Saturday, October 27, 2012

Red and Black Alliance activists block the entrance to the ""Golden Down" in Përmet

As was announced a few days ago, the Red and Black Alliance has blocked the entry of Greek Party The Golden Down groups and some members of the Golden Dawn, who will travel to Këlcyra to celebrate the liberation of Greece. Dozen members of alleance have come up with flags and banners in the national road near the bridge Dragoti, where Greeks will spend more after Monastery Këlcyra.

"Red and Black Alliance strongly condemns and not kneeling diplomacy reaction of the Albanian government, which continues to despise and wellbeing and morale of the Albanian nation with an anti-national policy and in support of regional anti-Albanian Serbian-Greek," have Protest organizers said.
According to them, this protest was a clear message that it will not be accepted for any price and under any circumstances such behavior by the Golden Dawn, which are intended only to destabilize the south of Albania.

"Red and Black Alliance vows that Greece implement the principle of reciprocity where for every Albanian citizen who treated abnormal Greek border, the same would apply to every citizen of Greece that will pass right Albania. For every Albanian to be reversed, because it Cham, a Greek citizen will be allowed to pass right in our country.

Identity, moral and territorial integrity of the Albanians can not and will not ever be a mechanism used by the government anti-Albanian government of Sali Berisha citizens for personal political interests. Red and Black Alliance urges that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania to react against the visit tendentious anti-Albanian purposes and call for explanation Greek Embassy officials in Albania, who are seen to support Neo-Nazi activities and the Golden Dawn, "said AK notice after the organization of the protest.

Gazeta Shqip

Friday, October 26, 2012

Janullatos: "Society and Albanian institutions have prevented the church from 1994-s"

Shekulli newspaper

BERAT-head of the Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Dr Anastasios of Tirana, has issued a strong statement against the Albanian society and the Albanian authorities in recent years, as an obstacle to its progress in Albania.

These resentment accumulated over the years, His Grace, Janullatos made ​​to St. Demetrios Church in Berat, a cathedral that has been broken up in 1991, while is totally rikonstrktuar only four years ago, where he was to celebrate day of the saint of the same name.

Janullatos mentioned in 1994, when the Albanian society, but also media institutions began attacks then followed in the years to his prejudice or judgment as part of the Greek anti clans. Janullatos said that in 1994 the state authorities were not very positive towards the Orthodox Church, while the Albanian society is moving towards capitalism, another illusion, having no faith and religion.

"We hope not to come to the country of persecution scourge, which we have lived here many years ago. It was a great earthquake destroyed, bying that all things, but there are also other small fluctuations bother us. Life after the great illusion that lived about goods atheistic communist society is moving towards one another illusion of capitalism, there is no faith in religion and mainly found no value, "said Janullatos.
Clinton to visit Tirana on November 1st

Clinton to visit Tirana on November 1st
The Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, declared that the visit of the US State Secretary Hillary Clinton to Tirana is the most important event for the celebration of Albania’s 100th anniversary of independence.

Prime Minister Berisha, who invited Mrs. Clinton to Tirana for the independence celebrations during his visit in Washington, published a special declaration for welcoming the US State Secretary.

Clinton will arrive to Tirana on November 1st, after travelling to Algeria and the Balkan region.

The US State Department declared that during her visit in Tirana, Clinton will emphasize the solidarity of America with Albania as a NATO ally. She will hold a speech for the 100th anniversary of independence, where she will note the critical need for more political cooperation and for the rule of law”.

In his declaration, Berisha underlines that this visit is a testimony of the excellent relations between our two nations, the friendly sentiment and the respect that Secretary Clinton and the US government have for the Albanians, and a testimony of the support that they have given and give to Albania and the Albanian nation, in the effort to build a democracy based on the market values.

Berisha underlined that the visit of Secretary Clinton for the 100th anniversary of independence is a great honour and a special occasion for the citizens and the relatives of the country for expressing once again the deep support to the extraordinary role of the US in these 100 years of Albania’s efforts for freedom, national dignity and fir the inter-institutional and Euro-Atlantic integration”.

Hillary Clinton is the fourth US Secretary of State that visits Albania after the fall of communism: James Baker in 1991, Madeleine Albright in 1998, Colin Powell in 2003. There’s also the historical visit of President George Bush in June 2007, which show the support of the US for Albania.

President meets with Macedonian counterpart

BELGRADE -- Tomislav Nikolić and Gjorge Ivanov say similar obstacles that the two countries face in the EU integration pointed to the need to have closer cooperation.
Tomislav Nikolić and Gjorge Ivanov (Tanjug)
Tomislav Nikolić and Gjorge Ivanov (Tanjug)
The presidents of Serbia and Macedonia met in Skopje on Friday.
Nikolic and Ivanov also agreed that all issues between the countries of the region should be settled through dialogue.

The two officials assessed that relations between Serbia and Macedonia were at a high level and the issues they had were not unsolvable and they were not an obstacle to a joint European future.

"Since Serbia and Macedonia have a similar problem to solve in order to become EU members, I think it points us to the closest possible cooperation," Nikolić said after the meeting.

He noted that he did not choose Macedonia as his first visit to the region by accident and that Serbia wanted to show that both those who had recognized Kosovo and those who had not were its dear friends.

Ivanov agreed that dialogue was the only way to solve the problems Serbia and Macedonia had in EU integration, as well as all issues in the region.

“We need to talk because we reach solutions through talks,” the Macedonian president stressed and added that it was in Macedonia's best interest to communicate with Greece, which is creating obstacles for its EU integration.

“I hope a solution will be found if there is readiness to solve the problem,” Ivanov pointed out.

The two officials called for talks to settle the problem between the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and the Macedonian Orthodox Church, adding that they would assist in the process.

Nikolić met with Macedonian parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanovski on Friday as well.

This is Nikolić's first official visit to Macedonia since he assumed office as the president.

He laid a wreath at the Monument Honoring Macedonian Fallen Heroes on Friday.

On the third day of the visit, Nikolić will attend the ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Kumanovo and lay a wreath to honor fallen heroes.

BREAKING NEWS - Disaster for Athens - Troika advises EWG to Reject Austerity Plans

Breaking_News (Photo credit: kattanapilot)
Surprise, surprise – the meeting that the EU flatly denied would happen today just wound up.

The output is the biggest bombshell to hit the eurozone in a long time: Greece is to be denied access to the next bailout tranche … unless more cuts and reforms beyond those "agreed" to last Sunday are forthcoming.

In what looks to like a pretty serious case of stabbing Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in the front, news reports are breaking in Athens as an anonymous EU official has confirmed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report to the Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) is damning about the cuts "agreed" by the Athens government last Sunday.

This is a direct quote from the document:
“It is clear that Greece is off track and there is no chance they will cut the debt to 120 percent of GDP in 2020 as envisaged. It will be rather 136%. New prior actions will be needed, on top of the existing [ones] before any new tranches of eurozone and IMF emergency loans to Greece can be paid.“
Shortly after leaving the EWG meeting to leak its entire contents, the eurocrat noted in addition that the costs of a two year extension (the one Schäuble dismissed as “pure media speculation” on Thursday) to the Greek repayment schedule “are now seen at around 30 billion euros”.

As per the long-hold Slog view that some disguised debt foregiveness would, in the end, be involved, the report also notes that (debt) restructuring could take the form of a further reduction of the interest rate on existing loans to Greece and an extension of their maturities, but while that would reduce financing costs, alone it would not fill the funding gap’.

So, the good news is that a deal is on the table. The bad news is, Greece hasn’t fulfilled its side of the bargain ... assuming anyone in Athens was ever clear WTF that bargain was in the first place.

This is significant news, so much so that it’s been leaked just as most European financial and media executives were drifting off for the Friday lunch followed by another weekend of quiet denial in which to recover from reality.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

World Bank: Difficult tax system in Albania

Difficult tax system in Albania
The World Bank considers Albania as the country with the most difficult tax system in the region and among the most difficult in the world, which creates costs and penalizes business.

The last report of “Paying Taxes 2013”, which analyzes the fiscal systems of 185 world economies, ranked Albania among the last 25 spots. According to the Bank, the main causes for this precedent are the many procedures and the high administrative burden, compared to other countries.

The report says that an enterprise in Albania must pay 44 taxes each year, which includes the contributes, income tax, VAT and other local taxes. The same indicator for other Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries is 28 in average, while in the developed countries it is even 12.

The high number of taxes increases the cost and the time needed to pay them. According to the Bank, an enterprise in Albania spends 357 hours each year to close the preparation of documents and the payment of tax obligations. In the region this is 260 hours, while in the developed countries it goes to 176 hours each year.

The simplification of the tax procedures is one of the indicators where Albania has the lowest progress in business. In 2008, Albania was ranked better than the average of the region. But during this time, the other countries have made the tax payment easier, while in Albania they are unchanged. According to the World Bank, although Albania is among the countries with the lowest taxes, the fiscal procedures and the bureaucracies are the heaviest, not only for the region, but also for the world.

Albright clash with serbs for Kosovo

Ο Νίκος Μιχαλολιάκος στον ΣΚΑΪ


The leader of the Golden Dawn N. Michaloliakos explains the difference between the Northern Epirus and Albania
In Greece in 2012 still have to explain the difference of the Northern by Albanians, which necessarily take place in the media.

This role took on a public level, the General Secretary of the Golden Dawn Nikos Michaloliakos the premiere telecast of SKY "Directly" with Constantine Bogdanos.

During the broadcast journalist SKY wondered why the Golden Dawn racist behaves in "Northern Epirus" the director of the controversial theater play "Corpus Christi" Laertes king, but did not do the same for "Albanian" Roberto Chaido who is a member of the Golden dawn!

Mr. Nikos Michaloliakos tried to explain the obvious as to who is and who is Albanian and Northern Epirotes.

Watch the full video of the broadcast.

Catalan MEPs warn of Madrid's "military threats"

BRUSSELS -- Catalan European Parliament members caused a storm in Spain Wednesday when they sought EU's intervention over what they said was a military threat from Madrid.
Opponents of Catalonia's independence send their message to Europe during a recent gathering (Beta/AP)
Opponents of Catalonia's independence send their message to Europe during a recent gathering (Beta/AP)
Four MEPs stated in a letter to Brussels that the country's authorities threatened the northeastern region where demands are growing for independence.
"We are writing to you to convey our deep concern over a series of threats of the use of military force against the Catalan population," they wrote to European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.

The MPs recalled that hundreds of thousands of people had taken to the streets of Barcelona on September 11 this year, the Catalan national day, calling for independence.

The popular protest helped to convince the powerful region's president, Artur Mas, to call snap elections on November 25 with the aim of organizing a referendum on "self-determination".

But the MPs said many people including senior members of the military had since said that Spanish armed forces had a constitutional duty to guarantee the territorial integrity of Spain.

"Such threats limit Catalan and Spanish democracy as well as freedom of expression and protest for people in Catalonia. In these circumstances, the European Union should intervene preventively to guarantee that the resolution of the Catalan conflict be resolved in a peaceful, democratic manner," the letter, dated October 22, said.

It also urged Brussels "to make a public statement insisting on the withdrawal from the public debate of any military threat or use of force as a way of resolving this political conflict".

Greece Working Again on Diaspora Vote Law

Minister of Interior Evripides Stylianides noted the importance of solving the national issue of granting voting rights to Greeks in the Diaspora while addressing the Hellenic Parliament’s Special Committee on Greeks Abroad the Special Committee on Oct. 25.

The Minister explained that he believes the bickering between political parties will be set aside to find a solution, although all previous efforts to find a compromise had failed.
According to Stylianides, the Ministry has already assigned a working group to process a draft law mainly focusing on the right of Greeks living abroad to vote, equality in voting rights, reliability of the procedure, administrative preparedness and a low cost for the project. Once the draft law is ready, it will put to public consultation in order for the parties to make their amendments before going to Parliament.

The Minister also underlined that the Diaspora constitutes an important Hellenic presence outside the country’s borders, which makes it imperative to pass the right to vote. Referring to articles of the Greek Constitution and a decision against Greece issued by the European Court of Human Rights, Stylianides said that only Greece and Ireland refuse their Disapora the right to vote.
Balkan map is closed

Balkan map is closed
“The Map of South-Eastern Europe is closed”. This message was given by the British main diplomat, William Hague, who visited Kosovo for the first time, after the meeting held this Thursday morning with the Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci.

Hague declared that this was made clear two Serbia also two years ago.

“We made it clear what Serbia must do to receive the EU candidate status. I was in Serbia two year ago, together with my German colleague, where I declared that the South Eastern Europe map is now closed. We told them that if they want to be an EU candidate country, they should start the dialogue with Kosovo. We are very clear with Serbia about this matter”, Hague declared.

Hague underlined that in the first phase of the dialogue, baroness Catherine Ashton will identify the issues that will be discussed. She also supported the meeting between Thaci and Dacic.

“The Kosovo-Serbia dialogue for normalizing the relations is essential for both countries, in order to continue the European path. I strongly support the meeting between Thaci and Dacic, and I encourage all parties to continue like this. I will send the same peace messages to Belgrade”, Hague declared.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, declared for the journalists that Kosovo is ready to continue the dialogue process for which they have built a widen consensus, and that the chapter of conflicts is being closed gradually, opening this way that of Euro-Atlantic integrations.

“We don’t expect Serbia to recognize Kosovo as a state in the days, weeks and months to follow, but we expect an European behaviour as regards Kosovo, so that this EU relation between Kosovo and Serbia will bring the recognition of the five EU member countries and Kosovo’s membership in the UN”, Thaci declared.

The British diplomat appealed for the implementation of the conditions that bring Kosovo closer to the EU, and that are related with war against organized crime, against corruption and the fulfilment of the human rights for all communities.

Court Rejects Karadzic Subpoena of Greek President


The UN’s Yugoslav war crimes court has rejected a call by Bosnian Serb former leader Radovan Karadzic to subpoena Greek President Carolos Papoulias to testify at his genocide trial.
“The requirements for the issuance of a subpoena have not been met,” the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said in a document made public on Tuesday. “The chamber denies the motion.”

Now 67, Karadzic faces 10 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war, which left 100,000 dead and displaced 2.2 million others.
Papoulias was Greek foreign minister between 1993 and 1996 and Karadzic had said he was “one of the few international interlocutors whom the Bosnian Serbs trusted and with whom they could speak confidentially and candidly.”

Many Greeks supported Serbs during the conflict because of their common Orthodox Christianity. Karadzic was given a triumphal welcome when he visited Athens during the war in June 1993.
He said at the time that the Serbs only had two allies: “The Greeks and God.”
(source: the news)

Polls of SManalysis: 

Members of the Community of Himara, vote for Autonomy from Greece and Albania

In a survey poll, made ​​under monitoring of SManalysis, members of The Himara Community in three countries, Albania, USA and Europe, regarding the historical and regional respective, have voted for independence of The Himara Region, in its historical context, while only two votes, have meant that currently involved with Albania, felt themselves better than involvement with Greece, which has been the sharp decline economically.

The polls also show that a small part, think that Himara may be included within a state historic tipicaly as was Epirus, which ranks third behind Albania and Greece, in preference polls.

In total 38% of Polls, think that Himara should be independent, 36% think that Himara should be involved in the Albanian state, 24% think that Himara must be included with the state of Greece, and only 2% think the inclusion Himara inside historic Epirus

The poll has been claimed on SManalysis from three months.

One such survey was conducted two years before, in which The Himara Community, vote involvement with Greece, was dominant against Albania and the Independence of Himara, which was ranked third ..

According to polls, the difficult economic situation that Greece is going through has changed positions, having more returns opinion migration to Himara, to manage the perspective of tourism and property care.

According to INSTAT the Albanian Statistic Institute, The Himara Region composes about 8% of the total tourism of Albania, with about 80 million euro GDP in year. 

Belgium returns 51 Albanian asylum seekers

Belgium returns 51 asylum seekers
Belgium returned 51 people from Albania who hade demanded political asylum. The General State Police Director warned that whoever will violate the EU residence permit will be returned and now they are easily identified, because their names are on the police database.

“Certainly that we are continuing with these operations. We guarantee the Albanian citizens that whoever will violate the EU residence rules will be returned to Albania”, Burgaj declared.

The head of the Belgian Police, who led the operation for returning the Albanians, considered as unacceptable the fact that 70 Albanians are demanding political asylum in Belgium. According to him, most of them have lost their job in Greece and are demanding political asylum in Belgium.

From January to August 2012 there has been a dramatic increase of the asylum requests in Sweden. 1043 people have asked asylum during this period.

The Swedish authorities have issued an interior order that will return all Albanian asylum seekers within 6 months, since most of them are of not threat and their asylum requests is purely economic.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Change of borders would contribute to lasting peace"

BELGRADE -- Former British Ambassador to Yugoslavia Sir Ivor Roberts believes that "a correction of borders in the Balkans would contribute to a lasting peace".
Ivor Roberts is seen at the Belgrade Book Fair (Tanjug)
Ivor Roberts is seen at the Belgrade Book Fair (Tanjug)
This "correction" would also include Kosovo, the now retired British diplomat told B92 in Belgrade on Wednesday.
Roberts, who currently serves as president of Oxford's Trinity College, is in Serbia to promote his book "Conversations with Milosevic", which was presented during the ongoing International Belgrade Book Fair.

He added that it was his personal opinion that insistence on unchangeable borders was "absurd":

"We always had these mantras about Yugoslavia. For instance, after the NATO bombing, the Security Council adopted a resolution containing the mantra about the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. After that Serbia and Montenegro separated, and later Kosovo. The idea that such positions are carved in stone is absurd, just as is insistence that a country with unsolved territorial issues cannot join the EU. In that case Great Britain would have to leave immediately because we have territorial disputes with three countries."

The former ambassador also noted that instead of debating whether a change of existing borders would be good or bad, more focus should be put on the interest of the citizens.

"What will stability bring? We have a saying that 'good fences make good neighbors'. If people are still unable to live in peace and tolerance - and incidents in Kosovo show that the situation is not good, and that's not my impression, those are facts on the ground - then perhaps it's best to redefine some of those borders," Roberts concluded.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Protest in Tirana over Serbian minister's visit

TIRANA -- Scores of Albanian nationalist staged a protest in Tirana over the first visit in eight years to their country by a Serbian foreign minister.
The protest in Tirana (Beta/AP)
The protest in Tirana (Beta/AP)
The Associated Press reported that supporters of the Red and Black Alliance party shouted slogans and held banners reading “Kosovo is Albania” at Tirana's airport Monday as Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić arrived.
The nationalist party is unhappy with the Albanian government's ties to Serbia, the agency reported.

Mrkić is on a two-day visit to Albania, where he will confer with Albanian officials on the relations between the two countries and other issues. On Tuesday, Mrkić met with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and Foreign Minister Edmond Panariti.

Mrkić told Sunday's edition of Belgrade-based daily Politika that this is the first visit by a Serbian foreign minister to this country after many years, and voiced expectation that his visit will create a foundation for a better cooperation.


"Greater Albania poses threat to all of Balkans"

BELGRADE -- Serbia's Ambassador to France Dušan Bataković says that the Greater Albania project is seriously endangering the fragile stability in the Balkans.
This diplomat, a historian by trade, noted that the term "Natural Albania" was but another name for "Greater Albania", and added:
"For a number of years this project has had a significant support of Albanian elites in all the countries where Albanian live, and it is, as has been announced, gradually becoming a reality."

"This process has advanced a long way, and it threatens our vital national interests in an essential manner, and seriously endangering the fragile stability in the Balkans," Bataković told the Belgrade-based tabloid Blic.

As a historian, Bataković has been studying the Kosovo problem for decades, to recently publish a book on the subject entitled, "Serbia's Kosovo drama: A historical perspective". In it, he points out to the neglected aspects of the Serb-Albanian relations from the era of the Yugoslav Communist dictator Josip Broz Tito, and the roots of the conflicts after 1945, especially the methods used to drive Serbs and other non-Albanian ethnic groups out of Kosovo.

"There was a scientific need for a comprehensive study to take into account the whole Kosovo drama, and especially its dominant, Serb dimension, as opposed to books published in English based on a one-sided concept, which treat the one thousand years of history of Old Serbia's central region as exclusively a part of the Albanian question," he told the newspaper.

Bataković also stressed that it was "a great ideological misconception that the Kosovo legend was our grand illusion", and added that as a nation, we are at this point undergoing "a great identity crisis, shaken at the foundations by the negative aspects of Yugoslavism and Titoism".

"A return to the tried-and-tested values offered by our heritage, aerated by modern sensibilities, is a big task ahead of our elites," the ambassador concluded.

Serbia, Albania "should focus on topics that connect them"

TIRANA -- Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić met on Tuesday in Tirana with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and Foreign Minister Edmond Panariti.
Mrkić and Panariti address reporters (Beta)
Mrkić and Panariti address reporters (Beta)
Mrkić, who was greeted with protests as he arrived in Albania on Monday, said that the meetings today concluded that Serbia and Albania should focus on topics that bring them together, rather than on those dividing them.
According to Mrkić, it is well known how deep the differences between the two countries are when it comes to certain issues, but today most of the time is dedicated to topics of mutual interest.

"The main message is that we should cooperate and be led by common interests in the future. We should recognize what brings us together, since in the past we lost pace in many things," Mrkić told Tanjug.

This refers to economic and parliamentary cooperation and Serbia and Albania's common future in the EU, said the minister who is paying a two-day visit to Albania.

"I conveyed the message that Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has invited Prime Minister Sali Berisha to Belgrade. My counterpart Panariti will, I believe, also come to Belgrade, perhaps even next spring," Mrkić said.

Kosovo, over which there are "known differences", was also discussed, but we did not discuss in detail the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, since Belgrade's platform is yet to be formed.

When it comes to investigation of illicit trafficking into human organs, this topic is fully present in the Albanian political public, he noted.

"I received assurances that they will cooperate maximally in this investigation. I was told that the Albanian parliament has adopted a decision which obliges the administration and the government to do so and that they will allow investigating authorities to investigate about everything and anywhere," the foreign minister pointed out.

While in Tirana, Mrkić also conferred with representatives of the Serb minority "about the approach to the Albanian partners", in order to improve their living conditions, activities, education and contacts with their homeland.

"We hope that the results of this meeting will be visible in the near future," he added.

Mrkić's visit is the first visit by a Serbian foreign minister to Albania after many years.

"Cooperation should improve"

Albanian Foreign Minister Edmond Panariti said Tuesday after a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Ivan Mrkić that his country is ready to foster cooperation with Serbia in the spirit of good neighborly relations, the Albanian media reported.

"We agreed that the relations between the two countries have improved and that they should develop in a more dynamic, open and sincere way," Panariti told a joint press conference with Mrkić.

Commenting on a recent meeting between Ivica Dačić and Hashim Thaci,, he said that this was "an indicator of good will for cooperation".

Panariti, however, said that Albania "would welcome Serbia's decision to recognize the independence of Kosovo", adding that "this would be a sign of readiness to break with the past of violence and repression from the time of Slobodan Milošević", the, ATA news agency reported.

Top PM of  "The Golden Down", calling for the unification of the Greeks in Epirus

Greek united policy, should seek urgent "The Protocol of Corfu" to Tirana

Papas: Epirus has been and will be a united

Kristo Papas of "The Golden Down": The Northern Epirus, was betrayed by 100 years of the great powers. Problems of Northern Epirus, will raise the most powerful in the Parliament and in the EU, by "the Golden Down"

Papas: The opening in the middle of Athens Cham issue, in a time that was abducted properties Greeks in Northern Epirus currently, this is the great paradox of time.

Papas: You must be stronger to fight for the future of your children, that the land not be caught from other people.

Papas: "The Golden Down" will stay close to the people in Northern Epirus, and will make it impossible to have security in difficult times.

Romney Angers Greek-Americans with “…down the path toward Greece” comment

 6  1
 0  9 Down a path toward GreeceRepublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made Americans of Greek descent furious with his “…down the path toward Greece” comment during the third and last presidential debate. Romney kept mentioning Greece as an example for mismanagement and bad economy. Posting negative statements on social media, Greek Americans showed a great amount of anger towards the Republican candidate after his comment.
While Greece is in fact in trouble and would have defaulted on its debt if the IMF and EU had not given loans, there are many countries in the world that are in an economic crisis. Romney decided to keep using Greece as the bad example and not mention Spain, Portugal or even Iceland that had defaulted on its debt.
Romney’s campaign advisers must have underestimated the number of Greek-American voters which the candidate has greatly disappointed.
According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there were 1,380,088 people of Greek ancestry in the U.S. while the State Department reports that around 3,000,000 Americans claim to be of Greek descent. The 2000 census revealed that Greek was spoken at home by 365,436 people older than five.

Fear and Violence Rise in Greece

 6  4
 0  18 Reeling from a crushing economic crisis that has put nearly two million people out of work, and with extremism on the increase, Greece is seeing a spike in the number of violent crimes and verbal abuse, police records show, with the likelihood of more tension as the government sets to pass a $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike plan and start firing public workers.
Statistics show a sharp increase in the number of calls to the police from January to September. “We have seen a rise in violent behavior, both physical and verbal,” 100 emergency hotline operator Sofia Papingioti told Kathimerini. “It is clear that citizens are losing their patience, they are becoming more abrupt and are more ready for a fight.”
In the first nine months of 2012, the 100 hotline had already received 894,000 calls from Attica alone, with the majority coming from Athens and Piraeus. The average for each of the previous three years was at around one million totally each year.
Papingioti also noted that the service receives a lot more calls over “suspicious figures” or ringing car and homes alarms, indicating a high level of fear among citizens. The most calls are made on Fridays and are mainly in regard to alcohol-related altercations.
In the last week of September, police said they stopped and searched some 37,000 suspects across the country last week in a campaign to clamp down on crime. A total of 4,793 were briefly detained and 708 arrested for alleged robberies, thefts and drug-related offenses.
Ironically, the increase in crime has benefited the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which has 18 seats in Parliament and seeing its popularity rise as it puts out vigilante patrols in neighborhood and offers its services to people who said they need protection.

Cost of October 28 Military Parade Trimmed

 4  2
 0  6 The annual military parade held on October 28 in Thessaloniki to mark Greece’s entry into the Second World War will be organized at a substantially reduced cost, daily Kathimerini reports.
The National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) has brought the cost of the parade down to 230,000 euros from more than 300,000. The reduction will be achieved through limiting the number of troops that join the parade and ensuring that no soldiers or equipment are transported by air.
Last year, the October 28 and March 25 (beginning of Independence War, 1821) annual parades cost 435,000 euros but the government plans to limit the cost to 320,000 euros this year.
Last year, the parade in Thessaloniki was abandoned amid anti-austerity protestalysis
A group of supproters of the Albanian center-right Red-And-Black Alliance political party protest against the visit of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic, at Mother Teresa International Airport, in Tirana, Albania, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

A group of supproters of the Albanian center-right Red-And-Black Alliance political party protest against the visit of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic, at Mother Teresa International Airport, in Tirana, Albania, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Turkey’s Risky Syrian Game

By Tassos Symeonides (RIEAS Academic Advisor)
Turkey’s muscle flexing vis-a-vis Syria provides the newest fuse for the perennially unstable Middle East. While the Syrians rushed to offer a rare apology to Ankara over an errant mortar round that killed five Turkish civilians near the common border, the Turks quickly retaliated with an artillery barrage against Syrian military targets deep into its neighbor’s territory.
Now the Turkish parliament has authorized the administration of PM Erdogan to launch cross-border military action if need arises. Erdogan is treating this license as both a threat against the beleaguered Syrian leader Bashar Assad and further tangible proof that he, and not the generals, is calling the domestic and foreign shots.
The Syrian case carries all the usual convoluted and explosive elements of a Middle East sectarian conflict. Assad, an Alawite, is confronted by Sunni rebels who maintain friendly contacts with the simmering Sunni rebellion in Iraq. At the same time, the powerful Hizb’allah terror organization that dominates Lebanon’s domestic socio-political balance has chosen the Assad side and is reported sending fighters and supplies to help Damascus.
Aside from above locus, Israel and Jordan are having their own security concerns because of the Syrian conflagration and would loath to see a foreign intervention in Syria that does not agree with their strategic interests.
Meantime, Erdogan (a Sunni) sees the Syrian conflict as a unique opportunity to increase Turkey’s influence in the region and raise Turkey to a command position capable of realizing strategic goals that were simply unattainable in the past.
The Turkish PM feels particularly emboldened these days as his continuing conflict with the army establishment has tilted in his favor and more generals have landed in jail. But, at the same time, he needs to tread carefully as the Assad government has withdrawn its forces from most of the Turkish-Syrian border, thus allowing the Syrian-based Kurds, who continue their perennial bloody confrontation with Turkey, a literal free hand in meeting a possible Turkish incursion with considerable force.
Furthermore, the Turks need to take into serious account Iran’s full support for the tottering Assad. Iranian “advisers” are reported directing many of the Syrian regime’s military actions and supplying the Syrian military forces with arms and other material.
The Iranian presence is a potential bombshell that would almost certainly go off in case of a Turkish military action — something that would immediately mobilize Israel, already tense about the Syrian situation and Iran’s role in it, not to mention Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Responding to sporadic errant Syrian shelling in the Golan Heights, Israel staged a surprise mobilization exercise last month that brought thousands of troops to the Golan Heights to maneuver and use live fire during the drill.
Turkey’s war dance is also raising concerns in NATO capitals. Theoretically, Turkey, in case of another border incident, may invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty that stipulates that any NATO member coming under attack has the liberty to call upon all other members for help. (This is the same infamous Article 5 that NATO has refused to recognize as having application in the case of Turkey threatening war in the Aegean against Greece).
Erdogan and his deceivingly amiable foreign minister Davutoglou have pursued a proactive policy of expanding Turkey’s influence in regional affairs, something that is now jeopardized both by the so-called Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war. Assad hasn’t collapsed as quickly as the other Arab dictators and that has thrown a spanner into the innards of Turkish plans. For all the disappointment this development has brought to the Erdogan-Davoutoglou duo both these Turkish leaders realize that choosing the intervention card can trigger a wider war with incalculable impact on Syria and Turkey, not to mention the rest of the region.
Where is Greece standing in all of this? Unfortunately, Athens, caught in the maelstrom of its own socio-economic catastrophe, has simply no diplomatic or any other reach and has been reduced to a mere spectator of Turkey’s Syrian sabre rattling and bold maneuvering. If experience is any yardstick, the Greek leaders will resort to the usual grandiloquent press releases calling for peace, observance of international law, etc, and will keep their fingers crossed in the hope that Turkey fumbles in this latest strategic play — because any Turkish “victory” in Syria could almost automatically increase Turkish pressure on Greek sovereignty in the Aegean.

A third gas corridor: prospects for the East Med

Harris Samaras, Chairman & Group CEO of Pytheas, talks to Leigh Elston, Editor & Senior Reporter of Interfax, about the possibility, and importance, of the Eastern Mediterranean hydrocarbons to Europe and more (14 September 2012).
Extracts from the interview of Mr. Samaras withInterfax:
Dimitris Manolis, the Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy’s (ITGI’s) director of international activities, this week raised the possibility of bringing East Mediterranean gas to the European market via the ITGI pipeline as early as 2018. Harris Samaras, the chairman and group chief executive of Pytheas, an international investment banking organisation, spoke to Interfax about the benefits of, and technical and commercial challenges to, building ‘the East Med’ pipeline.
Interfax: Would a pipeline running from the East Mediterranean, as suggested by Dimitris Manolis, be feasible?
Harris Samaras: The construction of this ‘East Med Pipeline’, which would connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece to Italy and the rest of Europe, is feasible but it will be costly, and can only be justly assessed when further exploration is concluded and additional gas deposits are confirmed. If, however, the scientifically estimated deposits are proven to exist, it is undoubtedly the best long-term option and solution, not only for the countries involved, but for the EU as well. It is a solution which will liberate the EU from its energy dependence on volatile or [sometimes] ‘hostile’ countries – as both the source and the transportation means will be owned and controlled by EU-member countries alone. Needless to mention, it would strengthen Europe’s negotiating tools in the markets.
more see:

Platform for Kosovo “will not be sensational”

BELGRADE -- The Serbian government wants to determine its position with a platform for Kosovo, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić has stated.
Ivan Mrkić (file)
Ivan Mrkić (file)
He also said that the government wanted the platform and position on Kosovo to be widely accepted.
However, the minister added that “some sensational new variant” should not be expected.

“This is not someone’s personal issue. It (the platform) needs to be seriously supported and we are counting that it will have a significant support in parliament as well,” he told daily Politika.

Mrkić pointed out that the platform for Kosovo was a priority issue but that other important issues required the government’s attention too.

“I we had only worked on the platform for Kosovo, we would have finished it quickly but we cannot afford that luxury,” he was quoted as saying.

When asked whether the work on the platform would result in a new solution, the foreign minister said that the government could not offer anything “spectacularly new”.

“You cannot expect any sensationally new variant. We will be as pragmatic as possible in order to protect our people in Kosovo,” Mrkić stressed.

“Once the platform is finished we will have a framework, a desired and determined goal, just like anybody who is preparing for negotiations. But we will not have any hidden goals that would only take care of us. The goals will be harmonized with the circumstances,” he was quoted as saying.

The minister said that a meeting between EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Serbian PM Ivica Dačić and Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci in Brussels on Friday was “very important”.

“We went to Brussels in order to see if we could start the political dialogue that the new government and president said we wanted to have. Now we should concretize it a bit more and see what the content and framework of the dialogue should be,” Mrkić concluded.

Sunday, October 21, 2012




The "Kissinger Plan": Confederations Macedonia, Epirus, Thrache, 

For nearly 20 years (decades 70 and 80) that culminated in the international political scene was none other than the Secretary of State, ChaintsAlfrent Kissinger (Heinz Alfred Kissinger). Born in Germany in 1923 by parents of Jewish origin, who in 1938 fled to America under the threat of the Nazi regime, initially followed an academic career at Harvard, but also participated in various government agencies and committees involved external policy and security of the United States . So, in 1969 he was appointed National Security Advisor to President Nixon and later, during President Ford, he served as foreign minister and, after Carter's election to the presidency, he founded a consultancy company and continued his career as an expert foreign policy and was awarded the Nobel Peace 1993.Mono which for Greece was one of the most basic makers 'appetite' for our neighbors scheming Greek territories as "plan" included the dismemberment of Greece. One state starts from Arta and over, called Greater Albania. The second state has to do with Skopje, which created the state of Macedonia, which goes to Larissa. The third state is Thrace. And all this will gradually become the "fall" of the cultural elements of the Greeks, as Kissinger stated that: "The people of the Greco is anarchic and difficult to harnessed. Therefore you must strike deep roots in culture. Then you might be forced to comply. I mean to attack his language, his religion, spiritual and historical reserves, so as to neutralize its ability to develop, to distinguish, to prevail, so as not to disturb us in the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, Throughout this crucial area of strategic importance for us. "

Since then, whether the statement is true or not, what he described seeing them since then to gradually become reality Macedonians, Albanians and Turks, and fueled the "plan" for adjusting the territories of the Balkan countries. In summary, called "Kissinger Plan" provides the solution of problems of the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, with the creation of a confederation of states, with ponomazomenon "United States Eastern Mediterranean" (LAEC). At the same time, part of the EU already enrolled in this or future enlargement Field Theory (North America) will be cut off, or will be part of a "loosely affiliated" with this wing that extends eastward.

According to some information, the "plan" was launched in 1989. Then consisted initially resolve the problem Palaispnion Israel, the "break" of Israel, a goal that almost made recently. The second phase provided break up of Yugoslavia, the goal has been achieved. The third phase is considered that promotes federalism in Cyprus (after it has been cleaved in two "states"), Phase made this stigmi.Edo but things are starting to become more interesting. According to some estimates, the "Plan" in the original version provided further:

■ autonomy Crete. Dodecanese islands of the eastern Aegean and western Asia Minor.

■ autonomy of eastern, western Thrace kaitisnotiou Bulgaria.

■ Increase the territories of the State of Skopje with annexation of Macedonia and Thessaly.

■ Increase the Albanian territories to the south until andthe Preveza.

Already in 1989, he had discovered that the loss of Greek-Turkish disputes will long term objectives:

• The demilitarization of the islands of the Aegean.

• The demilitarization of Turkish coasts of Asia Minor, to where, as they say. does not go beyond.

• The establishment of Greek-Turkish business (tourism, petroleum, commercial, industrial) and establishing a free trade zone in the Aegean and Asia Minor coast between the two countries as part of a "mixed zone," which would evolve into an autonomous "state-pad" local conflicts, international influence and controlled by the UN.......



PM: It is time for historic agreement

BELGRADE -- Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dačić told B92 that it was time to reach a historic agreement with Priština and complete the negotiations.
Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)
Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)
He pointed out that “it does not mean that we recognized Kosovo by accepting to talk with Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci”.
“Both Thaci and I have our own formulations. My starting point is different than his. The acceptance of Kosovo’s independence is out of the question. Still, I believe that a visible progress in our relations should be made,” the prime minister explained.

He repeated that Serbia’s goal was to reach a permanent, sustainable solution and improve relations with Priština. Dačić added that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton had also confirmed that the talks were status neutral.

When asked whether he had shaken hands with Thaci in Brussels, the Serbian prime minister said that they had agreed not to have any public protocols in order to avoid media speculations.

“There were no cameras because the importance of what happened yesterday would have been put on a backburner otherwise. I waged a war against Thaci, I do not know why I would shake his hand now,” Dačić stressed.

He announced earlier on Saturday that the government would start working on a platform for Kosovo on Sunday and explained that the parliament, representatives of the opposition and everybody else who could help would take part in drafting the platform aside from the president and himself.

When asked whether Belgrade would agree to Priština’s insistence to abolish Serbian structures in northern Kosovo, the PM said:

“It is important to know that is one of the rare meetings, maybe the first, where the EU acted as a mediator. Ashton said that she would not make us do anything we did not want to. There is a topic we do not want to discuss. The issue is deeper than we thought. Serbs in the north do not accept Priština.”

He announced that top Serbian officials would hold a meeting on Wednesday and discuss numerous issues.

“Thaci is only interested in northern Kosovo and we are interested in the protection of our religious and cultural heritage, Serbian property, the church, citizens in Kosovo. I told Thaci ‘Slow down. Who were you? A commander of parallel structures, paramilitary formations’. The problem runs deeper, Serbs from the north do not accept Kosovo. We are thinking about the final solution. It is time for a historic agreement. It is in Serbia’s interest to negotiate without outside pressure, because if we had talked earlier, maybe we already would have solved some problems,” Dačić concluded.