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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 26
Members of Gurjaani ensemble detained in Ukraine

Members of the Gurjaani dance ensemble have been prevented from entering Poland by Ukrainian customs officers. A special examination of their passports was conducted which, as Interpressnews was told by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was intended to discover whether their passports had been forged.

The ensemble was due to give a concert in Poland, where they had an official invitation to perform at the Kotovitsa festival. Ensemble members state that Ukrainian customs officers held them in an isolator for 35 hours. There are 6 underage children in the ensemble.

The ensemble members have claimed they were verbally abused by the customs officers. The Human Rights Centre says they were called bandits. The officers allegedly told them there was a 150-member criminal gang in Ukraine and the dancers might have been part of it. The Georgian dancers were given a GEL 500 fine by a Ukrainian court, left Ukraine and returned to Georgia.

The Ukrainian side states that 8 members of the Gurjaani ensemble had forged documents. This is not confirmed by the ensemble administration or its members. They allege that several passports were damaged by the customs officers in front of them. The ensemble intends to demand compensation for moral and material damage from the Ukrainian side. (Interpressnews)

Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates restoration of autocephaly

The Georgian Orthodox Church celebrated the day of the resumption of its autocephaly on March 25. A thanksgiving service and a service for those who achieved this was held at Sioni Cathedral.

The Patriarchate of Antioch first granted autocephaly (self-governance) to the Georgian Orthodox Church in 457. The Russian Empire abolished it in 1811, the Russian Synod running the Georgian Church as an exarchate.

The Georgian Church reestablished its autocephaly on March 25, 1917 and its independence was recognized by all Orthodox Churches, but not in full legal terms. By the endeavour of Patriarch Ilia the Second the Orthodox world officially recognized Georgian autocephaly in 1990. (Interpressnews)

USD 5 million purchased

USD 5 million was purchased at the currency auction held by the National Bank of Georgia yesterday, the bank has told Interpressnews.

The NBG activated a new instrument of monetary policy, currency auctions, on 10 March.

Transactions at the currency auctions are carried out through the Bloomberg Terminal computer system. Trading is held twice a week and the auctions will partially substitute interbank stock exchange. (Interpressnews)

World Bank allocates 70 mln to Georgia

The World Bank has allocated 70 million dollars to the Georgian Government. The funds are intended for sponsoring road rehabilitation projects in Georgia. A document concerning this was signed at the Ministry of Finance of Georgia yesterday.

The construction of a 450-kilometre road will begin this year and will be completed by 2010-2011. This and several other projects are being supported with these funds. The Highways Department of the Regional Development Ministry of Georgia will monitor the implementation of these projects. (Rustavi 2)

Institute of Literature marks 70th jubilee of Zviad Gamsakhurdia

The Shota Rustaveli Institute of Literature has marked the 70th birthday of Georgia’s first President Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Professors and lecturers discussed literary work by Zviad Gamsakhurdia alongside academicians and scholars who presented their views of Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s contribution to Georgian literature.

The Institute of Literature marks the jubilee of Zviad Gamsakhurdia annually. (Rustavi 2)