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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 6
Religious Delegation from Georgia Wraps Up US Visit

(TBILISI) -- Sixteen senior clerics from the Georgian Orthodox Church as well as the heads of the Armenian, Catholic and Muslim communities of Georgia concluded a five-day visit to the United States that focused on the benefits of Georgia’s integration with the West.

The delegation met a number of government and civil society leaders in Washington D.C., including Sharon Hudson-Dean, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. State Department Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, and National Endowment for Democracy head Carl Gershman.

The group also took time to participate in an interreligious conference on November 28 organized by the National Endowment for Democracy. The clerics discussed the role of religion in democratic societies as well as the growth of anti-Western propaganda in former Soviet republics.

The US visit is the third of its kind sponsored by the CDD. Similar fact-finding missions were sent to Brussels in November 2016 and in February of this year.

The four-day visit was funded by the British Embassy in Tbilisi and organized by the Center for Development and Democracy (CDD) in cooperation with the Information Center on NATO and EU.

The Washington trip was the first to include religious leaders from outside the Georgian Orthodox Church. (

Georgia Wins First Female Gold in Weightlifting at World Championships

(ANAHEIM, United States) -- Georgia’s weightlifting champion Anastasia Hotfrid won gold representing the national team at the world championships in the US, marking the first time a Georgian woman has taken home the top prize in the event.

She competed in the 90kg category and lifted 265kg in total (snatch-120kg and clean and jerk-145kg).

Hotfrid, 21, is a native of Snizhne – a town in eastern that has been occupied by Russian forces since war broke out in 2014. Her husband, former Olympic and World champion Denis Hotfrid, was an interior ministry officer opposed to the EuroMaidan Revolution that ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

She and her husband moved to Georgia in 2015 after coming into conflict with members of the Ukrainian weightlifting association, said Hotfrid in an August 2016 interview with the Georgian branch of Russia’s state-run news agency Sputnik.

On the men’s side of the ledger, Shota Mishveladze won bronze in the 62kg category. Olympic gold medalist Lasha Talakhadze will enter the fray Wednesday where he’ll take compete in the +105kg category. (