Saturday, May 12, 2012

Greece hurtles toward new elections

ATHENS -- PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos has returned his mandate to Greek President Karolos Papoulias after he too failed to form a new government.
Evangelos Venizelos and Karolos Papoulias (Tanjug, file)
Evangelos Venizelos and Karolos Papoulias (Tanjug, file)
The parliamentary elections in Greece were held on May 6.
The last chance is to form the national unity government. The president should reach an agreement with leaders of all parties but if they fail to agree on it, Greece will face new parliamentary elections, probably in June, news agencies have reported.

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras tried to form the government before Venizelos.

Tsipras said on Friday that he refused to take part in a government that would not give up on strict austerity measures.

PASOK and New Democracy leaders claim that Greece would be forced to leave eurozone if Tsipras’ conditions were met.

PASOK and New Democracy were ruling parties in the previous government but received significantly less votes in the May 6 elections. Greeks are angry over strict austerity measures implemented by the previous government and therefore gave their votes to parties that promised that they will not accept international conditions.

PASOK and New Democracy together have 149 seats in parliament and they lack only two to form the majority.

Counter-protest held in Macedonia

SKOPJE -- Around 200, mostly young, Macedonians held a counter-protest in Skopje on Saturday as a reaction to Friday’s demonstrations of ethnic Albanians.
A view of Skopje (Tanjug, file)
A view of Skopje (Tanjug, file)
The ethnic Albanians organized the protest over the arrest of radical Islamists suspected of a quintuple murder near Skopje in April in the Monster Operation.
The protesters on Saturday condemned the murder of five Macedonians near Skopje and called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Even though the organizers announced that the protest would be peaceful, the protesters threw bottles and rocks at the police.

The protesters carried banners saying “You belong in Auschwitz”, “Srebrenica II”, “Death to Shiptars”, Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) has reported.

Strong police forces were deployed in front of the Macedonian government in downtown Skopje and the protesters threw rocks and bottles at them. An RTS cameraman was attacked but he was not injured.

A TV cameraman and a police officer were injured in the Albanian protest on Friday and windows on the Macedonian government headquarters and on a municipal building were broken when the protesters started throwing rocks.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Greece's Golden Dawn: a dark image of light

This is the real thing, a political horror. Pictures of Golden Dawn supporters holding flares hark back to an earlier age of fascism
Supporters of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party celebrate their success in elections in Greece
Supporters of the far right Golden Dawn party celebrate their success in elections, in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Photograph: Grigoris Siamidis/Reuters
In Greek Orthodox churches light plays a dramatic part. Candles burn in the shadows, while sunlight from high windows makes mosaics glint. In this photograph the spiritual power of light has been stolen. The religious becomes political. No god is being worshipped here. Instead, the flares held aloft are offerings of light to a nation, in a gesture that evokes the pompous, histrionic rituals of the fascist political tradition.
These men lighting up the night are members of Golden Dawn, the far right party that has won 21 seats in the Greek parliament. The 7% it got among a splintered array of parties may not look much but it is a massive leap from a 2009 election share of just 0.23%.
Images of extremist parties strutting their stuff – this display celebrating the election result took place in Thessaloniki – have a certain apocalyptic fascination. Especially when Golden Dawn activists also reportedly yelled "Blood and honour" and sang martial anthems. They are not exactly hiding any echo of 20th-century political darkness – they also flaunt a symbol that unmistakably resembles a swastika.
Do we play into the hands of political fantasists by dwelling on an image like this? Is it all part of a spectacle that, like the violence of al-Qaida, tempts rational minds to irrationally exaggerate a threat? It is important not to be too rattled by such images. As John Kenneth Galbraith wrote: "It requires neither courage nor prescience to predict disaster." On the other hand, evidence is evidence. This picture gives a clear indication of what kind of party Golden Dawn is.
The quasi-religious nature of the display goes along with an unconcealed thuggishness. The men are heavily built, and look ready for a street fight. Even the flares are ambiguous – you can throw a flare, and firebombs have been part of street fighting in Athens. Intensity and violence are both projected here: passion and menace. It is exactly the kind of imagery that was taken to extravagant heights the last time capitalism failed.
The "classic" fascism of the 1920s and 30s replaced the dreary routines of democratic politics with emotionally intoxicating, aesthetically sensational mass performances with a religious grandeur. Light played a potent part in Nazi spectacle just as it does here. While enemies of fascism associate it with the heart of darkness, it sees itself as pursuing a holy grail of light, a sacral glow of national purity. At the Nuremberg rally in 1934, the architect Albert Speer created an ethereal "cathedral of light", with vertical spotlights creating the illusion of a glowing gothic building of impossible proportions. In this case the claim to a religious mission was explicit: in Speer's cathedral of light the Nazi party renewed its faith.
This image shares that sense of politics as an intolerant faith, if on a far smaller and tackier scale. Although Golden Dawn has won seats in Greece's parliament, the picture makes clear that its soul is on the streets, in exhibitions of power that have nothing to do with debate.
A nasty picture, but am I feasting on its drama? There seems to be no reason for complacency or irony about what is happening here. This is the real thing, a political horror. And the social and economic factors behind it get ever worse. This week new figures revealed that youth unemployment in Greece reached 53.8% in February. With more than half of its youth sentenced to waste, poverty and boredom, Greece is effectively living in the Europe of the Great Depression. It is surely no surprise to glimpse the hellish politics of that period in this picture.
The Nazi echoes in images like this have hopefully done for Golden Dawn. It is reported that Greeks are shocked by the party's true nature, as displayed since its election victory catapulted an obscure movement on to the national stage. Let's hope so. The party denies it is "neo-Nazi" and says it is simply ultra-nationalist. This picture tells its own story.
EULEX, arrests in Albania?!
10/05/2012 19:45
Top Channel Tv

EULEX, arrests in Albania?!
The majority and opposdition MPs have voted the draft law for “jurisdictional relations in criminal matters” with the EULEX special investigative task force.

The passing of this draft law officially opens the green light to EULEX for investigating in the Albanian territory about the claims that in the KLA hospitals that were established in Burrel, Albania, there has been traffic of organs, as claimed by the European Council rapporteur, Dick Marty.

However, the international legal experts are concerned about this law. Some of them, when contacted by Top Channel, confirmed that this law directly violates the rights and freedoms that the Albanian Constitution guarantees to the Albanian citizens.

The problems start with article 9 of this law, where the EULEX task force dictates the steps that the Albanian judicial system should take:

“Local judicial authorities, in the case of criminal acts against humanity, war crimes or other serious crimes against the values that are defended by the international justice, the efforts for committing them and the cooperation in committing these criminal crimes cannot reject the request letters since they are criminal acts of political character”.

This article is valued by the legal experts as an imposition of how the Albanian judges should behave when in fact it is the EU that in all its reports values and demands the judicial system to be independent. Even article 15 of this law, for searches and arrests in the Albanian territory is also concerning.

“The EULEX Special Investigative Task Force has independent authority: to hear witnesses, experts and persons who are accused in Albania; to observe sites; to receive other evidence and keep any and all materials that are relevant for the investigation and trial, according to this law. To undertake actions and other activities that could be necessary for concluding the investigation and preparing the development of the case, in full accordance with the limitations set in point 4 of this article. These actions can be undertaken for concluding the investigation and preparing the development of the case in trial, even if these do not damage the free will of the individual”, the document says.

The legal experts comment this article as incomplete, because if the EULEX task force arrests an Albanian citizen under the suspect of being involved in organ traffic and than this person is found not guilty, due to an EULEX error, the Albanian state must undertake his compensation.

Another point that raises suspicions and leaves too much space for interpretation is the way how these people will be arrested in the Albanian territory, which can be conducted in accordance with the Albanian legislation, but on the same time, the law says that the Albanian authorities can assist the task-force activity if the latter demands.

The US greet the law

The US Embassy in Tirana greeted the consensus found for the law that allows cooperation with the EULEX Special Investigative Task Force sees this as a prove of Albania’s commitment to the European integration and regional cooperation.

“The investigation unit has the full support of the United States. We expect a complete and correct investigation, held with transparency and in full cooperation with the national and local authorities”, says the declaration of the US Embassy.

EU welcomes Albania’s decision

The EU Special Investigative Task Force (SITF) welcomes today's adoption by the Albanian Parliament of a law on cooperation with the SITF.

Juri Laas, Spokesperson for the SITF explains that this law that is inspired by previous regional laws in cooperation with the International Court of Crimes in Former Yugoslavia, proves that EULEX has the green light to cooperate with the states in which the investigation field is extended.

Albania is one of the states included in Dick Marty’s accusations about KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) and its leaders for human organ’s traffic during the Kosovo war.

Ethnic Albanians stone Macedonian govt. headquarters

SKOPJE -- Ethnic Albanians rallied in several Macedonian towns on Friday to protests against a police operation that saw arrest of suspects in a quintuple murder case.
Ethnic Albanian protesters are seen during the rally (
Ethnic Albanian protesters are seen during the rally (
The protesters threw rocks at the Macedonian government headquarters in Skopje and broke windows on the building.
They tried to enter the building but were stopped by the police. The protest ended soon after.

Several thousands of people gathered in Skopje and the rally started after the traditional Friday prayer in mosques.

The ethnic Albanians, who were protesting against the arrest of radical Islamists suspected of the murder of five Macedonians near Skopje in April, first went to the court and then to the government headquarters.

According to local media, mostly young people took part in the protest in the capital.

Several incidents were recorded – the protesters threw rocks at the government building and broke a couple of windows and demolished a bus stop.

Skopje-based daily Kurir has reported that the protesters tried to attack a news crew during the rally.

The gathered people shouted “We are not terrorists, we are Muslims”, “KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army)”, “Great Albania” and carried banners saying “Muslims are not terrorist”, “Priština, Tirana – ethnic Albania”.

The protesters also carried banners against the Macedonian government and Prime Minster Nikola Gruevski who they called a “terrorist” and a “Chetnik”. They shouted “murderers” at the police.

The demonstrators also carried banners saying “Serbs and Macedonians” were responsible for the quintuple murder.

The protests were held in the towns of Gostivar and Tetovo as well.

Unsigned calls to Albanians to come to a protest against the arrest of radical Islamists suspected of the murder of five Macedonians near Skopje recently appeared on social network sites.

Macedonians have called for a counter-protest that should be held in front of the Macedonian government headquarters in Skopje at 13:00 CET on Saturday.

Organizers of the protest are still unknown but they stated on the social network sites that the counter-rally was aimed at preventing the radical Islam from spreading in Macedonia.

The organizers have called on the participants not to cause incidents.

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski earlier on Friday urged the citizens who were planning on taking part in the Friday protest against the operation Monster not to allow anyone to manipulate them and called on them to respect the country’s laws.

He added that everybody had the right to protest in a democratic country but that the protesters needed to act responsibly.

“Macedonia is a multiethnic and a multiconfessional state. We live together and we will continue to live together,” Gruevski pointed out.

Ruling VMRO-DPMNE coalition partner Ali Ahmeti’s Democratic Union for Integration has also called on all protesters to express their opinion in a dignified, peaceful and democratic manner.

The U.S. Embassy in Macedonia called for a peaceful protest as well.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tsipras says Greek euro exit bad for Europe

ATHENS, Greece - (AP) -- The head of Greece's Radical Left Coalition says a Greek exit from the euro would damage both the country and Europe, but insists the austerity measures imposed by international creditors are too harsh and must be changed.
Alexis Tsipras told The Associated Press on Thursday that an insistence on further austerity policies would lead to the disintegration of the 17-nation euro currency. He also says pulling the plug on European financial assistance for Greece would endanger the continent's social cohesion.
Tsipras came a surprise second in Sunday's election, which hammered Greece's two formerly dominant parties of New Democracy and PASOK. The vote produced a deadlock, with no party winning enough seats in Parliament to form a government.
All parties have been negotiating since Monday to form a coalition.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The head of Greece's Radical Left Coalition admits that a Greek exit from the euro would damage both the country and Europe, but says the austerity measures imposed to get rescue loans are too harsh and must be changed.
Alexis Tsipras told The Associated Press on Thursday that an insistence on further austerity policies would lead to the disintegration of the 17-nation euro currency. He also says pulling the plug on European financial assistance for Greece would endanger the continent's social cohesion.
Tsipras came a surprise second in Sunday's election, which hammered Greece's two formerly dominant parties of New Democracy and PASOK. The vote produced a deadlock, with no party winning enough seats in Parliament to form a government.
All parties have been negotiating since Monday to form a coalition.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Gruevski asks NATO leaders for inclusion of Macedonia membership application on Chicago summit agenda

Skopje, 10 May 2012 (MIA) - Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has sent a letter to leaders of NATO member-states, asking for inclusion of the Macedonia's accession application on the agenda of the coming Chicago summit.
"Regretfully, the agenda does not foresee a debate over the issue of Alliance enlargement. The NATO enlargement process needs to resume, since it will undoubtedly contribute to the strengthening of stability, prosperity and democracy in Southeast Europe. Over the years, Republic of Macedonia has met all required criteria for NATO membership. We are a proven equal partner of the Alliance, actively contributing to the realization of NATO-led international peacekeeping missions, especially the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, where we are ranked as one of the largest contributors per capita. Thus, Macedonia has demonstrated its capability to undertake the obligations arising from Alliance membership, by participating in the enhancement of collective security and building of free and democratic societies", says PM Gruevski in the letter.
He stresses that Macedonia has completed 13 NATO Membership Action Plan cycles, with the country meeting all membership criteria. Moreover, Gruevski says the political will in the country has also been confirmed through the recent Declaration for reaffirmation of the country's strategic goal for NATO membership, recently adopted by the Parliament.
"Therefore, I believe that inclusion of the NATO membership invitation at the Chicago summit would represent a logical outcome of the work done by the Republic of Macedonia, an acknowledgment of our efforts, contribution and aspirations", reads the letter.
PM Gruevski also refers to Greece's opposition to Macedonia's membership.
"As you are aware, we did not obtain the membership invitation in Bucharest due to the opposition by our neighbor Greece, which blocked our accession because of a bilateral dispute, which can in no way represent a legal condition for Alliance membership. We received confirmation of the illegal obstruction of our membership, as well as a special satisfaction for the injustice imposed to us at the Bucharest summit, through the ruling by the Hague-based International Court of Justice in 2011, which clearly said that Greece violated Article 11, Paragraph 1 of the Interim Accord by preventing Macedonia's NATO membership. Namely, the Alliance's position over Macedonia's accession after overcoming of the row with Greece was adopted as a result of prior illegal action by Greece. The Court also stressed that Macedonia acted in good will for overcoming of the dispute with Greece during the entire period, adding that the row should not be seen in correlation with the accession of my country in international organizations, such as NATO. The Court ruling also noted that Greece should not continue to prevent Macedonia's membership in the international organization under the UN reference", says Gruevski.
He adds that the judgment by the ICJ, an institution established by the United Nations with a task to maintain international law, should be reviewed at the Chicago summit, as well as give Greek representatives an opportunity to refer to it.
"We would like to stress it is rational, right and fair to correct the Bucharest statement referring to our membership by using the legal power of the Hague ruling and the light it sheds on the issue. I would like to emphasize that Your support to this legitimate aspiration of my country and the overwhelming majority of citizens will be of enormous significance to us, but also in the common interest of the Alliance. Guided by principles, I hope that the ICJ ruling will not serve only as a moral satisfaction for the Republic of Macedonia, i.e. it will not be ignored by NATO member-states. I am aware that maintaining these principles is not always easy and can cause unpleasantness among allies and partners. However, principles help us in facing challenges and holding ground in these turbulent times. The insistence of solidarity deprived of principles puts force as the only factor of action. Therefore, more understanding is required for the situation that the Republic of Macedonia copes with, where one member-state conditions the membership invitation despite the fulfilment of all required standards. It is necessary to reevaluate the existing positions regarding Macedonia's NATO membership, but at the same to give Greece the opportunity to present its stance over the respect of the ICJ judgment", emphasizes Gruevski.
PM Gruevski concludes that Macedonia's NATO accession would benefit the region's stability, security and prosperity, but at the same time stimulate the creation of trust between Macedonia and Greece, serving as positive pressure for intensification of bilateral talks over a mutually acceptable solution to the name dispute.
Ramush Haradinaj arrives in Prishtina
Top Channel TV

Ramush Haradinaj arrives in Prishtina
The leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, arrived today at Prishtina’s “Adem Jashari” international airport, according to the Kosovo media.

 Many people gathered to welcome the former Prime Minister of Kosovo, although the AFK had appealed for massive meetings to be avoided.

Haradinaj will be accompanied to his house by an EULEX vehicle, while it remains unknown if he will communicate later with the media.

Harafinaj’s arrival to Kosovo was made possible after the Court of Hague decided to continue his trial as a free man. The decision was not objected by the Prosecutor of the case.

After this decision, the Prosecution had the legal right to present a complaint until Wednesday at 12:00, but they did not file it.

Haradinaj’s partial trial will start on July 2010. The final verdict is expected to be given a few weeks after.

Haradinaj traveled to Hague when the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Kosovo’s independence.

Morgan: NATO discussions about Balkan

Morgan: NATO discussions about Balkan
Today in Tirana ended the NATO conference of generals who command land forces. They discussed about all possible transformations to the army in function of security and rational usage of supplies.

The US Land Commander at the Heidelberg Base, General Lieutenant John Morgan, as the highest ranked military officer in this meeting, declared in a press conference that they discussed about peace and stability in our region.

Morgan refused to comment the incidents created by the Afghan forces against the NATO ally officers, which have caused a lot of deaths among the alliance, but he declared that Afghanistan is continuing the intensive training for improving the local forces and preserving order and security.

When asked about Macedonia’s NATO membership, Morgan declared that the country has the necessary military capacities, but the issue depends from a political decision.

Albanian Secret Service, arrests an Albanian Islamic, with twin-size bombs

"SHQIP" Newspaper

TerrorismDenis Shmilli, suspected for some attacks. Even the CIA is cooperatingSuspicions have arrested an Islamist terrorist Albanian who was caught with two bomb-size, detonators of which was carrying. His arrest came after two months of surveillance by the secret service, while the explosives were hidden in kasat the door. Denis Shmilli is captured near the place called "9-storey" in Tirana, while investigations are kept secret by the police. Investigative group suspects that he is involved in several terrorist acts in Tirana, but also in other cities. But during questioning, he is showing silent and refused to cooperate with the group.ArrestCapital, police sources announced that a few days ago a tip came from the State Information Service for a person suspected of terrorist acts. On the basis of this operation is kept under observation Shmilli Denis, about 35 years, who move on foot. 01:30 o'clock Wednesday morning, in the area known as the 9-storey building, civil servants, the police have intervened to control Shmillin Denis. Agents of the Police Directorate of Tirana, during the personal search, found and seized as material evidence in two detonators with wire, and a mobile phone connected to them, by which activated blast. Immediately made his ban, while the items seized were put aside, when experts are called antieksplozivë. They were able to deactivate the system built by the partners of the police and within a short time fully realized his identity and finding a settlement. According to data from the investigation team, he had taken a house near the Black Bird. From control at home, is not initially found nothing illegal, and during the examination by experts, it is noticed that the front door kasat were problems. When they have dug, they found two explosives inside the cell.DoubtsTritolit quantity, linked so sophisticated and ready for explosion, was seized by the investigative group, while Shmilli, which is thought to originate from Poliçan, was questioned for hours. He refused to tell anything, at least until the middle of the night, while the fingerprints were taken in his apartment and seized some suspicious evidence. According to the investigative team, further verification of results that Shmilli known as a person who regularly follow Muslim rituals, according to police, called the Muslim intern. His capture was carried out before the event Wednesday morning when a Palestinian citizen was killed by still unidentified persons, after an explosive eruption mechanic. Investigative group has strong doubts that he is involved in some criminal event with explosives, both in Tirana and abroad, but this is expected to be confirmed after analyzing all the evidence gathered to. Police have accompanied his relatives and continue the investigation to fully bring the criminal activity.SISState Information Service announced confidentially they had over two months to gather information on the detained person, who has established many strong links with several people with criminal records, while it is one of the few occasions when a Muslim believer, caught with evidence in hand. Furthermore, according to information from the SIS, he planned to throw his home in the wind, not to find evidence that the police continue to accumulate. Some time ago, for acts related to terrorism another Muslim was arrested but later released after his charges were not proved by the prosecution. But religious bickering and accusations have been even earlier in the Muslim community, while the SIS has kept under observation, especially young people educated in these countries.
Inquiries: For two months, the Albanian Islamic kept under surveillance by the SIS, who found the apartment very incriminating material

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Military Land Commander of 42 countries to meet in Tirana

Military Land Commander of 42 countries to meet in Tirana
The heads of the Military Land Forces from 42 countries, 26 of which are NATO members, have started the seventh dialogue round in Tirana.

The conference is held each year since 2006 and serves to incite dialogue for reinforcing the connections between the NATO military authorities and their partners. General Gjunkshi, Chief of General Staff of Albanian Armed Forces, declared that they will achieve important conclusions for the development and transformation of the Land Forces in full consistence with the security requirements.

According to Gjunkshi, the transformation of these forces is important for giving an efficient response to threats that derive from the globalization phenomenon.

Berisha declared that Albania is committed to work strongly in order to improve the Armed Forces at any possible aspect.

“Three weeks ago I visited Afghanistan, and that was one of the most impressive visits of my life. I found soldiers, officers and instructors that worked in a very difficult situation for peace and security, not only for the Afghan people, but for the entire world. I think that our armies should stay with the US in the efforts to secure the developments that are going on in this country. The strategic agreement signed between President Obama and President Karzai, is a strong basis for the contribution of every country. NATO is the best that these nations have, because this alliance has guaranteed the best international order that the world has ever had”, Berisha declared.

Due to the secret matters that will be discussed, the discussions between the 42 generals will be held behind closed doors.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Photo: Pyros Dimas the new elected PM of PASOK, during the meeting with te Head of the Himarioton Society in USA, Kosmas Karavelas

Albanian family granted asylum after cooperating, years of legal battles

By David Fitzpatrick and Gary Tuchman
May 8, 2012 -- Updated 1747 GMT (0147 HKT)
Edmond Demiraj was deported after he agreed to testify for federal prosecutors.
Edmond Demiraj was deported after he agreed to testify for federal prosecutors.
  • Justice Department wanted his testimony in human trafficking case that never occurred
  • Edmond Demiraj says family was promised protection, Green Card in return
  • Department of Justice lawyers told courts that Demiraj family should be deported
Washington (CNN) -- The Department of Homeland Security has granted asylum to an Albanian immigrant, his wife and teenage son after a years-long deportation battle.
According to a letter from the Department of Homeland Security, Edmond and Rudina Demiraj and their teenage son, Rediol, were all granted asylum "for an indefinite period." The letter also said that asylum status for each person may be terminated if the family "no longer has a well founded fear of persecution because of a fundamental change in circumstances."
CNN first reported on the Demiraj case last fall. The Department of Justice was then threatening to deport the family to Albania even after Edmond Demiraj promised to testify in a human trafficking case.
Attorneys for the Justice Department based in Houston wanted Demiraj's testimony in a prosecution against fellow Albanian immigrant Bill Bedini. In exchange for his willingness to testify, Demiraj told CNN that prosecutors promised protection for him and his family. They also promised them Green Cards, he said. That offer, Demiraj said, was verbal and never committed to writing.
The trial never took place because Bedini fled to Albania after entering a plea of not guilty, according to the U.S. Marshal's office in Houston. When prosecutors didn't need Demiraj's testimony, they handed him over to immigration officials, who promptly deported him.
2011: Family faces deportation
Within a few weeks back in his native Albania, Demiraj says, Bedini tried to kill him. Demiraj says only luck saved him. He was wounded in the attack and eventually returned to the United States, entering illegally through Mexico. He spent seven months in an immigration jail before being allowed to remain in the U.S. on temporary status.
In the intervening years, lawyers for the Department of Justice told a succession of courts that Demiraj and his family should be deported, even though they said they feared for their lives.
At one point, Josh Rosenkranz, an attorney for Demiraj, told CNN that the deportation proceedings were a "shameful display of how the U.S. government will use people who they need to keep us safe and then cavalierly discard them when they are no longer of use to them."
A Department of Justice spokesman told CNN on Tuesday that it was not responsible for asylum decisions.
"We are extremely happy for the Demiraj family," Rosenkranz said in a statement. "All along, they have wanted to live the American dream legally and safely."

Turkey vetoes Israel’s latest NATO partnership bid, despite criticisms

Turkey has blocked Israel’s participation in NATO’s upcoming Chicago summit in a sign of Turkey’s determination to prevent its new foe from cooperating with the alliance following a deadly ship raid.
Turkish and Israeli relations worsened in May 2010 and have remained strained since then after Israeli naval commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying humanitarian aid to breach Israel’s Gaza blockade, killing nine Turkish civilians.
Turkey said it will not allow Israel, a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a NATO outreach program with seven non-NATO nations, to take part in the alliance’s new “Partnership Cooperation Menu (PCM),” during a NATO meeting in Brussels last week attended by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Because of Ankara’s veto, Israel will not attend the NATO summit due to take place from May 20 to 21 in Chicago, an important diplomatic summit to be hosted by US President Barack Obama.
According to information obtained from Turkish diplomatic sources, Davutoğlu reacted to the criticism raised by some NATO members in the Brussels meeting who claimed bilateral problems should not be brought to the alliance by underlining that Turkey cannot consider a country which killed Turkish citizens in international waters as a partner.

UN chief: Tensions serious threat to Kosovo stability

NEW YORK -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that tensions and confrontations are a serious threat to the stability in stability.
Ban Ki-moon (Tanjug, file)
Ban Ki-moon (Tanjug, file)
Vandalism, threats and attacks against facilities of the Serbian Orthodox Church are on the rise, which could narrow the room for the Belgrade-Priština dialogue in the months to come, he said.
In his latest report, which Tanjug has seen, Ban says the number of crimes against minority communities increased between February and May 2012 compared to the same period last year.

In the report which he will present to the UN Security Council on May 14, the Secretary-General warns that the points to the existing negative trend in the process of return of displaced persons to Kosovo, and that only 136 people have returned voluntarily in the last three months.

Among them are 33 Serbs, 10 Roma, 83 Ashkali, eight Bosniaks and two Albanians. This is a 48 percent decline compared to the same period in 2011, when 264 people came back.

The report warns there is still considerable resistance in Priština against guarding Serbian cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo.

There is a disconnect between that obligations the Kosovo authorities have taken on in this area and their implementation, says the report.

Ban adds the international community hopes the progress on the EU path and normalization of the relations between Belgrade and Priština will gradually suppress the sources of tensions.

Copies of the report were distributed to the ambassadors of the UN Security Council member countries ahead of the staging of Serbia's elections in Kosovo, which Ban qualified as the initial trigger for a series of unresolved issues.

The room for talks could narrow, especially if peace is not maintained or due to ill-advised public reactions to incidents and provocations. Unwarranted arrests or warmongering statements lead to a rise in tension and violence, Ban said in the report.

Albanian parliament to enable for organ trade probe?

TIRANA -- A committee of the Albanian parliament has approved a draft law that would enable EULEX to conduct its organ trafficking investigation in that country.
EULEX is the EU mission deployed in Kosovo.
In Tirana on Monday, members of the legal affairs committee "from both parties" approved the draft in principle, said reports, while on Tuesday they adopted it.

The bill will be put up for a vote in the Albanian parliament on Thursday.

Albanian PM Sali Berisha said last week that his government was "interested more than anyone else" is seeing a full investigation carried out in the case.

Previously, both the authorities in Priština, and the Albanian government rejected the Marty report as false.

The report, submitted in late 2010 by Council of Europe special rapporteur Dick Marty, links the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)" with kidnappings of Serb and other civilians in Kosovo, their illegal imprisonment in northern Albania, and sale of their body parts in the international black market.

The Marty report concerns crimes committed in 1999 and 2000.

The EU tasked U.S. prosecutor John Clint Williamson with carrying out the probe on its behalf.

Serbia, however, is also seeking a UN-led investigation into the alleged atrocities, and has the support of Russia and China for this in the UN Security Council.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Uncertainty seen after French, Greek elections

A woman passes in front of chart with the stock prices at the Greek Stock Exchange in Athens, Monday, May 7, 2012. (AP / Thanassis Stavrakis) A woman passes in front of chart with the stock prices at the Greek Stock Exchange in Athens, Monday, May 7, 2012. (AP / Thanassis Stavrakis)
Updated: Mon May. 07 2012 12:01:47 Staff
Key elections in France and Greece sparked more worries about Europe's ability to handle the burgeoning debt crisis, leaving investors concerned about the stability of the European economy.
The main stock exchange in Athens closed down 6.7 per cent alone on Monday, after falling 8 per cent -- its biggest drop since October 2008 -- earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Eurozone shares recovered from year lows following a knee-jerk reaction to the election results. Still the German stock exchange was lower while the French stock exchange tip-toed into positive territory. The London Stock Exchange was closed on Monday.
The Athens exchange tumbled after Greece's two main political parties failed to win a combined majority as voters backed anti-austerity parties.
The country, which has already received much financial aid and bailouts from other countries, faces another election within two months if it cannot form a majority government.
Greece is in the fifth year of recession and has more than half its youth out of work following big spending cuts and tax increases in return for crucial international bailout funds.
Colin Cieszynski, a market analyst at CMC Markets in Toronto, said the Greek vote adds another layer of uncertainty to an already volatile situation.
"There is nobody in charge so who do you negotiate with and what are the policies going to be going forward?" he told CTV News Channel.
"What we are really looking at in terms of uncertainty going forward is what will the next round be like? Will the next round of austerity measures go through or will they have to come up with some sort of balance between growth and austerity?"
Markets were also roiled after French socialist candidate Francois Hollande defeated President Nicolas Sarkozy in a narrow vote Sunday. Hollande campaigned on the need for more growth-generating economic policies and less reliance on austerity.
"Austerity can no longer be inevitable!" Hollande declared in his victory speech.
Pundits, noting that Hollande also campaigned on a platform for change, suggested that change is exactly what France and the rest of Europe could experience.
Matthias Matthijs, a professor at American University, said Hollande's election could be considered a "very important vote" given that leaders in Spain and Italy want more emphasis on growth and structural reform as well.
"I think we might have more orienting of the European story towards more growth and less aggressive cutting," he told CTV News. "I think in that sense it is a very important vote."
Despite the election setbacks, world leaders vowed to work with the new French government.
The White House said President Barack Obama called Hollande after the results were announced.
"President Obama indicated that he looks forward to working closely with Mr. Hollande and his government on a range of shared economic and security challenges," the U.S. said in a statement.
"President Obama noted that he will welcome President-elect Hollande to Camp David for the G-8 Summit and to Chicago for the NATO Summit later this month, and proposed that they meet beforehand at the White House."
Meanwhile, Germany vowed to continue its co-operation with France to maintain European Union policies. Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Hollande for the first time on Monday.
"We said we will work well and intensively together," she told reporters. Merkel has invited Hollande to come to Germany after his inauguration.
However, Merkel cautioned against hopes that the austerity measures already agreed by European leaders could now be renegotiated.
"We in Germany, and I personally, believe the fiscal pact is not up for negotiation," she said.
Canadian Minister Stephen Harper also called Hollande Sunday to express his desire to work closely with France.
With files from the Associated Press
The greek porlitic elections 2012.........