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The News in Brief

Wednesday, October 5
I found a true man of God - Pope Francis on the Georgian Patriarch

According to Pope Francis, he saw two surprises in Georgia. The Pope made his comments in response to a question of the Public Broadcaster at a press conference held at the airport before leaving for Italy.

"I saw two surprises in Georgia - one is Georgia itself. I would never imagine such a place full of Christian faith. My second discovery was the Patriarch, a person with the deepest belief. He is a man of God. I was moved by him and I had this feeling at every meeting with him. I left the country with the feeling that I found a true man of God," Pope Francis said.

As to the question about the chances of a constructive dialogue between the Churches about the existing dogmatic peculiarities and differences, the Pope pointed out that it is the business of theologians. (IPN)

Anti-NATO, antigay MP withdraws from majoritarian race, expresses allegiance to Ivanishvili

A member of the Georgian parliament, notorious for his radical anti-NATO and homophobic statements, on Thursday withdrew his candidacy in a majoritarian district and expressed his support for the Georgian Dream party and its founder, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Nine days before the election, Tamaz Mechiauri, MP, and a leader of the ‘Tamaz Mechiauri – United Georgia” party, released a statement which claimed that he will not continue his election campaign.

Tamaz Mechiauri was a member of GD but left it after constant bickering with Republican Party members, which was also in the same coalition that time. He set his party up only after formally leaving GD in June.

Mechiauri called on voters of Georgian Dream to support him.

“Despite different views about the country’s foreign policy, our party expresses support to Bidzina Ivanishvili and his team and is ready to stand by him in any critical situation, including any attempt at destabilization,” Mechiauri’s short Facebook statement reads.

Recently, an anonymous video tape was published on YouTube purporting that United National Movement leaders, including ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, are plotting a revolution in Georgia after the elections if they lose. Soon afterwards, GD politicians accused the UNM, a major opposition force in the country, of plotting to violently overthrow the government. The UNM denies the accusations.

Mechiauri earlier planned to run as a majoritarian candidate in the Dusheti, Kazbegi and Tianeti districts.

He left Georgian Dream on May 21. Mechiauri has become known amongst the public for his anti-NATO and homophobic statements.

The latest polls indicate very little popular support for Tamaz Mechiauri’s party, and in the rush for anti-NATO voters he has been soundly outflanked by other parties, such as Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement. (DF watch)

European Council to discuss Georgia’s visa liberalization on October 5 - Radio Liberty

“It seems there will be a green light on Wednesday for the European Council to start talks with the European Parliament on granting visa liberalization to Georgia,” Radio Liberty correspondent Rikard Jozwiak posted on Twitter.

According to him, the talks will not start until there is a deal with the European Parliament regarding the so-called suspension mechanism.

Rikard Jozwiak says the MEPs are expected to discuss the issue on October 5.

Earlier it was reported that the issue of granting visa liberalization to Georgia, Ukraine and Kosovo would be discussed on 11 October. (IPN)

Zugdidi Technology Park opens in west Georgia

The country’s second Technology Park has opened, encouraging young creative thinkers outside Tbilisi to develop their entrepreneurial skills and innovative potential.

Georgia’s Economy Minister, Dimitry Kumsishvili, has opened a new Technology Park in Zugdidi, in the western Samegrelo-Zemo-Svaneti region.

The new 700m2 Technology Park, described as a special workspace where dreams can be brought to life, opened in the Zugdidi Presidential residence.

The purpose of opening a Technology Park in Zugdidi is to help local population, private companies or local governance to develop their activities and gain knowledge of about creative industries by using the hard to access technologies,” said Kumsishvili.

The Technology Park would promote scientific research and innovative ideas in Georgia, and create a partnership between innovation and technology.

This is the second Technology Park in Georgia which is equipped with the latest technologies, even more modern than we have in Tbilisi’s Technology Park. The space is open and all services are free of charge,” said the Minister.

The Zugdidi Technology Park featuresd a modern laboratory study areas, a shared work space, a conference hall and a recreational zone.

In the past three years 1,359 large infrastructural projects have been implemented in Samegrelo-Zemo-Svaneti region, worth 632 million GEL (about $269 million/ˆ239.41 million*). (