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The News in Brief

Monday, November 7
Patriarch to visit Russia on November 18

On November 18, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II will visit Russia. The Patriarch, together with members of a Georgian Orthodox Church delegation, will take part in the festive events dedicated to the Russian Orthodox Church leader's 70-year-old jubilee on November 18-24.

Various delegations of autocephalous churches will arrive in Moscow for the event. In particular, Patriarchs of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Serbia will be among the guests. Information about participation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the festive events is being specified now.

Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II will take part in a joint church service together with Russian Patriarch Kirill and other Patriarchs on November 20.

As for the report that the Patriarchs may be hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Patriarchate of Georgia said he had not received any such information.

Biden Calls on Georgian PM to Use Strong Majority in Parliament to Continue Reforms

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke to Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili by phone on November 4 “to congratulate him on his party’s victory” in the recent parliamentary elections and “encouraged” him to use the election results, which gave the ruling party constitutional majority, to continue democratic reforms, the White House said.

“The Vice President commended Georgia’s democratic leadership in the region,” the White House said in readout of Biden’s call with Kvirikashvili.

“He also reiterated U.S. support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and condemned Russia’s ratification of a ‘treaty’ with Abkhazia on setting up a joint armed force,” the White House said.

“The leaders agreed that Georgian Dream’s strong majority imposes a great responsibility on the government to lead inclusively and reach out to all pro-reform forces as it crafts its policies.”

“The Vice President encouraged the Prime Minister to use the election results to continue Georgia’s democratic and economic reforms that will further Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions,” the White House said.

19-year-old girl took part in ‘ritual murder’ of her own mother

The teenager colluded with her boyfriend and another friend to knock her elderly mother unconscious, then stab and kill her. They dismembered the body, burnt it with gasoline at a garbage dump in Tbilisi and threw it in a ditch, according to Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).

Five people were detained for involvement in the brutal murder. Three of the young people, whose ages range from 17 to 23, are suspected of direct involvement in what the ministry described as ‘a ritual murder’.

“The three detainees knocked the elderly woman, Luba K., unconscious with an electric shock device and afterward stabbed her with a knife. The detainees placed Luba K’s body in a large bag and transported it to a rented apartment, temporarily owned by Beka Sh, where they disintegrated the corpse,” the statement reads.

“The same evening, the detainees took the dismembered body to a closed landfill located in Gldani, near penitentiary facility number 8, poured previously purchased gasoline over it and set it on fire. The offenders threw the body remains in a ditch to conceal the traces of the crime.”

The three are charged with premeditated murder. Two have admitted committing murder, while the third detainee, who is a minor, used her right to remain silent.

The other two detainees are accused of having known about the macabre murder but failing to alarm the authorities.

Police examined the murder scene, the apartment where the body was disintegrated and the place where the body was burned. They collected evidence, interrogated witnesses and conducted forensic examinations, including DNA tests. The police also found video tapes.

The murdered Luba was reported missing by her family on October 19.

The case is being investigated as conspiracy to commit murder under aggravating circumstances, premeditated murder, concealing a crime and not reporting a crime.
(DF watch)

Georgia shows improvement in safety and personal life in latest global index

Georgia has been praised for its impressive performance in several areas, including education and governance in the latest global index.

The country’s good performance in many fields helped Georgia improve its prosperity over the last decade, the new global index revealed.

The Legatum Institute, a London based research institute released its 10th annual global Prosperity Index, a huge survey that ranked the most prosperous countries in the world.

Georgia came out 84th of the 149-nation list.

Results were based on a range of factors, including economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital and environment. Each variable measured (using data from sources like the World Health Organisation and the World Bank) was given a weight depending on its importance.

In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Georgia performed best on education and governance and scored lowest on the social capital sub-index.

In the 2016 ranking, Georgia maintained the same position as in last year’s index in all sub-indexes but showed improvement in safety and personal freedom during the past year.

The Prosperity Gap was also measured which took the country's GDP and used it as the yardstick to measure the nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

"Georgia has a small prosperity deficit signifying that it slightly under-delivers prosperity for its citizens compared to its wealth. Nevertheless, this is an excellent result compared to its regional peers,” the Legatum Institute said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan had much larger prosperity deficits than Georgia despite having similar wealth and prosperity ranks.