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The News in Brief

Monday, February 3
Georgia’s 2014 goal - sign EU agreement, says President

Georgia’s President hosted ambassadors of the EU member states and discussed Georgia’s EU integration process.

The main topic of the working lunch at the Funicular Restaurant was Georgia’s de-occupation, signing of the Association Agreement and the situation near the occupation line.

"The most important goal that Georgia has this year is signing the Association Agreement. We talked about the details of this process and the obligations that Georgia will have after signing it. Naturally, we also talked about regional issues,” Margvelashvili said.

Deputy Head of the EU delegation in Georgia Boris Iarochevitch said 2014 would be "crucial” for EU-Georgian relations.

"The Association Agreement will be signed and some recommendation will be executed. Therefore, it is interesting to discuss the main issues of what can be done throughout the year to ensure a peaceful signing of the important document. In the near future we are planning to publish recommendations, which will basically cover the spheres of rule of law, justice and economy,” he said.

It was also announced that the German and French foreign ministers will visit Georgia in the near future.

The UK Ambassador in Georgia Alexandra Hall Hall believed Georgia will sign the Association Agreement with EU this summer.

Georgia in U.S. Intelligence Report

Economic slowdown will be an area of “greatest immediate concern” in Georgia, according to U.S. intelligence community’s annual report, Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“Georgia’s new political leaders have inherited pressing domestic and foreign policy problems amid high public expectations for progress,” reads the report presented by Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on January 29.

“The economy, which has slowed since the Georgian Dream Coalition was elected in October 2012, will be an area of greatest immediate concern,” it says.

“The new government will also continue to balance a series of high-profile legal cases against former government officials for past abuses. The cases, while popular inside Georgia, have generated concerns of political retribution abroad and risk polarizing Georgian politics,” the report reads.

“Tensions with Russia have eased over the past year, decreasing the risk of renewed conflict. Progress nonetheless remains unlikely on the core disputes between Tbilisi and Moscow,” it says.

A previous report, which was released in March 2013, was pointing at “increased risk of domestic political instability” amid challenging political transition.

Secret recordings of Georgian citizens destroyed

45 disks and two Winchester drives with secret video recordings of the private lives of Georgian citizens have been destroyed at the Interior Ministry on January 31.

The rest of the materials have been handed to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office to investigate.

The secret footage of the private lives of Georgian officials and citizens were illegally recorded and obtained over several years of illegal surveillance.

Interior Minister Alexander Chikaidze said the content of the destroyed recordings were mostly of a sexual nature. Five hundred and ninety additional disks have been given to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Georgia's Deputy Chief Prosecutor said the office would start investigating the recordings as soon as possible.

A Temporary State Commission, that oversaw the handling of secret recordings, called for an investigation to find out who gathered the footage and why they were kept.

"No more illegal recordings will be made in the future,” the Interior Minister said, adding that if this happened, the people involved would face harsh punishments.

The Interior Ministry housed about 635 CDs containing more than 750 hours of secret video recordings. They were filmed over a number of years, from 2007 to 2012.

Some recordings were graphic and featured sexual relations including homosexual activity and out-of-marriage-sex filmed from hotel rooms and other locations.

The recordings were discovered in weapons storage in western Georgia in June last year.

Georgian wine catalogue launched

Georgian winemakers are invited to add their products to Georgia’s first online guide to high-quality Georgian wines.

Online information winemaking portal launched the Georgian Wine Catalogue and called for all Georgian wine makers to add details of their products to the online database.

Once the catalogue is completed, it will be opened to the public, stated.

Companies interested in adding their personal products to the database can e-mail the website and they will be provided with a link to the catalogue. said the Georgian Wine Catalogue will be the first online guide on high-quality Georgian wines. The catalogue is targeted primarily at consumers who buy Georgian wines in the wine stores.

"Catalogue's specific feature is the independent wine rating. It is calculated according to a formula developed by Hvino's experts, to integrate international ratings and medals into a single score,” Hvino said.

The catalogue will also have a mobile version, which will enable customers to use the online database while standing beside the wine on shop shelves. In doing so, the founders said the catalogue will help the shopper select the best wine from wine stores in Tbilisi and elsewhere.

Rugby: Georgia whitewashes Belgium in snow

The Georgian National Rugby team has beaten Belgium 35-0 in the European Nations Cup match in snowy Tbilisi.

Despite the freezing cold temperature and heavy snowfall in the Georgian capital, the stadium was full. Faithful supporters without tickets watched the match from the surrounding hills.

The Georgian team, more commonly known as the Lelos to home fans, celebrated six tries with one conversion and one penalty.

The convincing win sees the Georgian team remain the leader of the division 1a of the 2012-2014 cycle.

The European Nations Cup divisions play on a two-year cycle with participating nations playing one another on home-and-away basis.

The second half of the 2012-2014 cycle will also serve as the qualification for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Two teams from division 1a will qualify for the world cup, as will two teams from division 1b.

The European Nations Cup (ENC) 1a division is Europe's premier rugby union competition below the Six Nations Championship.

The Georgians are the current champions of the tournament.

The Lelos have successfully won the ENC Championship five times, placed second four times and placed third once.