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Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy, the first program in the world, starts in Tbilisi, Georgia State University
From Wikipedia: Archaeoastronomy (also spelled archeoastronomy) is the study of how people in the past "have understood the phenomena in the sky, how they used phenomena in the sky and what role the sky played in their cultures." Clive Ruggles argues it is misleading to consider archaeoastronomy to be the study of ancient astronomy, as modern astronomy is a scientific discipline, while archaeoastronomy considers other cultures' symbolically rich cultural interpretations of phenomena in the sky. It is often twinned with ethnoastronomy, the anthropological study of skywatching in contemporary societies. Archaeoastronomy is also closely associated with historical astronomy, the use of historical records of heavenly events to answer astronomical problems and the history of astronomy, which uses written records to evaluate past astronomical practice.
Many of my American friends seem slightly startled to recall that there’s another Georgia in the world besides the “Peach State.” Some of my astronomy friends, though, might be surprised to learn about a discipline related to their field now taking root in the southeast European country. Professor Irakli Simonia of Ilia State University wrote us this guest blog explaining a little bit about his school’s program in archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy, which he developed and now leads:
The Republic of Georgia is an ancient country. It was host to the discovery of the oldest known fibers, Bronze Age artifacts, and two of the oldest human fossils outside of Africa, not to mention the legendary Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts. Located on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, it’s bounded by the Caucasus Mountains to the north. The capital, Tbilisi, lies on the Mt’k’vari River in east central Georgia, and it is the home of Ilia State University.
In 2006, several universities and institutions of higher learning combined to form Ilia State, and it is now the leading research university in Georgia, with 8,000 students and 200 professors. We have partnership arrangements with leading universities around the world, and offer undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. programs in many disciplines.
One of our newest doctoral programs is in Archaeoastronomy and Cultural Astronomy, the first in the world dedicated specifically to this area of research. The program is free and will prepare researchers in the use of astronomy within ancient cultures, and how they incorporated it into their societies, rituals, and landscapes. It features an extensive research program, a graduate-assistance portion providing service to the program and the university, and a fascinating curriculum that incorporates the latest research techniques, instruments, and other resources to investigate the cosmology of ancient cultures.
The program admitted three students its first year, one a local Georgian student, and two from the United States: Carlos Trenary, who came with a master’s degree in anthropology, and Gordon Houston with a master’s in astronomy. The program will admit two to three new students each year, with a call for students each spring and the new year beginning in October.
It’s a busy time at Ilia State because, in addition to this burgeoning program, the university has begun creating a research lab specifically for astrophysics and archaeoastronomy students alike. It will be an ideal space for another currently doctoral program in the Physics and Chemistry of Cosmic Dust and Ice, which I will also head beginning in 2012.
We will be glad to cooperate with partners and accept applications to this program. Please send questions, comments, and other inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or Gordon.Houston.email@example.com.
Source: Astronomy - the world's best-selling astronomy magazine: http://cs.astronomy.com/asycs/blogs/astronomy/archive/2011/03/29/archaeoastronomy-in-georgia.aspx
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
The French carmaker will initially conduct feasibility studies and help develop infrastructure, the statement said.
Vera Kobalia, Georgia’s minister for sustainable development, said in November that the government plans to buy about 4,000 electric cars from various producers over the next three or four years, while auctioning off the existing fleet.
To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bloomberg, March 18, 2011
- Dances performed by the Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvili
- Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvili Touring Schedule
- Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvili Contact Information, Reservations and Tickets
The Georgian National Ballet (Georgian: ქართული ეროვნული ბალეტი) was the first professional state dance company in Georgia. Founded by Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili in 1945, it was initially named as the Georgian State Dance Company. Thanks to this company the Georgian national dancing and music has become known in many parts of the world.
Throughout its history the Georgian National Ballet has appeared at the Albert Hall, The Coliseum, The Metropolitan Opera and Madison Square Garden, among others. In 1967, La Scala welcomed them - reportedly the first and the only time a folklore group was given a chance to perform on its stage.
The costumes are designed by Simon (Soliko) Virsaladze (1908-1989). Currently, the founders' son Tengiz Sukhishvili is the Artistic Director and General manager of The Georgian National Ballet. His spouse Ms. Inga Tevzadze is also a former dancer, now a ballet master. Iliko Sukhishvili Jr. is a chief choreographer of the Georgian National Ballet today. Nino Sukhishvili is a deputy-manager and costume designer.
The Georgian National Ballet has seventy dancers and a small orchestra.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The game was held at Slava Metreveli stadium in Sochi on March 19, 2011. Despite the bad cover of the stadium, the Georgian rugby team gained preference from the very beginning which finally led to a clear victory.
The Georgian team became winner of the European Nations’ Cup this year. It was clear before this game as Russia had no chances to catch up with Georgia bold leadership in the group. Russia finishes second after Georgia.
Georgian fans celebrating their team victory right after the game at Sochi stadium (March 19, 2011). Watch video:
Georgian and the U.S. senior officials opened on March 18 in outskirts of Tbilisi USD 100 million biological research facility designed to, as the officials say, promote public and animal health through infectious disease detection and epidemiological surveillance.
Andrew C. Weber, the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs, Georgian PM Nika Gilauri and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, were among the officials present at the inauguration of Central Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL) close to the Tbilisi airport.
“What we are trying to do is to fill in some of the gaps around the world to give us a better global picture of the trends and ways in which diseases crop up and threaten,” Ambassador Bass said.
“Many did not believe that this project would have been accomplished… There have been lots of debates, including at government sessions, but eventually we have this amazing laboratory. This is more than just USD 100 million investment; this is a genuine expression of strategic partnership [between Georgia and the U.S.]. The United States selected Georgia for construction of such strategic laboratory,” Georgian PM Gilauri said.
CPHRL, located on 8,000 sq. meters with about 2,500 sq. meters of laboratory space, is staffed by the Georgian and U.S. personnel. Anna Zhvania is the CPHRL director. She held various senior positions in the Georgian government in the past and was chief of intelligence service for sixteen months till February, 2008.
According to the U.S. embassy the state-of-the art joint U.S.-Georgian laboratory will complement existing health research facilities in Bangkok, Thailand and Nairobi, Kenya, which serve to improving public health in their respective regions and the CPHRL in Georgia will perform a similar mission for the Caucasus region.
A board of governors with representatives from Georgian government and the U.S., as well as from international organizations will be in charge of the laboratory’s research agenda, according to CPHRL.
Officials said the lab will not be used to conduct any biological weapons research.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Georgia Rugby Union website: http://www.rugby.ge/
Although last weekend was the second last round of the European Nations Cup, Georgia cannot be beaten for this year’s title. The 18-11 win over Romania puts them eight points clear of Russia and Spain, each with one game remaining.
The game in Tbilisi did not reach any great heights. Georgia with two tries skipped to an early 15-0 lead after only 12 minutes.
Although the 25,000 crowd was screaming for more, the Lelos went into their shell and purely defended their lead. For the rest of the game, the Romanian forwards outplayed the home team but could not capitalise on this and went to half time with Georgia leading 15-6.
The second half was much the same. The Oaks were able to cross for a try but it was not enough. Georgia added a penalty goal to retain the Antim Cup for matches between the two countries, 18-11, as well as the European Nations Cup.
In Odessa, Russia scored five tries to one to beat the hapless Ukraine side. Russia has been the underachiever of this year’s tournament but did enough to win the game 41-5 after having a 24-0 halftime lead.
The big surprise was Spain in beating Portugal, 25-10. Portugal was the proving to be only team able to counter Georgia and had a chance to take the title if Georgia lost their final round game.
However, it was not to be. Georgia scraped home, 13-12 against Portugal, who were the form team. In Madrid, against Spain, Portugal did not fire and although each team scored a try, looked to be in control.
In the second half, Spain took over and opened the game up. Spain’s flyhalf, Martin Heredia played a blinder, setting up attack after attack but Portugal’s defence held firm but were penalised off the park by the Italian referee, M Dordolo.
Apart from Heredia’s fine open play, he slotted six penalty goals. All this year there has been complaints about Portugal’s offside tactics and this game saw the referee come down heavily on them.
Division 1A table, 12/3/11
However, the Russia/Georgia clash will have a darker undercurrent. This will be the first time the two teams have met on either’s territory since the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia.
The 2009 game was played in Ukraine and the 2010 match was held in Turkey, both neutral venues. Next Saturday’s game will be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi which is the venue of the next Winter Olympics.
Sochi is situated just north of Georgia and has been where Russia’s home games have been played recently. This is strange as it is near Georgia and not a Rugby place at all. In fact, their last match there, against Portugal, attracted a mere 100 spectators.
In division 1B games played last weekend, the two games played turned in upset results. Belgium, the division front runner was beaten 28-21 by Poland in Gdynia.
Germany who were in the top division for the previous series was beaten at home in Heidelberg, 29-23 by another former first division nation, the Czech Republic.
This means that Czech Republic now leads the division with Germany falling to fourth place behind Czech Republic, Belgium and Poland but ahead of Moldova and Netherlands.
It has always been hoped that Germany would be the next European Rugby nation to emerge but it has just not happened.
By Harry Kimble March 14th 2011
Avtandil Khurtsidze "Tornado" (23-2-2, 13) defeated Mariusz Sendrovski (21-3-2, 8) and won the vacant world IBO middleweight champion title!
Khurtsidze traditionally worked aggressively leading the fight, while Sendrovski tried to counterattack. From time to time Sendrovski tactics was successful and by the end of the fifth round he managed briefly to take the initiative. However, in general, constant pressure from Khurtsidze determined the outcome of the fight, and ultimately reflected in the judges final decision.
former Soviet republic, is grand enough to attract the world's
best-known real estate developer. And for that developer, Donald J.
Trump, it was yet another opportunity to demonstrate that he is world class.
In a ceremony with caviar and wine at Trump Tower in Manhattan on
Thursday, Mr. Trump signed a deal to develop the two tallest towers in
the republic of Georgia, the former Soviet state at the nexus of Eastern
Europe and Western Asia.
Giving his blessing to the deal was Mikheil Saakashvili, the flamboyant,
English-speaking president of Georgia. Mr. Saakashvili is eager to
attract foreign investment as he tries to yank his impoverished country
from the Russian orbit and align it more closely with the United States.
Mr. Trump, the world's first virtual developer, will not actually build
the towers. At this point in his career, he is more inclined to license
use of the Trump name on someone else's building than develop a property
himself — although he still occasionally erects skyscrapers, like Trump
World Tower in New York.
Mainly, the deal is another chance to extend the global reach of the
Trump brand, whose brassy gold letters are already stamped on buildings
on four continents, as well as a long-running television program, a
Scottish golf course, vodka, chocolate, books and jewelry. (The signing
ceremony was held at the bottom of the Trump Tower's four-level atrium,
where the surrounding shops include Trump Grill, Trump Bar and a Trump
Any actual construction, if it begins as scheduled in 2013, would be
overseen by Giorgi Ramishvili, chairman of the Silk Road Group, one of
the largest private investment companies in the south Caucasus region.
The deal, which the partners estimate at $300 million, calls for two
projects. The Trump Tower Tbilisi would go up on Rose Revolution Square
in Georgia's capital. The Trump Riviera would be part of a planned Silk
Road complex that includes a casino, an exhibition hall and a marina, in
the resort city of Batumi on the Black Sea, near Turkey.
The residential buildings will each contain 100 apartments and rise
nearly 40 stories — average by New York standards, but nearly twice the
size of the republic's tallest structures.
The partnership was born of a two-year friendship between Mr. Trump and
The Georgian president sought out Mr. Trump during a trip to New York
after reading Mr. Trump's 2008 book "Trump Never Gives Up." The men
formed a friendship, and last year Mr. Trump sent an executive, Michael
Cohen, to Georgia to consider working with Silk Road on several projects.
Mr. Saakashvili said in an interview that although Mr. Trump was
sometimes criticized as being self-centered, he found him
"intellectually curious" and knowledgeable about Georgia and its region.
"I think Donald Trump has amazing intuition," he said.
Mr. Saakashvili himself is known for a gregarious style. Elected
president in 2004, he is a staunch American ally. At one point Georgia
contributed the third-largest force to the mission in Iraq, after the
United States and Great Britain. A street in the capital is named after
George W. Bush.
After tamping down corruption in the police, Mr. Saakashvili built a new
ministry of interior building, designed by the Italian architect Michele
De Lucchi, with an all-glass facade to symbolize transparency. Now, all
new police stations in Georgia are made of glass, too.
And he has lavished attention on the resort town of Batumi, where 35
hotels have gone up in the last four years. In 2007, to inaugurate a new
amusement park in the town, Mr. Saakashvili and his young presidential
staff rode the carnival rides themselves.
In Georgia, Mr. Trump will license his name, and his company will manage
the two properties. He will also work with Silk Road to line up
financing for the projects and market the towers. Mr. Trump said that so
far he had no plans to put his own cash into the deal. "We'll decide
whether or not we want to invest," he said.
Mr. Saakashvili has been eager to draw celebrity foreign investors to
show Georgia is again open for business, after the global recession and
a war with Russia in 2008 dried up the foreign direct investment that
had been propelling the economy.
Georgians remain poor. The average income, in a country of about 4.3
million people, was $2,455 in 2009.
Before the Russian war, Georgia had attracted about $2 billion a year in
foreign investment. Mr. Saakashvili welcomed the inflow as an
endorsement of his pro-Western reforms.
During the crisis, Georgia pivoted to work with Middle Eastern investors
like the sovereign wealth fund of Ras al-Khaimah, one of the United Arab
Emirates. That fund bought the Georgian port of Poti on the coast just
north of the site of Mr. Trump's planned tower in Batumi.
Georgia has squeaked by with foreign aid donated after the war by the
United States and European countries. But with the new deal, Mr.
Saakashvili is sure to try to use the Trump imprimatur to encourage
other American investors to put money in the tourism and transportation
projects he sees as the future of his country's economy.
While Mr. Trump is the first large American developer to come to
Georgia, some locals have worked with American partners or financing
from United States banks, Irakli Matkava, a deputy minister of economy,
said in a telephone interview.
Silk Road, which recently opened the Radisson Tbilisi hotel in the
capital, expects to open another hotel, the Batumi Radisson this summer.
Tourism is a relative new field for Silk Road, which is a major fuel
trader and transporter, and also the largest Internet provider in
Georgia. The company also has a contract to move American military
equipment to Afghanistan from Iraq.
The Georgians seem to have had their eye on the Trump clan for some
time. Two years ago, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, an assistant to the chairman of
Silk Road, invited Mr. Trump's Czech-born ex-wife, Ivana Trump, to
Georgia to consider investing there.
She visited Batumi and met with President Saakashvili during her stay.
It was a tough decision, Mr. Rtskhiladze said, and although Mr. Trump
has yet to visit the country, "we went with the husband."
Andrew E. Kramer / The New York Times