News in Brief

Lavrov to Visit Georgia



Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Tbilisi for Mikheil Saakashvili's inauguration as Georgian president, his press department said Wednesday, despite tense relations between the two countries.

The Kremlin had been expected to send a lower-ranking official to the ceremony, planned for Sunday.

"We confirm that Lavrov will lead Russia's delegation to Georgia to attend the president's inauguration on Jan. 20," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. (Reuters)




Ukrainians Protest Visas



KIEV -- Dozens of Ukrainians blocked a checkpoint on the Polish border Wednesday, angry over new visa restrictions imposed after the European Union's borderless travel area expanded eastward, authorities said.

About 40 people laid massive concrete blocks and wooden bars across a main highway, blocking traffic to and from Poland and stranding over 100 trucks at the border, said Roman Stakhiv, a spokesman for the local border guard unit.

Thousands of Ukrainians who live near the border make their livings from selling groceries and clothing imported from Poland. They have been angered by the new rules imposed last month when Poland became part of Europe's Schengen frontier-free zone. (AP)




'Aren't You Dead?'



VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Police in the Lithuanian city of Klaipeda were baffled to discover that a woman arrested for shoplifting last weekend had been registered as dead a month earlier.

The woman's parents had mistakenly identified a body found in a forest as that of their 27-year-old daughter, Natalya Pavlova, who disappeared from home in November, police said Wednesday.

It emerged that Pavlova was alive and well and living with her boyfriend in the same town.

"Her parents identified the corpse as their daughter. What could we do?" said Petras Mikalauskis, a deputy police chief for the area. "It was the first such case in my experience."

The real identity of the dead woman was not known. The police have opened an investigation. (Reuters)