Saturday, February 25, 2012

Awards for Greek-Albanian Students in Ioannina

The Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Albanians of Greek Descent (IAOA), a member of the network of foundations under the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation umbrella, in association with the University of Ioannina, will confer awards upon 12 Albanian undergraduates and postgraduate candidates of Greek descent.
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation provides multi-faceted support to the Epirus region and to the Albanian communities of Greek descent, continuing a long tradition of being present and involved in the region.
Furthermore, over the past few years, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation has funded, through its “Research Projects” programme, proposals submitted by University of Ioannina research teams as well as doctoral dissertations examining regional issues. At the same time, the Foundation supports programmes such as the Greek Language Summer School held by the University of Ioannina for Epirote emigrants and the activities of the Research Foundation on Northern Epirus.
The deadline for applications is the 2nd of April.

Agreement on regional representation of Kosovo

The round of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue that ended in Brussels on Feb. 24 yielded an agreement of the following content:
Arrangements Regarding Regional Representation and Cooperation

1. Both parties confirm their commitment to effective, inclusive and representative regional cooperation.

2. To this effect 'Kosovo*' is the only denomination to be used within the framework of regional cooperation.

3. The footnote to be applied to the asterisk in para 2 above will read:

"This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence."

4. 'Kosovo*' participates on its own account and speaks for itself at all regional meetings.

5. Where new agreements are to be initialed and/or signed, a representative of 'Kosovo*' will sign under the designation in paras 2 and 3 above.

6. As concerns modifications to existing agreements signed by UNMIK, nothing in these conclusions will be interpreted as prejudicial to UNMIK's legal rights. A representative of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will bi invited to meetings organized within the framework of arrangements for which it is a signatory. It is for UNMIK to decide whether to attend any particular meeting.

7. Hosts of meetings will be encouraged to avoid the display of national symbols except for their own and those of the EU, taking into account the statutes of relevant organizations.

8. The EU as Facilitator will inform relevant regional organizations and entities of these arrangements for denomination, representation and signature. They should be reflected in the practical organization of regional meetings. The EU will monitor the implementation of these arrangements.

9. Both parties and the EU will urge partners to support these arrangements and to assist in their implementation.

10. The regional organizations referred to in these conclusions are existing and future intergovernmental organizations or arrangements whose aim is to promote cooperation or integration in the Balkan region. "Regional meetings" includes meetings of these organizations and also ad-hoc or informal meetings with similar aims. It also includes meetings with EU institutions in the context of the European agenda.

11. These arrangements are adopted on an interim basis.

Clinton: Agreement will bring new recognitions

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes that the Belgrade-Priština agreement will bring about wider recognition of Kosovo.
Hillary Clinton (FoNet, file)
Hillary Clinton (FoNet, file)
Clinton added that the U.S. would remain committed to Kosovo's independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Clinton dismissed concerns about concessions made to Serbia i.e. citing of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 in the footnote attached to Kosovo's name, adding that this would in fact persuade many U.N. member nations who had not recognized Kosovo to do so.

“U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 in fact paved the way to Kosovo's independence as it required withdrawal of Serbia's security forces. So I think this is a very smart and clever decision on the part of the Kosovo government,” the U.S. secretary of state told Voice of America (VOA).

Clinton also mentioned the issue of Kosovo at the international conference on Syria held in Tunisia, and expressed satisfaction that the EU had helped the Belgrade-Priština dialogue and that now both countries were moving closer to the European integration.

She reiterated that Serbia's progress toward the EU was good both for Kosovo and the region, adding that it was crucial to remain on the path of peace.

Albanian Parliamentary Security Commission, blocking the reporting of the Albanian Secret Service, to cover the power of Serbian and Russian Mafia

The Albanian Newspaper "SOT"

In this report, scheduled for release shortly, said that in the remaining coast in Himara Region, Russian Mafia operates intensively, with politicians from both government and opposition related to the Development Plan and purchasing land illegally.
Governing majority, blocking for the second consecutive year the National Intelligence Service report, arguing that the National Security Committee does not guarantee the security measures for the protection of classified information to NIS. Blocking learned that was ordered by Prime Minister Berisha, in order to cover the government, Russian and Serbian mafia, mafia, which has occupied all the coast of Albania. Knowing that the head of NIS Bahri Shaqiri will speak again to the Russian mafia connections with segments of government, the PM Berisha, has ordered that the Commission must cancel the Security reporting, of Bahri Shaqiri.
Given past sessions behind closed doors, where reporting of Bahri Shaqiri is discolored by the media, the Parliament decided to suspend all relations with the State Information Service, thereby violating the Constitution and Rules of the Assembly.

Majority has refused to review the Albanian SIS annual report for work during 2011, but with the same argument. On the other hand, the opposition has sought review of the SIS report, and accused the President of the Committee of Security Leonard Demi, for violation of rules. Two years ago, Albanian media report derived SIS head of the committee, who expressed concern that the Russian mafia are stationed in Albania, by investing mainly in the coast. At last report, NIS warned, not only for the Russian Mafia, but also Israeli, Italian and Albanian groups narkotrafikut who live in Colombia. Russians are the main investment land for tourist villages, especially on the coast.

According to information intelligence service, four years ago in Albania flocked Russian businessmen, who were regularly noted. In these conditions, the businessmen, who according to information from SIS are associated with the Russian Mafia, "was delivered", because it was interesting to have problems with justice in our country. However, before long, began the second phase, but this time, not directly. Russian Mafia began using different individuals Albanian subcontractor conditions. They were asked to persuade the owners, in order to sell large properties for construction of tourist villages, mainly in the southern Ionian coast, and in particular in the Himara Region.

Himara`s Case (SManalysis)

According to
almost confidential reports of Albanian NIS, Russian Serbian and Italian Mafia, operating intensively in buying lands which have priority to tourism Development Plans in the Himara Region. It is no coincidence that in parallel, the Development Plan is expected to be approved by the Albanian Government for Himara Region, related to the interests of "Real State" Agencies, internationally mainly in London, who publish for the buyers, the land prospective for elite and touristic villages,, without becoming the first registration of land, based on documents from Himara successors properties.

In reporting was due for release, Albanian NIS, in collaboration with sources of american CIA, underlines the fact that there was a close relation between the "buyers", who in most cases, are presented as Greek citizens and the Himara Municipality, using corrupt practices, especially in counterfeiting documents of ownership, that has to do with Law 7501, that population Himara largely rejects.
Also a number of considered Notaries, Court officials and Registry Offices, are investigated using corrupted practicies in the device with inexistent ownership documents to the Russian and the International.Mafia

Of course, reporting the NIS, will encourage American citizens by the Himara Region for properties that require transparence from the Albanian Government, bloking the Development Plans that are expected to be approved in the Himara Region, plans which are experiencing Albanian politicians links the international Mafia.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thaci Hails Serbia Deal as Triumph for Kosovo


PM says EU-led deal with Serbia means Belgrade has now tacitly recognized the independence of its former province.
Fatmir Aliu
Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci put his own spin on a EU-brokered deal with Serbia, saying Belgrade had now effectively recognized Kosovo's statehood.
In a press conference in Pristina on Friday, Thaci said the agreement was not ideal but was in the broad interest of Kosovo.
The principal part of the deal concerns Kosovo's representation in regional meetings. Under the agreement, Kosovo will be represented at regional forums simply under the name of "Kosovo" but also with a footnote referring both to UN Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, on Kosovo's declaration of independence.
“I’m aware that this footnote or formula in the footnote is not the ideal one, but it is the most acceptable one at the moment. But I assure you that this formula is temporary,” the Prime Minister said.
More precisely, the footnote will read: "This label [ie "Kosovo"] does not prejudge the status of Kosovo and is in accordance with Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the ICJ on Kosovo's declaration of independence."

Russian Bombers over Black Sea Alert

Bulgaria: Russian Bombers over Black Sea Alert Bulgarian, Turkish Air Forces
A Russian Topolev Tu-22 strategic bomber. File photo
Five Russian strategic bombers have raised alert with the Bulgarian and Turkish Air Forces after flying close by over the Black Sea on Wednesday.
The five Russian Tu-22 bombers were detected right off Bulgaria's coast, on the fringes of the Bulgarian air space, the Standart daily reported Thursday, saying that the information has been confirmed by sources from the Bulgarian Defense Ministry.
The Bulgarian military has explained, however, that the Russian bombers never entered Bulgaria's air space, even though they reached within 40 km of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, apparently bound south, towards Africa.
At the same time, however, the Russian bombers are reported to have caused alarmed the Turkish Air Force, with unofficial information saying that the Turkish military immediate flew two F-16 fighters to escort the Russian bombers.
When asked why no Bulgarian fighter jets on duty were flew off over the Russian bombers, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry is quoted as saying that it is up to NATO's southern command to decide whose fighter jets would be sent in the air in similar situations.
Observers have been quick to link the flying over of Russian strategic bombers over the Black Sea with the naval drills of the Russian Navy over the international tensions around the situation in Syria, which is the site of massive civil unrest and protests against the Assad regime, and Iran, whose nuclear program advance is fueling fears it might be subject to air strikes by Israel and/or the USA.
A group of Russian naval ships arrived in early January in the Syrian port of Tartus, where two Iranian warships also came last week.
The ceremony of the albanian marins killed in Afganistan

Farewell to Feti Vogli
The coffin with the body of Captain Feti Vogli arrived at the Palace of Congresses at 11:00, with the homage ceremony at the hall.

Captain Feti Vogli died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during a firefight in which was severely wounded another Albanian soldier, corporal Aleksander Peci, and a US soldier.

The first to pay homage was the Minister of Defense, Arben Imami, who was followed by the Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces, Xhemal Gjunkshi.

Many Albanian high rank officials saluted the body, together with several army effectives, colleagues, political and religious personalities and common citizens.

At 13:00, the ceremony moved to the Martyrs’ Cemetery, where Captain Vogli’s name was appealed three times by the commander of the Special Operation Battalion, Dritan Demiri, which is known as the “last appeal” ceremony.

“Captain Vogli was sacrificed on the altar of freedom for his country,in the battle for the highest human values. He gave a greatcontribution as representative of the Albanian state in the war forpeace and security in the world. May his memory be eternal”, General Gjunkishisaid during the ceremony.

The flag that covered the body was then given to the father of the Captain. His army mates held his body on their shoulders to the last residence. Feti Vogli was declared Nation’s Martyr and the Albanian President granted him the Golden Eagle Medal.

Cocaine arrests in Athens

AMNA--Police arrested on Thursday five persons (two Albanians, two Greeks and a Romanian woman) in Athens for drug dealing. Police found in their possession and confiscated twenty kilos and 665 grams of cannabis and one kilo and 150 grams of cocaine.
Moreover, 3,020 euros in cash, two precision scales, two cars and seven mobile phones were also confiscated. amna
The suspects will be sent before an Athens prosecutor.

Belgrade, Priština reach agreement on representation

BRUSSELS -- The Belgrade and Priština negotiating teams in the latest round of Kosovo talks, have reached an agreement in Brussels on Thursday.
Borislav Stefanović and Edita Tahiri (Tanjug, file)
Borislav Stefanović and Edita Tahiri (Tanjug, file)
Kosovo is to be represented at regional forums under the title Kosovo accompanied by the footnote citing UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Kosovo's declaration.
Priština’s request to include the declaration of independence into the footnote was not accepted.

Ethnic Albanians unilaterally proclaimed independence in early 2008, but Serbia rejected it.

The teams today also reached an agreement on integrated management of administrative crossings.

Sources from the European Commission told Tanjug earlier on Friday that an agreement on the international representation of Kosovo was practically reached.y also said the only thing left was to agree on certain points concerning the issue of integrated control of administrative line crossings.

“We were very close to an acceptable solution last night,” said a European official closely informed about the dialogue development, expressing his expectations that an agreement would be reached over the next few hours.

The heads of delegations did not want to give statements to media this morning.

The dialogue was interrupted last night without any tangible results after sixteen hours of talks.

Daily: Romania determined to block Serbia's candidate bid

BELGRADE -- A Belgrade-based daily writes today that a new obstacle has come up on Serbia's already difficult road toward becoming candidate for EU membership.
According to the Danas newspaper, Romania is determined to block a positive decision on the status bid "unless steps are taken urgently to improve the position of the Vlach minority (in Serbia)".
The news reportedly reached top Serbian officials on Thursday as they were preparing to meet with visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

"The Romanians have announced they will block the candidature over the Vlach issue. That cast a huge shadow on the already difficult talks with Westerwelle," unnamed sources were quoted as telling the daily.

They also said that there will be "immediate engagement in intensive communication" with the friendly neighbor - one of five EU member-states that have not recognized the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration of independence.

Talks held in “difficult atmosphere”

BRUSSELS -- The current round of the Belgrade-Priština talks ended around midnight and will be continued on Friday.
Borislav Stefanović and Edita Tahiri (Tanjug, file)
Borislav Stefanović and Edita Tahiri (Tanjug, file)
The two teams still have not reached an agreement on Kosovo’s regional representation.
Belgrade team chief Borislav Stefanović told Tanjug that the Thursday’s talks were held in a “difficult atmosphere” caused by the Priština delegation.

“Priština took negative, rebuffing stances which were completely irrational at times. We are trying to find a solution in a constructive and rational manner, of course while sticking to the (UN Security Council) Resolution 1244,” he explained.

The Belgrade lead negotiator stressed that his team was still prepared to do everything in order to come closer to a solution in the continuation of the talks on Friday morning.

“There was a partial convergence of stances today in the sense of definition of a footnote that will be written next to Kosovo’s name. This is still the biggest point of contention,” he noted.

He assessed that reaching of the agreement on Friday largely depended on whether or not Priština would realize that the international circumstances had changed when it came to fulfillment of their requests.

“Another day of talks awaits us tomorrow and we hope it won’t be long,” Stefanović said late on Thursday.

The latest round of the Belgrade-Priština talks started on Wednesday and it was continued on Thursday.

A decision on Serbia’s EU candidate status in March greatly depends on the outcome of the talks.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Greece’s Armageddon: Could the military seize power to ‘restore order’?

[linked image]


George Irvin is Professorial Fellow at the University of London, SOAS, and a member of the Research on Money and Finance group

With the €130bn Greek bailout package finally approved by the troika, markets appear to be rallying. But it’s far from certain the country is saved.
For one thing, the package still has to be approved by sceptical parliaments in the Netherlands, Finland and Germany. Several big hedge funds that hold Greek bonds have yet to accept the debt write-down; unless they do, Credit Default Swaps (insurance) will be triggered, sinking the entire deal.
Greek-national-flag-flying-above-parliament-building-Syntagma-Square-AthensTo meet the target of a debt-to-GDP ratio of only 120 per cent by 2020, the economy, which is now shrinking at 5 per cent yearly, would need to stabilise next year and grow at 2 per cent annually for six years running.
Few believe this is possible – even the IMF says it’s unlikely the target can be met.
Let’s be clear: the ‘bailout’ is not really a bailout of Greece, but rather of the mainly German and French banks. Why? Over the past decade, Germany kept domestic wages flat, helping it to run a massive trade surplus with Greece and other peripheral eurozone (EZ) countries.
These surpluses have been recycled by German and other banks lending to the periphery (pdf1 and pdf2), much in the same way as the 1973/79 oil surpluses were recycled largely through London in the form of highly profitable loans to Latin America.
Just as Latin America suffered a debt crisis in the 1980s – and IMF-imposed austerity designed to repay the debt led to riots and made matters worse – so we are witnessing the same thing in the eurozone.
Nowhere more than Greece has troika-imposed austerity brought such pain, the country’s GDP having fallen by 15 per cent since early 2009 while nearly half of all young Greeks are now unemployed and, nationally, unemployment is more than 20 per cent.

At this stage, the dilemma is that the cost to Greece of defaulting may be even higher than that of adhering to troika-imposed austerity. Ironically, this need not have been the case had the ECB acted decisively at the outset of the crisis.
The internal political consequences of a Greek default are particularly worrying. The general election in April will almost certainly show the mainstream political parties, New Democracy and PASOK, to be thoroughly discredited.
The smaller parties of left and right have pledged to leave the euro. The introduction of a new drachma (ND) would very quickly result in serious inflation.
The implication is clear: without a stable government, Greece’s departure from the euro – and possibly even its remaining within the euro – will be accompanied by growing political chaos, and chaos will bring military intervention to ‘restore order’. The Greek army is strong; military spending in Greece is proportionately twice as high as other European countries.
Those old enough to remember the colonel’s coup of 1967 will remember that the West turned a blind eye to the repression which followed; thousands were tortured or killed and both the communist and social democratic parties were illegal for more than a generation.
History may be about to repeat itself.
The effects of austerity will be one of many topics covered at this weekend’s Fabian Society conference “Social Europe: Worth Fighting For?” – the last few tickets are still available for this event, please click here.
See also:
Greece is a smokescreen to hide the mother of all bank bailoutsNick Dearden, February 21st 2012
European socialists call for regulation of the ratings agenciesAlex Hern, January 18th 2012
Eurozone crisis: A threat or a promise from the credit rating agencies?Ben Fox, December 6th 2011
What happens when Greece defaults?George Irvin, November 25th 2011
The euro lurches towards the abyss – but does the Left have a Plan B?Ann Pettifor, September 14th 2011
EU promoting Balkan

EU promoting Balkan
The European Commission aims to fight prejudgments against Balkan and Turkey among the most skeptical European countries, through a video clip realized by the Enlargement Directory.

The 60 second clip shows images from different countries, selected for showing the historical, cultural and social similarities.

When asked by Balkan correspondents in Brussels, Peter Stano, the Spokesperson for Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Fule, explained that this material was not conceived for giving any political message, but for promoting the similarities between the EU members and the aspirating countries.

Besides the social networks on Internet, the clip will be shown together with advertisments in the cinemas of Austria, Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark and Finland.

When asked why Iceland was missing in this video, Stano declared that Iceland is more European, since they have longer cooperation relations with the EU, which also goes for Turkey.

The clip concludes with Albania. The video that promotes the Balkan countries, realized by the Commission for the EU countries, has the motto: “So similar, so different, so European”.

Tirana 1936

Demostration under the Greater Albania
A Description of the unknown story of one of the demonstrations and rallies largest protest took place through the main streets and the Square "Scanderbeg" of Tirana in 1936 by the Albanian Kingdom, where the speakers stood up in defense of rights and liberties of Albanians lived in their homes in Kosovo and Chameria. An exclusive photo first published in the newspaper "Shqip" (2 February 2008) sheds light on official policy, then follow the Albanian state to the national cause.

Prishtina: 39 MPs would require union Kosovo - Albania

Kosovo - Albania, The Union Project begins...

February 23, 2012 |

The Chaos and concern for the acceptance by the government of Serbia's request and some EU countries that Kosovo name associated with 1244 of Security Council, appears to be pushing some deputies of Self-Determination, PDK, AAK and LDK to look at the possibility of radicalization of attitudes in Parliament.

As reported by several portals based on their sources, a group of 12 deputies of the four main parties in Parliament is expected to require the union of Kosovo with Albania. Their demand is expected to be supported by the President of Kosovo Pairlament, Jakup Krasniqi, who can pass for debate in Parliament.

It is expected that this request is supported by about 39 Albanian MPs plus members of the Turkish minority, reports Alsat.

The aim of the initiative group for the unification of Kosovo with Albania is in the first stage to draw the attention of the international community and reach the termination of talks with Belgrade. After laying in the Assembly, a group of six deputies of the Assembly will meet with Albanian President Bamir Topi, urging him to support and implement the Constitution by the official Tirana.

Austria, France, Italy urge granting of candidate status

BELGRADE -- Foreign ministers of Austria, France and Italy sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, calling on candidate status to be granted to Serbia.
"At its upcoming meeting the council is called upon to decide on granting candidate status to Serbia. The European Council conclusions of December 9 are clear about what Belgrade has to do," the letter, signed by Michael Spindelegger, Alain Juppe and Giulio Terzi Di Sant’Agata said.
"Progress must be made in the implementation of agreements reached in the dialogue, a settlement must be reached with regard to Kosovo's participation in regional forums. Besides, Belgrade is asked to cooperate with EULEX. We have conducted a thorough analysis of Serbia's progress and have come to the conclusion that the conditions have been met. Decisive progress has been realized in implementing agreements reached so far in the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, the latest being the recognition of diplomas", the letter further stated, and added:

"On the IBM, a technical protocol will pave the way for its full implementation. Belgrade has made very constructive proposals to include Kosovo in regional cooperation, recognizing each party's position on status. Belgrade has actively cooperated to enable EULEX and KFOR to execute their mandates. We should thus honor our promises made in December, give credit to Serbia’s recently redoubled commitment and efforts and grant Serbia candidate status."

The three chiefs of diplomacy concluded by writing that "conditionality is at its most effective when it is both rigorous and fair":

"Indeed the credibility of the EU's enlargement policies depends on our own predictability. We expect that with this decision Serbia will also be encouraged to continue towards overall normalization of its relations with Kosovo, in line with the conditions of the Stabilization and Association Process."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The property rights, still remans big problem in Albania 
World Bank: Only 1.7% of legalization finished

World Bank: Only 1.7% of legalization finished
The World Bank expressed its concern about the property rights in Albania in its latest report, identifying many problems in this sector, especially for the legalization.

According to Shqip newspaper, the WB experts say that 4504 land owners have received their property titles, when more than 270.000 have applied. The report notes that the Agency for the Legalization, Urbanization, and Integration of the Informal Zones/Buildings has received sufficient financial resources, paid from the taxpayers, but the process has been very slow, compared to the cost of this institution.

One side of the failure is dedicated to the lack of money. When someone promises free land, it is difficult to be true. But the other side of the problem doesn’t seem to be connected with the money. Around one third of the illegal constructions, according to the World Bank, have not been built on an owned property, and in cases like these there is no compensation cost.

However, the process has stalled.

“The process has stalled, regardless the resources that have been dedicated to the Agency for the Legalization, Urbanization, and Integration of the Informal Zones/Buildings, which is a big and well equipped organization, the operative costs of which are covered by the state”, the report says. However, only 1.7% of the applicants have finished.

“The agency has the technical knowledge for the topographic observations, the mapping, for all legal and urban aspects. They have produced modern computerized maps throughout the country, made in 2006 through aerial imaging.

President "not optimistic" ahead of EU decision

BELGRADE -- Boris Tadić said in Belgrade on Wednesday that he "cannot express optimism" when it comes to Serbia's chances of being made a candidate for EU membership.
Boris Tadić (file)
Boris Tadić (file)
The European Union is to announce its decision on March 1, but the Serbian president stated that a solution for "the problem of Kosovo and Metohija" was today "a little farther away than it was last night".
"The situation is worse compared to last night because of the way Priština is putting forward proposals," Tadić told reporters in Belgrade, specifying that the proposal in question was "out of touch with reality".

The president conceded that Serbia will find it "very difficult" to become candidate, but vowed to "make an effort until the last moment".

"It is not up to us alone, it depends on each EU member state", said the president, reiterating that the country will "never abandon its strategic goals contained in the 'both EU and Kosovo' formula".

Tadić stressed that it was "unthinkable" that the enlargement of the EU "perhaps also depends on Priština", which, he noted, "is not even a state in the classical international political sense, let alone an EU member".

Serbia will continue to insist on EU integrations and will protect its integrity in Kosovo, he said, and added that "in the coming days, it will be clearer if both goals can be achieved":

"We will see in the coming days whether that is politically sustainable. It will be a political test for me as well, and after all the conversations and negotiations, I will say what my position is on where to go from here."

The president described Serbia's problems in its attempts to join the EU as a consequence of "the imperfection of the political system in Europe, complexities of international relations, and everything that the region went through in the 1990s".

Asked whether the authorities made any decision regarding the holding of local elections in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, Tadić responded by saying, "across that bridge when we come to it", but added "decidedly" that Serbia will never give up on protecting its territorial integrity in Kosovo.

In the meantime in Brussels, delegations of the Serbian government and the Kosovo Albanian authorities from Priština are meeting for another round of the EU-sponsored dialogue, in an attempt to find a solution to the problem of Kosovo's representation in regional gatherings.

This round of talks was described as "key for Serbia's EU membership candidate bid". It was scheduled to take place on Tuesday but was postponed for today after the Priština team failed to show up in Brussels.

Greek Deal Skepticism Weighs on Markets

Markets were subdued Wednesday as investors worried that the Greek bailout plan might not be enough to keep the country from eventually defaulting on its debts and possibly leaving the euro currency bloc.
Under a deal reached Tuesday, Greece will get euro130 billion ($172 billion) from its partners in the 17-nation eurozone and the International Monetary Fund to meet its immediate debt obligations. It is Greece's second bailout following a euro110 billion ($146 billion) rescue in 2010.
Separately, Greece's private sector bondholders will be asked to forgive euro107 billion ($141 billion) in Greek debt by taking a 53.5 percent loss on the face value of their bonds and accepting longer repayment periods and lower interest rates.

Though Greece's finance minister Evangelos Venizelos hailed the deal as "a significant development that gives our country a new opportunity," investors remained cautious, not least because Greece has to enact economic reforms in a very short space of time to get its hands on the money.
The package's lack of measures aimed at boosting economic growth also caused concern in the markets. Greece is entering its fifth year of recession and is forecast to contract a further 4 percent or so this year.
Meeting Papoulias Stavridis in Athens

The greek President Karolos Papoulias, met with the NATO Suprem Commander Admiral James Stavridis, in occassionof 60 th annyversari of Greece membership in NATO.

Admiral James Stavridis, is with greek origin family in USA, since his parents left Zmirni (Izmir) in (Mikro Azia) during the Greko Turkish War on 1923.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

INA Agency: The Party "MEGA" open calls for the Autonomy requires in the Northern Epirus

Partia “MEGA” kërkon hapur shpalljen e Autonomisë së Vorio Epirit

For the first time after so many years of politicians and party leaders of the Greek minority living in Albania "MEGA" openly demanded the autonomy of Northern Epirus.
This requirement is stated on their Sunday February 19, 2012 on the occasion of the announcement of Autonomy on February 17, 1914.
The event occurred in the village of the prefecture of Delvina Kranja on Sunday in the church of St. George.
Upon the announcement of the Autonomy of minority party representatives have gone on MEGA Thimios memorial Loli, a Adare who fought for the announcement of Autonomy Northern Epirus in 1914.
At the ceremony commemorating the journalist spoke Theodhoros Asvestopulos which traverse the historical event that led to the declaration of Autonomy on February 17, 1914, in Gjirokastra.
Further speech was party chairman Kristaq Kiços MEGA minority who said: "Every nation in the world has its heroes, and for this we have come today to commemorate our national heroes who fought for their rights, in their ancestral land, here in Northern Epirus (Southern Albania in). It is our duty to honor the heroes of yesterday and to get an example for today's fight. To maintain our education, our property, our national identity. To save all that our grandparents left for us that fought and sacrificed. All together we need to understand that going to achieve national ... "
Chairman further pointed
Kristaq Kiços of MEGA Party, crops of flowers to the monument of the fighter Thimo Lolis who is from the village Kranja.
Kiços Kristaq Statement is the first statement of a minority politician who openly declares that continue their fight on the steps of the heroes of the autonomy of Northern Epirus. Recently been added activities to provoke destabilization Greek minority of southern Albania. (INA)

The "Patriotic Front" Conference in Athens for "Protocol of Corfu"

With decisive conclusions about the state of Northern Epirus, completed the workshop on the Protocol of Corfu

Athens, February 21, 2012
With decisive conclusions about the state of Northern Epirus, completed the workshop Conference on the Protocol of Corfu.

With a key course for the Northern Epirus issue findings, completed the scientific conference organized by the Patriotic Front in Athens.

These conclusions, as exported from the work of the conference, after the long, multi-faceted and thorough presentation of the Treaty by the speakers-speakers are:

1. The Protocol of Corfu is a treaty in force is not rebutted by any other international treaty and provides in clear terms, the autonomy of Northern Epirus, the boundaries and how administration of the indigenous Northern Epirus.

2. The agreements which were signed by the Greek governments in Albania, from 1914 onwards, no effect at any point in the International Treaty of Corfu, since the signature was not involved Greek delegation.

3. Guarantors of international treaty to date is the "Great Powers", including Russia and the USA. While the Russia is particularly interested in promoting the treaty in all international fora, and the U.S. have a resolution of the Senate openly support the Protocol and the autonomy of Northern Epirus.

The Patriotic Front by his side, undertook to promote in all international bodies the scientific conclusions of the conference, the case of the Protocol of Corfu. He has already scheduled meetings with staff officers of the Russian Federation which will inform the conclusions of the workshop the next few days, and then, immediately after the elections in the Russian Federation, will present the issue of autonomy of Northern Epirus, at the session of Eurasian Union, which will likely take place in Kazakhstan.

To add that, given the intense interest of Russians for the Northern Epirus and the Protocol of Corfu, now clearly visible in the visible and very near future, the possibility of substantial changes in its course, particularly in Northern Epirus principle aim of protecting human of Northern rights and their property.The full video of presentations and interventions at the meeting on the Protocol of Corfu may be interested to see email address and the website of the Patriotic Front

Wikileaks: Gjunkshi requires 7 thousand USD per soldier. Iraq will not Albanian peacekeepers are due to corruption

Since the Albanian media treats the issue of killing of a soldier Albanian peacekeeping in Afghanistan as a terrorist act, investigative media attention, has criticized the corruption and the inability of the Albanian forces, to fight in the first line of attack, although the Albanian soldiers, are trained and dressed with uniform armed same western countryes, they have no military motive, also due to poor history of Albania, as it not combat never in a real war front. (SManalysis)

Gazeta "Tema"
This is kabllogrami that former U.S. Ambassador to Tirana John Withers, sends Washington with concern that Albanian troops are sent on missions abroad are unprepared because they are sent there by using corrupt practices. A concrete name that emerges is that of Chief of Staff of Armed Forces, Xhemal Gjunkshi. It requires 7 thousand USD for a soldier going to Iraq. If you do not have money, then they are required to take credit. Because of these corrupt practices, Iraq admits no Albanian soldiers in his country. Disaster for Albania is that they will need to turn soldiers into the country without completing the mission in Iraq and thus could not repay the loans they have taken to pay corrupt officials. For this reason, they will be sent urgently to Afghanistan, to receive full salary and pay the babëziturit of this country. Full kabllogrami below:
..........According to unofficial evidence, superior commanders require 7 thousand USD for a soldier who wants to be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. This amount represents half of the payment that a soldier receives from international sources during the six-month mission, assuming that the daily wage is 80 USD. Most officers can not pay this amount before starting the mission, so it was required to obtain a loan, which can pay regularly by sending half the payment they receive when they are deployed. Even after these payments, the amount that an Albanian military takes is good for an Albanian military and many are willing to pay bribes. But recently there have been complaints. In October, a group of soldiers from the regiment of commandos wrote an unsigned letter to the Albanian government and sent a letter to U.S. Embassy, ​​claiming
Colonel Xhemal Gjunkshi , commander of the regiment, requesting bribes and is involved in other corrupt schemes; they threaten to send these complaints to the New York Times newspaper.


Albanian Army Officer Killed in Afghanistan

One Albanian solder has been killed and another gravely wounded on Monday in southern Afghanistan after an attack by gunmen in Afghan police uniform, officials said.
Besar Likmeta
ISAF soldiers patrolling in Kandahar. Souther Afghanistan | Photo by : Allauddin Khan | AP
Monday’s shooting occurred in the village of Robat, near Kandahar. The NATO troops had gone there for a meeting about opening two schools and a health center, the Albanian defense ministry said.
“Unexpectedly, the local police opened fire with five automatic weapons and a light machine gun,” the ministry said. 

In the ensuing firefight, the two officers of Albania’s peacekeeping mission Eagle 4 were shot and gravely wounded.

Brussels: Greek bailout deal reached

BRUSSELS -- Eurozone finance ministers on Tuesday reached an agreement on a second bailout for Greece, after 13 hours of talks held in Brussels.
Greek PM Lucas Papademos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos are seen in Brussels (Beta/AP)
Greek PM Lucas Papademos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos are seen in Brussels (Beta/AP)
In return for loans worth more than EUR 130bn, Greece will have to reduce its debts to 120.5% of its GDP by 2020.
The country will also accept an "enhanced and permanent" presence of EU monitors to oversee economic management, the BBC reported.

Greece's debt currently amounts to more than 160% of its GDP.

Meanwhile, Greeks were "urged not to buy German and Dutch goods", euronews reported.

The boycott is meant to express protest against harsh economic austerity demands from the two countries, while items in question range from electronics to dairy products.

Ιtalian Mayors Donate their Salaries in Support of Greece

In a symbolic act of  solidarity towards Greece and its people, plagued by the economic crisis and struck by their lender’s excessive demands, two mayors from Italy have announced their decision to donate their salaries in support of the Greek people.

Marco Galdi, mayor of the Cava de’ Tirreni, outside Salerno, offered his 1,100 Euros salary per month to the Greek people, as he stated in a letter to the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, the Italian PM, Mario Monti, and the Greek PM, Lucas Papademos.
The payment of the mayor’s salary to Greece will commence in March.
In his letter, Galdi wrote that “only one people across Europe claim not having brothers or sisters, and those are the Greeks. And in this particular moment in history they are absolutely right. Nobody in the world treats the Greek people with any sentiment of brotherhood.”

The same solidarity gesture was repeated by the mayor of the small town of Baronissi, Giovanni Moscatiello, who offered his salary of 780 Euros per month to Greece.
“All leaders of Greece have definitely committed serious mistakes over the years. We would be as irresponsible as they were, if we did not support the country that gave birth to the Western European civilization in any way we could” read Moscatiello’s letter.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Greece and Turkey: Offensive and Defensive Balance of Air Power in 2012

[linked image]

Lockheed Martins Falcon Evolves with New F-16V

February 19, 2012
By Ioannis Michaletos
The Greek and Turkish air forces are two of NATO’s strongest and most experienced. The chronic antagonism between the two neighboring states has meant that their pilots have received significant training as they have for decades often engaged in dogfights over the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Unlike planned exercises by NATO members, however, these dogfights have been deadly in the past and even risked a larger military showdown on several occasions.

The following detailed report will break down the inventory of the rival-but-allied air forces for 2012. This will also reveal that equilibrium of power has been established; the two countries have, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, reached an equal projection of air power, something that partly depends on the threat perceptions military planners have regarding different fronts. This dynamic is expected to remain as it is, at least for the mid-term, though pending acquisitions by Turkey could affect the balance in future. As with the case of India and Pakistan, an unwritten rule of preserving a balance of power has been set out by Western politicians and thus followed by industrial producers in Western countries.
All data presented below derives from official information gathered from the Greek and Turkish air fleet inventories, available in the archives of their respective military staffs and defense ministries.....

The Greek Air Force is oriented almost exclusively towards Turkey. The Turkish Air Force, on the other hand, has active obligations with the Kurdish conflict plus contingency plans for the Greek, Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean fronts. It can be concluded that a balance of power exists in the air, with no side having a definitive advantage for the moment due to strategic geography.

Advanced types
Greece: F-16′s (Block 50 and Block 52+) and Mirage 2000-5 Mk2: 113 jets
Turkey: F-16′s Block 50: 30 jets on order (an estimated 10 have already arrived)
Older modern jets
Greece: F-16′s (Block 30/40/50) and Mirage 2000 EGM/BGM: 92 jets
Turkey: F-16′s (Block 30/40/50): 203 jets
Older types
Greece: F-4 PI2000, F-4E/2020, F-4 RF and A-7E/H: 113 jets
Turkey: F-4 2020, F-4E, RF-4E and F-5: 144 jets
Transport planes
Greece: C-130 and C-27J Spartan: 27 planes
Turkey: C-130 and C-235: 80 planes
Training planes
Greece: T-2E, T-6A, T-41D: 103 planes
Turkey: T-38A/B/C, T-41D, SF.260D: 189 planes
General-purposes planes
Greece: Canadair 215, Gulfstream V, EMB-135, PZL, G-16: 58 planes
Turkey: Gulfstream IV, C650 Citation: 7 planes
Greece: AS332C1 Super Puma, AB 205, AB 212, A-109: 23 helicopters
Turkey: AS532 Cougar, UH-1H: 79 helicopters..................................

 continues ......
Two Albanian Commandos killed in Afghanistan

Two Albanian Commandos killed in Afghanistan
Two Albanian Commandos have been killed this Monday in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during a firefight.

The news was confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, according to which, the soldiers are Feti Vogli, Captain of the First Special Force, and Alexander Peci, an ammunition specialist.

According to a press release, the Albanian Commandos were attacked at 15:05 by a group of Afghan police, while they were accompanying the personnel of an USAID mission in the Robot village, Kandahar.

They were shot with automatic weapons and a light machine gun, which also left a wounded soldier from the ally countries.

The two Albanian soldiers received serious wounds and passed away in a Kandahar hospital, while their team arrested 11 Afghan police agents, responsible for the attack.

The USAID personnel was inaugurating two school and a health center at Robot village, Kandahar.

Evacuation warning to Britons in Greece as country prepares to sign off yet another rescue package

  • Second Greek bailout 'to be approved by eurozone finance ministers today'
  • 3,000 protesters clash with riot police in Athens over cuts as Greek PM Lucas Papademos flies to Brussels to seal bailout deal
By Mail Foreign Service

Last updated at 1:20 PM on 20th February 2012
Warning: Foreign Secretary William Hague, speaking on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, told Britions in Greece to prepare to leave if the country goes under
Warning: Foreign Secretary William Hague, speaking on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, told Britions in Greece to prepare to leave if the country goes under
Britons in Greece were warned yesterday they may have to be evacuated.
It comes as eurozone ministers prepare to sign off another £108billion rescue package for the crippled economy.
Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed Britons were being urged to register with the consulate as officials are updating plans to evacuate citizens ‘on a daily basis’ in case Greece goes under.
There has been widespread civil unrest in the country as the prospect of it defaulting on its loans and exiting the euro has grown.
Last night 3,000 protesters clashed with riot police in Athens as Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos flew to Brussels for last-minute preparations to seal the bailout deal.
As demonstrators poured into he capital's central Syntagma square riot police shielded the national assembly.
Economists do not expect the new package to resolve Greece's economic problems which could take up to a decade to tackle.
French finance minister Francois Baroin told Europe-1 radio that Europe's leaders were committed to agreeing a new bailout package.
'We now have all the elements of a deal - elements of a participation that remains voluntary for banks and private lenders, and for public lenders states, central banks,' he said.
'We hope we and the Eurogroup members can take into account all the Greek government has been done for several weeks - even several months,' he said.
Protests: A petrol bomb explodes near riot police officers in Athens last night during fresh protests over austerity measures in Athens
Protests: A petrol bomb explodes near riot police officers in Athens last night during fresh protests over austerity measures in Athens
Riots: Protesters are clashing with police on a daily basis now as authorities try to keep a lid on public fury over crippling austerity initiatives
Riots: Protesters are clashing with police on a daily basis now as authorities try to keep a lid on public fury over crippling austerity initiatives

The Greek government has already pushed a massive austerity and reform package though parliament and is expected to introduce two more pieces of emergency legislation, including wage and pension cuts today.
Mr Hague said the bailout was a matter for Greece and the eurozone, but the UK wanted ‘an end to the uncertainty’.
He added: ‘We have prepared contingency plans if we need to help British nationals who are there in any way. We keep those up to date on a daily basis.’ 
Fellow Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt called on Britons in Greece to ‘register with a consular system so we can find them in situations of emergency’.
He added: ‘No UK national who is there at the moment is unaware of what’s happening, so we’ve got systems in place... should the worst happen.’
Austerity anger: A protester attacks police during a demonstration in Athens' main Syntagma square last night as the Greek parliament prepares to vote on cuts needed before a £108bn EU bailout
Austerity anger: A protester attacks police during a demonstration in Athens' main Syntagma square last night as the Greek parliament prepares to vote on cuts needed before a £108bn EU bailout
As the final details of the package are put in place senior eurozone and European Central Bank officials held a conference call yesterday to discuss the £108bn bailout programme.    

While there is still scepticism in Germany and other countries that Greece will be able to live up to its commitments - including implementing €3.3 billion euros of spending cuts and tax increases - officials said the deal is close to being signed off.
But the prospect of further disturbances in Greece loomed again when Germany was accused of seeking to undermine democracy in Athens.
Eurozone finance chiefs will consider a German proposal to ban the Greeks from receiving cash unless they delay their general election due in April.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble wants to keep a technocratic Greek government in place to ensure austerity measures are taken.
Storm: Riot police spray tear gas during the demonstration involving 3,000 people in Syntagma Square last night - a week after a much larger protest
Storm: Riot police spray tear gas during the demonstration involving 3,000 people in Syntagma Square last night - a week after a much larger protest
Fury: Protesters outside the Greek Parliament campaign against plans by Lucas Papademos' government to save more than 3.3billion euros by cutting benefits and the minimum wage
Fury: Protesters outside the Greek Parliament campaign against plans by Lucas Papademos' government to save more than 3.3billion euros by cutting benefits and the minimum wage
Under the plan, officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund will establish a permanent office in Athens to exercise day-to-day control of spending.
But Eurosceptics condemned the plans.
Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘Greece is the birthplace of democracy and they fought valiantly against aggression during the Second World War to stop losing their identity.
‘What they’re being asked to do is sacrifice their sovereignty to stop them from going bust. It’s a recipe for utter disaster.
‘Good money is being poured after bad. They need to come out of the euro, devalue their currency and default on their debts. That’s the only future for Greece if they want to be a proud independent nation again.’
Mark Pritchard, secretary of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, said: ‘If true, this is a dangerous precedent which should be resisted at all costs.
‘Unless people have a stake in the future of their countries, they will be less likely to accept the remedies required.’
The Greek Minister for International Economic Affairs, Constantine Papadopoulos, denied that Greece has any contingency plan for a default.
He said: ‘No, because that would destroy the economy. You don’t factor in options that will kill off any hope for redemption.
‘Now we have to work within a very strict plan in the hope of returning back to growth and becoming a full-fledged member of the eurozone again. Not exit the eurozone.’
Under one crucial element of the new bailout deal, Greece will have around 100 billion of debt written off via a restructuring involving private-sector holders of Greek government bonds.
The overall objective is to reduce Greece's debts from 160 per cent of GDP to around 120 per cent by 2020 to put their debt on a more sustainable footing.

see also:

Evacuation plan for Brits in Spain amid warning euro collapse could leave them stranded

EMERGENCY evacuation plans for Brits living in Spain and Portugal are being drawn up amid fears of the euro collapsing.