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The News in Brief

Wednesday, January 4
Ilia II - ďDonít be afraid of obstaclesĒ

His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II called on the Georgian population not to be intimidated by obstacles in his televised New Year address. As the Patriarch said, ďProblems will be left behind and peace and happiness will prevailĒ.

ďEach New Year is always mysterious. We donít know what we will have to face in the new year, but we ask God to at least give us happiness, peace and joy. First of all those who want to be happy must respect their parents and the elderly, do kindness and then kindness will be returned tenfold,Ē the Patriarch declared.

Ilia II said that obstacles will go away and that happiness and peace will come. (Interpressnews)

700,000 allocated for cathedral reconstruction from Presidentís fund

The reconstruction process of Poti Cathedral will be completed in summer 2012. GEL 700,000 has been allocated from the Presidentís fund for the Cathedralís reconstruction.

Mikheil Saakashvili informed the Cathedralís clergymen and parish of the good news when he arrived in the Black Sea town of Poti today.

The Cathedral was constructed in the late 20th century. In 1936, according to the decision of the Soviet authorities, the Cathedral was used as a theatre. Only in 2005 was the Cathedral returned to its original purpose.

President Saakashvili personally handed over the key to the church to Georgiaís Patriarch Ilia II. The very next day, reconstruction works started there. (Rustavi 2)

Lazika project scares Russia

The project of a new resort city, the construction of which begins this year in Georgiaís Samegrelo region, has scared Russia. Political analysts and media believes that Russiaís investments made in the development of Olympic Villages in the seaside resort of Sochi, will just be a waste of funds and time, as Lazika will be the project that will draw in most of the tourists in the region.

Author of an analytical article published on website, Albert Akopyan says that he sees no future in the development of Sochi; the investments will not be profitable as the business sector has already confirmed this.

According to experts, the hotels in Sochi will lack visitors after the Winter Olympics 2014, as development of the seaside resort does not only need hotels, but also the development of tourism infrastructure, shopping tours, and food and wine tours, which do not currently work in Sochi.

Akopyan says that Lazika will be the second success of Georgian tourism after Mestia, adding that the new airport in Zugdidi increased the prospects of the resortís development.

The journalist emphasizes the hastiness, low cost and quality of the construction project, which in the end is reflected in the worth of the product. Akopyan says that the President of their neighbour country will bring international festivals to the new city of Lazika from Europe and the Black Sea states, which further diminishes the prospect of Sochiís development as a resort. (Rustavi 2)

Pardoned convicts start leaving prison

The Georgian Pardon Commission has approved 114 out of the 140 discussed applications submitted by convicts, who are going to be at their own homes from the beginning of the new year.

75 convicts are supposed to be leaving prison. Among them, 15 convicts have had their sentences twice reduced and 36 have been removed from probation restrictions.

The Parole Group has also approved tens of cases. 55 convicts have been paroled by the Commission.

The prisoners have already started leaving prison. They are being met outside the facilities by their family members. (Rustavi 2)

Famous Georgianís smuggled painting found

Law enforcers have found another painting by famous Georgian primitivist painter Niko Pirosmanashvili. The Barrel Organ Grinder was smuggled out of Georgiaís borders a couple of years ago.

Prosecutor Shota Tkeshelashvili told media that the painting will be handed over to the Georgian National Museum today.

The Barrel Organ Grinder was considered lost and was searched for many times over the years.

Itís worth noting that the painterís works have become of great value in recent times. Two of Pirosmaniís paintings were sold for GBP 500,000 recently. (Rustavi 2)

President opens another new hospital in Adjara

Yet another modern, multi-functional hospital was opened in Chakvi, Adjara, today. The hospital that can serve up to 20 patients simultaneously was constructed by the Imedi L insurance company, which invested GEL 3.5 million in the project.

The hospital is equipped with modern European standards and has a staff force of about one hundred doctors, all of whom partook in a re-qualification course in Tbilisi.

Georgiaís President Mikheil Saakashvili and Minister of Health and Social Care opened the new hospital today. Kazakh journalists were also in attendance at the ceremony. (Rustavi 2)