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The News in Brief

Monday, March 22
Georgian President congratulates the Azeri population on Bayram celebration

The Georgian President congratulated the Azerbaijani population in the town of Marneuli in Kvemo Kartli on the feast of Bayram on Sunday. Muslims celebrate the beginning of spring, or new life, around March 21 and the Georgian President visits Marneuli on that day every year.

"I congratulate you on this celebration and would like you to know that the whole of Georgia is celebrating it with you, because you are the most important part of us. I would like you to know that according to the Government's decision your celebration has been declared a national public holiday and will be celebrated by the whole population every year from now on. This proves that all children of our nation are equally dear to us, we share the sufferings and celebrations of all of them," Saakashvili said.

The President also talked about the intended reforms in the education field. He explained that it will be made easier for everyone who graduates from an Azeri-language school to enter university. He said that this decision had been made so that Azeri youth don't go abroad for an education.

Saakashvili said that Marneuli is one of the most beautiful towns in Georgia today thanks to reforms carried out under his Presidency. "When I became President Marneuli was one of the devastated towns, but today it is a beautiful town. I am very proud of it and hope it will become more beautiful," Saakashvili said.
(Rustavi 2)

Matyas Eorsi and Kastriot Islami to visit Georgia

Matyas Eorsi (Hungary, ALDE) and Kastriot Islami (Albania, SOC), co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), are visiting Tbilisi from 21 to 24 March 2010 for talks on constitutional and electoral reform, the forthcoming local elections, media freedom and minority issues, the webpage of the Council of Europe reports.

The pair are due to meet the President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Ministers for Re-integration and Refugees, the Deputy Foreign Minister, the heads of the Central Election Commission, State Constitutional Commission and National Communications Commission, the Deputy Public Defender and representatives of opposition parties, national broadcasters and civil society.

Georgia is one of ten Council of Europe member states currently subject to the Assembly’s monitoring procedure, which involves regular dialogue with the country’s authorities and periodic assessments by the Assembly. The last public assessment of the situation in Georgia was in April 2009.
(Council of Europe)

Development of Georgia-Turkey economic ties discussed in Trabzon

The Chair of the Adjaran Autonomous Republic of Georgia met local government officials in the city of Trabzon in Turkey on Saturday to discus the development of economic ties and tourism between Georgia and Turkey. After the meeting an Adjaran corner was opened in Forum, the largest trading centre in Trabzon, where people can get information about the Adjara Region.

Levan Varshalomidze also visited the Black Sea University on Saturday and talked with Georgian students studying there.
(Rustavi 2)

Charter flight to Egypt sets off with 8-hour delay

Passengers for Sharm El-Sheikh had to wait in the Tbilisi International Airport for 8 hours on Sunday. The charter flight that should have arrived from Egypt at 12 a.m. arrived in Tbilisi only at 8 a.m. Therefore, the return flight set off from Georgia with a delay as well.

Representatives of the international airport could not give reasons for the incoming flight's delay. They said the N-Tour travel agency was responsible for the flight. Company representatives said that the flight was carried out by an Egyptian company and the plane that was due to land in Tbilisi had arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh with a delay due to bad weather.
(Rustavi 2)

Two men killed while repairing electric power lines

Two men have died while repairing electric power lines in the Lochini settlement in the Lilo district. Givi Kilasonia and Mikheil Mazdiashvili were railway electricians. One of them suffered a high voltage shock and the other tried to help him, but both died at the site.

Representatives of the Tbilisi Emergency Situations office are at the scene. The place has been searched. The bodies of the men have been taken to the morgue.
(Rustavi 2)