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The News in Brief

Friday, September 16
Archangel Monastery Complex Opens on Georgian-Russian border

Yesterday a solemn liturgy was held in the Archangel Monastery complex in the Dariali Gorge on the Russia-Georgia border. Catholicos Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II hopes that official Russian-Georgian relations will be resumed.

Illia II delivered the first ever service at the monastery. President Mikheil Saakashvili was in attendance. The patriarch expressed satisfaction that the president came. He stated that the complex has other significance as it is located near the Russian border. Most Russians are Orthodox Christians and guests from there will see that they have entered an Orthodox, peaceful country the patriarch said.

“This holy temple will be an asylum for all travellers. Here leaders of the countries [Russia and Georgia] will negotiate,” Ilia II stated adding that the holy site will be like a fortress, as in the time of Tamar, the medieval Georgian leader. “I think this church will provide a miracle - our countries will have peaceful relations again,” the patriarch said.

The construction of the monastery complex started in 2005. The construction of a church of St. George is also planned. Mikheil Saakashvili said that “we build churches while some politicians claim that the government fights the church”. The president said that the monastery complex was built in the Dariali gorge from personal donations, though the government of Georgia donated the principal amount of money. He stated that churches will be built in future, as this is the main obligation of the government. The president said that they will build churches no matter what others say as this is the most important spiritual heritage of Georgia and a mark of Georgia’s identity. (The Messenger)

Albert II, Prince of Monaco to Visit Georgia Next Week

Albert II, the Prince of Monaco, will a pay visit to Georgia next week. As InterPressNews was told by the director of the National Museum of Georgia, Davit Lortkipanidze, Albert II will visit Dmanisi on 19 September and see the places where the Zezva and Mzia (the oldest residents of the Eurasian landmass) skulls were discovered.

“The Prince of Monaco will arrive in Georgia on Monday and visit Dmanisi. He is interested in human paleontology and we have been contacting his fund and him personally for a long time,” Davit Lortkipanidze said.

Albert II will also be introduced to other interesting sights in Georgia. (Interpressnews)

Alternative Sentences for Petty Criminals

For less grave crimes, convicts are to serve alternative sentences. Instead of being sent to prison, they have to carry out correctional work for the benefit of society.

Some convicts will be obliged to clean squares in Tbilisi as community work. In total, they have to work tens hours.

As reported, in one year about 3,000 convicts will be obliged to do this correctional work. (Rustavi 2)

Russian Conductor Requests Georgian Citizenship

The famous Russian conductor, Mikhail Arkadiev, who is visiting Georgia, intends to hold a concert at the Tbilisi Conservatoire on Thursday evening.

Arkadiev is known for his open criticism of Kremlin policy.

As reported, the conductor was expelled from the Union of Composers of Russia after he objected to the union`s integration into the People`s Front political party supporting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Before arriving in Tbilisi, Arkadiev sent a letter to the Georgian capital requesting citizenship of the country. He explained his decision was for political reasons.

"This is my first time in Georgia, although spiritually I have always been here. I love your culture, art. I want to receive citizenship of Georgia because your country is developing very rapidly. I`m very sorry that the democracy you have here does not exist in Russia," he said. (Rustavi 2)

Ajara Starts Preparation for Next Tourist Season

Levan Varshalomidze, the Chairman of the Ajaran Autonomous Republic's regional government together with government members and the Mayor of Batumi Robert Chkhaidze attended the presentation of activities implemented during the last three months under the auspices of the Tourism Department.

Vazha Diasamidze, the Head of the Tourism Department drew particular attention to the growth of tourists in Ajara, demonstrating tourism products – thematic maps, updated informational centers and tour packages for city visitors during the current season.

Vazha Diasamidze was asked to start timely preparations for the next tourist season and to present a concrete action plan before adoption of the budget for 2012 by Varshalomidze. With the purpose of improving service quality, Varshalomidze requested the staff of the Tourism Department to create new tourist products and to improve existing service.

According to the chairman’s statement not only the Tourism Department but all ministries and municipalities must be equally involved in the development of the above-mentioned field. (Prime-News)