Saturday, June 26, 2010

Guardian: Greece Mulls Selling, Leasing Islands To Cut Debt

Posted on 25 June 2010 by Apostolos Papapostolou ShareThis

Greece is ready to sell or offer long-term leases on some of its islands so as to cut back on its debts, The Guardian reports.
The daily notes that an area in Mykonos, one of Greece’s top tourist destinations, is one of the sites for sale. The area is one-third owned by the government, which is looking for a buyer willing to inject capital and develop a luxury tourism complex, according to a source close to the negotiations, The Guardian reported.
Russian and Chinese investors are also said to be looking at property on the island of Rhodes with billionaire Roman Abramovich allegedly being one of them, the newspaper said.

“I am sad – selling off your islands or areas that belong to the people of Greece should be used as the last resort,” Makis Perdikaris, director of Greek Island Properties told The Guardian.
“But the first thing is to develop the economy and attract foreign domestic investment to create the necessary infrastructure. The point is to get money.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

Clinton Speaks Against Homophobia in Albania

US State Secretary Hillary ClintonAs part of a speech made in celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) month US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in support of an Albanian gay man who came out publicly during a popular reality show.

"In Albania, a young man named Klodian Cela recently came out on a popular television program called Big Brother and soon after, our ambassador, John Withers, went on television to publicly express support for this man,” said Clinton during her speech.

“He visited his hometown and he invited him to an event at our Embassy, conveying to all Albanians that the United States supports his rights and respects his courage," Clinton added.

Cela’s expression of his sexual orientation on the show in February provoked a series of small protests in his hometown of Lezha, in northern Albania, which were condemned by Ambassador Withers and various rights groups.
The Albanian parliament approved in February a sweeping anti-discrimination law that includes protection of the rights of sexual minorities, winning praise from activists.

Although the new anti-discrimination did not include a provision that legalizes same-sex unions, as previously proposed by Prime Minister Sali Berisha, activists applauded it as a step forward for the gay community.

While the Albanian parliament decriminalised homosexual relations in 1995, more than a decade later gays and lesbians are still heavily stigmatised, and a majority hide their sexual orientation, fearing that if it is discovered their safety will be endangered.

Human rights reports on Albania concede that ingrained attitudes among the public leave Albanian gays and lesbians on the fringes of society. Albanian Human Rights Group reports that Albanian homosexuals face “intolerance, physical and psychological violence - often from the police - and discrimination in the workplace.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Athens not validate signed agreements with Tirana and the Ottoman fleet is actually in Albania!

Which would be the next step of Athens?

While Ankara sends its fleet in the Ionian Sea, and thus open a western front in Greece, Athens has not yet sent to Parliament for ratification the agreement with Albania on maritime boundaries, while supposedly protesting for change Tirana's stance on this issue.

So, after the Aegean, Ankara is now spreading the Ionian Sea, where one months after ratification by the Albanian parliament's agreement to keep fixed the Turkish naval force 1125 men in Albanian territorial waters, Turkey will attain naval exercise in the Ionian Sea from 28 to 30 June.

For this purpose, arrived as early as June 22 in Albanian ports Turkish flotilla TMTG (Turkish Maritime Task Group), comprising four frigates and one ship is general support previously made successive visits to Tunisia, Algeria, Spain, Italy, Croatia and Montenegro.

But accoring to annalysts the Psychological effects just in the presence of the Turkish fleet in the Albanian ports appear in the Albanian Parliament. Added to the Greek minority nationalist pressure. Yesterday in parliamentary Albanian MP Cam Community Dashamir Tahiri threatened for the second time President of HRUP Evangelos Doules.

This development could lead to new tensions, in which Berisha's government, can be stance without being directly involved in these issues, while on the other hand gives the countervailing forces to increase elements of Albanian nacionalists, against Greek community in Albania, before the process of counting the population next year.

The european prospective of Albania including visas regime will decide with exclucive veto from Athens if it will be necessary.

Greece should make clear to Tirana that there would be reconfiguration of the bilateral relations unless two things happen:

(A) immediately resolved the issue of maritime borders, to adopt the existing agreement.

(B) to require that the neighboring country to be very careful regarding the presence of Turkish forces in the region. It should be clear that for Albania to Greece Tirana actually go almost hostile actions against our country.

And if not heard, the calls of Athens to Tirana will influence the European prospects of the country but also necessary, for reasons of balance, the presence of naval forces on the coasts and ports in Northern Epirus, Vlora, Saranda and Himara.

Greek PM: Aim of terrorists will not be achieved

Prime Minister George Papandreou expressed his grief and abhorrrence over the bomb attack at the Citizen's Protection ministry on Thursday night that cost the life of the minister's adjutant. "I express my grief and indignation, the grief and indignation that every Greek citizen feels over today's terrorist attack, that resulted in the loss of a human life.

"In a period when the country and our people are waging a daily struggle for the exit from the crisis, cowardly murderers want to deal a blow at normalcy and our democracy, Greek society, the interests of the Greek citizens and the sacrifices that they are making today for the country to stand on its feet.

"Those investing in illegality and force will receive their reply not only from the state, but from our society as well in its entirety. The aim of the terrorists will not be achieved. The government, society, the citizens will not be terrorised. I express personally and on behalf of the government my warm condolences and our support to the family of dead police officer George Vassilakis."

NGO slams fine of Albania TV for video of official


TIRANA, Albania — A media organization has condemned as exorbitant the euro400,000 ($491,000) fine imposed on an Albanian TV station that aired video of a government officials asking a job applicant to take her clothes off.

The court found Top Channel TV station liable for damages because the video, showing Culture, Youth, Tourism and Sports Minister Ylli Pango asking a woman to strip to see whether she would be good for the job, had been obtained illegally.

Pango was fired immediately. He sued the station.

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organization on Wednesday condemned the "exorbitant fine" as violating the "goal of providing information that is in the public interest."
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders also condemned "the unprecedented damages award."
"Blatant abuse of authority by a government minister is a subject of public interest and the press must be free to cover it.... This decision is unacceptable and constitutes a serious violation of media freedom," it said.

Albania's fledgling independent press frequently complains of politically motivated attacks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Orthodox building complex

A metropolitan church, a cultural and educational centre are included in the orthodox building complex of Gjirokaster, inaugurated on Sunday in the presence of the archbishop of Tirana and All Albania, Anastasios.

As it was reported in a relevant article of “Panorama” newspaper of Tirana, the church was planned to be built since the 1960s but the communist government of Enver Hodja at the time destroyed the foundation of the building.

During his speech at the inauguration ceremony, the Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania, Anastasios, stressed among other things, that the Church is a place for reconciliation, hope and fraternization.

EP Resolution Backs Albania Visa Liberalisation

Tirana | 23 June 2010 |
The European Parliament building, Strasbourg, France. Photo by  Davor Konjikusic
The European Parliament building, Strasbourg, France. Photo by Davor Konjikusic
The European Parliament approved on Wednesday a resolution backing Albania’s bid for the liberalisation of visas for travel in the European states that are part of the so-called Schengen zone.

The resolution, which was drafted by Greek MP Nikolaos Chountis, who is the EP Rapporteur on Albania, was supported by 59 MPs out of the 60 in attendance at the Foreign Affairs Committee meeting.

The resolution welcomes the May 27 decision of the European Commission, EC, to back visa liberalisation with Albania, while calling on the EC to check in the coming months if the country has fulfilled the remaining requirements of the visa roadmap.

The resolution also calls on Albanian political parties to engage in constructive dialogue on a new electoral law that would guarantee complete transparency in the upcoming elections.

Speaking during a cabinet meeting in Tirana, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha greeted the resolution as historic, while underlining that the visa liberalisation process was now unstoppable.

“The process of visa liberalisation, so eagerly awaited by Albanians, is going in the right direction,” said Berisha.

The resolution had been scheduled to be put to a vote on June 1, but was postponed due to the political stalemate between the Albanian opposition and the government over the results of the country's 2009 parliamentary elections.

EU police in Kosovo arrest war crimes suspect, look for 2 more

EU police in Kosovo say they have arrested a man suspected of torturing prisoners in camps set up by ethnic Albanian guerrillas in northern Albania during the 1998-99 Kosovo war.

Kristiina Herodes, a spokeswoman for the 2,000 strong EU police mission in Kosovo, said Wednesday the force "carried out a house search and arrested a male suspect" in Djakovica, a town close to Kosovo's western border with Albania.

She says two more suspects have been identified.

This is the second arrest related to the alleged torture of prisoners in detention centres run by the Kosovo Liberation Army. The guerrilla force used Albania's north as a base from which to supply and organize its volunteer force in Kosovo fighting a separatist war against Serbia.

Albania calls for Balkan schengen system

Albania’s Minister of Interior Lulzim Basha declared on Monday that Albania’s Presidency of the Regional Initative for Migration, Asylum and Refugees would be dedicated to creating a Balkan Schengen system, the albanian media reported.

“Our main goal is to produce within a short period an agenda for the installment of the Balkan Schengen, the free movement of the citizens of our countries without borders, tariffs or custom barriers,” said Basha during a workshop on the initiative in Tirana.

The idea of the so-called Balkan Schengen put forward by Basha was backed by the head of the delegation of the European Commission in Tirana, Helmut Lohan.

“In this way the countries in the region can give a vote of confidence to each other the way that the European Commission did,” said Lohan in the workshop. “Backing regional cooperation in the economic and political level is always a priority for the European Union,” he added.

EP in last attempt to mediate Albania deal


Today @ 09:34 CET

A European Parliament initiative to overcome Albania's political crisis has failed to produce the hoped-for results and the two political factions involved have agreed to undertake one last-ditch attempt before moving to put on hold Albania's bid for EU membership, parliament sources have said.

The leaders of the EP's two largest groups, Joseph Daul of the centre-right EPP and Socialist chairman Martin Schulz, met Albania's Prime Minister Sali Berisha and opposition leader Edi Rama in May and gave them three weeks to sort out their political differences over last year's elections. The initiative was supported by the European Commission and member state foreign ministers but the time elapsed without a deal in sight.

The European Parliament is getting impatient with Albania (Photo:

Mr Daul is starting a visit to Tirana today (23 June) where he is set to meet both Mr Berisha and Mr Rama. Parliamentary sources said he would try to persuade the prime minister in particular to match concessions already made by Mr Rama.

Mr Rama's socialist party has boycotted the newly-elected parliament for almost two years asking for a recount of the vote. The demand was rejected by the government. Socialist MPs finally took up their parliamentary seats after the EU decided to get involved.

Mr Daul and Mr Schulz are said to agree with the European Commission that the brakes should be put on Albania's move towards EU membership if the two sides continued their feuding. "We would need to step up the pressure," one source said.....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adem Demaci: After Kosovo, now turn to resolve the Cam issue

INA | 06/22/2010 | Breaking News

Legendary leader of the resistance in Kosovo, Adem Demaci, said that already has come to turn the Cam issue to be resolved as quickly and efficiently by the Greek side.

"No one better than the Kosovo Albanians can not understand your pain," stated Demaci, in his speech on the occasion of marking the Week Cham Culture in Tirana .

According to him, there should also put the blame on the Greek people today for what became a part of their predecessors.

"But, at any cost, by means of time today, you need to seek our rights, by means which are supported by our major European allies and across the Atlantic", stated Demaci.




Lorenzo Vidino: "Terror Threat from young Muslims born in Europe ?"

written by: Ioannis Michaletos, 21-Jun-10

"The most likely threat comes from small groups of European passport-holders who travel to countries like Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen to obtain training and expertise."

- Exclusive interview with Lorenzo Vidino, the renowned Italian expert on Islam, international terrorism and European counter-strategies, conducted by Ioannis Michaletos, WSN Editor for South East Europe and South-eastern Office Co-ordinator -

Ioannis Michaletos: What is your view concerning the current European counter-terrorism strategy? Are the main issues being addressed in an adequate manner, or is there a long way before we can call the whole approach as a "strategy" itself?

Lorenzo Vidino: I think it is improper to talk about a cohesive European counter-terrorism strategy, as each European country employs different strategies that are the consequence of its history, culture, legal framework, previous experience with terrorism, and perception of the threat.

The European Union has been playing a remarkable role in attempting to harmonize the efforts of its member countries. Yet major differences remain. This is visible at the level of foreign policy, where some countries directly link the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan to their own security and therefore make a direct commitment of troops on the ground, while others are reluctant to do so. But there are also enormous differences in terms of internal policies. Some countries, like France, have a very aggressive legislation that allows authorities to take measures that would be inconceivable in, let's say, Germany.

This gap was much more significant nine years ago, immediately after 9/11, but I think that still today it is incorrect to talk of a full-fledged pan-European strategy. Thanks largely to the efforts of various EU institutions there is remarkable operational cooperation among European authorities at all levels and a continuous exchange of ideas among policymakers of various countries, which is unquestionably leading towards increasing homogeneity of counter-terrorism policies and practices. Yet I think there are legal, political, and cultural differences among different countries that prevent the formation of a homogeneous pan-European strategy. And, to be sure, I am not convinced that is a negative thing.

Once Brussels provides a general framework and forms of solid cooperation are established, I do not see any problem with each country implementing its own counter-terrorism policy in its own way. And indeed the system seems to be working. Proof of that are the dozens of attacks that have been thwarted over the last few years in several European countries.

Ioannis Michaletos: There has been a long talk around the interrelation between Islamic originated terrorism and illegal immigration from the Muslim countries to Europe. According to your estimation, is there a direct or indirect link between those two phenomena? ...more

Albanian TV channel fined for exposing minister's sexual demands

Albania's Top Channel TV has been fined €400,000 (£334,000) for broadcasting a tape that showed a former government minister asking for sexual favours from a young woman in exchange for a job.

A Tirana judge ruled that the recording had been obtained illegally and therefore the TV station must pay damages to the former minister of culture Ylli Pango.

The broadcast, on the investigative programme Fisk Fare, showed Pango holding a meeting with an applicant in his villa, during which he asks the woman to remove her clothes and wear a bikini in order to assess her suitability for the tourism job.

Thirty minutes after the broadcast, in March, Pango was fired by the prime minister. He later claimed he was the victim of a media sting.

Rama Meets Papandreou for albanian politic crises

NEW YORK-The effort launched yesterday, to share with senior representatives of the Socialist International concern about the political situation in Albania.The Chairman of PS was announced during the meetings with other heads of delegations present at this event.

Yesterday evening, Edi Rama met with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. The main topic of discussion is focused on Albania's political crisis, which the PASOK leader was seen as an obstacle to the integration of Albania into the EU.The Socialist Mayor Edi Rama, accompanied in this meeting by the international secretary of the SP, Arta Dade and Taulant Balla.

Monday, June 21, 2010


The turkish frigate F-490 TCG Gaziantep Class in Vlora Gulf this morning

The Turkish Navy Forces will involve the Task Group (TG) 496.1 which will be located in port Durres and Vlora in Albania from 22 to 25 June 2010.

On June 26 will join the submarine INONU that by the June 17, 2010 at the port of Taranto in the visit of the Italian Naval Fleet.

The Task Group consists of two frigates MEKO-200T, two OHPerry (TCG Kemalreis, TCG Turgutreis, TCG Gaziantep, TCG Giresun) and the oil tanker "Akar" commanded by Admiral. Mücahit Şişlioğlu. Mücahit Şişlioğlu.

Albin Kurti: Kosovo has the right to union with Albania

PRISTINA-leader of the movement "Self-determination", Albin Kurti in an interview on the radio "Free Europe" states that "sovereignty means the right of Kosovo to control natural resources and economic capacities, means the right of Kosovo to join Albania, Kosovo means the right to military means to eleminate Serbian parallel structures from territorial integrity of Kosovo."

Albin Kurti speaks well for his political ambitions declaring that "we decided as Self Determination forum to take part in elections, as it is urgent that during these two years to increase the independence sovereignty of Kosovo".

According to him, people need a different kind of state of Kosovo, the state of Kosovo, which is in the service of citizens. Speaking to the north of the country and highlighting the measures to be taken, Kurti said the problem is threefold: political, security and economic.

Turkish exercise in the Ionian Sea

In Alert is the Greek Navy Command as part of the Turkish flotilia, consisting of four frigates and a tanker to be installed in port of Durres and Vlora, Albania.

But vigilant consist to be the Greek Navy Forces as part of the Turkish flotilia, the Task Group (TG) in consists of four frigates and a tanker is in port Durres and Vlora, Albania.

Defense Net note that the Turks have financed the rebuilding of these naval bases in the strategic partnership seeking to Albania. At the same time issued a warning that the Turkish submarine INONU - now visiting the Italian naval base of Taranto - will move to the sea around 70 km west of Cephalonia, in within the western boundary of the Athens FIR.

According to military sources, is probably from 25 to 28 June, the Turkish Task Group fleeing from Albanian ports to move south, to meet the submarine in the Ionian Sea. This is another unprecedented moving by the Turks, who without violating international law, shall demonstrate power and flag. And not only in the Aegean and Ionian seas but also in various parts of the Mediterranean: the Task Group has already visited Tunis, Algiers, Split, Bari and Cartagena in Spain ...

Chinese CNEEC seek to extend business activity in Albania

China National Electric Equipment Corporation, the largest state provider of equipment for the energy sector and one of the top 100 companies in China is interested to extend its activity in Albania, the company’s Vice President Zheng Chengjun said during a meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

“The company is interested in investment projects in infrastructure, construction of roads, hydro power construction projects, as well as to explore any opportunity in the field of water management,” Chengjun said.

“The very positive developments of the Albanian economy over the last years have encouraged the executive board of our company to extend its investment projects also to Albania,” Chengjun added.

Berisha appreciated the fact that this company could invest in Albania. He assured the company's representatives of the government's support, of transparency in cooperation with investors, as guaranteed by the laws through which business in Albania operates.


On Saturday, June 12, 2010 a mission of Alpine Club from Komotini won the top Akrokeranea of Chica, in the Himara Region.

Before they are welcomed by the Himara Mayor Vasilis Bolanos and Deputy Mayor of Himara Menelaus Dimas.

The ascent started from the neck Logaras, with an additional member from Himara, Alexander Konomi.

The conquest mission over Chica mountain 2050 m where made successful, by Greek alpines comes from Trake.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rocket launcher found in terrorist safehouse was used in US embassy attack, police say

The police crime lab in Athens has identified the RPG7 portable anti-tank rocket launcher discovered in a safehouse of the terrorist organization "Revolutionary Struggle" in the Athens district of Kypseli on April 19.

Based on the crime lab test results, the specific launcher was used in a rocket attack on the US Embassy in Athens back in 2007, which caused minor damage to the building and no injuries.

The attack had occurred at 5:58 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2007 and had originated from the environs of the US Embassy, using a "self-propelled explosive projectile", according to a public order ministry announcement that was issued following the incident.

'Terrorist' Planned Base in Kosovo

Kosovo Police’s anti-terrorism unit, under the supervision of a EULEX prosecutor, arrested a Kosovo Albanian male in Mitrovica on suspicion of terrorism.

Bajram Asllani, 29, a resident of Mitrovica, was charged in connection with a conspiracy that originated in US state of North Carolina.

Eight people have already been indicted as part of the investigation, including another Kosovo Albanian Hysen Sherifi, who is originally from Gjilan and was arrested last July.

Authorities say that Asllani asked Sherifi to raise money so he could buy land for a base in Kosovo to store ammunition and weapons for the purpose of terrorism.

The action on Thursday followed a request for extradition made by the USA to Kosovo.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina has charged the defendant with two counts: the provision of material support or resources to terrorists, support for terrorism and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country.

The order for the arrest and the house search were authorized by a EULEX pre-trial judge from the Mitrovica District Court.

Sic vis pacem, para bellum

Throughout human history leaders who kept their eye on narrow domestic expediencies, and failed to appreciate the proverbial "forest" whose trees one must look not separately but as a whole, have invariably faltered -- and, along with them, their nations have similarly stumbled and fell. At the root of this malaise lies, almost without fail, the absence of strategy.

More than a year ago we asked on this very page the question of What Happened to Greek strategy? The disheartening answer, which has not changed since, was that Greece has simply left strategy by the wayside. Greek leaders, motivated by partisan politics and domestic wranglings, have had little time for strategy. To put it plainly, strategic thinking does not inform Greek governments.

The Greek "intelligentsia" is similarly divorced from the subject of strategy. Greek "academics" throw the term about with abandon, but have little, if any, real connection to Strategic Studies. The net result is that Greece lacks a clear outline of where she should be headed and under what conditions. And it is reaffirmed daily that the Greek political class prefers cafeteria "estimates" over any serious assessment of the country's real capabilities and potential (which would inevitably expose many crippling flaws and discommode those who have made their life's sole mission to exploit political power as the means to personal fortune)........


New political battle after ICJ decision

Source: Beta
PRIŠTINA -- Priština daily Express writes that a new political battle will ensue after the International Court of Justice gives its opinion on Kosovo’s independence.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague (FoNet archive)
The International Court of Justice in The Hague (FoNet archive)

The daily writes that this will have consequences for both Belgrade and Priština.

“Both sides will try to interpret the opinion to their advantage, and the winner will be the side that shows greater political power,” unnamed sources from Kosovo institutions told the daily.

They also said that “partner countries” of Belgrade and Priština would also be involved in the process.

Priština is announcing new recognitions after the ICJ’s decision is given and expects help in that process from countries that have recognized Kosovo’s independence.

“One step which will be taken by the Kosovo institutions is that they will send demands for recognition to countries that have yet to do so. Along with the demands, they will be sending their interpretation of the court’s decision,” the source said.

The daily states that experts of the International Crisis Group (ICG) believe that Priština and Belgrade will “begin talks from different positions” after the court decision.

“Serbia will have to treat Kosovo as an equal side. Belgrade will try to talk about the possibility of discussing Kosovo’s status, while Priština will insist on talks that only include technical questions,” ICG analyst in Kosovo Naim Rashiti said.

He said that Priština and Belgrade would not talk only about technical questions, because there is a possibility that there will be talks about some parts of the Ahtisaari proposal for Kosovo’s status.

The ICJ’s opinion is expected unofficially some time in July.