Pope visit, Givis car blown up, pre election incidents, Nat rally, predictions, visa lib pre new year, China memo re free trade, const court strikes down second strike law for weed, new head of state security council, US educated Armenian def min, US boats to coast guard, Almaty airport mercury, new cop tech, Vazha metro closure, Zugdidi Tech Park opens, Batumi sports palace, IMF predictions, Tourism Development Fund, Chinese train factory, Anaklia port, wind power starts in Gori, Kutaisi textile, French fashion, tourism up, first whiskey, draft budget, Hans numbers, DCFTA, political money from TI, Rimple on cheese, car numbers, MitOst, Bugiani

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  1. The MEME this week is a video of Father Seraphim and his choir chanting in Aramaic and the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta during the Pope’s visit. If this doesn’t move you, not much will.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dNcoQ0

    US Citizens are encouraged to vote in the Presidential Election on the 8th of November. Those living in Georgia can easily register and mail a completed ballot. Check out Vote.org for more information, and encourage your friends and relatives living outside the US to vote. The below link to the website of the US Embassy in Georgia also has a lot of good info.
    Link: https://georgia.usembassy.gov/rm092116.html


    Dustin Gilbreath and David Sichinava preview the elections for the Monkey Cage, a blog at the Washington Post. They think it’s likely that Otsneba wins the most seats, as they have an edge in both the party lists and the majoritarian districts.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dAHlI7

    Hans Gutbrod publishes in Medium his final poll results before the elections, which he did for the Georgian Institute of Politics. He surveyed 33 observers and experts, finding the most likely result to be Otsneba receiving between 30 and 42 percent of the vote. For the National Movement, the most likely result is winning between 19 and 32 percent, and State for the People is expected to receive 6 to 12 percent.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dUM0Er

    Social Science in the Caucasus looks at companies’ lack of interest in the Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement, or DCFTA, signed between Georgia and the EU in the 2014. According to their data, only 6 percent of surveyed companies traded with the EU under the agreement in 2015. What’s more, most companies report being indifferent to the Agreement and to trading with the EU in general.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2d5EJmm

    Taylor Braun-Dorrell of the Caucasus Research Resource Centers writes in The Clarion about the DCFTA. Georgian companies are exporting only slightly more to the EU than they did before the agreement was implemented two years ago.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2duS2Qc

    Monica Ellena for EurasiaNet covers the Pope’s visit to Georgia. Francis didn’t get an especially warm welcome, and that’s because doctrinal and political differences between the Eastern and Western churches are still very deep.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dUMyKk

    Pikria Saliashvili previews the parliamentary elections for Foreign Policy. Voters look pretty apathetic–recent polls by the National Democratic Institute found over a quarter of Georgians saying that no party represents their views–but in her view, that’s not a bad thing. Instead of hysterical, personality-driven politics, Georgia now has a more normal, even if more boring, democracy.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dNcvKA

    Longtime diplomat and scholar Tedo Japaridze writes for the Atlantic Council about the elections. Georgia has come a long way since 2012, but it still needs to consolidate its democracy, so this election is extremely important.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dh9iD8

    Paul Rimple writes for Culinary Backstreets about Bagrati Mezurnishvili, a cheesemaking artisan who runs a shop near the Dry Bridge. Bagrati makes all varieties of Georgian cheeses as well as Iki, a liquor he distills from corn.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dxskHc

    Sociologist and all-around genius Georgi Derlugian writes for Open Democracy about postmodernity in the South Caucasus. The euphoria of the late 80s and early 90s turned to disappointment, but there’s still hope for a better future.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dv8kWV

    Huffington Post travel writer Kelly Lewis recaps her trip to Georgia. She says it’s in Eastern Europe, which isn’t totally accurate but we forgive her. She covers all the bases: what to eat, where to stay, and which cultural spots to visit.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dv8kWV

    Our Santa Monica correspondent Jonathan Kulick tipped us off about a video that France 24 is running about Abkhazia. They explain the region’s troubled history and how it’s now trying to be independent from both Georgia and Russia.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2dUJC48

    Edward Lucas writes in the Catholic journal First Things about the fall of the USSR and how its legacy still sours relations between Russia and the West. He reminds us that the Soviet collapse wasn’t just a humiliation for the Russian people; it paved the way for national self-determination for 120 million non-Russians, too.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2cUxI9G

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