Saturday, September 3, 2011

Missing Kosovo Lobbyist Under Arrest in Eritrea

Kosovo’s flying independence lobbyist, James Berisha, is being held in prison in Eritrea, it emerged on Thursday afternoon, two weeks after he was reported missing.

Petrit Collaku

Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry, MFA, revealed on Thursday that James Berisha, who is touring Africa in a bid to convince countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence, is being held in prison.

Foreign minister Enver Hoxhaj has asked for help from the foreign ministries of Germany, France and Saudi Arabia to assist with the release of Berisha.

“Those countries have good relations with Eritrea and we asked them to help us for the release of Berisha from prison,” Artan Behrami, MFA spokesperson told Balkan Insight.
The ministry was unable to say if Berisha why he had been arrested.

"The MFA is trying through diplomatic channels to release James Berisha and say to Eritrean officials that Berisha's presence in Eritrea has to do solely with lobbying for Kosovo's independence, nothing else," said Behrami.

MFA stated that according to the information’s received, Berisha’s was in good health and was being treated well by Eritrean officials.

At the end of May, Berisha crash-landed in Sudan, after a cylinder of the Cessna 172 4-seater plane broke and blocked the supply of fuel to the engine.

He was unharmed. On August 15, he took a commercial flight to continue his mission, and flew from Sudan to Eritrea. Nothing has been heard from him since.

Lumnije Gashi, who is based in Pristina and has been tracking Berisha's moves in Africa, said he received the last email from Berisha on August 15, the day he landed in Asmara, Eritrea.

“In this email, Berisha warned us that he may be arrested,” Gashi told Balkan Insight.
A resident of the US state of Texas who grew up in Kosovo, Berisha started flying across Africa last November, asking African states to recognise Kosovo’s independence, declared in 2008.

Berisha, 39, flew all over Latin and Central America in 2009, visiting 34 countries and four territories to thank states that had recognised Kosovo’s independence and lobby others that have not.

He was planning to continue his lobbying mission in Asia. Berisha spent his childhood in Kosovo and then left for Western Europe to fulfil his dream of becoming a pilot.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hit by economic crisis, migrants are heading back home

Biggest outflow is noted among the Albanian community

The number of rental notices pasted on bus stops and light posts across the city center is rising by the day.
By Ioanna Fotiadi
Hundreds of migrants among those who began coming to Greece in the early 1990 in order to seek a better life for themselves and their families, are packing up their belongings, vacating their homes, mustering their courage and setting off for the one-way journey back home, compelled by the economic crisis.
Athenian neighborhoods that are known for having large migrant populations such as Neapoli, Kypseli, Omonia, Victoria, Aghios Panteleimonas and Patissia are being abandoned, and more and more “to let” signs are adorning doors and street lamps along their streets. Small basement apartments and tiny lofts built atop apartment buildings are emptying out as the city’s migrants begin to leave en masse.
The biggest outflow has been noted among the Albanian community in Greece, which has felt the effect of the slump, especially in the construction sector. In many neighborhoods around the capital you will see Albanian men taking their kids to the nearby playground or wiling away time in the local cafe because they no longer have a job to go to. The women, moreover, many of whom work as household help, are seeing more cancellations than new jobs.
“Many have been thinking about moving back home since last year, but their children, many of whom go to Greek school and do not speak Albanian, are the reason why they’re hesitating,” one member of the community told Kathimerini.
When the school year came to an end in June, however, a number of them decided to take the plunge.
“At first, one of the two parents, the one who hasn’t got a job, will go ahead and discover more about the situation,” the same person, who declined to be named, said. “Some go all together and spend the entire summer there just to see what it’s like, though these are normally people who are reasonably well off.”
The Albanian government has responded to the influx of repatriations, according to Flutura Tafilaku, a member of the Union of Albanian Associations in Athens, with “policies encouraging them to return.”
Most look forward to starting a business of their own or being self-employed as wages remain at very low levels in the neighboring country. According to Tafilaku, “there are large swathes of farmland in Albania that have been abandoned, but everyone wants to move into the city to start up a small business.”
Some, adds Tzanetos Antypas, head of the non-governmental organization Praxis, have already laid the foundations for this. “Many Albanians have invested in the coastal area by building rooms to let and are now going back to run them and add to them,” said Antypas. “In Europe, Albanian seaside resorts have been heavilly promoted as a cheap tourist destination.”
It is estimated that of the some 500,000 Albanians that lived in Greece, 50,000 have returned home since 2004. Others, meanwhile, are looking further afield. “A great percentage of our compatriots are planning to migrate West, to Canada or the USA,” noted journalist Frida Bedaj.
It is not just Albanians, however, who are finding fewer reasons to stay in Greece. Romanians, Bulgarians and Poles, now citizens of the European Union, are also returning to their own countries, which have been experiencing a significant boost in growth since their accession to the EU.
“It has become abundantly clear that they will find much better job opportunities there,” said Antypas.
Some Asian immigrants are also pondering the idea of leaving Greece as their work dwindles, putting their residence permits in jeopardy. This option is being considered mostly by young men from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who support entire extended families back home.
“At first they used to visit their families once every year or so and stay for a month,” said Antypas. “Now, 30 percent left on their usual summer vacation, but they have not purchased a return ticket.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Albania Facing Electricity Shortage Following Low Production

Rising demand coupled with falling supply of electricity is threatening an electricity shortage across Albania in coming months, experts have warned.

Besar Likmeta

Data published by Albania’s Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, shows that electricity consumption in Albania grew by 8.7 per cent in the first six months of 2011, compared to the same period of the last year.

However, production was 45.1 per cent lower when compared to the same period in 2010, due to lower rainfall in the country’s hydroelectric power stations, which account for approximately 98 per cent of the total production of electricity and are susceptible to changing weather patterns.

The lack of supply forced Albania’s Power Corporation, KESH, to import 1452 GWh of electricity in the first six months of 2011, nearly ten times more than the 177 GWh imported during the same period of 2010.

Faced with a revenue shortfall and a recently introduced austerity package, the country cannot afford costly electricity imports facing again the risk of extended power shortages, which plagued its grid in the past decade.

A drought that engulfed the Balkans in the summer of 2007, sliced KESH’s ability to generate electricity from its hydropower plants leading to forced power outages, which in some areas of the country lasted up to 16 hours a day

Only one year earlier, the Ministry of Finance estimated that power shortages in 2006 cost Albania 1 per cent of GDP growth.

Simon Uzunov, a leading energy expert at the Vienna Energy Community Secretariat, a institution established between the European Union and other countries to extend the EU internal energy market to South East Europe, notes that the southern part of the Balkan region, suffers from a lack of electricity generation capacities, which could be tackled through a series of measures.

“Short-term there is a need to provide substitution options for electricity; this is demand-side efficiency, which includes the insulation of buildings and substitution of heating with other energy sources,” Uzinov told Balkan Insight.....................................

Wikileaks, Albania, the Jali scandal in 2007

The role of Jamarber Maltezi, for the demolition of buildings in Jale, Himara Region

American Embassy, ​​commented on the demolition of buildings Jale, Himara Region, at the request of Jamarber Malltezi. A year after the demolition of buildings in Jale, the World Bank has launched an investigation into the impact that has had the premier bridegroom, Jamarber Malltezi. US Embassy comments on the situation and the case qualifies as corruption cases must be added like Gerdec, Durres-Kukes road, and agreements with Damir Fazlic.

Title: The Family Berisha on World Bank buildings Link

Submitted by Embassy in Tirana on 10.02.2009

Take the U.S. Department of State

Signed Ambassador John Withers

"At the end of January 2009 the Albanian parliament and the press began to accuse the Albanian government and especially Prime Minister Sali Berisha groom, Jamarber Malltezi, misuse of funds of the World Bank project for personal purposes. World Bank stopped the project and is now investigating the scandal at the center of which is violent destruction of some buildings in 2007 against the World Bank policies.WB is expected to issue findings of this investigation in mid-February.

Local media has shot up recently copies of the Inspection Panel of the World Bank, in which the issue is regarded as "one of the most difficult investigations being undertaken these past 14 years." The scandal is about the WB's project "On management structure of the south coast", led by Berisha's husband, Malltezi ... World Bank agreed to finance the project after receiving assurances from the Berisha government that no building would not break until All procedures were carried out and the locals were arranged in a different area.

But on March 26, 2007, Malltezi sent a letter to local authorities, including the head of the Construction Police to complain about "illegal construction on the south coast", especially in Jale. The letter stated that the photographs were financed by the project. Maltezi urged that measures be taken soon. Less than a week later, on April 3, police announced that their homes residents will destruct. They were given five days to appeal to local courts, which is what they did, but before considering the appeal courts, bulldozers began destroying homes, a process which ended on April 17.

In a subsequent request together with the Construction Police Departament, Maltezi promised that his office had secured the necessary equipment to control the situation on the ground. .......

more see:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

UN Security Council meets to discuss Kosovo

BELGRADE, NEW YORK -- FM Vuk Jeremić expressed his disappointment at the failure of the UN Security Council to officially condemn unilateral acts of the government in Priština.


The council today condemned the recent violence in the province and called on Belgrade and Priština to continue their dialogue, but a Russian draft presidential statement was "blocked", according to Tanjug news agency.

Addressing reporters after the council's session in New York on Tuesday, Jeremić stated that "Priština tried to use force", and wondered "if it will try it again".

Jeremić also noted that that the question that now arises was how to overcome the difficulties - by sending in paramilitary forces, which he appraised was done by Priština, or through negotiations.

"Why was it impossible to accept a (presidential UNSC) statement about what was more or less said during this session? Those who blocked it are carrying the responsibility regarding a repeat of unilateral acts undertaken by Priština," Jeremić told journalists.
Ethnic tensions in Albania

by Constantine Callaghan , Maria Karathanos , (Photos by Constantine Callaghan)
29 Aug 2011

The outskirts of Saranda, which sits on the idyllic Ionian coast a stone’s throw away from                  the holiday island of Corfu

The outskirts of Saranda, which sits on the idyllic Ionian coast a stone’s throw away from the holiday island of Corfu
IN the Athens neighbourhood of Metaxourgeio buses leave every evening for Albania. The passengers carry with them boundless amounts of luggage and cardboard boxes that resemble moving home rather than going on holiday or for a short visit. Their tickets are one-way.
Petros, who runs a travel agency specialising in bus travel to Albania, said that business was going well for his company for two reasons. Firstly, Albanians are returning to Albania because of the crisis in Greece. Secondly, tourism is a growing market in Albania and bus travel is the cheapest way to get there.
This opinion was shared by a second travel agent, Aphrodite, who claimed that many Albanians were making their way back to seek opportunities in their home country.
From 1948 to 1991, Albania was isolated from the rest of the world. Only two decades ago, it was almost impossible for a foreigner to enter the former hermit communist state, nor was anyone permitted to leave. Enver Hoxha’s dictatorship lasted 45 years and cost two generations their right to individualism through the banning of religion, private property and freedom of movement. The extensive network of informers and secret police meant that bands of people vanished into Albania’s many prisons.
When communism eventually collapsed in 1992, seven years after Hoxha’s death, vast amounts of people left a country which had to make the difficult adjustment from a communist dictatorship to a modern democracy in what became known as the democratisation period.
Today, many of those who left behind a struggling depressed country are beginning to see a future in Albania as the global economic crisis stagnates European economies. In contrast to Greece, where the economy deflated by 4.5 percent in 2010, Albania witnessed a 3.5 percent growth rate.
Albanian migrant workers who left for Greece sent back 2.2 billion euros between January 2003 and May 2011, making a substantial impact upon the Albanian economy.
Albania managed to avoid being plunged into the global recession but, as Aphrodite warned, it is still a poor country with a lot of poor people. As both ethnic Greeks and migrant Albanian workers return to Albania, tensions remain high in the northern Epirus region between the indigenous Greek com­munity and Albanians.
Clean-shaven and simply dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, Leonidas from Saranda is a likeable, modest, softly-spoken charismatic individual with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the region, its history and contemporary politics. Together we drove to the highest vista in Saranda, location of the Ottoman Likursi Castle. From this vantage point Leonidas could point out the designated Greek minority zone and each village that it encompassed in what was a flat green valley, a marshland until a canal was built to create better agricultural conditions.
Leonidas said it was impossible to know exact figures, but he estimated that out of the Greek community who used to live in Albania about 80 percent had left for Greece; many of them were now returning. Between 1991 and 2001 the indigenous Greek community in Saranda shrank by almost half, whereas the Albanian community increased.
In February 1995, the Human Rights Watch released a report which focused on the treatment experienced by the Greek minority in Albania. The NGO’s report claimed that, on the whole, relations between indigenous Greeks of northern Epirus, a term used by Greeks but rejected by Albanians, and Albanians had been peaceful, but many serious problems remained concerning freedom of expression and religion.
The Greeks of southern Albania are indigenous to the region and recognised by the government in Tirana as a national minority. As I travelled with Leonidas around the city of Saranda he explained to me that the difficulties faced by the Greek minority in Albania were still mostly regarding education. The main problem is that the designated zone which gives rights to minorities only covers a small part of where the Greeks live. Furthermore, it doesn’t include Himare, where the majority of inhabitants are Greeks.
Greek ties
What’s striking is how connected the Greek minority in Albania is to the Greek state. Leonidas, an example of the Greek minority of Albania, enjoyed the same services as others did across the border - Greek mobile phones, internet service providers operating from Corfu, cuisine, music, flags, Greek Orthodox churches and, most importantly, the ability to speak Greek. When walking along the streets of central Saranda, apart from the extraordinary numbers of Mercedes cars, it is easy to forget that you are outside Greece.
Leonidas lived through the final years of the Hoxha years and was able to leave Albania after the fall of communism to study in Thessaloniki. Once he had completed his master’s, he returned to Saranda, where he runs a successful business and is raising a family. He is typical of many indigenous Greeks from the region. His mother tongue is Greek, but he can also speak Albanian and uses it for official purposes.
That same evening as day turned to dusk we drove along some precarious rural roads to the Greek-inhabited village of Aliko inside the designated Greek minority zone. Posters printed in Greek announcing the recent August 15 celebrations were attached to lampposts advertising musicians that were to perform in the religious celebrations.
Aliko boasts a new church which was designed by Leonidas. In contrast to the pristine new church, the dilapidated town hall sits in the village square, with Greek, Albanian and European Union flags handing outside.
Leonidas took me to a statue at the far end of the square to explain the brutality of the communist regime.
Crossing lines
The statue portrayed four young men. They were ethnic Greeks from Aliko who in 1990 tried to cross the border into Greece but were caught by Albanian soldiers. They were executed to be made an example of and as a warning to others wishing to attempt escaping. Leonidas had made this statue in memory of the victims.
As well as people trying to cross over the mountains into Greece, others tried to swim the channel between the Albanian coast and Corfu. As one local told me, “not only could the naval patrol pick you up, which almost certainly meant execution at worst and longterm imprisonment at best, but if you were not a strong swimmer you had no chance with those currents and the distance.”
Without doubt, life in Aliko today is much better and basic rights are guaranteed, as an official minority zone. Yet there are native Greeks beyond this designated zone. Sixty kilometres north lies the town of Himare, whose population is 85 percent Greek. After we returned to Saranda, I took a minibus north along the coastal road to Himare.
The town is populated by roughly 11,000 inhabitants, predominantly Greek - over 85 percent speak Greek as their native language. A university professor from Ioannina explained that in the 1970s under Hoxha’s regime, Greek-inhabited coastal towns such as Himare and Saranda had something of a demographic transformation. At that time, military officers, secret service personnel and other state officials were posted to the coastal towns, paving the way for a shift in demographics.
Leonidas had arranged for me to meet and stay with some of his friends who live in a hamlet just outside Himare. Bar the children of the family, most had lived through the difficulties of Hoxha’s communist Albania. To add to their hardship, they had started feeling vulnerable after a string of disastrous events - uneasy democratisation process in the early 1990s, the collapse of the Ponzi pyramid scheme which destroyed the economy, let alone many people’s livelihoods, resulting in a near-civil war in 1997 and the rising anti-Greek Albanian nationalism.
Eleni, a teacher of Greek theology in Himare, whose name was changed for this article, told me how the Greek community was afraid to speak Greek and felt discriminated against by the Albanian state. Eleni spoke elegantly about her friend Aristotelis Goumas, who made headlines in Greece last August after he was murdered by an Albanian nationalist from the town of Vlore.
It was reported that three Albanians had demanded that Goumas not speak Greek in his own shop.
An argument broke out and some hours later the three Albanians followed him and murdered him in a hit-and-run attack. Goumas, a native of Himare, was a victim of a racially motivated murder which prompted a strong response from Athens. Prime Minister George Papandreou stated that “the rise of nationalism among extremist groups targeting the Greek minority in Albania is a very serious matter”. The attack was also condemned by Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
Eleni took me to a shrine set up in memory of Goumas that sits in the castle village just outside the town. The significance of the murder is that it made the minority feel even more insecure and served as a benchmark in increasing ethnic tensions.
As we drove up to Goumas’ memorial shrine one noticed the graffiti sprayed across roadside barriers, showing the elevated tension between indigenous Greeks and Albanians: “Himare=Greece” is painted in blue on the walls of the Greek Orthodox cemetery, while on the opposite side of the road startling red letters read “We love Chams” in reference to ethnic Albanians that inhabit northwestern Greece and parts of southern Albania.
It is impossible to calculate the exact numbers of the Greek minority, as the last time a census was conducted in Albania was in 1989. A census was scheduled to take place this year, but it has been the source of much controversy and was postponed.
Ethnic Greek organisations are pushing for the right to declare their ethnicity on the census, whereas large swathes of Albanian society fear this might support any irredentist claims of northern Epirus.
According to a report, the Greek consul in Korca, Theodoros Ikonomou, triggered a wave of controversy in February when he called on all people to declare their ethnicity.”Yes, Greeks exist in Korca. Yes, Vlachs are Greeks. Greeks, don’t be afraid of the census, proclaim your real origin,” Ikonomou urged in a speech later aired by Albanian media.”If in doubt, go and check the names and the language on the graves of your predecessors.”
The Vlachs’ priest in Korca immediately rejected the statement as irresponsible.
The imam of Dine Hoxha Mosque in Tirana has been vocal about his opposition to the census in line with Albanian nationalist sentiment alleging that the census poses a threat to Albanian territorial integrity and would not be in the interest of the Muslim community.
In line with Albania’s ambitions to eventually join the European Union, it is important for the country to be able to define itself demographically through a census.
But at the moment there is no solution, as economic uncertainty continues in Europe as a whole and busloads of people keep returning to Albania on one-way tickets.

Albanian Muslims, announced the boycott of the census

Muslim faithful have threatened to boycott the census if it will not be transparent.

Elbasan Muslims have signed a petition addressed to the Albanian Muslim Community, through which the government seek to ensure maximum transparency of the process of registration of the population on the basis of ethnicity and religion.

The community of Muslim believers Elbasan through this petition warns that if evidence of irregularities in the process, they will boycott the process, not only in the Elbasan region but throughout the country.

Elbasan Muslims have demanded that the registration process to be monitored strictly by them, to avoid, as expressed in those abuses.

Civil Protection Mechanism activated for forest fires in Greece & Albania

© Belga 2011

Greece and Albania have activated the Civil Protection Mechanism requesting urgent aerial assistance for raging forest fires in their countries. Within a few hours, the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) was able to deliver a coordinated EU response with aerial assets provided by Spain, France and Italy.

Greece has suffered large-scale forest fires in recent days in Alexandroupolis in the North-East of the country. Due to extreme weather conditions, the country is currently facing more than 100 forest fires, including 7 major ones.

On 25th August at 12.50 p.m. the Monitoring and Information Centre of the European Commission and the participating states to the Mechanism received a request from Greece for 6 fire fighting planes.

Thanks to the Monitoring and Information Centre of the European Commission, countries within the EU but also beyond the borders which are overwhelmed by natural and man-made disasters can request assistance from the 31 participating states (EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). In reacting together, they can provide assistance more rapidly and effectively than by acting alone, which is also a demonstration of European solidarity.

Over the past two summers the Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) has been activated 20 times to respond to forest fires inside and outside Europe, with Portugal, Greece, Italy and France being the most vulnerable.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Albania is a transit country for drugs"

Ivanov; Albanian
soldiers at risk to becouriers of Afghan heroin

Director of the Federal Agency of the Narcotics Traffic Control of Russia, Viktor Ivanov at a press conference, said that Albania is a transit country for drugs and that in his opinion it is related to the geographical position of our country.

Ivanov said that drugs transiting through Albania and Kosovo are being distributed in other European countries.

According to him there were 375 drug suppliers that distribute drugs in Europe while adding that the danger of drugs lies with the soldiers in Afghanistan.

Albanian soldiers at risk to be couriers of Afghan heroin

Russian anti-drug chief, Ivanov, sends an alarm to our country

Albanian soldiers in Afghanistan at risk of becoming couriers of heroin to Western Europe. The warning was given by the head of the federal service for anti-trafficking of drugs, which asked the Albanian government to make four eyes to this phenomenon. After that there were meetings with Prime Minister of the Interior and the country director of the Federal Service to Control Narcotics Trafficking of Russia, Viktor Ivanov, held a press conference, declaring that Albania risks involved in drug trafficking cartels , that export of heroin from Afghanistan to Europe.

At the press conference, he said that peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan, our country may be tempted to become part of the traffic of between 400 to include Albania narkotrafikut cartels, which supply Europe and Russia. "We are dealing with the phenomenon that the troops already in Afghanistan threaten to become part of drug trafficking, to become messengers of Afghan heroin shipments to Albania. Price of heroin purchased at a thousand dollars in Afghan countries and sold in Europe with 150 thousand dollars, "said Ivanov.

Wikileaks “reveals Albanian" scandals

Wikileaks “reveals” scandals
Wikileaks published a series of diplomatic documents regarding Albania during the period 2006-2010, which are attached to the folder with the cables collected from all US embassies in the world, including that of Tirana.

One of the documents underlines the so-called “Berisha’s breakdown in the Parliament” on February 23rd 2008, when he offended and threatened with death the opposition MP, Taulant Balla, using bad language.

The US Embassy in Tirana comments:

“Although Berisha’s breakdown is nothing new, this rhetoric from the Prime Minister has shocked the strongest political class and the media. ‘Shame and embarrassment’ were the most common reactions.”

“Berisha’s screams added the speculations that the increasing pressure after the tragedy of Gerdec and the verge of the new parliamentary elections have found Berisha in a difficult situation”.

Another cable refers to the General Prosecution and Albanian Government request for expertise assistance in the investigations of Kosta Trebicka’s death, the key witness and whistleblower of the Gerdec trial.

Regarding Gerdec, another document mentions the “pro-Berisha” media, such as TV Klan and Koha Jone, which undertook a wave of attacks against the General Prosecutor Ina Rama.

The comments of the US embassy say that “these media attacks are signals of the government’s next move with their campaign for undermining the General Prosecution’s independence. This last tactic is only an effort for making the Prosecution follow the government’s line and lead ‘soft’ investigations for the sensible cases of Gerdeci and Fazllic, which have harmful implications for the government. There is another hit for the Prime Minister, when his son-in-law Jamarber Malltezi was accused of abusing with the World Bank funds for personal interests for the Development of the Southern Coastline Plan.

The comment of the US embassy says that five months before the parliamentary elections, other corruption scandal – besides Gerdeci, Durres Kukes road and the agreement with Damir Fazllic – darkened Berisha’s anti-corruption image and increased the public perception that the Prime Minister, his family and his close circle is using the power for increasing their own wealth.

Corruption of state officials and power abuse are a hot topic for the voters, but also a double blessing for the opposition, referring to their past and present business agreements.

For the US embassy, the scandal of the former Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ylli Pango, who appeared asking sexual favors in exchange of a job in a video-scandal broadcasted by Top-Channel, shows how merciless was the ruling party for discharging him.

While the Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha was facing trial for power abuse and the Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu was also under investigation, Berisha and Topalli couldn’t afford another scandal in their cabinet.

“Their quick response showed that Pango was not liked in many circles, but also the sensitivity of the Prime Minister before the elections for avoiding another scandal that includes the ministers of his government”, the cable continues.

Another cable also mentions the public appearance of the US Embassador John Withers in the comic show “Portokalli”, which enjoys very high ratings, and its effect in the public. According to the US Embassy, this makes the Albanian public understand the political, social and cultural values of US.

Greece activates the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for fighting forest fires

published on Monday, August 29, 2011 under Environmnet

The European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) delivered a coordinated EU operation with aerial assets provided by Spain, France and Italy following the request made by Greece and Albania in fighting forest fires.

Greece has requested urgent aerial assistance for fight forest fires raging in Alexandroupolis (North-East of the country) and therefore it has activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Following this request, Albania has also asked for assistance. Greece has suffered large-scale forest fires in recent days. On 25th August, the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) of the European Commission and the participating states to the Mechanism received a request from Greece for three aerial fire fighting modules (i.e. a total of 6 Canadair CL-415).

The three first European countries willing to send assistance have been Spain, France and Italy. With regard to this circumstance, Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis response stated that the three countries, Spain, France and Italy, have given a real-time example of European solidarity. The Monitoring and Information Centre is helping to coordinate the European assistance in the crucial hours and days ahead.

The Civil Protection Mechanism has reacted to more than a hundred disasters worldwide since 2001, among them Hurricane Katrina in the USA (2005), earthquake in China (2008) and Italy (2009), earthquake in Haiti (2010) and earthquake / tsunami in Japan (2011). In the past two forest fire seasons the Civil Protection Mechanism was activated 20 times for forest fires inside and outside Europe. As example, it was activate to evacuate Europeans from Libya. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance. The European Commission manages the Mechanism through the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tadić: Serbia doesn’t want war, violence

BELGRADE -- Serbia’s President Boris Tadić has said that Serbia does not want war or violence and that Priština would have to bear consequences if it took violent actions.

Boris Tadić (Tanjug, file)
Boris Tadić (Tanjug, file)

“Serbia’s policy is peaceful and its goal is to establish permanent peace in the Balkans,” he pointed out.

“Serbia demands absolute status neutrality from EULEX and KFOR and prevention of Priština’s violent actions against northern Kosovo because it is their obligation in accordance with all UN decisions,” the president told daily Politika.

He stressed that Serbia would continue to fight to achieve its interests in European, world institutions and the UN, adding that the country would use all legal means to protect security and interests of its people in northern Kosovo or any other place they lived.

Tadić pointed out that Serbia’s representatives had been warning the international community of danger that stem from Priština’s unilateral and violent actions the entire time. He added that if anyone risked a war in this part of Europe, they would have to bear responsibility for the consequences.

The president pointed out that he said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Priština’s strategy was to change reality in the field with various actions aimed at expelling Serbs from Kosovo.

“I told my European partners that by accepting the situation created by violence they are

accepting the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo and taking responsibility for it,” Tadić said and added that Serbia would never accept ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo.

“I expect the European institutions to contribute to a peaceful solution and therefore I expect continuation of the Belgrade-Priština dialogue. We don't need anybody pushing us to continue the dialogue because it is in our interest to find a modus of joint existence and to minimize security risks,“ the president was quoted as saying.

Albanian President
, Bamir Topi, asked in Himara by citizens for human rights and the census

An American citizen from Himara, Romiros Goros, urges the Albanian President, to influence his decision to Census conducted without the pressing of the Albanian extremism.

Although the Albanian press, as the unilateral events whenever we Himara during the visit of Albanian President Bamir Topi in Himara, a citizen complained about the harsh rhetoric, which recently was used, to residents who do not feel that, they are part of the Albanian nation.

Being presented as an American citizen originally from Himara Romiros Goros, asked the Albanian President, to create conditions as appropriate, that people in Albania, to declare free, ethnicity and nationality or mother tongue.

President Topi, who was surprised by the intervention of the American citizen, said that religion in Albania is free to practice and invited the citizens of the U.S., to follow the process as it will be transparent.

But Romiros Goros, insisted on the fact that according to him, can not live together as a statement for census and Albanian nationalist movement itself against this claim, saying that in Albania there is no freedom while seeking to manipulate self-declaration by Albanian extremists Muslims.

see video: