Saturday, May 5, 2012

Angry Greeks vote in cliffhanger election

ATHENS (Reuters) - Angry Greek voters headed to the polls on Sunday for an election shrouded in uncertainty that could reignite Europe's debt crisis and renew doubts about the country's future in the euro zone.
At stake in the first general election since the debt crisis exploded at the end of 2009 is whether Greece sticks to the terms of deeply unpopular EU/IMF bailouts which saved it from bankruptcy but propelled it into a deep, protracted recession.
Opinion polls show voters hit by record unemployment and steep wage cuts will send to parliament an unprecedented number of small parties opposed to the austerity and punish New Democracy and the Socialist PASOK - the two parties who have ruled Greece for decades and the only major ones backing the bailouts.
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) across Greece and will close at 12:00 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), with many voters making up their mind at the last minute.
Many flinched and turned their head away at a polling station in the southern Athens suburb of Ilioupoli when asked if they had voted for one of the big parties.
"The big parties' policies are terrible, people are hungry," said Panagiotis, a 46-year old truck driver, after casting his vote for the anti-bailout Left Coalition. "I hope all the small parties are strengthened."
The election could see as many as seven small parties opposed to the bailout enter parliament, raising the possibility that the country which dragged the euro zone into the worst crisis since its creation could veer off the reform track and push the region back into turmoil.

Macedonia: Former commander threatens with partisan war to protect Albanian population in Macedonia
05 May 2012 
FOCUS News Agency
Home / Southeast Europe and Balkans
Pristina. Former partisan commander from the National Liberation Army Xhezair Shaqiri, commander Hoxha, has said he will start a partisan war to protect the Albanian population in Macedonia and the valley of the Morava River, Tribuna reported.
According to website the former partisan commander and MP in the Macedonian parliament held meetings with former commanders from the National Liberation Army and Kosovo Liberation Army and discussed the need to protect the Albanian population in Macedonia and South Serbia against ethnic cleansing and counteract the Serbian and Macedonian special services.
Tribuna claims commander Hoxha revealed the plans of the Albanian paramilitary formations to focus on Tetovo and close to Serbia’s border with Kosovo.
Commander Hoxha was born in the village of Tanusevci where an armed conflict sparked a civil war in Macedonia in 2001.

  Picture: AFP
Pope talks EU adhesion with Albanian president
05 May 2012 
 FOCUS News Agency
Home / Southeast Europe and Balkans
Vatican City. Pope Benedict XVI discussed Albania's efforts to join the European Union on Saturday during a visit by Albanian President Bamir Topi, the Holy See said in a statement, cited by AFP.
The men adressed "Albania's journey towards full integration into the European Union", the statement said as well as relations between the religious and civil communities in the country.
Largely Muslim, the Albanian population is about 10 percent Roman Catholic.
The Vatican actively encourages ex-communist Balkan countries to join the EU in the goal of keeping peace in a region that remains vulnerable to ethnic conflict and violence.
Archbishop of Shkoder Angelo Massafra, who was part of the trip, told Vatican Radio that the Church in Albania faced many challenges including how to pay proper tribute to the "blood of our martyrs and so many others who were killed by the communist system".

Berisha: Serbian extremists, terror against Albanians

Tema Newspaper

While the terror act has called the arrests in the Presevo Valley, Prime Minister Berisha has called on the Albanians in the three municipalities to participate massively in the selection of their legitimate representatives and their vote condemn acts of violence primitive exercise of official authority Belgrade. In a statement to the media, the Albanian government states:

"The Albanian government calls on Albanians in the three municipalities to participate massively in the selection of their legitimate representatives and their vote condemn acts of violence primitive exercise of official authority of Belgrade.

Albanian Government vehemently condemns the arrests, harassment, raids by Serbian phalanges Albanians in Presevo Valley, the day of election silence as an act of terror policeman, with lower political purposes.

Government fully supports the declaration of the municipal councils of the three municipalities of Presevo Valley to these ugly acts of the authorities in Belgrade that violence and terror, want to prevent Albanians choose their representatives. "

Montenegrins protest against govt., PM

PODGORICA -- A protest walk started at noon in Podgorica over difficult social and economic situation in Montenegro.
From a previous protest in Podgorica (Vijesti, file)
From a previous protest in Podgorica (Vijesti, file)
According to announcements, the protesters will call on Prime Minister Igor Lukšić to resign.
The protest was organized by the Association of Free Trade Unions (USS), Network for Non-Government Sector Affirmation (MANS) and Student’s Union (SU). Several thousands of people are attending the protest.

The organizers said that they would once again call on the prime minister to resign “because he has shown that he is not capable or willing to fight against corruption and organized crime”.

This is the third large protest that has been organized by USS, MANS and SU since the beginning of the year.

Lukšić said earlier that that the government was doing the best it could and assessed that the fact that the protests were held showed democratic maturity of the Montenegrin society.

He noted that the citizens would be able to assess the work of the current government in the next parliamentary elections.

Electricity, excise goods and fuel prices have gone up since the beginning of the year and struggling citizens fear that prices of other products and services could also be raised.

Turkey "interferes in Bosnia’s internal affairs"

BANJA LUKA -- Republic of Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik says Friday's talks of Turkish and Bosnian FM were an interference in the internal issues of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Milorad Dodik (FoNet, file)
Milorad Dodik (FoNet, file)
Bosnia-Herzegovina Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdžija and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu discussed elections in Mostar and Srebrenica and Bosnia-Herzegovina’s membership in international institutions.
When it comes to Bosnia-Herzegovina's membership in NATO, Dodik said that the RS would decide on the issue in a referendum.

He noted that Davutoglu was willing to talk exclusively about Bosniak or Muslim interests.

“If I went to Turkey and talked about the Kurds and their problems in Turkey and demanded that their election procedures be changed, it would be the same,” Dodik told reporters in Banja Luka.

“The fact that Turkey thinks it is good for Bosnia-Herzegovina to be a member of NATO is the opinion of that country, but it must heed the positions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including the RS,” the RS president pointed out.

Turkey has shown that it is ready to support only what Bosniaks want, not the authentic position of BiH, he said.

Dodik said that in joining NATO, one should also bear in mind Serbia's position on this issue.

“Membership in NATO brings certain benefits, but the Serbs were bombed, in some places with depleted uranium, which demonstrated the attitude of member countries of NATO towards the Serbs in this region,” he explained.
Presheva, protest against arrests
 Top Channel TV

Presheva, protest against arrests
Thousands of Albanians from the Presheva valley gathered to protest against the arrests undertaken by the Serbian Police.

The protesters held slogans against the arrests made on what they called mounted charges for terrorism or war crimes.

“The propaganda in Belgrade is that every Albanian is a terrorist, hence we say that we are all terrorists”, declared one of the organizers.

The Serbian Police has arrested eight Albanians at the Presheva Valley, five of whom on war crime charges and three others of petty crimes. The Serbian Interior Minister, Ivica Dacic, warned that the arrested people are related with the 2001 war of the Liberation Army for Presheva, Medegia, and Bujanova (UCPMB).

Official Tirana reacted after the arrests at the Presheva Valley. The Albanian Foreign Ministry condemns the arrests:

“Returning the rhetoric and accusations during the campaign, for the so called war crimes in Kosovo, only for political benefits, damages the democratic standards and the inter-ethnic coexistence in the country”, the reaction says.

This Friday, the Prishtina government considered the arrests as something that damages peace and stability in the entire region.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Greece's Extreme Right Poised For Parliament As Elections Near

-- Greece's Golden Dawn party sees growing support as economic crisis deepens
-- Party capitalizing on fears over crime, immigration concerns
-- Golden Dawn leader says he expects at least 6% support in Sunday's elections
By Costas Paris
LONDON (Dow Jones)--Up until a few months ago an extreme-right Greek party with strong Nazi overtones attracted a little curiosity and faced much scorn as a bunch of black-clad skinheads who sometimes clashed with communists and anarchists and gave the fascist salute as they goose-stepped through the streets.
But the unprecedented financial crisis that brought record unemployment and crime levels over the past three years has propelled the Golden Dawn party from obscurity to a formidable political force. The Greek fascists are expected to be voted in to parliament for the first time ever in Sunday's elections on their promises to "clean up" the country from corrupt politicians, immigrants and vice.
"We expect 6% minimum, far more than the 3% support needed to enter parliament," Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, the party's leader and general secretary, said in an interview. "The time has come for Greeks to stand up against all those that for decades systematically destroyed the country. A clean, nationalist movement is the only one that can give viable solutions."
Although the extreme right has made inroads in some European countries, such ideology was until very recently deplored in Greece. After all, the country viciously fought both Italian and German fascists in World War II and suffered under a colonels' junta from 1967 to 1974 under which intellectuals, artists, students and political activists were arrested by the thousands and systematically tortured.
That heritage kept the far right on the fringe, with Golden Dawn managing a meager 0.23 percent support in the 2009 elections.
But the crisis has changed things, with the party's support ballooning as the misery of the Greek populace drags on.
The Golden Dawn manifesto is simple and to the point. Main points include foregoing all debt repayments, formation of "special teams" to investigate corrupt practices, arrest and imprisonment of all politicians and state servants found guilty of economic mismanagement, mining of the country's borders, expulsion of all illegal immigrants, bank nationalizations and a return to traditional family values.
"I'm no fascist but this time I'll vote for Golden Dawn just to shake up the dirty political system," said Kostas Kalatzakos, a small shop owner in an Athens suburb. "Robbers have broken in my shop three times over the past two years and the last time around the police sounded annoyed when I called them to come and investigate. Of course nobody is ever caught."
Soaring crime rates are often blamed on the million-plus illegal immigrants from Albania, Asia, Africa and the Middle East that cross Greece's porous borders on a daily basis.
"Successive governments have done nothing about this major issue," Golden Dawn leader Mihaloliakos said. "There are entire neighborhoods which have turned into immigrant ghettos and Greeks are afraid top step out of their homes. This has to end and our proposal is simple. Arrest all the foreigners and deport them."
"We are not planning concentration camps. It will be done in a proper way with the help of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees," he said.
Immigrant groups have repeatedly voiced concern over violence by Golden Dawn members alleging abuse, beatings with iron rods in many parts of Athens and threats of reprisals if the immigrants speak out.
"We have no knowledge of such incidents," Mihaloliakos said. "What we know is that many Greeks are asking for our protection from foreigners and to the point that we can, we protect them."
All mainstream political parties have called on Greek voters not to support Golden Dawn. Conservative party leader Antonis Samaras has said the recession is "tearing up" Greece's social fabric, giving a voice to extreme parties like the fascists. "This is very dangerous," he said.
Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos has repeatedly said that although he understands the bitterness and despair of the electorate, parliament can't host neo-Nazi followers.
With minimum coverage in the media, Golden Down is counting on personal appeals to attract voters. The party is collecting food and clothes for the needy and is passing leaflets to senior citizens--a common target of robbers--offering escorts when they go to collect their pensions.
"Two very mean-looking but polite boys came with me at the ATM to pick up my pension and then they brought me back home carrying the groceries to my apartment. I felt very sorry about this, but to tell you the truth i also felt secure. This country is in a pitiful state," said 72-year-old Anastasia Petikari, a retired teacher in Athens.
Mihaloliakos said Golden Dawn isn't trying to replace police, "but where police can't help and we can, we will do it and there is nothing wrong about that."
"We won't enter parliament with tanks and we won't carry batons inside. We will wear suits and ties but our voice against those politicians who destroyed Greece for decades will be far more effective," he said.
Skopje, protests against arrests

Skopje, protests against arrests
Thousands of Albanians protested in Skopje against the Macedonian police operation that arrested several Albanians charging them of having terrorists ties.

The protesters gathered at the Supreme Court in Skopje, where the trial against the 20 Albanians is being held, among which there are also old women.

Chanting “justice and freedom”, “stop state terror”, “stop discrimination against Albanians and fake trials” and “Albanians are not Islamic Radicals”, the protesters expressed their concerns about the recent developments in Macedonia.

The next stop was the square in front of the Skopje government meeting, where they chanted against the Macedonian Prime Minister, Nicolas Gruevski, and high rank Macedonian police leaders.

Several police forces surrounded the Supreme Court and the Government Building, but there was no incident.

A group of protesters then marched to the Caire Commune, where they continued their manifestation. The protest in this Albanian populated area was calm and the police presence was minimal.

NATO chief calls for restraint during elections

BRUSSELS -- NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called Friday on all parties in Kosovo to show restraint during parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Beta, file)
Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Beta, file)
In this critical period, it is vital to avoid any unilateral action or statement which could give rise to tensions, the release reads.
"I welcome the agreement which stipulates that OSCE will facilitate the voting process, and call on Priština and Belgrade to continue the cooperation with the international community with the aim of preserving a peaceful and secure polling,” Rasmussen added.

Rasmussen recalled that the goal of the KFOR mission was to preserve a safe and secure environment for all people of Kosovo in an impartial way, “which it had been doing for more than a decade”.

“I have full confidence in the assessment and professionalism of the KFOR Commander when it comes to the use of all means offered by the mandate and all instruments at his disposal, including the 2nd battalion of the Operational Reserve Forces (ORF), which has been deployed in Kosovo,” Rasmussen added.

He pointed out that KFOR and EULEX would continue to closely cooperate on the ground.

“The future of the entire region is its integration in the Euro-Atlantic region, so we will have to spare no effort to ensure that the region does not fail to progress towards that goal,” the NATO secretary general said.

“Violence can break out in Kosovo”

BELGRADE -- Military Intelligence Agency (VOA) Director Brigadier General Dragan Vladisavljević says that violence could break out in Kosovo.
Dragan Vladisavljević (Tanjug, file)
Dragan Vladisavljević (Tanjug, file)
He explained that the current situation in Kosovo was marked by inter-ethnic tensions which increased the likelihood of an outbreak of violence.
“The threats issued by ‘the Kosovo authorities’ that they will forcefully prevent the holding of the Serbian elections and abolish all the so-called 'parallel institutions' contributed significantly to that,” Vladisavljević told Belgrade-based daily Politika.

The general noted that “the area south of the Ibar River sees great pressure on the Serbs and arrests of people working in the Serbian institutions.”

“Moreover, by implementing certain measures that, according to their interpretation, are implied in the technical dialogue, Priština hinders the everyday life of Kosovo Serbs,” he stressed.

According to Vladisavljević, “in the mixed communities in northern Kosovo and around enclaves south of the Ibar River, one could see groups of armed Albanians.”

“Their mere presence is a form of intimidation, and some extremist groups have openly threatened that they would forcefully prevent the holding of the Serbian elections,” he was quoted as saying.

Responding to the security challenges in the province, representatives of NATO decided to send additional troops of the Operational Reserve Forces (ORF) as reinforcements to KFOR, so that they could fulfill its mandate of ensuring a safe and stable environment.

“The soldiers were deployed in the most risky zones, where inter-ethnic violence is most likely to occur, and along the administrative line,” said Vladisavljević.

“The further course of events in the territory of Kosovo-Metohija will depend on the political process, OSCE's capacities to complete the mission and facilitate the parliamentary and presidential elections, and the international forces' capability to back the activities and discourage the attempts of the Albanians side to provoke incidents or violence,” the VOA director concluded.

Albanian organization commemorates 100 years;  looks to attract new generation for the next century 

Vatra group in Bronx helps Albanians

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Members of the Albanian group, Vatra, with President Woodrow Wilson  in 1918.

Courtesy Vatra

Members of the Albanian group, Vatra, with President Woodrow Wilson in 1918.

For the last 100 years, the group Vatra has served as a home away from home for many Albanian Americans.
“Vatra is a place of historic value, with a big and important inheritance,” boasted Vatra president Dr. Gjon Buçaj, at the group’s modest three-story walk up on Southern Blvd.
The non-profit commemorated its centennial last Sunday with a gala celebration at Pier 60 in Manhattan. More than 1,100 dignitaries, politicians and Albanian community members attended.
“We made it for 100 years. That means something,” said Buçaj, who joined the group 50 years ago. “We hope to live another 100 years.”
Vatra’s beginnings date to a pivotal meeting on April 28, 1912 in Boston.
At the time, an estimated 5,000 Albanians were living throughout the Northeast, mainly in Boston. Their numbers spawned several small grassroots cultural groups.
After a series of meetings, a small delegation decided to unite their efforts and create Vatra: The Pan-Albanian Federation of America.
“’Vatra’ means ‘The Hearth,’” explained Danny Blloshmi, the group’s current treasurer. “The idea was to say that we are all here in a foreign country but we are all home together.”
In the early years, Vatra members said, the organization played a key role in Albanian politics.
“We did a lot more for Albania than the government there, which was pretty weak,” Blloshmi said.
When European powers gatheredfor the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and threatened to carve up Albania, Vatra members lobbied then Pres. Woodrow Wilson to quash the attempts.
“To this day,” Blloshmi said, “President Wilson is known as the one who saved Albania from being chopped up.”
During the 1943-44 German occupation of Albania, Vatra recruited intelligence officers to work alongside the U.S.
In the late 1940s, the organization was criticized for its initial support of Albanian Prime Minister Enver Hoxha.
“We later denounced him when it was clear he was a communist dictator,” Blloshimi said.
In the years that followed, Vatra became more of a social organization.
Its Boston headquarters found a new home in the Bronx in the 1980s, when Albanians flocked here..
Vatra is now staffed by volunteers, and sustains itself on membership dues, advertising in the monthly newspaper, Diell e, and donations.
The group works mostly to help Albanian immigrants navigate their new lives in the U.S., and organizes special events and celebrations of Albanian holidays.
“There’s a need to help, especially the younger generation, with the culture so they don’t lose that identity” said Dalip Greca, editor of Dielli .
The organization supports Albanian students with scholarships, and raises monies for causes such as
when floods devastated two cities in Albania last year.
“We want to move into the next century of Vatra,” Blloshmi said. “We need to move on, get a new direction and be relevant again.”

Read more:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The properties in Himara Region: It has been abused process

"Shqip" Newspaper
In Himara is not implemented land distribution process
In Himara is not fully distributed agricultural land, as 902 families are still not treated according to law 7501 "On land". This is the conclusion of the report, submitted to the Parliamentary Commission of Laws from the representatives of the "coast" when reviewing the draft law "On restitution and compensation." According to the report compiled by the Department of Defense and Land Management in the Municipality of Tirana, which gives the statement of allocation of land in these 20 years, shows that such a process is performed with many problems and abuses, where hundreds of families are still without the title of the farmland. 

 "The civil registration on 1 August 1991 a total of 2649 households, of which: a) The 7501 law were treated with 2281 households, b) not covered by Law 7501 are 902 families, c) treated 534 families who have having civil status in Himara, d) have less surface area 596 families, e) are unstamped forms No. 1230. 6, f) are pafirmosur forms No. 641. 6 g) of the act without number, in compilation form 1361 h) are treated as agricultural land and public land grazing 106 families in 7501 contrary to law, "reads the report of the Municipality of Himara Jerasim signed by the director Bashi. Further, the report noted that "as DMMT verification and the above figures come to the conclusion that the 7501 law in our municipality is not implemented, bringing disorder, major abuses and conflicts.  

As DMMT draw the conclusion that the only solution is the creation of new local committees in villages in the direction of the central committee of the municipality for a fair and legal reallocation. Concern remains the protection of agricultural land. Concern are illegal constructions. These constructions with and without permission are more prevalent in villages Gjilek respectively, Dhermi, Himara and Qeparo, which have nothing to damage agricultural land in significant proportions. " According to the report, concern remains indiscriminate cutting of olives. Law 9244, Article 14, prohibits the laxative construction on agricultural land with the exception of a study is needed. In terms of stock grazing, the pastures in the municipality is 646.1 ha. A disturbing phenomenon is the burning and destruction of physical and chemical elements that lead to reduced productivity and reduced herbaceous diversity. These phenomena are observed in camping opportunities, Qeparo, Himara Vuno and Dhermi.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Macedonia, Albania Aim To Turn Page On Encyclopedia Dispute

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

By June, the Macedonian and the Albanian academies of arts and sciences will form a joint co-operation council that will offer a different interpretation of the history of relations between the Macedonian and Albanian people.

"By the constitution, such a body … will solve problems and open questions," Gudar Beciraj, president of the Albanian Academy (ACS), said.

Science should lead the way to dialogue, not conflict, Macedonian Academy (MANU) President Vlado Kambovski said. "A Balkan academy is needed to solve all open questions regarding history and science."

The two academies' members will meet in June in Ohrid to address the open issues between Macedonians and Albanians.

"Macedonians and Albanians have common history. The same rulers ruled and used the same measures towards them both. Whatever the truth about the Macedonian-Albanian relations, it should be viewed from more sides," Rizvan Sulejmani, professor at Tetovo State University, told SETimes.

One of the key issues to be addressed is the Macedonian Encyclopedia. Albanians dispute the book because it says they are newcomers to the Balkans and not native to Macedonia.

A wave of criticism in 2009 ceased publication of the book.

The encyclopedia is a project of MANU's Lexicographic Centre. More than 250 academy members, university professors and researchers created the two-volume encyclopedia over the course of seven years. It covers 9,000 people, concepts and events from all time periods within the geographical boundaries of Macedonia, from prehistoric to contemporary times.

The encyclopedia describes Albanians as "mountain people" and says the nation descended in Macedonia together with the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.

The ASC says these views are nationalist, and called on their Macedonian colleagues to reconsider the publication for the sake of "truth in history and good neighbourhood relations."

"All statements in the encyclopedia are based on proof and documents which are verified. If some do not like facts, it does not mean the facts should be changed. Let them prove they are native to these lands," Gjorgi Malkovski, historian and one of the encyclopedia authors, told SETimes.

"The attempt to change the Macedonian encyclopedia in the interest of Albanians will degrade Macedonian historical science, which has made a tremendous progress," he added.

"The Macedonian Academy [MANU] is forming a new team to produce a new encyclopedia which will contain statements that will be acceptable to the Albanians. But nothing will come out of that effort. After all, is MANU interfering in the publishing and content of the Albanian Encyclopedia? In it, Macedonians are not even recognised as people but are assimilated into phantom 'Slavomacedonians'," the book's editor and veteran academy historian, Blazhe Ristovski, told SETimes.

Despite the efforts to smooth relations, historians are unanimous that history is not subject to goodwill agreements.

"We have seen similar efforts regionwide -- primarily from Greece and Bulgaria -- to legally 'solve' the gaps in their national historical narratives, including by attempting a political diktat or political agreements, especially towards Macedonia," historian Violeta Achkovska told SETimes.


Without euro, Greece would be Albania: socialists

Leaving the eurozone would turn Greece into a state like Albania, the head of the crisis-hit country's socialist Pasok party warned on Wednesday, four days ahead of cliffhanger general elections.

Proposals of the far-left Syriza party to tear up a bailout deal with the EU and IMF "would take Greece out of the eurozone, to the Albanisation of the country", Evangelos Venizelos said.
"Our Greece is a strong Greece, their Greece is the Greece of isolation and the drachma," the told a news conference broadcast on national television, referring to the country's previous currency.
He said that the election would "determine the fate of the country for the next 20 years".
Venizelos was finance minister until earlier this year and helped negotiate a second bailout package with the European Union and International Monetary Fund in return for deep austerity cuts.
Pasok, in a coalition led by technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos with the New Democracy conservatives, is heading for a drubbing in the election, with polls indicating support of just 19 percent compared with 44 percent in 2009.

Monday, April 30, 2012

New right wing party officialized

New right wing party officialized
The newest right wing party in Albania, the New Democratic Spirit, made its first public presentation through the Chairman of the Initiating Group, MP Gazmend Oketa. In the first official declaration he said  that he would hold an open and intensive campaign in the Albanian society.

“This party will establish a close relation with the Diaspora”, Oketa declared, adding that NDS expects to have free and honest elections in 2013.

Oketa underlined that this political alternative will defend the middle class interests and does not agree with the still unsolved property ownership problem.

“We are convinced that we will affect the creation of a functional democracy with our contribution”, Oketa declared.

Oketa added that the election of the party leader will be made according the “one member, one vote” principle, and that the party leader will have only one single mandate.

The election for the leader will be held this autumn, in the first party congress, while he refused to admit if Bamir Topi will be the leader of this party after his mandate will be over on July 2012. Oketa declared that a priority of this party will be youth, the solution of the property issue and compensation for former politically persecuted people.


NDS is not expected to be a party to be easily satisfied. Their plans are to attract Democratic Party MPs. Sources at this political force say that they are negotiating for at least 10 Democratic MPs.

The organizing group of this party declared that some of the Democratic MPs have expressed their enthusiasm for this new political move of the Albanian right wing, and have taken a period of reflection. The main goal of these negotiations is the creation of a strong Parliamentary group in Parliament. Currently, this party is represented in Parliament only by its chairman, the former Democratic MP, Gazmend Oketa.

Turkey "could block EU's participation at NATO summit"

ISTANBUL -- Turkey will block the participation of the EU delegation in the NATO summit unless the gathering is also attended by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
(Beta, file)
(Beta, file)
Turkey is a member of the NATO military alliance, and a candidate for membership in the European Union.
Leading EU countries have proposed that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy take part in the work of the summit next month in Chicago, U.S.

Since the situation in Afghanistan will be discussed during the gathering, France and some other countries believe that top EU officials should be there, since the union is "engaged in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the implementation of democratic reforms in that country", said reports.

But an unnamed Turkish diplomat in Ankara was quoted as saying by the daily Zaman that "if the meeting is attended by bureaucrats coming from outside of NATO, then the OIC should be represented as well."

It is being noted in Turkey on this occasion that the OIC - a bloc of 56 countries - is also "engaged in solving the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it has a permanent office".

The decision on the participation of delegations of the OIC and the EU has yet to be agreed through diplomatic contacts between the western military alliance's members, said the Istanbul-based newspaper.

Albania officials charged over protest shootings

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Two state security service officers in Albania have been charged with murder over the death of four protesters who were shot dead at an anti-government demonstration a year ago.
Albanian prosecutors on Monday charged senior security officers Ndrea Prendi and Agim Llupo with murder, while Prendi's driver and a computer technician were charged with concealing evidence.

The four protesters were killed in January 2011 during a mass anti-government rally organized by the opposition against alleged corruption and vote rigging by Albania's conservative government.
An investigation involving nine other security officials was dropped due to lack of evidence.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Francois Hollande: “If I Am Elected, I Will Relieve Greek People’s Burden”

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French presidential race leader Francois Hollande promises support to debt-ridden Greece. The likely future French President made clear that he will put pressure on changing the financial program implemented in Greece, in a statement he made on Wednesday (April 25).
“If elected, I want to relieve Greek people’s burden. Greece must regain a level of development…,” he stated.
Today, Hollande announced he aims at proposing a new “memorandum” for enhancing EU growth. He assured that if he gets elected, he will send a copy of his four ideas for the improvement of the financial growth in the European Union in the form of a letter to every European leader the very next day of his inauguration.
“The day after the vote, if I receive a mandate, I will address a memorandum to the heads of state on renegotiating the treaty,” Hollande said. The memorandum-letter will include four basic ideas:
  • The creation of eurobonds, not to pool debts but to finance industrial infrastructure projects
  • Free up more financing possibilities from the European Investment Bank
  • The creation of a tax on financial transactions
  • Mobilizing the remnants of European structural funds that are now unused
Hollande also welcomed a comment from European Central Bank Chief Mario Draghi, who earlier said the country needed joint measures to support growth. “The fiscal pact needs to be accompanied by a growth pact,” he stated.
Hollande said European leaders were coming around to his idea that supporting growth was “ultimately a more effective way of reaching the same goal of controlling the debt and reducing deficits.”

Serbian IM: Priština has plans to disrupt elections

BELGRADE -- Serbia’s Interior Minister Ivica Dačić has stated that Serbian and foreign security services have information about plans to impede elections in Kosovo.
Ivica Dačić
Ivica Dačić
He stressed that physical attacks on polling stations in Kosovo, seizure of ballots, arrests and attacks on people taking part in the electoral boards were planned.
“There is information that is not only ours but foreign services’ also that not only the Priština authorities but various groups that cannot be considered to be under any control of KFOR and EULEX are preparing certain actions that would be aimed at interfering with the elections in Kosovo and Metohija,” Dačić said on Sunday.

He pointed out that it was therefore important to reach an agreement with the international community that should help hold the elections in Kosovo.

“It was all the same to us whether it was UNMIK or OSCE because Serbia equally takes part in both organizations,” the interior minister said and expressed hope that the fact that the elections would be held with OSCE’s help would prevent unrests and incidents.

According to him, the attacks are planned by Kosovo Albanian extremist organizations and various paramilitary units which are, as he said, “always held in reserve somewhere”.

“This certainly isn’t done without the knowledge of the Priština authorities,” Dačić concluded.
The President of Albania Honors Zenel Gjokela

Labis Hero against ottoman empire

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President Honors Zenel Gjokela
The Albanian President, Bamir Topi, together with his cabinet, was present in the commemoration ceremony for the 160th anniversary of the death of Zenel Hito Gjoleka. The ceremony was organized by the Kuc village, where Gjoleka was from, and the patriotic cultural association “Laberia” and “Kuci Brotherhood”.

Present in this ceremony was the Parliament vice Speaker, Namik Dokle, MPs, the Supreme State Audit, Bujar Leskaj, the Kosovo Minister of Security Forces, Agim Ceku, the former Prime Minister of Kosovo, Bajram Kosumi, the Mayor of Vlore, Shpetim Gjika, and representatives of the local administration, artists, famous intellectual figures of the area, etc.

After the visit at the Martyr’s cemetery in Kuc, the President placed wreaths at the monument of Zenel Gjoleka, a work of sculptor Zeqir Alizoti. Zenel Gjoleka was a commander of the rebel forces between the Kurvelesh, Chameria, Delvina, Gjirokaster and Vlore areas, which demanded Albania’s unification as an ethnic entity within the Osman Empire, with joint interests, regardless of religion or origin.

“It’s not by chance that we have today public figures coming from all Albanian lands, and not occasionally they have chosen to come at your celebration, at our celebration, at the celebration of everyone. In respect for the immortal work of Gjoleka, and for everything that you, your parents and your predecessors have given for Albania and the national issue”, President Topi declared in his speech.

By the end of his speech, President Topi honored Zenel Gjoleka with the order “Nation’s Honor”. The decoration was handed over to the representative of the family, the nephew of Zenel Gjoleka, Besfort Gjoleka.

The President then followed a folkloric concert with characteristic interpretations of the area, with the participation of artists like Mirush Kabashi and Kastriot Tusha.