Saturday, April 16, 2011
Signatures for a referendum, almost against Census
Registering on ethnic grounds, King Leka Zog signed last 20,000 th
TIRANE-at the residence of the Royal Family, King Leka Zog I, met with Kreshnik Spahiu and his associates. King Leka Zog I, became the 20,000th, signature listed who oppose census on religious and ethnic grounds. He praised as positive role of Kreshnik Spahiu in denouncing the phenomenon of counterfeiting of nationalities and legal protection in terms of national identity.
During the meeting, Spahiu praised historical role of the Royal Family in the consolidation of the Albanian state and declared that "we are fighting for the sovereignty of the state and not for power". He stressed that "It is time to assess the nation above the interests of political parities and politicians."
Under the Constitution enough to approve 20,000 signatures to a bill in parliament but according to organizations perforation of the petition signatures will continue throughout Albania and Albanians wherever they live.
FRANCE > DYNAMIC ''RETURN'' IN EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
Written by Stavros Karkaletsis *
Does the intense appointment of the Mediterranean dimension of France bear something good and promising for the Cyprian question? Could it be possible for Greece and Cyprus to bring about advantages from the “returning” of the French to the Eastern Mediterranean? The above questions arise from the scope of a wider pondering, about the common French-Cypriot military drill, which took place in the middle of March on the south Cypriot coast. It is by our opinion both positive and sad.
Positive because at last, even at a planning level the “defensive embargo” is lifted, in the defense-avert-weaponry chapters. For decades, semi-occupied Cyprus had no claim to the indefeasible right to defense, since behind the scenes intervention of the Anglo-Saxon and Turkish blocks, had cancelled any attempt of Nicosia to reinforce its defense. The outcome of the Russian S 300 is the best-known case. Certain previous thoughts of transfer of French fighter aircrafts (Mirage F1 CG) to Cyprus for the formation of a substandard air force also were not implemented for obviously similar reasons.
In addition, the military presence of France in Cyprus causes somber thoughts, if we remember that at the same time Greece, supposed to be a force of guarantee and a country of the same nation, is gloriously absent. Greek aircrafts and war ships have not been seen in the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprian skies for many years, since the doctrine of the so called “united” between Greece – Cyprus exists only on papers.
Therefore, Nicosia is seeking –and well doing so- for strategic partners, since Athens, due to her solidified turkophobic syndrome, is afraid to respond. On the other hand, France appears extremely prompt of wanting such a part, within the context of a new amplified position that pursues in the Mediterranean, as shown by her implication in Libya.
The Chairman of the French – Cyprus Friendship Group in the French Senate Marc Massion in his recent statements in Nicosia, pointed out that the relations between Turkey and the European Union should be evaluated anew in case Ankara shows essential progress in relation to Cyprus. “In order to achieve a solution of the Cyprus affair; it is necessary for both sides to show will and decisiveness, and this will is lacking in one of the two sides” Marc Massion pointed out “hitting” explicitly the Turkish intransigence.
The Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs Averof Neophytoy speaking at the House of Representatives in Cyprus mentioned additionally that “…France traditionally has always supported the people of Cyprus in their efforts for vindication and that the real European policy is projected in the French policy”.
The dynamic “return” of French in the Mediterranean seems to consist in a profound strategic choice for Paris. And as small Cyprus is building her relationship with Israel, so she does with France by taking initiatives following particular and accurate actions. At the same time, the Greek Foreign Policy is doing exactly the opposite from what she should: instead of supporting Nicosia and becoming more multidimensional and claiming, Athens is gloriously absent.
The geostrategic heft of the Eastern Mediterranean is not only increasing most rapidly but even in energy. New horizons and opportunities are opened for new strategic choices. Nicosia demonstrates political boldness, while Athens remains in a political standstill…
* Historian - Defense Analyst, HEL.C.E.I.A' s President
Albanian-Italian film production: brutally offends the Greeks and the Orthodox Community
National Democratic Union of Greek minority "OMONIA"
Unacceptable the Albanian - Italian film production Another disgraceful challenge against the Greeks and the Orthodox community made these days in Tirana. This is the view, after a long campaign, the Albanian film director Edmond Budina titled "Balkan Pazar". The film production is financed from the National Film Centre of Albania (Albanian Ministry of Culture) and the Department of Cinema of Italy (Italian Ministry of Culture) and the Italian Institute of Culture (Italian Embassy in Tirana), certainly not randomly chosen to highlight the days near the Orthodox Easter. The film both in its subject matter, and in scenes that show, defiantly challenge the memory of the Greek heroes in Greek - Italian war of 1940 to 1941.
The Scenario is based on a cabal of former Albanian media and other centers that have been exhumation burial society that their bones be presented as the Greek military. This is designed to ridicule one of his most heroic pages of the modern Greeks and the resistance of all European peoples against fascism. The scenes for the most part have been made within the Orthodox Church I actually committing sacrilege and the scenes are often unacceptable. In addition to mention that this Holy Church, the Virgin Birth in Lambovo the Cross is a great monument to centuries as' so it is forbidden, not only for spiritual reasons, be used for other purposes. The Institute of Monuments of Albania arbitrarily hold this sacred place is to give an explanation.
The method, however, that this movie addresses the personality of the Orthodox priest is indeed a vile imitation of atheist propaganda in the years of Communist persecution of the faith. It's just a bad copy modes and methods by which the regime wanted to turn public opinion against the clergy and the clergy. Those who tried to peddle this production, showing forth the freedom of artistic creation rather ignore that there are ethical barriers and ethical rules that circumscribe the relationship between freedom and the creation of non-infringement. The effort and the media to forward to fill the movie theaters is just the continuation of the climate trying methodically to cultivate all the past months. Saranda, on April 15, 2011
Papanikolis debut at Salamina naval station
(ANA-MPA) -- The wait for its arrival lasted more than four years, while it became a "target" long before its first submersion. The waiting is now over, as the 214-type "Papanikolis" (S120) class submarine, the new acquisition of the Hellenic Navy, arrived four months ago at the Salamina Naval Station near Piraeus.
Another three submarines under the names "Pipinos", "Matrozos" and "Katsonis" will be delivered by next year.
The new Papanikolis-class submarine was built by German's HDW and was commissioned for active duty in the Hellenic Navy during a ceremony held in Kiel, Germany on Oct. 27, 2010.
The "Papanikolis" (S120) is the third submarine in the history of the modern Greek navy named after a legendary WWII submarine. Being the first submarine of its kind that was designed worldwide, it was scheduled to be the first to be delivered in 2005, instead it became part of the Greek naval force with a delay of four-and-a-half years due to high-profile technical problems that were subsequently resolved.
Three submarines of this type already serve in the navy of Korea and one in Portugal, while six have been ordered by the Turkish navy.
Serbia, Opposition SNS party leader starts hunger strikeSource: B92, Danas, Tanjug
BELGRADE -- Opposition Serb Progressive Party (SNS) leader Tomislav Nikolić has said at a rally today that he has been on a hunger strike since the morning.
He added that he would continue the strike until the government set a date for early general elections.
“Serbian President Boris Tadić has turned down all of the SNS offers and accused the party of undermining the rule of law,” he stressed.
According to him, the strike is his last offer to the government and a personal sacrifice.
He claims it is his last ditched effort in a fight for a better Serbia and asked the government to call the election when something bad happens to him.
"This is my way, and I know no other nor approve of any other. Do not fail me, for I will not fail you as long as I live," he told the crowd.
“The government does not want an election because they do not want the public to know what has been done over the last 11 years,” Nikolić believes.
"We talked (with Tadić) the day before yesterday, and I was invited to that meeting only to be accused in the worst possible way of undermining the rule of law," the SNS leader remarked.
“The SNS supporters will not vandalize Belgrade, but will instead sacrifice themselves,” he stressed, adding that the rally would be extended, but the people would still get home in time.
The opposition rally dubbed “Day for changes” started a little after noon in Belgrade.
Organizers, opposition parties led by the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), announced earlier that it would be a peaceful, dignified, Gandhian rally and that their most important goal was to get the government to accept their request to call early parliamentary elections...........
Tirana, Euro gets "crazy"
The growth of Euro also directly affects prices as well as increases the cost of loans in this currency for those who take the income in ALL and credit in euros.
According to specialists significant impact on increasing the value of the euro has had the global economic crisis.
Friday, April 15, 2011
European Parliament: All EU countries must recognize Kosovo
"The region still has challenges ahead: judicial reforms, fighting corruption and organized crime and the cooperation with The Hague" said the communique, where executives of EP are cited.
The European Parliament for Kosovo has stressed the need for the recognition of Kosovo, adding that "may not be established official relations between the EU and Kosovo, when the latter is recognized as independent from five European Union countries. "
Kosovo Downplays March by Banned Paramilitaries
Public appearance of masked and uniformed members of so-called Albanian National Army, ANA, prompts official pledge of investigation.
The appearance of a group of masked and uniformed persons on Wednesday in the central town of Drenas, claiming to be members of the banned Albanian National Army, ANA, has prompted Kosovo authorities to pledge an investigation.
The group staged a brief march in the town, marking the seventh anniversary of ANA's first appearance in public. The group then joined a public meeting in a restaurant where officials from their political wing, the Front for National Unification of Albanians, FBKSH, addressed a crowd.
Calling itself the military wing of the FBKSH, the ANA was supposed to have finally disbanded itself in 2009. The ANA was branded a terrorist organisation by the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, in 2003.
The interior minister, Bajram Rexhepi, said police had already started investigations and several of the uniformed men had been identified.
“This was an adventure by some persons who have not managed to find a place in society,” Rexhepi told Balkan Insight. However, he said the government took the case seriously and would arrest them.
According to two Pristina dailies, Koha Ditore and Zeri, the Kosovo head of the FBKSH, Ismail Bajraktari, recently said that it was "time to go public on the ideals of the FBKSH and ANA concerning the unification of Albanian territories.
“We will go on to the end,” Bajraktari was quoted as saying.
Security expert Florian Qehaja said the group of masked persons did not present much of a security risk. "They are a group of desperate people with nationalistic tendencies and an unserious appearance," Qehaja, from the Kosovo Centre for Security Studies, told Balkan Insight.
Qehaja said that the group had chosen the Drenas area to stage their parade as the police presence was weakest in this part of Kosovo.
Members of the ANA, known also as the Armata Kombetare Shqiptare, AKSH, were seen in Kosovo periodically after the conflict with Serbia ended in 1999.
In October 2007, Kosovo’s public broadcaster, RTK, aired footage and an interview with armed and masked members of the ANA, patrolling and checking vehicles on a highway near the border with Serbia.
Apart from Kosovo, the ANA has previously made appearances in ethnic Albanian areas of Macedonia and southern Serbia.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG has begun the formal Environmental and Social Impact Assessment process for the Albanian section of its pipeline with the submission of the scoping report.
The report includes a detailed description of the preferred route for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) identified during extensive refinement studies in Albania in 2009–10. It also contains a comprehensive explanation of the possible environmental and social impacts of the chosen route and suitable mitigation measures. In particular, special consideration was given to the avoidance of sensitive natural habitats. As a direct result, TAP will bypass the Hotova National Park and the Vjosa river valley.
Entering from Greece at Miras in the Korça region, the Albanian section of the route stretches a total of 209 km to the coast, north-west of Fier. The offshore section will be 60 km in length, crossing the Adriatic Sea entering southern Italy.
In addition to having submitted the scoping report to the Albanian Government and a wide variety of stakeholders, non-government organisations and international development organisations such as the World Bank, GTZ and EBRD, proponent TAP AG has also organised a series of national and regional consultation meetings from 11–28 April. These sessions will take place in Tirana, Korça, Çorovoda, Berat and Fier.
TAP will be one of the largest foreign direct investments in Albania and it will help to develop the country’s energy infrastructure and thereby foster economic growth by creating employment and developing local skills. The pipeline can facilitate Albania in meeting its domestic energy needs by bringing Caspian gas to the Albanian market and providing a stimulus for future gas infrastructure in the country.
Stefano Sannino, the Director of Expansion for the Western Balkans on the second day of his visit to Tirana is expected to meet with the leaders of the country. Completion of the 12 obligations that Albania must fulfill in order to achieve to get the status of EU candidate country, will be the main issue that Sannino will discuss during the meeting with leaders of the country.
Yesterday the director of expansion for the Western Balkans, Sannino met the the chef of the integration commission, Ermelinda Meksi.
While today he will meet with Prime Minister Sali Berisha, leader of the opposition, Edi Rama, with diplomats accredited to our country and with representatives of OSCE/ODIHR.
Menduh Thaci The leader of the Democratic Party of Albania(DPA), Menduh Thaci during an informational rally in Kumanovo, said that DPA is concerned about the financial discrimination that is done to Albanians by the Macedonian government.
Minister also spoke about problems in the municipality of Lipkovo and the exodus of Albanians who last year abandoned their homes for a asylee in the western countries.
"Those who went to Belgium, Sweden and other European Union countries will never come back in Macedonia, the same will happen with those who went to Turkey in 50-years".
Monday, April 11, 2011
Two leading Albanian TV stations have announced that they will not broadcast footage and commentary produced and provided by political parties during the campaign for the May 8 local elections.
Albanian reporters at press conference | Photo by : Besar Likmeta
“With this decision Top-Channel believes that is fulfilling its obligation to the citizens to provide impartial coverage of the campaign,” the TV station said in a statement.
“We refuse to be used for political reasons and we assure Albanians that they will see the real campaign, shot and covered by our own reporters and journalists,” Ora News, a 24-hours news broadcaster, underlined.
The move comes as both ruling and opposition parties are trying their hardest to finesse media coverage of the May local ballot.
By denying access to reporters to their campaign meetings, both ruling majority and Socialist opposition candidates are pressuring local TV stations to broadcast material produced by their own press offices.
Albania ranked 88 out of 173 countries in the 2009 Reporters without Borders ‘Freedom of the Press Index’. This rating represents a significant downgrade from 2003, when Albania ranked 34 and was the best performer in the Western Balkans.
While the deterioration of the independence of the media is a wider phenomenon in the Balkans, Albania has remained the worst performer since 2006.
In its interim report published on the eve of the electoral campaign, a local coalition of NGOs that will monitor Albania’s May 8 ballot has expressed concern about the coverage of the campaign in the local media.
“Electoral staff send the text and the photos that should be published to the print media and send already produced stories shot by campaign staff to the broadcast media, which is against the journalists’ mission, truth and the objectivity of the news that is transmitted,” the report said.
“Media outlets not only fail to meet their informative role but also contribute to the disinformation of the citizens by creating a virtual reality, which influences and manipulates the citizens’ vote,” the report added.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The FINANCIAL -- TIRANA. Albanian President Bamir Topi and the Head of the OSCE Presence, Ambassador Eugen Wollfarth, presented on April 8 certificates to women who completed an OSCE training project for female candidates in upcoming local government elections.
"Under the project, the Presence together with its Albanian implementing partner, the Gender Alliance for Development Centre, organized two training sessions in seven regions of Albania. Around 200 women candidates, including representatives of political parties and independent candidates were trained in advocacy, public speaking, and communication with media, as well as in developing a fair, effective and competitive election campaign," OSCE informed.
“Bridging the current gender equality gap in all governance structures remains a challenge. All national and international partners alike have a substantive responsibility to address it,” Wollfarth said. He added that the 8 May elections would show to what extent women would vote, and to what extent women would be able to vote individually and secretly.
The President of the Republic said: “Nowadays, gender prejudice and discriminatory administrative and legal practices impeding gender equality no longer exist. Unfortunately, there is still a deep gap between the political parties’ promises on increasing women’s participation in the decision making and the official candidates’ lists.”
Today’s event concluded the second phase of a three-year project Enhancing Women’s Role in Governance implemented by the Presence. The project is funded by the governments of Sweden and the Netherlands.
U.S. State Department report: In Albania corruption is very high
Mentioning the Parliamentary Elections of 2009, which, according to OSCE, were better than the previous elections, but didn’t achieve the standards.
Related with the financing of political parties, the document says that this case remains largely obscure. Corruption and impunity still continues. The report says that government corruption remained a serious and unresolved problem.
Discrimination against women, children and homosexual persons is also a big problem. Trafficking of persons also remained a problem. As for the Roma community, the report mentions the National Action Plan 2010-2015, with a budget of 2.5 billion leks (14 million Euros).
Regarding the role of the media, the report writes that the government and the businesses influence very much and exert pressure against the media. Critics against the government may be open, private and without limit, says the report, but there are some exceptions. Some media have been under strong pressure for the taxes, because of their political convictions.
Again on the media, the report says that media were active, but nevertheless there have been direct and indirect pressures against them, including threatens against journalists.
The report also says that the Albanian Constitution provides an independent judicial system, but political pressure, threats, open corruptions and limited instruments have obstacle their independent function.
The report says that the Police beats and mistreats their suspects during questioning and imprisonment.