Saturday, November 26, 2011
For the Independence Day, the Red and Black Alliance organized a celebration at the coastal city of Vlore, from where will start the symbolic journey of the National Flag from Vlore to Prishtina.
The Red and Black Alliance leader, Kreshnik Spahiu, declared that Albania has 99 years of independence, but not 99 years of a state.
“This is not what Ismail Qemali wanted. The goal of that political elite was the creation of another Albania”, Spahiu declared.
The Red and Black Alliance representatives said that the activities for the Independence day would culminate this Monday.
The Independence Day for all Albanians will decorate Prishtina and Kosovo with the red and black colors. Although the Kosovo government has declared November 28th as a holiday, the Prishtina Municipality, Self-Determination Movement and the Red and Black Alliance will be the ones to mostly vitalize this celebration in Kosovo.
Saranda Mayor appeals for help
Stefan Cipa blocked all construction permissions given a few days before the elections, which are abusive and against the law. But the builders have found an ally at the Court of Saranda, which has rejected the Municipality’s suspensions with some decisions. The court declared that they will argue the case after reviewing the basis.
The Saranda Mayor fears that even if the court will rule in favor of theMunicipality, these objects will be fully constructed by then and the demolishing would be very difficult. Through a touching appeal, Cipa says that he has notified everyone:
“I appeal the personalities and institutions that have received my reports, as Mayor of Sarande, to put in motion their depending structures for saving Saranda. Saranda is facing urban destruction, thatcould destroy it as a tourist town. Let us save what we acn and what has remained. Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Minister of Justice, Mrs. Prosecutor General, Mr. Chairman of the High Council of Justice, Mr. Vice Chairman of the High Council of Justice, hear our voice and save Saranda, because this town belongs to everyone, even to you”, Cipa declared.
A beautiful little tourist attraction in the Ionian coastline, Saranda has had a construction boom recently, often without criteria. This situation was reported by Top Channel reports “Other Albania”. Saranda remains one of the preferred tourist destinations. the Albanian President has visited it twice only this year, while the Prime Minister seems to have a weakness for the Xarra area, with the Socialist Head of Commune of which he has good cooperation.
The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, congratulated all Albanian people for the Independence Day.
The Albanian people want a transparent government, accountable leadership, and strong democratic institutions that will help build a prosperous and secure future. The United States will continue to stand firmly with the people of Albania as we work together to achieve these goals”, says Cinton’s congratulatory message.
Clinton secures that the United States is a partner and friend. “ I wish all the people of Albania the very best and look forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come,” Clinton concludes.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Radical Islam Passing through Greece
By Ioannis Michaletos
Greece is an E.U., NATO and Eurozone country that has traditionally strong links with the Islamic world due to the geographical proximity with the Middle East and North Africa and the Ottoman rule that lasted four centuries, along with numerous historical encounters with Islam since the Middle Ages.
Currently the country faces a debt crisis that, apart from its obvious disastrous financial consequences both in a domestic and in a global scale, also raises security concerns related to terrorist networks of Islamist origin.
Recent upheavals in Maghreb and the Middle East pertain to Greek and European security as well.
Presently, the country hosts a Muslim minority that is a remnant of the Ottoman Empire, but also an expanding Islamic population from the Arab countries and Pakistan that enter Greece in significant number as illegal immigrants. Corporations in the country, such as banking institutions, tourist companies and real estate firms are in control of Islamic funds, whereas countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Libya can be considered significant trade partners of Greece.
The wider picture...............................
Russian navy nears Cyprus drilling zone
Informed sources have said that the Russian navy and Israeli military will hold joint exercises next week close to Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.
The exercises are slated to begin on the 28th November and last a week.
Commentators say that Russia is determined to send the message that they have invested interests in the region and will secure them.
It is understood that the aircraft carrier is carrying 24-fixed wing planes and a number of helicopters. It has also been reported in the press that the Russian navy may request to use port facilities at Limassol...........................................
State Of Affairs In The Balkans
The United States remains committed to helping the western Balkans on their path to Euro-Atlantic integration.
While challenges remain, there has been significant progress in many Balkan countries. Slovenia joined the European Union, or EU, in 2004; Albania and Croatia joined NATO in 2009; and Croatia was recently invited to join the EU in 2013. Kosovo is nearing the fourth anniversary of its independence and continues to progress as a multi-ethnic democracy. Montenegro, only five years after it obtained independence, already has EU candidacy status and is a full participant in NATO’s Membership Action Plan...........................................
Greek merchant fleet: Armed guards against piratesNovember 25 2011
Christos Papoutsis: Armed guards against pirates!
A first version of a new low for the services of private armed guards on merchant ships to tackle the phenomenon of piracy, released today by Minister of Citizen Protection Christos Papoutsis.
For the purposes of this law, which defines the terms and conditions for obtaining authorization from the owner or operator of the ship, the rights of seafarers, use weapons, obligations of the master and any potential penalties for any breach will be required the signature of at least four joint ministerial decisions.
With that low, the authorization for the armed services will be for six months with an extension option and will be issued at the request of the owner or management company, which can be installed and operated legally in another state.
Also, the provision for defense in case of emergency and will be up to six armed guards individuals who may not be less than 21 years and owned company providing storage that is installed in an EU Member State
A citizen of Himara, speaking Greek and Albanian to panel: Whyshould done the HimaraMaster Plain, without turning private property?
Continues to concern always arises why the Albanian politicalparties, in the Himara Municipality, insist to develop Master Plain, before the return of all property and lands, residents of Himara.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Serbs in volatile North Kosovo attacked NATO peacekeepers in KFOR, injuring 21, after they moved to dismantle a Serb barricade.
It is not clear how many Kosovo Serbs were injured, but local media reported that many had been admitted in the hospital with injuries.
A KFOR spokesperson, Frank Martin, told Balkan Insight that violence erupted shortly after midnight on Wednesday when angry Serbs massed to stop peacekeepers from removing a roadblock on the road from Mitrovica to the Serbian border at Jarinje.
KFOR began the operation shortly after 11pm, seizing the barricade, but at midnight more Serb protesters gathered, supported by trucks.
“The demonstrators used force, including the throwing of stones, and pushed back KFOR troops by attacking them with trucks loaded with gravel.
"KFOR troops were forced to fire warning shots into the air in addition to which KFOR also used teargas and batons for self-protection against the protesters”, Martin told Balkan Insight.
To prevent further escalation of the dispute, KFOR halted the military operation and abandoned the barricade to the protesters.
The KFOR spokesperson said that this decision was taken “not to risk serious casualties on both sides, therefore KFOR took the responsible decision to stop the operation.
"KFOR can confirm that 21 soldiers suffered injuries,” he added.
Serbs have been manning barricades in North Kosovo for months, protesting against the deployment of Kosovo government officials on border crossings with Serbia.
Greek Navy firing a multiple number of guided missiles
The Hellenic Navy General Staff announced that on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at the firing range in Crete executed successfully, the following firing of guided missiles in high risk scenarios, :
a. A guided surface – air missile NSSM by the frigate Elli.
b. Two guided surface – surface EXOCET MM-38 missiles from the fast patrol ships BLESSAS and TROUPAKIS.
c. A guided surface – surface missile PENGUIN from the fast patrol ship XENOS.
The firing of the missiles was attended by the Chief of the Fleet, Vice Admiral Konstantinos Mazarakis Ainian.
Greek Defense Minister, Avramopoulos holds talks with US ambassador
Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met on Wednesday with US ambassador to Athens Daniel Bennet Smith and discussed issues regarding cooperation between the two countries that is based on “strong and traditional relations.”
Avramopoulos said in a stratement that Greek-American relations presented certain difficulties for a small intermission and spoke of a new path in these relations which are becoming necessary due to developments in the wider region.
The US ambassador referred to a strategic partner relation between the two countries in a wide spectrum of sectors. He reiterated that the US will remain a steadfast ally in supporting Greece in these difficult times and expressed the hope that the close cooperation in Greek-American relations will continue.Source: athensnews.gr
“We should go to war over Kosovo if necessary”Source: Press
BELGRADE -- Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci needs to know that by attacking Serbs in Kosovo he is also attacking Belgrade, Serbian Deputy PM Ivica Dačić told daily Press.
He added that Serbia could not stand by peacefully and watch that.
Dačić on Wednesday stated that nobody in Serbia must say that Kosovo was lost and that they would not go to war over it.
“A red line for Belgrade is Hashim Thaci’s armed assault on Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija,” he was quoted as saying.
“Thaci needs to know that by attacking Serbs in Kosovo he is attacking Belgrade as well. Serbia cannot and will not watch it peacefully,” the deputy PM pointed out.
He stressed that if Turkey could say that an attack on Sarajevo was an attack on Istanbul, then there was no reason “the attack on Kosovska Mitrovica is not an attack on Belgrade”.
Dačić assessed that rejection of a possibility of war would be a wrong message to Thaci because a “balance of fear” was necessary for the sake of security in the region. He explained that the “balance of fear” was the only reason why a war never broke out between the U.S. and the USSR.
Democratic Party (DS) deputy leader Jelena Trivan told Press that our country should not fight for anything with war because the people would lose the battle.
“Serbia cannot afford itself a luxury to lose another generation in wars because there will be no Serbia then. Therefore we should fight all next battles with intelligence and diplomacy,” she said.
Military-political analyst Miroslav Lazanski believes that the use of force is a part of diplomacy and points out that “this is one in a scale of statements in which Dačić is expressing his position on the situation in Kosovo”.
“Dačić’s position is hard, but right in my opinion. Not a single state diplomacy is successful if it is not supported by military force. It takes two to have a war and there is a question what we would do if someone attacked us. If NATO does not want to go over the barricades by force, what would happen if Serbia set a clear line regarding some other issues as well? If the Americans say ‘stick and carrot’, because the carrot itself is not enough, which in translation means that we need to show that we are ready to use the force we have at our disposal,” Lazanski was quoted as saying.
Political analyst Milan Nikolić also thinks that calls for the use of military force are a part of the international politics, but that Dačić’s statement is directed at the Serbian public.
“Every country has the right to defend its territory with force, even the international law allows it. It’s a different issue that it is not smart at the moment as far as our interests are concerned. It is partially a pre-election talk, a message that should show that somebody is a bigger patriot than somebody else in order for a part of the electorate to like them,” he stressed.
Military analyst Aleksandar Radić says that the deputy prime minister and interior minister’s message is “elegantly packed for domestic use but it is not applicable in the situation Serbia is in”.
TAP, Albania start talks on pipeline agreement
* Albania first to start talks with TAP
* Deal in compliance with Azeri gas project
TIRANA Nov 23 (Reuters) - Albania on Wednesday became the first host government to start talks with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), aimed at transporting Caspian to Italy through Greece and Albania.
The TAP consortium -- Norway's Statoil, Germany's E.ON Rurhgas and Swiss EGL -- aims to build a 1.5 billion euro pipeline that would carry 10 bcm of Caspian gas a year along a 520-km route.
"The parties endeavour to conclude the negotiations in compliance with the overall time table governed by the Shah Deniz Stage II project in Azerbaijan," Albania and TAP said in a statement.
Albania's Economy, Trade and Energy Minister Nasip Naço said the pipeline would play a key role in meeting the needs of the energy-starved Balkan country.
The TAP project so far lacks intergovernmental approval between the three countries it would pass through, although it was included in an agreement signed in 2009 between Italy and Albania.
This has opened up the project to criticism that its main partners are not serious about the its final development and instead seek to increase price competition for Shah Deniz II's gas exports to Europe.
TAP is expected to make its final investment decision in 2013, in line with the schedule of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II gas field. At this point, construction would take approximately three years.
Security of supply is a pressing issue for nations in southeast Europe, which were hit hard by a dispute between Ukraine and Russia in the winter of 2009 that cut off deliveries amid freezing temperatures. (Reporting By Benet Koleka, Editing by Michael Kahn)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
An increase in excise duties for tobacco in Albania has increased cigarette smuggling in the first nine months of 2011.
Customs data shows that Albania imported 2,262 tonnes of cigarettes in the first three quarters of 2011, a drop of 26 per cent compared with the same period in 2010.
According to Tobacco Reporter, an industry publication, in 2001, illicit cigarettes occupied about 72 per cent of the total market.
Albania has repeatedly increased excise duties in the last three years in an effort to shore up revenues for the budget, nearly doubling the price of cigarettes sold in the local market.
Historically, the share of illicit cigarettes on the market in Albania was always high, as was the case in other Balkan states such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. But this had declined in the past decade.
The World Health Organization reported that in 2007, that 40-50 percent of cigarettes consumed in Albania were illegal.
A study sponsored by the American Cancer Society published in August 2010, estimated that in 2009 approximately 19 per cent of smokers in urban areas and 27 per cent in rural areas suspected that some of the cigarettes that they had purchased in the last year were illegal.
Ex Minister Prifti: With Ilir Meta, eye to eye for corruption
No Comment! Himara escalation?
Attention Himara, a critical moment for the future, but without opposition!!!
Messages of the U.S. Department of State, to Enforce the Civil Society and History Gloriously of 26 Century of the independence of Himara, are not clearly understood by the community, but abused to propagate support for the projects of the Municipality of Himara, that does not exist.
All non-profit associations of the Himara Region, seeking above all to block all initiatives of the Municipality Council of Himara, to take into consideration the above, the issue of Property as an absolute priority for resolving conflicts and for developing the Himara Region.
The Himara Urban Region Plan, should be resolved only when the Albanian government must fulfill complete its obligations pursuant to the Constitution of Albania and the European Union's commitments, to return all the properties, to the population of Himara Region.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Manifesto of Civil Society, for the future of Ionian Coast
During the Ottoman occupation, region Ionian Coast is noted for its specific resistance, which was known as strongly supported by Europe and in particular, the Pope of Rome.
As a result of this resistance, "The othoman empire" of Kostandinopolis, gave the Ionian coast of occupied Epirus (South Albania today), a special tax status, unlike the rest of the country.
But while this privilege was accompanied by another important fact, that of non-registration of the properties of this region. This specific deficiencies in the financial field, brought on mortgages due to the Albanian State, without the necessary documents for land registration.
This was another reason for the interruption, even temporary registration of properties in South Coast within the implementation of the Project for initial registration under the OSCE monitoring............................................ continues...................
more see: http://himarablog.blogspot.com/2011/11/promemorja-e-intelektualeve-per.html
Kosovo talks round ends, no new agreementsSource: Tanjug, B92
BRUSSELS -- The second day of the latest round of Belgrade-Priština dialogue on technical issues ended on Tuesday without any new agreements.
Although certain convergence between the two sides' stands has been achieved as regards Priština's presentation at regional forums, no tangible agreement has been made yet, head of Belgrade's negotiating team Borislav Stefanović said and expressed hope that the agreement would be reached in the forthcoming round of talks next week.
Stefanović said that this round can still be qualified as positive because of the agreement on university degrees reached on Monday and the fact that both sides had a chance to voice their stands on all important issues.
We were followed by voices from Belgrade saying that the team has no mandate, that it does not know what it actually wants to achieve and that no agreement would be reached, Stefanović said and added that he hopes that those who said this now see that they were wrong.
Head of Priština's negotiating team Edita Tahiri confirmed that certain convergence between the stands regarding Priština's representation has been achieved, but she also noted that Belgrade and Priština are still divided by deep conceptual differences.
She expressed disappointment that apart from the university degrees, no agreement has been reached on other issues, such as crossings, electricity and telephone lines, and accused Belgrade of not performing the agreements reached so far.
She fears that this could end in mere production of papers and no tangible implementation of agreements.
Monday, November 21, 2011
FM tells Albanian PM: Israeli embassy to open in TiranaBy HERB KEINON
The opening of the embassy in Tirana will be Israel’s 10th in countries that are members of the Organization of Islamic Conference: The others are in Egypt, Jordan, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkey.
Diplomatic officials said the decision to open an embassy in Tirana is a reflection of the country’s economic potential, its diplomatic friendship, and its importance as a moderate Muslim country (Muslims make up 70 percent of the country’s 3.6 million residents).
Berisha said at the UN in September that while Albania supported Palestinian statehood, he thought unilateral action at this time at the UN would be unhelpful. Albania was also among the 52 countries that abstained earlier this month in the UNESCO vote – which passed – to accept “Palestine” into the organization, making it the only non-African member of the OIC to do so.
Up until now, Israel has been represented in Albania – with whom diplomatic relations were established in 1991 – by non-resident ambassador David Cohen. Albania has an embassy in Tel Aviv.