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The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 13
Occupants arrest seven civilians

Yet another fact of detention of peaceful civilians has been reported from Sachkhere district. Reportedly, seven locals were arrested by the soldiers of the occupants forces for `illegal crossing of border`. Sachkhere district is adjacent to the Russian occupied Tskhinvali Region of Georgia. As in all previous cases, the locals were picking crapes in the forests when the occupants arrested them.

This is the fourth case of detention of peaceful residents of Sachkhere district recently as it is the season of crapes; they go to forests to gather the crape flowers. Reportedly, about twenty citizens of Georgia are currently held in Tskhinvali prison.
(Rustavi 2)

Giorgi Margvelashvili to host Francois Hollande

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili will host the President of France Francois Hollande on May 13.

Francois Hollande will visit Georgia within a three-day visit to the South Caucasus.

The official ceremony to receive Hollande will be held at the Presidential palace and then the leaders of the two states will hold extended meetings. The results of the meeting will be summarized at a press conference.

Within the visit, French President Francois Hollande will meet the Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and attend an economic forum.

Georgian Dream on Rustavi 2 recordings: UNM tries to split the coalition

Members of the Georgian Dream coalition believe United National Movement (UNM) are using "dirty methods” to blackmail society in an attempt to split the coalitions ahead of the elections.

The political party commented on illegally obtained audio and video recordings, released by Rustavi 2, which reflect private conversations of politicians and businessmen.

Speaker of the ruling coalition, Giorgi Gegechkori, said UNM continued to act using 'dirty methods' aimed at blackmailing society and shift responsibility for this action to Rustavi 2.

Democratization background qualitatively improves in Georgia

The Georgian president is surprised that the number of those who think that the country has democracy decreased following the last survey of NDI public opinion.

In his interview with Imedi TV, President Margvelashvili expected the number of these people to be more.

"I think that from the point of view of democracy, the background is better," the president said. "The presidential elections were held upon European standards. We have not had such democratic and competitive elections before. The executive power and the parliament voice their thoughts openly. Based on objective indicators, in terms of freedom, we live in another society."

Only 46 percent of respondents said in April 2014 that the country has democracy. The figure was 54 percent in November 2013, according to NDI.

Georgian Church Calls for 'Family Day' on May 17

Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, said Georgia should mark the “day of strength of family and respect for parents” every year on May 17 – the date when the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is marked. Last year an attempted anti-homophobia rally to mark May 17 in Tbilisi center was violently disrupted by thousands of demonstrators, led by Orthodox clerics.LGBT rights groups said several months ago that this year they plan no outdoor event to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

In his sermon on May 11 in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, Patriarch Ilia II, said that “for many years” the Church has been thinking about how “to pray, how to express our gratitude to our parents”“And we have made the following decision: to make May 17 of every year as the day of strength of family and respect for parents,” the Georgian Church leader said. “The entire nation should get united on this day… and pray,” he continued. “The clergy is blessed to hold church services at noon on this day and to spray their homes and families, as well as streets and churches with holy water. Secular people are also blessed to spray themselves and their families with holy water.”

“The first celebration of this kind marking parents’ day will be marked on this May 17. You will see and feel how strong your mind, spirit and body will get and how strong Georgia will become,” Patriarch Ilia II said.