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The News in Brief

Monday, September 27
Georgian president meets with head of Millennium Program

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili held a meeting with the head of the Millennium Development Program in New York. Mikheil Saakashvili thanked Daniel Johannes for the assistance that the program is providing to the country.

The Millennium Development Program has allocated USD 375 million to Georgia, which has been earmarked for the development of infrastructure in the country.

`Thank you, Mr. President. First, I want to thank you for your support, and your administration's support for completing projects in time. We are extremely satisfied with the progress you have made. These were projects designed by us and implemented by Georgians themselves. So it`s your project and we are extremely happy to be your partners,` -

`First of all I would like to thank you for the USD 375 million that were spent. I know it was a pretty successful program. I also know that the road connecting southern Georgia to the capital will be completed this fall. I have seen people`s enthusiasm for the work done there. You know the changes mean a lot to the community there. Now we are shortening the road to the capital, getting to the markets, changing the whole geography of Georgia because new resorts, lake-side places, agriculture lands are being liberated for the purposes of economy,` - Saakashvili said.
(Rustavi 2)

Experts investigating explosion occurred in village close to Tbilisi

A hand grenade is presumed to have caused the explosion in the village of Akhatani close to Tbilisi on Saturday. Experts are investigating the incident at the scene.

As reported, two people were injured in the explosion in the vicinity of Saguramo village. The explosion took place when local residents were trying to extinguish the fire that broke out in fields.

Eyewitnesses said a hand grenade blew up as the fire raged in the field. The affected locals with multiple injuries were transported to hospital in Tbilisi. Their health condition is stable now.

It is remains a mystery as to how an explosive device appeared in the fields of the village.
(Rustavi 2)

Orthodox Church Celebrates Day of Memory of Queen Ketevan the Martyr today

The Orthodox Church celebrated the Day of memory of Queen Ketevan the Martyr on Sunday.

Catholicos Patriarch of all Georgia Illia II delivered a service at St. Trinity Temple.

Queen Ketevan the Martyr was a queen of Kakheti, a kingdom in eastern Georgia. She was killed at Shiraz, Iran, after prolonged torture for refusing to give up the Christian faith and embrace Islam.

Ketevan was born to Prince Ashotan of Mukhrani (Bagrationi) and married Prince David of Kakheti, the future David I, King of Kakheti from 1601 to 1602. After David’s death, Ketevan engaged in religious building and charity work. However, when David’s brother Constantine I killed his reigning father, Alexander II, and usurped the crown with the Safavid Iranian support in 1605, Ketevan rallied the Kakhetian nobles against the patricide and routed Constantine’s loyal force. After the uprising, she negotiated with Shah Abbas I of Iran to confirm her underage son, Teimuraz I, as king of Kakheti, while she assumed the function of a regent.

In 1614, sent by Teimuraz as a negotiator to Abbas I, Ketevan effectively surrendered herself as an honorary hostage in a failed attempt to prevent Kakheti from being attacked by the Iranian armies. She was held in Shiraz for several years until Abbas I, in an act of revenge for the recalcitrance of Teimuraz, ordered the queen to renounce Christianity, and upon her refusal, had her tortured to death with red-hot pincers in 1624. Portions of her relics were clandestinely taken by the St. Augustine Portuguese Catholic missioners, eyewitnesses of her martyrdom, to Georgia where they were interred at the Alaverdi Cathedral.

Russian opposition protesters call for direct elections

A large-scale opposition rally was held in the centre of Moscow on Saturday. The rally members called for the conducting of free elections in Russia.

Organizers of the rally said the protest was attended by more opposition parties than they had expected. About 500 thousand people were assembled on Moscow`s central square.

Opposition leaders delivered speeches at the rally and called for direct elections of Moscow's mayor.

Law enforcers were also mobilized on the square, although the rally ended without any incidents.
(Rustavi 2)

Noghaideli’s Party to Join Meeting, Planned by Initiative Group of People’s Assembly

The Movement for Fair Georgia will join the meeting, to be organized by the initiative group of the people’s assembly on 29 September .

‘We will take part in the meeting to prove once again that unity is the only way for rescuing our country’, Petre Mamradze, one of the leaders of the movement, told InterpressNews.

It is unknown yet whether Zurab Noghaideli, leader of the movement, will attend the meeting or not. Mamradze is not informed about it so far.

Supporters of the people’s assembly will gather at the Philharmonic hall on 29 September. The date of the people’s assembly will presumably be announced at the meeting. It is already known that Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement will join the assembly.

Russian Helicopter Crash Caused by Technical Problem

A helicopter crash at Adighei- Big Sochi was caused by technical problems, RIA Novosti says .

The incident occurred at noon on Sunday when the Ka-32 helicopter hit a ropeway on the Fisht Mountain at the administrative border between the Krasnodar Territory and the Republic of Adygea, fell and caught on fire.

There were three crewmembers aboard the helicopter. Two of them were killed while the third pilot was injured.

"The helicopter has burned down. It had been delivering concrete to a power line construction site," the spokesman for Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsia spokesman said.

A special Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) commission, which involves Rosaviatsia experts, is currently probing the matter.