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The News in Brief

Monday, April 6
Truck Carrying Chemical Substances Falls from Road

Accident took place in vicinities of the “Tbilisi Sea”. Truck, which was carrying a tank of chemical substances, fell from the main road.

As the Internal Affairs Ministry informs, at the place of incident two teams of firefighters and rescuers conducted activities as well as patrol police and Chemical, radiological and biological incident response unit, which was working on identification of the chemicals.

Rescuers safely removed the tank and placed it on special trailer. As a result of car accident driver was slightly injured. He was given first aid and taken to the hospital in time.

Parliament to Discuss National Currency Devaluation Issue

Parliament’s Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee will presumably ones again discuss the issue regarding devaluation of the national currency, chairman of the committee Zurab Tkemaladze said on April 4 after the sitting of the Georgian Dream coalition political council.

“We’ll discuss the issue with the National Bank as well as with the representatives of the government’s economic team. We’ll presumably hold a committee hearing too,”- MP Tkemaladze said.

Georgia’s national currency goes on devaluation against the Dollar. The National Bank has set a new exchange rate on April 3, according to which, 1 USD costs 2.2574 GEL from April 4.

Defense Ministry rejects accusations about disrespect towards soldiers

The Defense Ministry personally knows family members of the killed soldiers and cannot accept accusations about disrespect and lack of attention towards them, - the Defense Ministry‘s Public Affairs Department told InterPressNews.

According to the Department, taking care of the heroes’ families is everyday concern for the Ministry.

The Ministry says that the 2 April funeral of soldiers at the Mukhatgverdi cemetery was attended by Deputy Defense Minister Kakha Okrojanashvili, Head of Ministry’s Administration Kakha Chikovani, Deputy Chiefs of General Staff and other military officials.

"The fragments of the killed soldiers’ bodies were buried at the cemetery. It was not a funeral ceremony. Given the high sensitivity of the topic, we decided that only family members, clergymen and representatives of the Defense Ministry would attend the burial’’, - the Defense Ministry‘s Public Affairs Department says.

Patriarchate releases statement

The Patriarchate of Georgia has released a statement about the reception of Abkhazian clergymen by the Russian Orthodox Church leader.

"Reports were spread about the reception of Abkhazian clergymen by the Russian Orthodox Church leader. The clergymen are said to have asked for archbishop’s blessing.

We would remind public that at present there are two opposing groups among Abkhazia’s Orthodox clergy. One group tries to develop closer relations with the World Patriarchate and the other tries to do the same with the Russian Church.

Positions of both of them are totally unacceptable and are contrary to the laws recognized by the world’s orthodox churches. These laws can be violated neither by the Patriarchate of Constantinople nor by Russia", - the statement says.

The statement also says that the Church of Georgia has repeatedly expressed willingness to arrive in Abkhazia and deliver service there. The Patriarch of Georgia also demands to be allowed to arrive in Abkhazia, though the local ‘’authorities’’ are against it.

Georgia’s birth rate increases

About 60 000 babies have been born in Georgia in 2014, which saw the country’s birth rate be increased by five percent since 2013.

The latest statistics were released by the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat).

On another note, Georgia’s Public Defender said in his 2014 report the country’s abortion rate was increased in almost all age groups in 2014.

Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili presented his annual report to Georgia’s Parliament for further discussion.

The report said 37 000 abortions were reported in Georgia in 2013, while this number was 31 908 in 2014.

The largest number of abortions were reported in capital Tbilisi (11 938), followed by the Imereti region (4903), the Shida Kartli region (3 835) and the Adjara region (3 629).

Last year, the Georgian Government offered monthly allowance to parents of multiple children -- a step aimed at resolving demographic problems in the country.

Moldovan man arrested for stealing money from ATMs in Georgia

Georgian police have arrested a foreign citizen for stealing money from ATM machines in Georgia’s capital city.

A Moldovan citizen, named by officials as Vitaly Borta, was alleged to have entered a computer system and used digital data illegally.

"An investigation revealed that on 31 March and 1 April, together with other accomplices, Vitaly Borta installed a video camera and a special device – a skimmer device – at several ATMs in Tbilisi, and thus illegally obtained ATM card data and passwords,” said the Investigative Department of Georgia’s Finance Ministry.

Borta now faces a prison term from two to six years if found guilty of the crime.

The amount of money he allegedly stole has not been released.

Orthodox Church marks Palm Sunday

Orthodox Church marked Palm Sunday – Glorious Enter of Jesus to Jerusalem today. The day is celebrated on the sixth Sunday of Lent.

Catholicos Patriarch of all Georgia, his Holiness and Beatitude, Ilia the Second held a Divine Liturgy at St. Trinity Cathedral.

Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. The feast commemorates the event mentioned by all four Canonical Gospels - the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion.

According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus sent two disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the donkey was needed by the Lord but would be returned. Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. The Gospels go on to recount how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118 - ...Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of Our Father, David. ... (Psalms 118:25-26). Where this entry is supposed to have taken place is unspecified.

Holy Week starts after the Palm Sunday. Holy Week is the last week of Lent. Lent started on 27 February and will end on 15 April, on Easter Day.