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The News in Brief

Monday, April 28
Georgian church leader says EU membership 'necessary for us'

Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, said on April 25 that Georgia "should become a member of European structures."

"This is necessary for us," he said.

The Georgian Church leader made the remarks while meeting in the Patriarchate visiting Foreign Minister of Malta George W. Vella.

Last month the Georgian Patriarch met EU commissioner Stefan Fule in Tbilisi and said that the Georgian Orthodox Church “will do everything” to help Georgia become EU member.

Court upholds CEC's decision on Okruashvili

Tbilisi City Court upheld decision of the Central Election Commission (CEC) that bans ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili to run for mayor of Gori in the June 15 local elections because of failing to meeting two-year residency requirement.

District Election Commission in Gori registered Okruashvili as a mayoral candidate, but the Central Election Commission annulled the decision citing two-year residency requirement. Okruashvili had lived in France, where he had asylum, since late 2007 and returned back to Georgia in November, 2012.

“I will anyway win this battle at any cost and everyone will be convinced in this on June 16 [day after elections],” Okruashvili said after the court delivered its ruling.

Okruashvili’s lawyer said that decision of the Tbilisi City Court will be appealed to higher court.

Another Georgian detained near occupation line

An elderly man is the latest Georgian citizen to be detained near the so-called occupation line near South Ossetia.

Russian soldiers detained 70-year-old Merab Kapanadze. It is believed he was detained for illegally crossing the border.

He is the fourth person in recent days to be detained by Russian border guards in the Kareli district, which runs alongside the disputed border near South Ossetia.

Kapanadze, who lives in the Teronisi village, was detained while he was following his cattle. Locals claimed the area was controlled by Georgia and accordingly, he did not cross the so-called border illegally.

Two days ago three Georgian women were detained by Russian soldiers. At the time, Ossetian authorities spoke to Georgian police and confirmed three women had been arrested.

The women – Rusudan Khuroshvili, Zeinab Kharkheli and Lali Khuroshvili – were from the Khurvaleti village.

Officials from de-facto South Ossetia have not confirmed Kapanadze was detained. The Georgian side does not know where Kapanadze could be.

Strong wind causes problems in Adjara

Batumi Airport and other places in the Adjara region are recovering after being damaged by strong winds yesterday.

Roofs were ripped off houses, a large-scale warehouse was damaged and a car was also damaged when the winds tore through the region.

An Emergency services spokesperson said problems arose when "a sudden wind” gusted through the region.

Head of the Adjarian Emergency and Urgent Situations Management Agency Mamuka Turmanidze said a sudden wind, which was typical for coastal cities, had caused damage to several places in Adjara, including Batumi, Batumi Airport settlement, Khelvachauri, Ureki, Akhalsheni and Kobuleti.

He said the roofs had been ripped off 25 houses. The greatest damage occurred to a warehouse in Batumi, which was left without a newly-constructed roof on 3000 square-meter site.

In addition, a car in Batumi was hit by a part of roof debris. Two coastal checkpoints were also damaged and were subject to repair, he said.

Work all over the region to repair the damaged buildings, homes and other facilities had begun this morning.

Lavrov says Saakashvili is a geopolitical project of the U.S.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili is a geopolitical project of the United States. Lavrov was answering the questions of media at the conference of the young diplomats of the CIS, where he was asked about Russia`s relations with Georgia.

While talking about the western policy, Lavrov drew parallels between Ukraine and Georgia and said that Europe and the United States would never step back to complete the geopolitical projects launched in the region. He said Saakashvili was one of such projects, which was followed by a war in August 2008.

Lavrov was also asked about Russian policy in Georgia`s occupied region and about the possible transfer of the Crimea`s precedent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Lavrov answered that these regions did not officially demand to join the Russian Federation; however, he added the issue would be reviewed with the representatives of the occupation regimes later.
(Rustavi 2)

Bad weather forecasted in Georgia for the next few days

Unstable, rainy days are in the forecast in Georgia for the next few days. According to the Forecast and Monitoring Center of the National Agency of Environment, short rain is in the forecast in Tbilisi, while the temperature will be 16 degrees.

Unstable weather will last for several days in most regions of the country. It might be hailing in eastern Georgia on 28 April.