Friday, May 8, 2015

US to present Greece with counter offer to Russia's pipeline

 8 May 2015
US to present Greece with counter offer to Russia's pipeline
A US envoy will present Greek officials with an alternative to Russia's pipeline on Friday after Putin promised funding for the project.
Special Envoy of the US State Department for energy matters Amos Hochstein will meet with the Greece's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy on Friday to discuss an alternative to Russia's Turkish Stream Pipeline project, the press services of those ministries told RIA Novosti.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia is willing to finance the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline through Greece. Putin said in April that by joining the project Greece could become one of the main power distribution centers in Europe and earn hundreds of millions of euros a year from gas transit fees.
The US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz previously said that the US is planning on presenting Greece with an alternative pipeline from Azerbaijan. According to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, the pipeline would include Bosnia and Albania.
The Russian offer and planned US counter-offer come less than a day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Greece should not look to China or Russia for a solution to its debt crisis.

Opinion poll gives Syriza a 20.2% lead over New Democracy

 8 May 2015
Opinion poll gives Syriza a 20.2% lead over New Democracy
Syriza has a 20.2% lead over main opposition New Democracy (ND) according to a poll by Palmos Analysis for SBC.
Asked about their voting intentions, 36.7% of respondents said Syriza, 16.5% ND, 6.1% To Potami, 5.4% Golden Dawn, 3.9% KKE, 3.1%  Independent Greeks and 2.5% Pasok.
57% of respondents prefer Alexis Tsipras as Greek prime minister, 21% prefer Antonis Samaras while the 18% answered none of them.
Also, 46% believe that there will be an agreement between the Greek government and lenders, 29% answered "probably yes", 9% answered "no", 10% answered "probably not". 
On the question whether the government has negotiated hard with Greece's lenders 43% answered "yes", whereas 29% said that the negotiation was "non-existent".

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias to tour Balkans

In agenda of Kotzias in Tirana, bilateral Greek - Albanian relations, stability of the region, the properties of the Greek Community, Himara Issue ecct

7 May 2015
Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias to tour Balkans
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias late on Wednesday, in statements to a radio station, expressed his intention for an active foreign policy in the Balkans with specific immediate steps.
He announced that he will make a tour to the Western Balkans (Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia and FYROM) next June while the revival of tripartite cooperation with two EU Member States - Romania and Bulgaria - is among his plans.

We are, he said, "three countries that should have an opinion and view on the rest of the Balkans, because, if we do not have, third forces may monopolise operations in the Western Balkans".
Concerning the Western Balkans, Kotzias noted that "it is a source of instability. And the source of instability generates nationalism and nationalism may cause problems."

He clarified that "the role of Greece is not to become a part of this problem, but to defend its national interests and act in a manner that will solve its own issues and the issues of other states in relation with the EU."

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Slain rapper’s parents arrive for Golden Dawn trial – PHOTOS

First entry: 7 May 2015
Slain rapper’s parents arrive for Golden Dawn trial – PHOTOS
The parents of Pavlos Fyssas, the activist rapper whose murder in September 2013 led to the arrest and prosecution of Golden Dawn leaders, have arrived in Korydallos for the extreme right party's trial.

Greek-Canadian Leo Housakos Appointed as Senate Speaker

by Ioanna Zikakou - May 6, 2015

Greek-Canadian Senator Leo Housakos, was elected as Speaker for the Canadian Senate, replacing Pierre Claude Nolin, who passed away last month.

Leo Housakos, 47, who has already served as vice president of the Senate, was elected interim president last December, when his predecessor fell heavy ill.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that the appointment of Leo Housakos as Senate Speaker had the support of both the government and the opposition.

The Prime Minister also noted that Housakos’ experience in working with the various Senate committees, as well as his experience in replacing his predecessor, provide him with the necessary qualifications for the office of presidency.

Leo Housakos is considered to hold progressive in opinions and positions regarding the role and operation of the Senate, suggesting greater responsibility and account for the acts and actions of the senators. During an interview with Canada’s The Star he noted that he wants to be remembered for making the scandal-plagued institution as transparent and accountable as possible.

The Greek-Canadian politician co-founded the Hellenic Board of Trade in 1993, an organization dedicated to the development of business opportunities and networking in the Greater Montreal Area. Furthermore, his political experience also includes the presidency of the fundraising commission of the Action Démocratique du Québec. In 2007, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Via Rail and served for a year.
- See more at:

Serbian Army to take part in exercise in Germany

Published: BELGRADE – The infantry unit of the Third Brigade of the Ground Forces will take part in the Joint Determination exercise in Germany from May 9 to June 4 which will be organised by the United States European Command, the Serbian Defence Ministry released on Wednesday.
Illustration - Photo courtesy: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brendan Stephens/Released
Illustration – Photo courtesy: U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brendan Stephens/Released
The multinational training centre Hohenfels, 100 members of 31st infantry battalion from Zajecar in eastern Serbia will practice procedures in attack and defence operations, combat in urban environments, evacuation of the wounded and driving Hummer SUVs.
The infantry unit of the Third Brigade headed by Captain Vladica Stankovic will be deployed in the multinational unit together with his colleagues from the Czech Republic and Croatia.

Tsipras, Hollande discuss negotiations

First entry: 6 May 2015
Tsipras, Hollande discuss negotiations
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras talked over the phone Wednesday with French president Francois Hollande, Greek government officials say.
The officials said both men "reaffirmed their will...for a mutually advantageous solution" to Greece's negotiations with its creditors. 
Earlier Wednesday, Tsipras had a phone conversation with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

US, Iranian Warships Nearly Collide in Gulf of Aden – Iranian Media

A US warship and military planes almost collided with the Iranian Navy while patrolling waters in the Gulf of Aden.

A US warship and military planes almost collided with the Iranian Navy while patrolling waters in the Gulf of Aden.

A couple of US planes and a navy destroyer approached several Iranian warships in the Gulf of Aden on Monday, Iranian Fars News Agency reported, citing a report released by an Iranian TV channel.
Fars called the incident "a provocation," citing the fact that the US warship and planes ignored the internationally set 5-mile distance that navy fleets of different countries have to keep from each other.
As the US ship and planes approached the warships of the 34th Iranian fleet, they received a warning from an Iranian destroyer. After that the Americans changed their direction, Fars reported. There were reports that Iran was trying to supply weapons to the Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen. However, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forced Hassan Firouzabadi dismissed the accusations, stating that the Iranian Navy never entered Yemen's territorial waters, but instead it was in the internationally-recognized waters conducting anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden, the report said.

Greeks step up diplomacy as cash crunch looms - Reuters

First entry: 5 May 2015
Greeks step up diplomacy as cash crunch looms - Reuters
Greece stepped up diplomacy with euro zone partners on Tuesday to try to avert a potentially catastrophic funding crunch this month, when it must make a big debt repayment to the IMF as cash reserves dry up.
Ministers were traveling to Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris to plead for a loosening of the financial stranglehold on Athens after leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke by telephone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe's pre-eminent leader.
"They discussed the course of the negotiations in Brussels and exchanged views on the issues of Greece's deal with its lenders," a Greek government official said of the call on Monday night, without elaborating.
Intensive talks continued with the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank on a cash-for-reform deal but there was no sign of a breakthrough on key differences over pensions, labor reform and the minimum wage.
In a goodwill gesture, a senior privatization official said Athens was ready to finalize a 1.2 billion euro deal with German operator Fraport to run regional airports and to reopen bidding for a majority stake in the port of Piraeus.
European Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the aim was for euro zone finance ministers to be able to officially register "strong progress" in the negotiations when they meet next Monday but did not suggest a deal was possible by then.
The political uncertainty prompted the Commission to slash its forecast for 2015 Greek economic growth to 0.5 percent from 2.5 percent just three months ago. It also cut its estimate for Greece's primary budget surplus before debt service.
"The fact that negotiations are still going on without having been concluded after more than 3-1/2 months, all that has an impact on expectations for growth and public finances in Greece," Moscovici told a news conference.
Greek Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis was due to meet ECB chief Mario Draghi in Frankfurt to urge the central bank to increase a liquidity lifeline for Greek banks and permit them to buy more short-term treasury bills, easing the government's immediate funding crunch.
Greece has to repay 970 million euros to the IMF by May 12 and has commandeered cash reserves from municipalities and government bodies to scrape together the funds.
ECB policymakers will hold their weekly review of emergency lending assistance (ELA) to Greek banks on Wednesday amid pressure from hardliners led by Germany's Bundesbank to tighten the collateral terms, ECB sources said.
Pointing to recent credit rating downgrades of Greece and its banks, the hawks want the ECB to increase the "haircut" on Greek securities that banks present as collateral for funding.
But an ECB source said he did not expect the council to make a dramatic change that would put Greek banks in immediate difficulty while negotiations are continuing.
Investors shed Greek bonds and stocks on Tuesday after the Financial Times reported that the IMF's European chief Poul Thomsen had threatened to cut a funding lifeline to Greece unless its European partners agree to a debt write-off.
A source briefed on the IMF's position said Thomsen had not explicitly made such a threat or called for a debt write-off when he met euro zone finance ministers in Riga on April 24, but had highlighted Greece's deteriorating debt sustainability.
"The IMF of course did not make such a comment," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble echoed on Tuesday, adding that Thomsen had said things "had become more difficult".
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, sidelined by Tsipras from the negotiations after alienating his euro zone colleagues, met his French counterpart, Michel Sapin, in Paris and was due to see Moscovici later in Brussels.
Moscovici stressed the Commission's goal was to keep Greece in the euro zone and avert what he called an "accident".
While Germany and its allies have pointed to calm in bond markets to suggest that a Greek default or exit from the euro zone would not cause a wider financial meltdown, as it might have done in 2012, other EU countries are more concerned.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni warned against belittling the risks of a possible "Grexit".
"Italy's government considers it short-sighted and dangerous to underestimate the Greek crisis," Gentiloni told reporters, adding that the idea of a Greek exit from the euro zone could not be taken lightly.

Monday, May 4, 2015

US Navy Starts Accompanying British Ships Off Iranian Coast

Ressuply mission

© REUTERS/ US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Fenaroli/Handout

The move comes after the United Kingdom asked for an escort for their ships, Army Col. Steve Warren said.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) —US warships have begun accompanying British merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.
"They've asked if we would accompany their flagged vessels through the strait."
The US Department of Defense announced that US warships would accompany all US-flagged commercial vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz. It also did not rule out that assistance could be extended to other countries as well. On April 28, several Iranian Navy patrol ships approached Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel, while in Iranian territorial waters. The ship was directed to an Iranian port.

Maersk Tigris was reportedly seized at the request of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization because of financial disputes with the owner of the vessel. On April 29, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the seizure of the ship was made in compliance with a court order and refuted any political motives behind the move.
The incident comes amid tensions in the Arabian Sea where an Iranian cargo ship en route to Yemen diverted east after the United States scrambled several warships. Washington claimed that Iran could have been trying to supply weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, bypassing a UN embargo.

Finland Sends Letters To 900,000 Reservists

The Finnish military has begun sending letters to some 900,000 reservists amid increased tensions between the Nordic states and Russia over the Ukraine crisis, RFE/RL reports.
Illustration - Photo from:

Russia and Finland share a 1,340-kilometer land border.
The military said the letter campaign, which started on May 4, was prompted mainly by cuts in the defense budget.
Finland’s defense budget this year has shrunk to 2.7 billion euros ($2.99 billion), or 1.29 percent of GDP, down from 1.4 percent in 2012.
The letters reportedly informed reservists what their role would be in a “crisis situation.”

Seselj denies he "hired hitmen" to kill Nikolic

BELGRADE -- Vojislav Seselj says a report published by the daily Blic in 2010, alleging that he had ordered the murder of Tomislav Nikolic, was "a complete fabrication."
(Beta, file)
(Beta, file)
According to the newspaper, the leader of the SRS ordered the hit five years ago "from the Hague Tribunal," and it was to be carried out by members of the Zemun Clan - Luka Bojovic and Milos Simovic.
''This information is a complete fabrication and has caused me great emotional pain and suffering. I never met neither Bojovic nor Simovic,'' Seselj told the Higher Court in Belgrade on Monday during the trial in his lawsuit against the Belgrade-based media outlet.

Seselj is the leader of the Serb Radical Party (SRS), while Nikolic was at the time the leader of the Serb Progressive Party (SNS) - an offshoot of the SRS created in 2008 amid political acrimony.

During the hearing today, Seselj described in detail what he experienced after the controversial articled was published in Blic on June 29, 2010. The court decided to call Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who at the time served as interior minister, and then head of the BIA agency Sasa Vukadinovic as witnesses during the next hearing, scheduled for September 18.

They should testify whether the disputed information came from state authorities, that is, from the Parliamentary Committee on Security and Defense.

The court will decide on a motion to also call now Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister and SNS leader Aleksandar Vucic.

Addressing the court on Monday in his role of the plaintiff, Seselj said that the false information presented in the article resulted in "other inmates'' in the Hague detention unit "giving his suspicions glances - as he was ordering murders in such a monstrous way."

"Those with whom I was on good terms did not believe it, but some spoke with Hague guards in English and told them what was going on. This information brought into question whether I would be able to receive family visits, because the article insinuated that the order (to kill Nikolic) went via my wife," said Seselj.

However, he pointed out that the Hague Tribunal "did not believe it" and for that reason did not order any measures of isolation against him.

Seselj then described himself as "a man who shows no emotions - that is, as someone who successfully hides them" - but that the daily's allegation against him "affected him, and still does."

Seselj has sued Blic for inflicting mental anguish by publishing false information.

Explosion Rocks Office of Macedonia's Largest Albanian Party

Bulgaria: Explosion Rocks Office of Macedonia's Largest Albanian Party

 Explosion Rocks Office of Macedonia's Largest Albanian Party File photo

A blast occurred late on Sunday near the office of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), the largest ethnic Albanian political party in Macedonia.

The attack took place in Mala Recica, a village populated by over 8000 people located in Western Macedonia, near its border with Albania.

No injuries were reported, but police immediately sealed off the region, according to Macedonian daily Utrinski vesnik.

A hand grenade was evidently thrown by an unnamed attacked riding a motorcycle, local news outlets report.

Mala Recica's population is almost entirely Albanian. It is part of Tetovo, a municipality where Albanians constitute some 80 percent of the population.

DUI has often been criticized in Macedonia over its de facto support for the government of PM Nikola Gruevski which, for its part, is accused by the opposition of applying pressure on the judiciary and the media and adding to the discrimination of ethnic minorities (in a country where ethnic Albanians constitute at least a quarter of the population).


Kotzias: even "Golden Dawn" we will join for the National Intersts of Greece

Foreign Minister Kotzias’ statements following the meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy

Monday, 04 May 2015
N. KOTZIAS: Today we had the first meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy under the salvation government. As you know, the institution of the National Council on Foreign Policy was formulated in the 1990s and was one of my own proposals – then, as a Foreign Ministry employee – and so I was pleased that I could have a creative discussion with the representatives of all the parties and the Ministry’s experts, as well as with the administrative leadership.

Our conversation focused on Greek-Turkish relations. It was a very interesting discussion. I think that we all profit when we hear various proposals and creative criticism. From this perspective, I will be going to Turkey next week armed with the thoughts of all the parties.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Minister, we just heard the New Democracy representative, Mr. Koumoutsakos, link foreign policy issues with the strength, or lack thereof, of each country’s economy. Are you optimistic?

N. KOTZIAS: There is always an interdependency between foreign policy and economics, but, as I explained during the meeting, foreign policy can help to strengthen the economy. It’s not always the other way round.

JOURNALIST: Are you optimistic that we will have an agreement by the time the Eurogroup convenes?

N. KOTZIAS: Yes, I’m optimistic.

JOURNALIST: How was it that you decided to invite Golden Dawn?

N. KOTZIAS: The Presidium of the Parliament unanimously calls Golden Dawn to every session. Correspondingly, an institution that is provided for by the Constitution, like the National Council on Foreign Policy, is obliged to invite those invited to Parliament.

Thank you very much.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Carter: Reunification With Russia Was 'Something Crimean People Wanted'

Former US President Jimmy Carter at Russian President Vladimir Putin's meeting with members of The Elders

© Sputnik/ Aleksey Nikolskyi
Ex-president of the Unites States Jimmy Carter said that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was "an almost inevitable move" as it was backed first of all by the Crimean people, and thus, it cannot be changed in the near future.

Carter also recalled the history of the Crimean issue. In the 1950s then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred control of Crimea to Ukraine as a gift. However, Khrushchev made this move as he could never have imagined that the USSR would ever disintegrate.
"It was something the Crimean people wanted, I believe," Jimmy Carter said in an exclusive interview with VOA radio's Russian Service.
Crimea rejoined Russia in March 2014 following a referendum in which 96 percent voted in favor of the move.
Earlier this week, the former US president participated in a series of meetings in Moscow as part a group of famous politicians and diplomats 'The Elders', which had been founded by Nelson Maldela. Former UN secretary-General Kofi Annan and former UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi were among those well-known politicians who accompanied Jimmy carter during his visit to Russia.
Vladimir Putin meets with members of The Elders
Vladimir Putin meets with members of The Elders

On Alleged Russian Role in Ukrainian Crisis

On Wednesday, 'The Elders' met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and discussed the situation in Ukraine. After the meeting with the Russian leader, Carter said that he was satisfied with the results of the talks, noting that he believes Moscow is adhering to the Minsk agreements.
In February, the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine met in the Belarusian capital Minsk to hold talks on Ukrainian reconciliation. The talks resulted in a ceasefire agreement between Kiev and the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR). The deal also stipulates measures aimed at decentralizing power in Ukraine, giving more autonomy to DPR and LPR.
“There's not any doubt in our mind that the Russians genuinely want to see all the aspects of that concluded. I think that's the only ballgame in town.”
He added that the only way to restore peace in Ukraine was to implement the Minsk deal.

Commenting on the US allegations that Russia has been sending military personnel and equipment to eastern Ukraine, the former US president said that this information has never been confirmed. Russian authorities repeatedly denied these accusations, calling for a political resolution of the conflict and active participation in Ukrainian reconciliation talks on different levels.
Carter “would like very much to see a cessation of sending arms to Ukraine, either to Kyiv [Kiev] or to the eastern part.” “And, my hope is that President Obama would not do so.”

He also stated differing views between Moscow and Washington of what happened in Ukraine more than a year ago after then-president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted. From the point of view of the Americans, he noted, Petro Poroshenko's accession to the presidency was in accordance with the law, however, Moscow's stance is quite different.
To Attend or Not to Attend Victory Day Parade in Moscow?
Jimmy Carter, who served as the US president from 1977 to 1981, commented on several European leaders' decision not to attend the Victory Day celebration in Moscow on May 9, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Western leaders, including the presidents of the United States, Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia refused to attend the Victory Day parade in Moscow citing their stance on the situation in Donbass in eastern Ukraine. However, the leaders of about 25 countries have confirmed their readiness to attend the celebrations.
The former US president considers the decision not to visit Moscow on May 9 as an independent move made by European leaders without any pressure from the United States.
Carter said that he discussed the issue with the Russian president and the most he said was that he was sure on many of these issues there was close consultation between the United States and European countries.”

The EMP Notis Marias, speaking during the European Parliament Session about the situation in Albania and the Rights of the Greek Minority

Crash between Albanians and Pakistan's, in Greek Prison

Two dead and 21 wounded in Korydallos prison in Athens,

Great scuffle took place in Korydallos prison.

According to exclusive information of, a group consisting of Albanians and Arabs, just before entering the cells and having improvised knives and irons, moved against a group of Pakistanis and were quick to get the worst.

From the first information that the gunfight killed two people, while 21 prisoners were injured. Two prisoners in serious condition, evacuated at the State General Hospital, while the others were transferred to Tzaneio, for the rapid intervention.

"It all started suddenly and very quickly the tension escalated with tragic results. Two people were killed and over 20 injured "said well-informed sources in

Red Phones: NATO Initiates Hotline to Russia's Defense Ministry

NATO Soldiers walk under country member flags at a NATO base at Kabul International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan

© AP Photo/ Rahmat Gul

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia's Ministry of Defense have set up a direct military-to-military communication link to deal with any issues they might face amid mounting tensions, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
"NATO and Russia's military command maintain communications links. NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the chairman of the NATO Military Committee have received permission to get in contact with their Russian colleagues," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said, citing sources in the North Atlantic Alliance.
NATO declined to clarify when the telephone line was set up but said that communications channels would always remain open, the media outlet noted. Russia has reportedly already received the telephone numbers.
The idea is based on an initiative by Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the newspaper said. In December, he urged the establishment of a direct link between Moscow and NATO to respond to any crisis regarding the civil war in Ukraine should it arise. The initiative mirrors a famous communications channel between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War. A Moscow–Washington hotline, often referred to as the "red telephone," was established in 1963 following the Cuban missile crisis.

Elections in Himara should be included under the strong Greek - Albanian nationalist rhetoric


Even the president of the Republic of Albania, Bujar Nishani, opened the campaign with George Goro together .. He decorates the  polyphonic mix group, Himare - Vranishte

Tirana. The involvement of nationalist rhetoric, to the administrative elections in Himara Municipality, has just begun.

President of the Republic of Albania Bujar Nishani, has almost blown election campaign by decorating a mix polyphonic group consisting of singers from Himara and Vranisht ,, as new Municipality of Himara syndrom, voted by the Parliament of Albania, opposed by the people of Himara.

But in the background appears the current chairman of Himara, George Goro, who is running with the Socialist Party.

On the other ex Mayor of Himara and Omonia`s Former President Vassilis Bolanos, will be the first in the list of Concillers, who will claim the next Speaker of new Parliament of Himara.

According to all the tests, in the elections of June 21, Himara will be a very important geopolitical issues, as clashes of the Albanian - Greek issues about Himara, are even stronger in the future.

The new territorial division, was opposed by the people of Himara and Lukovo, due to the involvement of another region, Vranisht, which does not fit in with the consciousness of the people of Himara.