Senior priest cyanide arrest conspiracy, immanent Rustavi 2 decision anxiety protests, Ucha law on occupied territory movement, Margvel looks at Security Strategy, new conscripts, guy who wanted to blow up Givi Targamandze gets no jail time, US says no Alania, Vake BMW shooting, Russian bus in Abkhazia gets stoned, Philip Morris gets ginormous fine, Biblus employees ticked off, remittences up, Rustavi Metallurgical exports pipes to EU, WizzAir starts London Kutaisi, Flydubai starts Dubai Batumi, Georgian olive oil, Georgian movies at Berlinale, Kobakhidze replaced in parliament, great new prison law, Janelidze in DC, Georgia 2nd to Trump, Coda on identity, alphabet, Kvanchkhara

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  1. This week’s MEME is a message from the country of Georgia to US President Donald Trump. Georgia makes its case for why it should be Second in the World, after the US. Huge towers, no walls but mountains that the country didn’t pay for, and the ability to drink wine like real men, among lots of other things. This video is truly creative, original, and hilarious.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kNTNX2


    The Ombusdman’s Office releases its special report on the rights of women and children in Georgia’s conflict-affected regions, covering 2014 to 2016. The main problems highlighted are domestic abuse, early marriage, access to abortion, child poverty, and the right to education in one’s native language. Predictably, the situation is pretty bad, especially in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but they find some positive trends.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2lbsTJL

    Coda Story has a two-part video series on national identity in Georgia, which focuses on the competing narratives put out by the Patriots Alliance and the National Movement and its allies, including Tamar Chergoleishvili. One narrative focus on Irma Inashvili and her linking of Georgianness to conservative values such as opposition to same-sex marriage. The other narrative focuses on Chergoleishvili, who links Georgian national identity and independence to ties with Europe and the rejection of Russian influence.
    Link to Part 1: http://bit.ly/2ku8Qt8
    Link to Part 2: http://bit.ly/2kWCJke

    Writing for The Daily Beast, Will Cathcart covers the Georgian Orthodox Church scandal. He dives into a letter published by Rustavi Ori and allegedly written by Archpriest Mamaladze to Ilia, where the priest alerts him to graft, corruption, and illegal alcohol production on the part of clergy members. The letter’s validity hasn’t been verified, but it has led many people to speculate Mamaladze is being framed by clergy members who don’t want Ilia to know about their activities.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kNJUZH

    Liz Fuller writes for Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty about controversy surrounding the Public Broadcaster, especially plans to shut down most of its programming for the next 11 months while it implements reforms. The new General Director is Vasil Maghlaperidze, who has long-standing professional ties to Bidzina. The Broadcaster has a legal obligation to cover political developments, but it will be mostly shut down during the debate over constitutional amendments, and the run-up to local elections this fall. However, most observers agree that the Broadcaster is wasting money and major reforms are needed.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2ku3ZrX

    Social Science in the Caucasus looks at the use of antidepressants and antibiotics without a prescription. According to NDI/CRRC data, one in four adults reported taking either antidepressants or antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription during the year prior to the survey. Women were more likely to report have done so, especially rural women. Please from the age group 35 to 55 were also most likely to use antidepressants and antibiotics without a prescription.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2lWGbJc

    Stratfor covers bilateral trade between Georgia and Russia, which is expected to intensify due to an agreement reached between Special Envoy to Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Dmitri Karasin. The deal will make it easier for goods to pass through Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2lnG3FA

    Monica Ellena writes for EurasiaNet about attempts to preserve Georgia’s alphabet in the digital age, where devices are usually designed to use only the Latin alphabet. She quotes Nino Doborjginidze, head of linguistics at Ilia State, which thinks the pace of technological change does threaten the Georgian language, although it’s in no danger of dying out. For example, a lot of Georgian-language data such as books, manuscripts, and oral records, can’t be spread internationally because of the alphabet.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2lSLBpz

    Georgian Journal has a good explainer on Khvanchkara, Georgia’s most famous wine. They interview Dr. David Magradze of the National Wine Agency, who explains where and how khvanchkara is made. If you haven’t tried the wine yet, do so.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2llRAWk

    Writing for OC-Media, Luka Pertaia analyzes the recent string of left-wing protest movements that have sprung up in Tbilisi and elsewhere around the country. He asks whether these disparate movements could come together and form a coherent political force, something the left hasn’t been able to do at any point since Georgia became independent.
    Link: http://bit.ly/2kNWNmp

    The Heritage Foundation publishes its 2017 Index of Economic Freedom. Georgia is ranked number 13, just behind the UK and Estonia and just ahead of Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and Lithuania. It got improved marks for property rights protection, business freedom, and labor market flexibility, while its rating declined on taxes and government spending, while fiscal health remained stable.
    Link: http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

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