Thursday, June 13, 2013

Clinton criticizes Obama for cautious approach to Syria

WASHINGTON -- Bill Clinton has criticized Barack Obama for his "cautious" approach to Syria, noting at the same time his own interventionist policy in Bosnia and Kosovo.
(FoNet, file)
(FoNet, file)
The former U.S president spoke during a closed-press event - from which the Politico website nevertheless reported his remarks.
The American public elects presidents and members of Congress “to see down the road and to win," Clinton was quoted as saying.

According to the website, he also "implied that Obama or any president risks looking like a total fool if they listen too closely to opinion polls and act too cautiously," and "used his own decisions on Kosovo and Bosnia as a point of reference."

Opinion polls in the U.S. recently showed that the public there is against their country taking part in the conflict in Syria.

Clinton's remarks came during a question-and-answer session with U.S. Senator John McCain, who is a strong critic of Obama's policy on Syria.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, said the report.

“Nobody is asking for American soldiers in Syria. The only question is now that the Russians, the Iranians and the Hezbollah are in there head over heels, 90 miles to nothing, should we try to do something to try to slow their gains and rebalance the power so that these rebel groups have a decent chance, if they’re supported by a majority of the people, to prevail?" Clinton was quoted as saying.

The website said that Clinton did not call for specific measures to aid the Syrian rebels while McCain urged Obama to enforce a no-fly zone in the country to give rebels a “safe zone” to fight the Assad regime.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Free speech is under attack in Greece

The Guardian, Wednesday 12 June

The sudden decision to close the Greek state television and radio company ERT and dismiss up to 3,000 journalists and technicians is the culmination of a series of attacks on free speech. This symbolic move, as the government put it in a non-paper, means that private interests have used the financial crisis as a pretext to destroy the main source of non-partisan information and cultural programming in Greece. Journalists and media professionals all over the world must resist this act of cultural vandalism.
Professor Costas Douzinas Birkbeck College, Professor Joanna Bourke Birkbeck College, Maria Margaronis The Nation, Dr Dimitris Papanikolaou Oxford University

• TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady (Comment, 3 June) advocates "using EU membership to rebuild and rebalance our economy, tackle the crisis in living standards and give our young people a future". Well, good luck with that. The EU's Eurostat agency reports average youth unemployment at a staggering 23.5% across the 27 EU member states (24% in the 17-member eurozone). All the signs, so familiar to British trade unionists since the 1980s, of a neoliberal economic experiment destroying good-quality jobs and slashing the social wage in a compulsive hunt for global competitiveness, are there. Far from turning their back on austerity policies, the leaders of the EU last week announced a modest extension of the timescale in which France's Socialist government must cut public spending, coupled with a requirement for a wholesale scrapping of French legislation that protects workers from hire-and-fire policies.

The answer to chronic unemployment will not be found in the EU, which binds its members into low-wage and deflationary policies through successive treaties from Maastricht to Lisbon that British governments have signed up to without a referendum. Neither does a EU-US free trade agreement offer a break with these policies, but opens Europe's public services up to US corporations seeking profits from taxpayer funding. The fight against low-wage employment and joblessness requires a fight against EU policies and structures, not collusion in a discredited "European project".
Alex Gordon
Chair, No2EU – Yes to Democracy Trade Union Advisory Group
CBC correspondents released from detention in Turkey
CBC correspondents Sasa Petricic and Derek Stoffel have been released following their detention by police in Turkey amid ongoing protests in the country.

Sasa Petricic and Derek Stoffel had been taken into custody in Istanbul

CBC News
CBC correspondents Sasa Petricic and Derek Stoffel have been released following their detention by police in Turkey amid ongoing protests in the country. (Eric Foss/CBC)

Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index 2013
(Note:CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)
CBC reporters Sasa Petricic and Derek Stoffel have been released from detention in Istanbul, Turkey.

The two journalists had been picked up by police earlier on Wednesday while covering ongoing anti-government protests in Istanbul's Taksim Square. The pair had been held all day.

"We're out!" Petricic tweeted.

"Arrested taking pics of city crew removing protester barricade," he tweeted. "Accused [of] impeding road works & resisting arrest."

He also wrote that he spent several hours in a cell with "eight young guys arrested for very frivolous things," included two who were detained while bringing food to protesters.

Stoffel tweeted following his release: "My exclusive 'tour' of the Turkish justice system is over! Thanks for all the kind comments! And very big thanks to all at @CBCNews...the Cdn Foreign Affairs dept. and my new Turkish friends for helping expedite my release! It's late so going to sleep. Night all!"

The release of the two correspondents was due, in part, to some behind-the-scenes work by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Turkish Ambassador to Canada, Tuncy Babali.

"Pleased to hear @CBCNews journalists have been released in #Istanbul," Baird tweeted. "Thanks to the Cdn Consul General and the Gov't of Turkey, including Amb. Babali, for their co-operation in this matter."

Earlier, CBC News editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire said the two correspondents had met with Canadian consular officials in Istanbul, and they spoke to their lawyer in advance of giving statements to police.

The House of Commons unanimously endorsed a motion put forward by MP Bob Rae condemning the arrest of the two Canadian journalists and calling for their release.

Babali had told the CBC he doesn't know why Petricic and Stoffel were detained. The ambassador said he learned of their detention after he was contacted by Baird, who expressed his concern.

Read about the latest protests in Turkey
At around 6 p.m. local time Wednesday, Petricic had tweeted one word: "Arrested."

Stoffel's last tweeted message before his detention included a photo of heavy machinery clearing out barricades erected by protesters near Istanbul's Taksim Square.

The two journalists subsequently sent messages while in police custody that they were OK.

Focal point of protests
Taksim Square has become a focal point for recent anti-government protests, which are shaping up as one of the biggest challenges to the 10-year rule of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Demonstrators say Erdogan is becoming more autocratic and trying to impose religious views on the country, charges that he and his allies deny.

As of Monday night, three people had died and about 5,000 people had been treated for exposure to tear gas or other injuries relating to the demonstrations, according to the Turkish Medical Association.

Reporters Without Borders released a statement on Wednesday saying it was “becoming increasingly concerned about the dangerous climate for journalists covering Turkey’s protest movement.”

In January, the rights group described Turkey as “the world’s biggest prison for journalists” and ranked the country 154th in its 2013 Press Freedom Index.

Turkey & The Muslim Brotherhood: The Uprising Against “Brother Erdogan”

By Hellas Frappe on 12.6.13

In ten days, the crackdown on the anti-Erdogan protests has already claimed three lives and injured 5,000 people. For Thierry Meyssan, the Turkish people are not protesting against Recip Tayyeb Erdogan’s autocratic style, but against his policies; in other words, against the Muslim Brotherhood, of which he is the mentor. What started on Taksim Square is not a color revolution over a new building project, but an uprising that has spread across the entire country; in short, it is a revolution that calls the “Arab Spring” into question.

By Thierry Meyssan
Global Research

The Turkish uprising is rooted in the inconsistencies of the Erdogan government. The latter—after having billed itself as “Muslim Democrat” (based on the “Christian Democratic” model)— suddenly revealed its true nature with the advent of the Arab Spring “color revolutions.”

In terms of domestic and foreign policy, there is a before and after the volte face. The previous stage involved the infiltration of institutions. The aftermath has been characterized by sectarianism. Before, Ahmed Davutoğlu’s theory of “zero problems” with Turkey’s neighbors took center stage. The former Ottoman Empire seemed to be coming out of its slumber and returning to reality. After that, the opposite happened: Turkey fell out with each of her neighbors and went to war against Syria.

The Muslim Brotherhood

Piloting this shift is the Muslim Brotherhood, a secret organization that Erdogan and his team have always been affiliated to, despite their denials. Even if this shift is subsequent to the one involving Qatar—the financier of the Muslim Brotherhood—it bears the same implication: authoritarian regimes that claimed to be foes of Israel suddenly act like close allies.

It is important to remember that the label “Arab Spring” given by the West is a deception to make people believe that the Tunisian and Egyptian governments were overthrown by a mass movement. While there was a popular revolution in Tunisia, its goal was not to change the regime, but to achieve economic and social changes. It was the United States, not the street, that ordered Zinedine el Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak to step down. Then it was NATO that toppled and lynched Muammar al-Gaddafi. And it is again NATO and the GCC that have fueled the attack against Syria.

Across North Africa—with the exception of Algeria—the Muslim Brotherhood have been placed in power by Hillary Clinton. Everywhere, Turkish communications advisors are on board, courtesy of the Erdogan government. Everywhere, “democracy” was a facade which allowed the Brothers to Islamize firms in exchange for embracing the pseudo-liberal capitalism of the United States.

The term “Islamize” reflects the rhetoric employed by the Brothers, not reality. The Brotherhood intends to control the privacy of individuals based on principles which are outside the scope of the Quran. It calls into question the role of women in society and imposes an austere lifestyle without alcohol or cigarettes, and without sex…at least for others.

Over the past ten years, the Brotherhood has stayed under the radar, leaving the transformation of public education in the hands of the sect run by Fethullah Gülen, of which President Abdullah Gül is a member.

Although the Brotherhood flaunts its hatred for the American way of life, it thrives under the protective wing of the Anglo-Americans (UK, USA, Israel) who have always been able to use its violence against those who resisted them. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had appointed to her cabinet her former “body woman,” Huma Abedin (wife of former Zionist Congressman Anthony Weiner), whose mother Saleha Abedin presides the women’s division of the Brotherhood. It was through this channel that Clinton stirred up the Brotherhood.

The Brothers purveyed the ideology of Al-Qaeda, through one of their members: Ayman al-Zawahiri, the organizer President Sadat’s assassination and currently the leader of the terrorist organization. Al-Zawahiri, like Bin Laden, has always been an agent of U.S. services. Although officially listed as a public enemy, from 1997 to 2001 he met regularly with the CIA at the U.S. Embassy in Baku in the context “Operation Gladio B,” as testified by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds [1].
A progressive dictatorship

During his imprisonment, Erdogan claimed to have broken with the Brothers and to have quit the party. Then, he got himself elected and gradually imposed a dictatorship. He ordered the arrest and incarceration of two thirds of the generals accused of involvement in Gladio, the secret network under U.S. influence. In addition, he put behind bars the highest number of journalists for an individual counry. This fact has been obscured by the Western media, unwilling to criticize a NATO member.

The army is the traditional custodian of Kemalist secularism. However, after the September 11 attacks, senior officers were concerned about the totalitarian drift of the United States, and made contact with their counterparts in Russia and China. To nip these unwelcome initiatives in the bud, certain judges pointedly reminded them about their historical ties with the U.S.

If, like in any other profession, journalists can be rascals, the world’s highest incarceration rate is indicative of a policy: intimidation and repression. With the exception of Ululsal, television turned into an official eulogy, while the press followed the same path.

“Zero problems” with its neighbors

The foreigh policy of Ahmed Davutoğlu was equally laughable. After seeking to tackle the unresolved problems left over from the Ottoman Empire one century earlier, he tried to play Obama against Netanyahu by organizing the Freedom Flotilla to Palestine [2]. However, less than two months after Israel’s act of piracy, he accepted the international commission of inquiry created to cover it up and resumed in secret his collaboration with Tel Aviv.

As a token of the cooperation between the Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda, the Brotherhood had placed on the Marvi Marmara al-Mahdi Hatari, the second in command of Al Qaeda in Libya and a likely British agent [3].

Economic disaster

How did Turkey squander not only a decade of diplomatic efforts to restore its international relations, but also its economic growth? In March 2011, she participated in the NATO operation against Libya, one of its major economic partners. With Libya devastated by the war, Turkey lost its market. At the same time, Ankara embarked on a war against neighboring Syria, with whom a year earlier she had signed a trade liberalization agreement. The impact was swift: the growth in 2010 was 9.2%, in 2012 it fell to 2.2% and continues to fall [4].

Public Relations

The rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood in North Africa went to the Erdogan government’s head. By brandishing his Ottoman imperial ambition, he disconcerted the Arab public to begin with, and then turned the majority of his people against him.

On one hand, the government is funding Fetih 1453—a film that gobbled up an astronomic budget for the country—which is supposed to celebrate the conquest of Constantinople, albeit historically flawed. On the other hand, it attempts to ban the most popular television series in the Middle East, The Sultan’s Harem, because the truth does not project a peaceful image of the Ottomans.

The real reason for the uprising

In the present context, the Western press has focused on specific details: a housing project in Istanbul, ban on late-night sales of alcholol, or statements encouraging population growth. All this is true, but it doesn’t add up to a revolution.

By showing its true nature, the Erdogan government has cut itself off from the population. Only a minority of Sunnis can identify with the backward and hypocritical programme of the Brothers. As it happens, about 50% of Turks are Sunni, 20% Alevi (that is to say Alawites), 20% are Kurds (mostly Sunni), and 10% belong to other minorities. It is statistically clear that the Erdogan government can not hold out against the uprising that its own policies helped to ignite.

By overthrowing him, the Turks would be solving not only their own problems, but would also be putting an end to the war against Syria. I have often pointed out that the war would stop the day one of its foreign sponsors exits the scene. This will soon be the case. Thus, the Turkish people will also halt the Brotherhood’s expansion. Erdogan’s fall foreshadows that of his friends; Ghannouchi in Tunisia and Morsi in Egypt. It is in fact most unlikely that these artificial governments, imposed via rigged elections, can survive their powerful sponsor.

Gaia Edwards
[1] “Al Qaeda Chief was US Asset,” by Nafeez Ahmed, 21 May 2013.
[2] “Why did Israel attack civilians in the Mediterranean?” and “Freedom Flotilla: The detail that escaped Netanyahu,” by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 1 and 8 June 2010.
[3] “Free Syrian Army commanded by Militay Governor of Tripoli,” by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire Network, 19 December 2011.
[4] “Turkey’s Economic Growth Slows Sharply,” by Emre Perer and Yeliz Candemir, The Wall Sreeet Journal, 1 April 2013.
Albanian Elections, CEC delays technology usage

CEC delays technology usage
12/06/2013 19:35

11 days from the elections, the Central Election Commission has still no answer for the electronic voters’ identification project in Tirana.

While Indra company has been paid most of the 2.6 million EUR fee for this esrvice, the Central Election Commission gives no guarantee that the project will be realized.

The opposition suspects that the process is being intentionally compromised by the Central Election Commission

“I want to hear the Central Election Commission availability to analyze the project and know when the Central Election Commission will introduce the acts for the project confirmation”, declared the Socialist Party representative, Genc Gjoncaj.

“The reports were sent to Indra, and are waiting for the company to give their report, and then we will take a decision”, declared the Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission, Lefteri Lleshi,

The Central Election Commission did not answer to Top Channel’s question about when the reports of the political parties were sent to contracting company. The company says that the Central Election Commission has shown no interest to accelerate the process, leaving unexplained the question why the highest electoral institution delays the reception of a service they have paid for.

The agreement between the Central Election Commission and Indra, a copy of which Top Channel has been able to secure, shows that the test should have been held on April 23rd, but it was held on June 8th.

Besides the delay for almost one month and a half, what raises other questions on the agreement terms is that the Central Election Commission has agreed to pay 90% of the fee until the test is held, leaving only 10% of the agreement for after the elections.

Despite the problems, the political parties believe that the project brings a novelty to the system. If an elector votes more than once, each of the biggest parties can be notified in real time.

This device can also identify a falsified identity card or passport, since it makes the verification of the document.

But if the parties believe that this technology is one step ahead, the position that the Central Election Commission has held remains unexplained, and they have declared the usage of technology in these elections a warned failure.

Serbia claims Kosovo property worth 220 billion dollars

Serbia claims Kosovo amounting property giant, 220 billion dollars.

The news was announced a Serbian daily, close to power.

"Vecernie.Novosti" writes that the only property Serbs left Kosovo goes up to $ 4 billion.

The newspaper alleges that these properties, especially fertile soil, are being sold Albanians.

A Serbian official said even to this day that the alienation of Serb property was recently accelerated

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Greek Inflation Remains Negative For 3rd Consecutive Month

Greek inflation remained negative for the third consecutive month in May, with the inflation rate at -0.4 pct, from -0.6 pct in April according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

The statistics noted that Greek households continued facing higher prices in basic products such as meat (1.1 pct), fresh fish (1.4 pct), fresh fruit (11.1 pct) and fresh potatoes (27.6 pct).

Heating oil prices jumped 25.1 pct and electricity prices rose 12.3 pct in the month. On the other hand, fresh vegetable prices fell 6.2 pct, olive oil prices eased 1.8 pct and prices in most services continued falling - home appliances by -4.0 pct, cars -4.9 pct, telephone services -5.1 pct, books -3.9 pct, education fees -4.0 pct, house rent -6.1 pct and fuel prices -3.3 pct.

The statistics service said the consumer price index eased 0.2 pct in May, compared with April 2013.

Greece's harmonized inflation rate fell by 0.3 pct in May this year, after dropping by 0.6 pct in April and compared with a rise of 0.9 pct in May 2012. (AMNA)

Putin Warns US Against Imperialism

Russian President Vladimir Putin
21:57 11/06/2013
Tags: Vladimir PutinUnited StatesRussia
MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday cautioned the United States against pursuing an imperialist policy.
“Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, for some time the US became a sole leader, but this turned out to be a kind of an ordeal as the United States started feeling like an empire, and an empire gives rise to certain elements not only in foreign but also in domestic policy,” Putin said in an interview with Russia Today.
The Russian leader said the US leadership now understands that “the main problems of today’s world cannot be resolved alone.”
“An empire cannot allow itself to show weakness. Any attempt to come to an agreement on a parity basis within the country is perceived as weakness, and the country’s leadership cannot allow this on domestic policy grounds,” Putin said.
Putin said Russia and the United States have “practically no ideological contradictions now,” except that the United States’ identity is based on individual ideas and Russia’s focuses on a collective approach.



Turkey protests: PM Erdogan issues stern warning

A protester in Taksim Square tells the BBC's Mark Lowen how tear gas felt like "a panic attack"
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that he will not show "any more tolerance" for protests.
He vowed to end the demonstrations after police firing tear gas cleared Istanbul's Taksim Square, the focal point of unrest for nearly two weeks.
Protesters stayed in the adjoining Gezi Park, returning to Taksim Square before police dispersed them a second time.
The unrest began after a crackdown on an environmental protest over Gezi Park's redevelopment.
The protests then widened, with demonstrators accusing Mr Erdogan's government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state.

Greece suspends state broadcaster ERT to save money

ERT building in Athens Greece's state broadcaster has been transmitting programmes for more than 70 years
The Greek government has announced that it will shut down the radio and TV services of the state broadcaster ERT.
A government spokesman said transmissions would cease early on Wednesday.
All employees, numbering at least 2,500, will be suspended until the company reopens "as soon as possible."
It is the latest move in successive rafts of spending cuts and tax rises that the government hope will lead the country out of recession.
"ERT is a case of an exceptional lack of transparency and incredible extravagance. This ends now," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said, according to the AFP news agency.
Unions voiced strong opposition to the move.
An engineer at the broadcaster's multimedia department who gave his name as Yannis said: "The government announced that channels will shut down at midnight - after that the screens will go black.
"According to the government, from tonight I will be unemployed. It is a complete shock. In four hours' time I will not have a job."
ERT is funded by a direct payment by of 4.30 euros (£3.80; $6) added monthly to electricity bills.
The broadcaster runs three domestic TV channels, four national radio stations, as well regional radio stations and an external service, Voice of Greece.
In April, parliament passed a bill which will see 15,000 state employees lose their jobs by the end of next year.
The law was a condition for Greece to receive its next tranche of loans from international lenders worth 8.8bn euros (£7.4bn; $11.4bn).
Since 2010, the European Union and the IMF have promised more than 200bn euros in lending for Greece, the first country to be hit by the eurozone crisis.
The government has imposed tough austerity measures in return for aid, including cuts in pay and pensions leading to numerous general strikes.

Vulin accuses Priština of "opposing integration"

BELGRADE -- Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Aleksandar Vulin says Priština "has proved to be a strong opponent of integration."
Aleksandar Vulin (Tanjug)
Aleksandar Vulin (Tanjug)
Certain statements, such as one made by Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci, are meant to threaten the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, he added.
Kuci said that there was "no need for as many as 800 Serb police officers in the north and only some 100 to 150 will be recruited."

Vulin told Tanjug that the statement confirms something that has "already been felt for a while" in the talks on the implementation of the April 19 Brussels agreement between Belgrade and Priština - that “the greatest opponent of Serb integration is Priština.”

“The statement, which is setting out quota instead of integration goals, is an attempt to frighten the members of our Interior Ministry in KiM and to make them move out of there. Such statements reveal that Priština wants the territory and that it does not want the Serbs in the territory. Serbia finds the idea about the loss of jobs and, consequently, the announcement and threats of eviction, absolutely unacceptable,” said Vulin.

“The Republic of Serbia cannot accept it. The text of the Brussels agreement is more than clear on that - there is either enough room for everybody or there is room for nobody,” said Vulin.

He stressed that this is not a struggle for some kind of employment conditions, “but a fight to have KiM Serbs employed in security structures that will be recognized across the world and to ensure that they can provide security for themselves and their families through these security structures, since we know that both the international community and Priština have failed in doing that for them,” said Vulin.

Greece: Troika Back For Debt Negotiations

European and IMF inspectors are expected to put pressure on the Athens government to impose further cuts during vital talks.

Shut down Athens shop
A closed-down shop in Athens is all too typical of the Greek economy
Greece is bracing itself for the implementation of another round of savage cuts after "troika" officials arrived in Athens for their latest inspections.
European and IMF inspectors returned to Greece bent on pressing the ruling coalition to push ahead with privatisations and promises to start shedding thousands of public sector jobs.
Yet as a week of meetings kicked off, stocks suddenly plunged 5% and investor confidence looked shaky as a deadline to attract buyers for the country’s natural gas company passed without any bids.
The expected sale collapsed after Russia’s GAZPROM withdrew its interest, citing concerns over the financial outlook of DEPA, the Greek natural gas company, and fears that the European Union would subsequently impose stringent conditions.
"We haven’t received enough guarantees that DEPA's finance position would not get worse after the deal is completed," said Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov.
"The company is already experiencing difficulties with users' unpaid bills."
The surprise Russian climb-down marks the most serious setback to Greece’s bid of raising 2.6bn euro in asset sales by the end of the year.
It also casts a shadow over upbeat data and claims by the conservative-led government that Greece was well on a path of recovery three years after falling off a fiscal cliff and needing a 240bn euro bailout.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras instructed officials to "quickly pursue" other potential buyers and launch a fresh bid.
Failure to make up for the shortfall in the privatisation target would force the government to impose additional spending cuts or added tax hikes – moves that would crush Greeks already reeling from years of austerity.
Greece has also agreed to sack some 15,000 public sector employees as part of its multi-billion euro loan requirements.
ECB's Klaus Masuch in Athens
Klaus Masuch from the European Central Bank arrives in Athens for talks
Failure to meet those conditions could warrant creditors to push for another round of austerity to make up for the potential shortfall.
But that could prove risky.
Just last week, the IMF admitted mistakes in its handling of the Greek crisis, by insisting on a policy of austerity that exacerbated the country's financial woes.
The fund forecast that the country’s annual output would drop by only 5.5% from its 2009 level but it slumped by three times that.
Unemployment in 2012 was anticipated to peak at 15% but it is now hovering at a haunting level of 26.8%.
Over the weekend, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras suggested in an interview with the To Vima newspaper that the IMF's admission might afford Greece with some leverage in its new round of talks this week with creditors.
Opposition parliamentarians are even insisting the government revise its austerity pact altogether.
"We should opt for a moratorium on paybacks to creditors and pursue a new recovery plan for the economy," Dimitris Vitsas, a leading member of the Syriza opposition party said.
Despite widespread opposition, Greece's three-party coalition agreed to the job cuts plan two months ago, acceding to the tough terms of a new multi-billion euro bailout hammered out in December.
Failure to show progress in those privatizations and layoffs could pull the plug on a 3.3bn euro loan planned for this month.
Whether European and IMF inspectors are willing to cut Greece some slack remains unclear.
Ahead of his visit to Greece, Poul Thomsen, the IMF mission chief in Greece, seemed in an uncompromising mood.
"I regret nothing," he said. "Nothing."
Albania, NDS candidate attacked

NDS candidate attacked
The New Democratic Spirit leader, Bamir Topi, gave a public reaction for the brutal beating of the NDS candidate in Roskovec.

“I address this message to the person whose duty is to guarantee free and honest elections. Before talking about what he is going to do in the next four years, he should guarantee the integrity and security of these elections. This country that operates with his phalanges must react, because this doesn’t honor the Albanian institutions and puts a black stain on our behavior in front of the internationals”, Topi declared.

Mit’hat Hoxha, the New Democratic Spirit candidate in Fier, was left unconscious on the street after being hit with solid objects by persons that he did recognize.

“We wish a quick recovery to Hoxha, and I guarantee his family that New Democratic Spirit is close to them in this moment. The New Democratic Spirit not only does not get intimidated by blackmail, but now we will work even harder than before to return the rule of law standards. Tomorrow in Parliament and, why not, in the Albanian government, we will work to return these standards”, Topi declared.

Hoxha is currently hospitalized in the city of Fier, and his wife says that he had been threatened before to not be part of the electoral campaign in Roskovec.

The relatives confirm the threats, while other New Democratic Spirit leaders say that the three attackers have been identified.

The police is investigating by interrogating witnesses and the victim.

The United States Ambassador, Alexander Arvizu, asked a few days ago for guarantee for the Albanian police to guarantee a calm electoral climate.

Arvizu declared that despite some incidents, the United States expect the implementation of the law: “People express their passion for the candidates and their parties. Unfortunately there have been some incidents. The party supporters can do a lot to make the life of the State Police much easier by simply implementing the law. Certainly that political passion is allowed, but everyone needs to respect the law by being very careful. This is what the United States expect, and this is what we hope”.

Turkey protests: Riot police storm Taksim Square

The BBC's Mark Lowen describes the scene in Taksim Square, where volleys of tear gas are being fired
Turkish riot police have moved into Istanbul's Taksim Square, which has been occupied by anti-government protesters for close to two weeks.
Officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets, leading many protesters to flee the square into adjoining Gezi Park, where many have been camping.
Some activists responded by hurling fireworks, fire bombs and stones at police.
The unrest began after a police crackdown on a protest over Gezi Park.
The protests then widened, with demonstrators accusing Mr Erdogan's government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state.
The move into the square by police comes after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to meet the protest organisers on Wednesday.
Backed by armoured vehicles, officers wearing helmets and carrying shields gathered around the square early on Tuesday before moving past barricades erected by protesters.
They removed protesters' banners which had been hung from a building overlooking the square.
Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said the police had no intention of breaking up the protest in Gezi Park.
"Our aim is to remove the signs and pictures on Ataturk statue and the Ataturk Cultural Centre. We have no other aim," he wrote on Twitter. "Gezi Park and Taksim will not be touched."
A similar message was broadcast by police via loudspeaker, but protesters in the square said they did not believe this.
The BBC's Mark Lowen, who is in the square, says this was a deliberate show of force that may jeopardise Wednesday's talks.
The demonstrations are now in their 12th day, with activists controlling much of Taksim Square.
The unrest was sparked after police moved to suppress environmental protests over the redevelopment of Gezi Park on 31 May.
Three people have died and more than 5,000 have been injured since the protests began.
Map of protest locations in Turkey and Istanbul

Monday, June 10, 2013

Παγκόσμια Βλάχικη Αμφικτυονία στην Κορυτσά εκδήλωση! 4 - Komuniteti Botë...

Βλάχοι απ’ όλο τον κόσμο συναντήθηκαν στην Κορυτσά! [ΦΩΤΟ + ΒΙΝΤΕΟ]

Vlachs from around the world met in Korca

Vlachs from around the world met in Korca!
In Korca held the 4th Conference of the World Vlach with the participation of Vlachs from Skopje (Gevgeli, Monastery Krousovo), Germany, in Canada, America, Greece and Albania.

This meeting culminated Sunday where representatives Vlach clubs from all these countries after their participation in the liturgy presented traditional songs and dances in the central square of Korca, in front of the Cathedral.

Ex Miss Bulgaria Drug Arrest in Greece Reports Refuted

By on 9.6.13

Greek newspaper Katimerini and the PR agent of former Miss Bulgaria Yulya Yurevich (who was crowned Miss Bulgaria in 2007) refuted reports at the weekend that the beauty queen has been arrested for stocking drugs. Greek and Cyprus based media outlet "Bulgarian News" said that the young lady was detained after police discovered significant amounts of illegal drugs and weapons in her Athens apartment, attributing the report to Katimerini.

Later on Saturday, the Greek newspaper distributed a release, saying that it had published no such information.

Yurevich's PR agent also issued a message, telling Bulgarian BGNES agency that she is "shocked" by the false allegations. -

New Public Opinion Poll Shows ND Lead Over SYRIZA

According to a new public opinion poll that was conducted for the Sunday edition of the RealNews newspaper, the New Democracy (ND) party has a 2.3 percent lead over main opposition SYRIZA.

More exactly, New Democracy was leading with 27.9 percent, followed by SYRIZA with 25.6 percent, the Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party with 13.4 percent, the Independent Greeks party with 6.9 percent, PASOK with 6.4 percent, DIMAR with 6.2 percent and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 5.8 percent.

In response to who would be most suitable for prime minister, current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (and ND leader) was preferred by 43.2 percent of the respondents, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 23.7 percent, while 31.2 percent said neither of the two.

Turkish PM in "coutneroffensive" as protests continue

ISTANBUL -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched "a verbal counter-offensive" aimed against the tens of thousands of protesters in his country.
A scene in Istanbul on Sunday (Beta/AP)
A scene in Istanbul on Sunday (Beta/AP)
The Turkish demonstrators have been gathering for ten days now to seek Erdogan's resignation.
His message for the citizens gathering in the streets of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, was that they were "robbers and extremists who are plotting an organized conspiracy within and outside the country."

Erdogan yesterday appeared in several television shows to take up the entire media space, news agencies are reporting.

"We were patient and we are still, but patience has its limits. We do not want showdowns with marginal groups, but we have the responsibility
toward the people... The people brought us to power, and they alone can make us go away," said the Turkish prime minister.

Meanwhile demonstrators gathered for a tenth day at Taksim Square in Istanbul, and in the now famous Geza Park, which Erdogan plans to demolish to build a commercial center.

This decision triggered a wave of street protests, primarily in Istanbul, which then - after a harsh police crackdown - turned into the ongoing anti-government protests.

The protesters accuse the conservative government, which has been in power since 2002, of authoritarian policies and Islamization of the secular Turkish state.

During the demonstrations so far four people lost their lives while nearly 5,000 were injured in clashes with police.
How much was paid U.S. war in Kosovo?

U.S. President Bill Clinton was not very liked in Congress because the breakup of Yugoslavia cost the country more money, which could have invested in other programs. U.S. and West Balkan crisis has cost 250 billion dollars, reports the "Voice of Russia".

"With that money could have been built a new Yugoslavia and the Balkans would create heaven on earth. Rather, the Balkans has created an unstable area. Are many Americans who have given assistance to the Albanian-Americans especially, said to have more impact ", following further article titled:" How has paid U.S. arms supply KLA ".

"Today in the U.S. live 300 to 500 thousand Albanians. At the beginning, they supported Ibrahim Rugova, and today are in support of Hashim Thaci. They offered a 2 billion dollars of aid that are spent on armaments and creating KLA . former KLA leaders were quickly transformed into political leaders. Not only Americans, but help came from Tirana. After the 1997 crisis in Albania, where people destroyed all weapons depots, all "Kalashnikovs" ended in the hands of the KLA, "concludes writing.

Turkish protesters using encryption software to evade censors

Facebook and Twitter reported to have been blocked in run-up to protests, with people turning to VPNs to broadcast content
Turkey mobile phone
People in Turkey have been increasingly downloading software that hides their connections to the internet. Photograph: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images
Mobile internet users in Turkey are routing around suspected censorship by its government by downloading software that encrypts and hides their connections to the outside world, as the unrest in the country grows.
People there are also downloading communications apps such as Twitter and Ustream, which can broadcast live video, and Zello, which works like a walkie-talkie, so they can record events and avoid surveillance, as protests and disorder entered their sixth day.
Over the weekend, more than 120,000 people inside Turkey have downloaded Hotspot Shield, a free mobile app that provides a "virtual private network" (VPN) connection that cannot be tapped and can link to the outside world, avoiding censorship. Anchorfree, which makes the software, said its product – already popular inside the country as a means of evading government internet censorship – had leapt more than three thousandfold over the weekend.
The country, which has about 73 million inhabitants, of whom about half have internet connections, usually sees about 10,000 new users of VPN software each day, said Anchorfree, but that figure jumped tenfold on Saturday alone.
"The really interesting thing here," said David Gorodyansky, founder and chief executive of AnchorFree,, "is that tens of thousands of people are downloading Hotspot Shield and other communications apps in anticipation of further censorship. It just goes to show how evolving internet and mobile app technology is helping to thwart attempts to limit democratic rights and freedoms."
The Turkish government has been repeatedly criticised by pressure groups inside the country who say it has been blocking or censoring Twitter and Facebook content for months leading up to the latest protests, in which one man has died.
Over the weekend, access to social media sites was throttled, according to a report on Techcrunch quoting sources inside the country. But Turkcell, the largest of the three mobile phone companies there, which covers almost the whole country and has about 60% of users, denied reports that it was blocking connections.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan recently called Twitter "a menace", adding "the best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society."
Kurdish groups inside and outside Turkey have previously complained to the Guardian that tweets using their hashtag #twitterkurds have been censored so that protests inside the country alleging mistreatment do not appear in Twitter's timeline or searches. Twitter has not been able to confirm this.
The Turkish government has implemented a centralised system where all internet traffic travels over Turk Telecom's systems, which means content can be blocked or websites effectively removed from sight. Thousands of sites are reported to be invisible inside the country, while being available outside. There is also a government body which can ban internet content without a warrant or judicial oversight.
However Renesys, an internet conectivity monitoring company, said there was no evidence that Turkey's connectivity to the outside world is being blocked, as has happened in Syria and Egypt more recently.
"We examined the reachability of social networking sites from our measurement infrastructure within Turkey, and found nothing unusual. We examined the 72-hour history of measurements from inside Turkey to these sites, and found no change in normal behaviour," noted chief technology officer Jim Cowie. But he added that it was impossible to know whether there might be local throttling of connections.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Turkish Spring
Strategy Page 
Supporters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan light flares on his arrival at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport early Friday. Erdogan took a combative stance on his closely watched return to the country early Friday, telling supporters who thronged to greet him that the protests that have swept the country must come to an end. His government's response has drawn criticism from the European Union.

June 10, 2013:

The biggest story in the Balkans is still the mass public protests in Turkey. The protests have increasingly focused on prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s arrogant personality and his politics of intimidation.  His penchant for making unilateral decisions, such as cutting down park trees in Istanbul, stems from his arrogance and self-righteousness. His relentless attacks on his critics, and his abuse of state power to silence his critics, are concrete examples of calculated, self-serving political intimidation by the prime minister.
A protest rally of some sort has occurred in virtually every Turkish province.

The demonstrators are a very mixed lot. The demonstrations in Istanbul and Ankara have received the most coverage, which is logical since these two cities are Turkey’s media hubs. The demonstrations in these cities draw people from all social, economic, and –interestingly enough-political backgrounds. The protestors have a range of complaints which defy commentators who want to give them one neat political label. The common complaint is Erdogan’s self-righteousness, arrogance, and his increasingly autocratic behavior. 

The charge of arrogance links to perceived disrespect. Erdogan’s personal disrespect for his political opponents is expressed in his savage rhetorical attacks. Many Turks believe that Erdogan’s personal disrespect extends to any Turk who disagrees with any of his policies and decisions. Such profound and ingrained disrespect by the most powerful politician in Turey has led to disregard for civil liberties and the use of state power to silence his critics. Erdogan threatens critical reporters with lawsuits and criminal charges-and that is indeed a fact. He threatens opposition media outlets-another fact.

Less certain are accusations that his party identifies and punishes public workers who oppose Erdogan. Public workers, however, are certainly vulnerable to this type of party-line intimidation and Erdogan loves to intimidate. Demonstrating in the streets is a logical response to Erdogan’s attack on his opposition’s freedom of speech. The question is, will the anger expressed in the protests be expressed in the next national election? Erdogan has won three national elections in a row.

The next national election is scheduled for 2014. The combative Erdogan is now defending his government’s handling of the public protests. After returning from a diplomatic visit to four North African countries, he taunted his political opponents. Erdogan said his opponents have failed to defeat him at the ballot box. Now they participate in unlawful demonstrations. (Austin Bay)
Strategy Page

Albanian campaign politic election, continues under nationalist rhetoric

European Union warns Albania for raise of nationalism campaign

June 9, 2013: European Union diplomats are once again warning Albania that ultra-nationalist rhetoric will damage Albania’s case for joining the EU. At the moment the chief culprit is the Red and Black Alliance (RBA). The RBA, founded by Kreshnik Spahiu, is an ultra-nationalist party which advocates national reunification The RBA’s concept for reunification is the creation of Greater Albania. It wants Albania to hold a referendum that will unite Albania and Kosovo. 

Fortunately the RBA is small. Polling indicates that less than three percent of registered voters support the RBA. But the RBA plays upon old time Albanian nationalist aspirations and it is vocal in advocating for a Greater Albania. In the run up to Albania’s parliamentary elections (June 23) RBA rhetoric has become increasingly vitriolic. Last month the government Protection and Discrimination issued an official warning to the RBA. 

The warning followed complaints by the mayor of the town of Pustec that members of the RBA had threatened ethnic Slavs (Macedonian Slavs) who live in the area. The RAB considers Pustec to be a nationalist cause celebre.  This past March the government changed the town’s name to Pustec at the request of Slavs living in the area. The place was previously called Liquenas. 

The RBA is also anti-Greek. The RBA has refused to participate in the political opposition coalition because the opposition coalition includes the Unity for Human Rights party (which backs ethnic minority rights in Albania, particularly ethnic Greeks who live in southern Albania). Albanian ultra-nationalists believe parts of contemporary northern Greece rightfully belong to Albania and should be incorporated into a reunified Albanian state. This is, of course, precisely the kind of political demand that precipitates another Balkan war.
Thousands stage anti-austerity demonstration in Greece
Doctors, health workers and foreign unions march in the Greek capital, Athens, during a nationwide strike, June 7, 2013.
Doctors, health workers and foreign unions march in the Greek capital, Athens, during a nationwide strike, June 7, 2013.
Sun Jun 9, 2013 6:59AM GMT
Greece was granted a 110-billion-euro (145-billion-dollar) bailout by the so-called troika of IMF, the European Commission (EC), and the European Central Bank (ECB) in May 2010. Another 130-billion-euro (170-billion-dollar) rescue package was approved in February 2012.”
Thousands of people have staged a demonstration in the Greek capital, Athens, to protest against tough austerity measures imposed by the government and the economic policies of the European Union.

On Saturday, protesters from across Europe took to the streets of Athens to make their voices heard and demand changes to the EU’s financial policies.

The demonstrators rallied outside the Greek parliament and shouted slogans against Greece's international lenders. They also blamed EU governments for the ongoing economic crisis in Greece.

Greece was granted a 110-billion-euro (145-billion-dollar) bailout by the so-called troika of IMF, the European Commission (EC), and the European Central Bank (ECB) in May 2010.

Another 130-billion-euro (170-billion-dollar) rescue package was approved in February 2012.

According to the figures released by the Greek statistics service, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the Greek economy contracted by 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

The announcement came days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) admitted it had made serious mistakes in preparing Greece’s first rescue package, which led to a second larger bailout.

The Greek economy also showed a 5.7-percent slump in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Reports say Greece has an unemployment rate of 26.8 percent.
SManalysis update from Albania

Turkey Investments, a secret military pact with Albania

Turkish military investments in Albania, will increase by about 5 million euros for Kucovo airport and naval base of Orikum

The Albanian government has adopted a military agreement not to make public, in contradiction with the spirit of NATO for military investment growth, which reach 5 million euros, mainly in Kucovo Air Force Base and the naval base in Oricum.

There is no reaction from the closest western countries of Albania, Italy and Greece, though, the country is involved in the bitter election campaign in all the history of elections in Albania.

The European Parliament has expressed its concern regarding the Turkish economic investments in the Balkans, and especially in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia, where there is a concentration's Muslim population ..

According to the European Commission, Turkish investments in the Balkans, reach 24 billion euros for 2012.

Especially Germany, has been concerned about the fact in that these investments, privatizations associated with strategic and military intervention.

Erdogan wants from Edi Rama, leader of the opposition in Albania, continuing the Turkish economic concessions


Edi Rama, the day before the outbreak of protests in Turkey, met privately with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. According to Albanian weekly "Impact" Erdogan had asked Socialist leader Edi Rama, concessions for Turkish business doing, with his arrival in power after the election.

But more confidential sources, Erdogan had also asked them Edi Rama, to influence be included in the next parliament, some Albanian nationalist MPs, mainly of the Cham Community.

The Greek Community in Northern Epirus, concerned by the withdrawal of the Greek army in the border with Albania

According to the first reactions of the ethnic Greek residents in Southern Albania (Northern Epirus) the decision of the Supreme Council of Defense of Greece, to reduce the Greek military forces, in the border with Albania is one of the major concerns of the 100-year history of the Greek Albanian relations.

This is one more motivation of the Albanian extremists, but also the Albanian state structures, to intimidate and to move from their property, all ethnic Greek community living in Northern Epirus.

We feel deeply betrayed by the government of Athens, in a time when there is no hope, to care for thousands of families of Northern Epirus, to feel sure, opposite the Albanian nationalist strategy, stated a member of the Greek community from Saranda.

The Northern Epirus Community in Albania has followed the Greek parliament on line debates between the Minister of Defense of Greece and MP of the Golden Dawn, Chriostos Pappas, major concern about this, for the future security of Their Families in southern Albania.

 The Albanian campaign 2013, Rama and Berisha are OK for legalization in all over Albania


Both political leaders Sali Berisha and Edi Rama, are campaigning for the legalization of Albanian properties (that have occupied the property belonging to the Greek community)

This call, is updated regularly, especially in southern of Albania, which is concentrated electoral battle between Rama and Berisha.

Both major parties, have not clearly defined the position of land distribution, which is based on a law (7501) but disrupts the entire Ionian coast in Vlora to Konispol, properties which are historically inhabited by indigenous Greeks, but that is legalized by the Albanian come, especially from the north.

With the legalization process, the Albanian government of Sali Berisha, privatized and then sold, Kakome lands, belonging to the community of Nivitsa.