PM meets on EU visas, Russian jail for texter, reserve fund abuse, Abkhaz opposition leader detained, Brit visit, end violence against women treaty, Ukraine talks occupation in UN, US defense pact signed, US Kelly says chill re Trump, IOM on HIV, Mokhe Mosque mess, Gori torah trashed, Akhaltsikhe marshutka wreck 8 dead, Chiatura mine death, Moodys on lariazation, inflation flat, car tax, textile factories opening via Turkey, wine numbers, Water bond, Racha airport and hotel, Abramishvili paintings, budget in parliament, Ellena on sex selective abortions, pension numbers via Meidan TV, ethnics ranked for biz, top khinkali says Rimple, Alania, persimmons, QSI

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  1. The MEME this week is a series of internet memes by Tsotne Tchankotadze that poke fun at different towns around Georgia.


    Monica Ellena writes in Chai-Khana about sex-selective abortions in Georgia. The country has developed a serious gender imbalance since it gained independence from the Soviet Union, largely because many couples would rather have an abortion than a daughter. Currently in Georgia, about 120 boys are born for every 100 girls.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2gYYTAV

    National Geographic has a photo essay on Georgia’s child brides. According to a UN study, at least 17 percent of the country’s girls are married before the age of 18, which is the legal age of marriage. However, many couples get around this by simply not registering the marriage until years later.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2gYVpOU

    Meidan TV has a great study on how pensioners get by in various post-Soviet countries. They compare the average monthly pension to the cost of basic food products. Georgia has about 867,000 pensioners who on average receive 180 lari per month, or about 70 euro. The monthly food budget, according to their calculation, is 90 euro. As you can see, the ends don’t meet.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2h8W8NR

    Social Science in the Caucasus looks at how interethnic business ties are viewed by different sections of Georgian society. Respondents were asked whether they approved of doing business with a number of different ethnic groups. Ossetians, Turks, Iranians, and Armenians received the highest amount of disapproval, with Russians and Ukrainians on the other end of the spectrum. Older Georgians and rural Georgians were less likely to approve of interethnic business ties in general.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2gnuUBP

    Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty has a detailed article about Oksana Sevastidi, the Russian woman convicted of high treason for sending text messages about Russian military trains headed toward the border with Abkhazia before the 2008 August War.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2h9DO4B

    DF Watch interviews Kenneth Yalowitz, who was US Ambassador to Georgia from 1998 to 2001. He doesn’t expect any radical changes to US policy toward Georgia under the Trump administration. The US stance toward Georgia hasn’t changed substantially since 1991, and the country has big support in Congress from both parties.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2gFaUby

    Paul Rimple writes for Culinary Backstreets about the best Tbilisi restaurants of 2016. For khinkali, he recommends Zakhar Zakharich under the Dry Bridge. For Kharcho, the place is Sasadilo Coca-Cola, a worker’s canteen in Didube where the beef is slow-cooked for tenderness. For the full Georgian feast, Rimple recommends Kakhelebi on the edge of town, where the ingredients come straight from a farm owned by the restaurant’s proprietor Chichiko Goletiani.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2ge0FKv

    Irina Kelekhsayeva and Josh Kucera write in Eurasianet about the South Ossetian initiative to change the self-declared republic’s name to Alania, after a medieval Caucasian Kingdom. Many different North Caucasian peoples trace their lineage to the Alans, who controlled most of the region until the 13th Century. The Ingush also informally refer to their republic as Alania.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2h8X7gY

    The Georgian Institute of Politics is collecting responses for its second Expert Poll, a project it’s doing with help from Hans Gutbrod. Only pre-selected political experts are invited to participate in the poll, but internet users are welcome to answer the poll questions on an informal basis.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2ge0P4z

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