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Issue #588

18.11.11 - 24.11.11

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Saved by a Svan Hat

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Author:  By Tony Hanmer

This month is the 10th anniversary of this infamous incident in my life, so it’s time to make it public beyond my circles of friends, family and the Vake District police.

In mid-November 2001, I was involved in the middle of a large medical programme helping refugee children from Chechnya in Pankisi. (It was at the start of this programme that I met our chief surgeon, Nodar Aprasidze, my initial guide through Svaneti, who soon became one of my closest friends in Georgia, and eventually best man at my wedding.)

Early one evening, looking for an apartment for rent which I had heard about, I exited a marshroutka in the Krtsanisi are of Tbilisi, not far from then-President Shevardnadze’s residence. The next few minutes are a blank, with bits of dreamlike half-consciousness shot through them. It seems I entered the apartment building I was seeking, and rang the required doorbell on the second floor landing.

I woke up a short while later on the fifth floor, in someone’s apartment entrance, sitting on the floor, feeling rough. I asked for a pen and paper, fearing that I had forgotten my name, but it came back soon enough, as did the bits and pieces which remain of those minutes’ memories, and I wrote it down. Next, the names of some Georgian friends, and their phone numbers; finally, Nodar’s name and number. I called him, carefully explained where I was and what I thought had happened, and after a moment of fury at my predicament, he said that he would come and get me.

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EU earmarked 19m euro for Georgia

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The European Union has allocated 19 million euro to help develop Georgia’s regions in the next three years. The agreement was signed on November 14 by Ambassador Philip Dimitrov, Head of the EU delegation to Georgia and Giorgi Baramidze, Georgia’s State Minister for Euro-Atlantic integration issues.

Under the agreement, the sum will help reduce regional differences and stimulate economic growth in the country’s regions. The money will be transferred directly to Georgia’s state budget in three stages.

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CBO inspires business spirit in rural community

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Author:  By Lisa Groshong

Women in the community of Kheledi are ready for change.

They say that working with COMBI project has inspired them to dream of a thriving village where they will have a way to make money—and their children will want to stay instead of leaving to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

Khatuna Kurasbediani is a nurse, mother of two, and the head of the Kheledi community-based organization (CBO). “With the CBO’s support, the community received knowledge on new agriculture techniques, which helped us to increase our yield in potato plots,” she said.

The project taught the women lessons beyond agricultural ones, said Tamuna Melkadze, COMBI project manager. The project, carried out by humanitarian organization CARE International in the Caucasus and officially titled Strengthening community-based initiatives for poverty reduction in Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region of Georgia, targets marginalized rural communities, especially focusing on women. The project aimed to reach a total of 1,000 households and benefit 4,000 individuals.

“They are confident they can meet their food demand in the village,” Melkadze said. “It is a very big step forward. Now they are ready for change. They are looking for business development, ecotourism, handicrafts. They’re looking for something better.”

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Preparations underway for 6th World Water Forum

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Author:  By Mariam Sikharulidze

Government representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the International Office for Water (IOF), international organizations and those within the academic sector, gathered at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel in Tbilisi on November 14 to discuss ways of handling water resources.

The Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus) was the organizer of this two-day international conference, while the governments of Switzerland and France provided financial support via the IOF.

The conference was part of the general preparatory process in anticipation of the 6th World Water Forum, to be held in Marseille, France in 2012.

Underscoring the importance of regional cooperation on this issue, Executive Director of the REC Caucasus, Sophiko Akhobadze, told Georgia Today that the aim of the event was to adopt common strategies to be presented at the 6th World Water Forum in the upcoming year. “[The goal] is to determine a preliminary set of topics for regional specificities and to forecast a framework of activities to be carried out under the regional process prior to the forum in Marseille.”

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The travel package won in Natakhtari bought by the grandmother and the ‘little’ sin that was revealed to the family

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“I was going to say I love you publicly from New Zealand but I changed my mind…”

On one fine day, as the big drawing of Natakhtari kicked off, an extraordinary events started in the life of an ordinary freshman student boy. He finally believed that winning does not always happen by arrangement. Avtandil Bukia is a student in the Information and Management Systems Department at Georgian Technical University. He is actively involved in student self-government events and used to play rugby for the team Kochebi before he started smoking.

He can say about himself that he is a “good” guy and prove it with his love for Natakhtari and his friends. “Do you want me to prove that I am a good guy? Ok. I am very friendly. Most of all I like being with my friends and they have a special place in my life. Most importantly, I love beer and especially Natakhtari.”

Before the interview he had only one request, “I am very nervous in front of voice recorders and cameras, so do not ask me confusing questions…” We had nothing against it. This is how the interview with the winner of the Natakhtari drawing, Avtandil Bukia took place, without confusing questions.

Q: We already know who you are and what you like. Tell us how old you were when you started drinking beer.

A: I asked you not to ask confusing questions. When you write this in the newspaper and my family finds out, what should I do then?

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