohol smuggling and sale of Imedi TV. Tbilisi City Court ordered Kezerashvili to be brought into custody in absentia for the Imedi TV case.