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The News in Brief

Monday, June 28
Georgian Catholicos Patriarch blesses university entrants

"The future of Georgia depends on you", the Georgian Catholicos Patriarch told the young people assembled at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi on Sunday.

Ilia II blessed school-leavers prior to the university entrance exams and wished success to them all. He also advised the youngsters to stay away from drugs and called on them to respect and receive blessings from their parents.

"We always pray for you, but today is a special day and we should think about our homeland`s past, present and future together, because the destiny of our homeland and each one of us greatly depend on each other," Ilia II said.

The Patriarch also blessed two folklore ensembles, the Erisioni and the Eleoni.
(Rustavi 2)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit Georgia at the beginning of July

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Georgia in the first week of July. Prior to this she will visit Ukraine, Poland, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

"In Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia she will hold meetings with Government officials and civil society leaders to discuss bilateral issues and issues related to regional peace and stability" the State Department reports.

Before travelling to the South Caucasus countries, Hilary Clinton will visit Kyiv and then Krakow. The State Department reports that her 5-day visit will end on July 5.
(Rustavi 2)

Seaside season officially opens in Batumi

The seaside season has officially opened in Batumi, Adjara region. Festive events are scheduled in the new boulevard. The brass band of the Georgian Naval Academy has performed in the 1.5 km park for the first time and an exhibition of paintings and flowers is underway in the boulevard. Local residents and visitors can meet young artists and poets there.

Yesterday evening the Adjarian Folklore Ensemble held a gala concert in the boulevard. Fireworks ended the celebration at midnight.
(Rustavi 2)

National Forum presents its future strategy

The opposition National Forum presented its future strategy and action plan at its first conference on Friday. At this stage it does not intend to merge with any political force, but party members are ready to cooperate with all opposition parties.

The National Forum presented its 6-point action plan for improving the electoral environment. It also presented its economic programme and its plan to change the country's political regime.

Representatives of organisations from Tbilisi and the regions attended the conference.
(Rustavi 2)

Natural disaster inflicts serious damage on the Sighnaghi district

Heavy hail and windstorms have inflicted serious damage on the Sighnaghi district of Kakheti, leaving the locals without food or a harvest this year.

The windstorm and hail razed vineyards and agricultural land and flooded yards and orchards in six villages. Locals say 80% of the grape harvest has been destroyed. The windstorm and the flood have even blocked movement on the Gurjaani-Lagodekhi highway

The situation is grave in the Telavi district as well. Houses and roads have been damaged in the villages of Tsinandali and Kondoli. The local administrations have already formed special commissions to count the damage inflicted on the district.
(Prime News)

Another Stalin monument removed

A seven metre high statue of Stalin has been removed from the centre of the mining town of Tkibuli. Originally this monument was erected during Stalin's lifetime. Though later removed, it was re-erected in the 1990s on Shevardnadze's order following a demand by locals.

The statue was removed on the order of Tkibuli City Council. A new site for it has yet to be identified.
(The Messenger)