Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Alarming situation in Himara Region, residents without electricity for several days

The situation has become unbearable, residents left Himara and go to Greece, due to the lack of lights

Total irresponsibility of the energy system, KESH, an institution that is managed by the Albanian State

Christmas and New Year, going through without electricity, in a situation between the cold and bad weather.

Himara. With hundreds of people, have left their homes and heading to the Greek border, hoping to pass new year night, tyre.qe close family members living in Greece, mainly in Athens.

Cause were frequent interruptions of electricity in recent months, for which they say are regular payers of energy, but the state does not care to build investment in Himara Region.

The Situation has been particularly volatile last days of the year, when the weather has deteriorated enough electricity cuts were made for days, increasing uncertainty over property and homes in all Himara Region ..

But nobody cares, nor the Albanian Government, Power Corporation, nor the media, while seems to Himara, is being held a hostile attitude in continuity, because its people rejected the Albanian government, in some aspects affecting the country's Constitution such as property and Territorial division.

The issue becomes even more complicated, while policies in Greece, which in many cases has intervened in matters affecting the Himara Region with Albania, is heading towards a composition of the new government, which will lead the country to political elections at the end of January 2015.

Italy Sends Helicopters to Check on Migrant Ship


Italian authorities sent two helicopters Tuesday to meet a cargo ship believed to be carrying hundreds of migrants after a passenger sent a distress call earlier when the ship was off Greece.
The operation came two days after a Greek-operated ferry caught fire between Greece and Italy with the loss of at least 11 lives, prompting a two-day search and rescue effort.
Italian air force spokesman Capt. Stefano Testa said the Moldovan-flagged Blue Sky M freighter was about 20 miles (30 kilometers) off Santa Maria di Leuca, on the southernmost tip of the "heel" of boot-shaped Italy.
Port officials in Bari said the teams were landing on the ship as a precaution to see if there were any problems on board and ensure the situation was under control.
Earlier, Greek authorities scrambled a navy frigate and helicopter after a man who said he was a passenger called emergency services when the ship was off Corfu, saying hundreds of migrants were on board and needed water, food and blankets.
A Greek coast guard official said the helicopter located the ship within Italian waters, and its captain said the vessel wasn't in distress and didn't require assistance.
Italian authorities were notified, and the cargo ship continued on its own toward Italy, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak on the record.
Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees, most fleeing conflict or poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, attempt to reach the European Union each year, most heading by sea to Italy or Greece.
On Sunday, the Norman Atlantic passenger ferry caught fire in the same area. Authorities rescued more than 400 people, and are still searching for potential missing passengers from the vessel.

Renzi calls Tirana: The "Norman Atlantic" to be send to Italy for inquiring by Italian Prosecutor

Renzi: 'Europe must enlarge or miss an opportunity'


 (foto: EPA)
Tirana, December 30 - Premier Matteo Renzi said Tuesday in the Albanian capital that the European Union must take on new members.
    "Either Europe enlarges or it misses an opportunity," Renzi said.

    Declaring himself the "first sponsor" of Albanian EU membership, Renzi added that "when anyone questions Albania and the other Balkan countries joining the EU, they are getting everything wrong".
    Speaking during a visit to Tirana climaxing the end of Italy's duty EU presidency, Renzi underlined that "we need this area to be not just a part but the heart of the EU in the face of the challenges that await us".

    "We want to change our countries so that they are ever more capable of building the European ideal," Renzi said during a press conference with Albanian counterpart Edi Rama.

Asked for the tragedy on the Adriatic Sea on issue  "Norman Atlantic",  Italian PM Renzi calls the Albanian authorities to back the Italian Prosecutor, to sent The "Norman Atlantic" not in Vlora Gulf, but in Brindisi.

Albanian seamen die in Norman Atlantic ferry recovery

In this image released by the Italian Navy, smoke billows from the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014 Italian authorities said they could not verify the actual number of people originally on board the ferry

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Two Albanian seamen have been killed on a tugboat while towing the fire-stricken Norman Atlantic ferry.
Both men died after being hit by a connecting cable between the vessels on Tuesday, Albanian officials say.
At least 10 people were killed and more than 400 were rescued, after fire broke out on the ferry in stormy seas.
It is unclear how many passengers are still missing. Rescue helicopters have been diverted after another ship sent a distress signal nearby.
A cargo ship carrying several hundred people near the Greek island of Corfu appealed for help late on Tuesday morning, according to Greek media.
The rescue helicopters and a naval frigate have gone to a Moldovan-flagged ship, Blue Sky M, which was believed to be carrying migrants just south of the island of Othonoi, north-west of Corfu, reports said.
Unconfirmed reports suggested armed people were on board the vessel bound for Croatia, according to Greek state TV.
Still searching Italian authorities said they were continuing to search the ferry Norman Atlantic. They have been unable to verify the precise number of people originally on board.
The operator said 478 people had been on the ferry when it left the Greek port of Patras for Ancona in Italy, but Italy's final tally following the rescue comes to only 437, including those who died.
Map showing the route of the ship Norman Atlantic travelling from Greece to Italy
Prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe told reporters in the Italian port of Bari that it was likely that other victims would be found on the wrecked ship because a number of those rescued had not been on the passenger list.
Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said on Monday that a definitive figure could not be given because of errors on the passenger list, no-shows at boarding or people getting off on a stopover at the Greek port city of Igoumenitsa.
Snapped cable An Albanian port authority official in Vlore told Reuters news agency that the two seamen had been hit by the broken cable.
"One man died on the spot when one cable broke after it got stuck in the propeller," the official said. "The other died on board a few minutes ago when being assisted by a helicopter medical team."
The BBC's James Reynolds in the Italian port of Brindisi says that Tuesday's tugboat accident underlines the many difficulties faced in this recovery operation.
Rescued passengers of the "Norman Atlantic" accident, Marko Gondolo, second left, 40, and his daughter Serafina, 5, arrive from Italy at Elefsina Air Base outside Athens, on Monday, Dec. 29, 2014. The Italian coast guard is carrying out a review of the passengers to try and work out who is still missing
Monday's rescue operation was conducted amid considerable danger and panic.
As passengers tried to escape from the flames by going on to the deck, they were confronted with freezing cold rain and huge waves while heat from the fire below scalded their feet.
Survivors described scenes of people fighting to get to lifeboat slots and into helicopter baskets. Those rescued have complained that the crew seemed overwhelmed by events.
Some witnesses said that there had been no fire alarms or knocks at the door from the crew to rouse sleeping passengers.

Migrant ship' heads for Italy after distress call scare

Armed special missions officers of the Greek coast guard set off from Corfu harbour for waters off the Ionian island of Othoni, responding to a distress signal from Moldovan-registered freighter "Blue Sky M" in the area, in Corfu, Greece, 30 December 2014 Greek coast guard special missions officers were sent from Corfu towards the cargo ship Blue Sky M

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A cargo ship believed to be carrying hundreds of migrants is heading for Italy after a passenger sparked an alert near the Greek island of Corfu.
The distress call to Greek emergency services prompted the navy to send a helicopter and a warship to the scene.
But later the coastguard said the captain of the Blue Sky M had been contacted and no-one was in danger.
The incident came two days after a fire broke out on a ferry not far away, leaving at least 10 people dead.
Resources were diverted to the cargo ship from the ongoing search near the wreck of the ferry, Norman Atlantic.
Greek coast guard special missions officers were also seen leaving Corfu for the area, just to the south-west of the small island of Othonoi.
Blue Sky M
Abrupt turn The Moldovan-flagged Blue Sky M was reportedly heading for the port of Rijeka in Croatia.
But according to tracking website MarineTraffic, the ship abruptly changed direction south of Othonoi on Tuesday morning, heading west towards Italy.
The passenger on board the Blue Sky M had reportedly phoned the Greek 112 emergency line, complaining "we are without water, food and blankets".
Unconfirmed reports also referred to armed men being on board, however the ship's captain later said no assistance was being sought.
Weather conditions in the Ionian sea have been poor for several days, hampering the rescue of those on board the Norman Atlantic.

Greek President Papoulias to PM Samaras: The Big Moment has Arrived

News from Greece

by Aggelos Skordas - Dec 30, 2014


The Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, received the outgoing President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, at his office earlier today in order to agree on the current Parliament’s dissolution, ahead of the upcoming snap general elections, that according to the Greek Constitution must follow the Parliament’s failure to elect a new Greek President.

“The big moment has arrived.” This was the phrase Mr. Papoulias welcomed Mr. Samaras with, adding that he hopes “everything will go well.” On his behalf the Greek Premier, underlined once again that the Greek people did not want elections. “They are unnecessary. They are the result of partisan self-interest,” “when it comes to the security and stability of the nation, the battle is about truth and responsibility. In this battle, it is not the political parties that come first, but the nation, particularly as Greece’s remainder in Europe is at stake.”

It should be noted that the Greek Premier officially requested from the President, the dissolution of the Parliament as soon as possible and the elections to be held on Sunday, January 25. Within the day, Mr. Papoulias is expected to issue a presidential decree ordering the Parliament’s dissolution and approving the given date as the date the next general elections will be held. In addition, within the first days of the new cabinet a new Presidential election should be held for the successor of Mr. Papoulias.

Mr. Samaras is expected to meet with New Democracy’s executive committee very shortly
- See more at:

Putin is no genius, says Obama

WASHINGTON -- "Strategic and tough sanctions against Moscow have effectively battled Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine," says Barack Obama.
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
AFP is quoting the U.S. president as saying in an interview broadcast on Monday that "Putin had convinced many in Washington that he was a genius for his lightning-quick annexation of the Crimean peninsula and invasion of areas of eastern Ukraine."
"But the U.S. administration's non-aggressive response, while frustrating hawkish Republicans in Congress who advocated more forceful intervention, paid dividends in the long run, with sanctions now biting into the limping Russian economy," the French agency reported Obama as saying.

"I said at the time we don't want war with Russia, but we can apply steady (sanctions) pressure working with our European partners," Obama told NPR during the interview recorded on December 19.

"And today, I'd sense that at least outside of Russia, maybe some people are thinking what Putin did wasn't so smart. Part of our rationale in this process was that the only thing keeping that economy afloat was the price of oil," Obama said, and added:

Steady sanctions pressure "would make the economy of Russia sufficiently vulnerable that if and when there were (oil price) disruptions... that they'd have enormous difficulty managing it".

Migrant Ship with Hundreds Aboard in Distress Near Greek Island of Corfu

News from Greece 
Blue Sky Μ

by Ioanna Zikakou - Dec 30, 2014

Blue Sky ΜA “Blue Sky” cargo ship with a Moldova flag, carrying aproximately 600 illegal migrants has sent a distress signal from west of Corfu, through the European frequency 112.

There are initial unconfirmed reports in Greek news, that there are armed men aboard. The Italian coast guard immediately alerted Greek authorities about the incident and a Sikorsky helicopter of the Hellenic Navy along with the frigate “Navarino” which was in the area due to investigations regarding Norman Atlantic, are expected to arrive near the ship shortly.

According to the Hellenic Navy, the ship is located southwest of the Othonoi, a small island northwest of Corfu. The Port Authority of Corfu chairman, Spiros Andriotis noted that the extreme weather conditions are preventing the port of Corfu from sending boats to tow the ship back to safety.

Just two days ago, a ferry carrying around 400 people, many of which were Greeks traveling to Italy, caught on fire. The ship was located near Corfu but in Italian waters. At the moment, 8 people have lost their lives in the ferry fire and another 40 are missing.
- See more at:


National Security of Greece, Ionian and Adriatic sea, outside the border control

The closing of the naval base in Corfu, as a result of cuts in the Greek army, brought catastrophe.........................

Monday, December 29, 2014

Ferry Passengers Recount Chaos: No Fire Alarm, Just Smoke

BARI, Italy — There were no fire alarms at first, no knocks on the door from the crew, just thick, acrid smoke filling cabins and waking passengers on the overnight ferry from Greece to Italy.
In the chaos that followed, passengers sought safety from the flames on deck, only to be doused by cold rain and water hoses while heat from the fire below burned their feet.
Pushing and shoving broke out, and passengers came to blows over coveted slots on lifeboats and helicopter baskets.
"Everyone there was trampling on each other to get onto the helicopter," Greek truck driver Christos Perlis told The Associated Press by telephone from one of the rescue vessels summoned after the Italian-flagged ferry caught fire off Albania early Sunday.
"The jungle law prevailed," said Greek passenger Irene Varsioti. "There was no queue or order. No respect was shown for children."
Italian and Greek helicopter rescue crews Monday evacuated the last of the known survivors aboard the vessel, bringing the number rescued to 427.
But the death toll climbed to at least 10, and the search in the Adriatic Sea continued amid serious discrepancies in the ship's manifest, which contained 478 names.
"We cannot say how many people may be missing," Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said at an evening news conference.
Italian officials said the names on the manifest may have represented just reservations, not actual passengers who boarded. Also, Italian navy Adm. Giovanni Pettorino said 80 of those rescued weren't on the list at all, giving credence to suggestions from the Italian premier that the ferry may have been carrying a number of illegal migrants trying to reach Italy.
The blaze broke out on the car deck of the Norman Atlantic while the ferry was traveling from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona in Italy. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
The Italian military congratulated itself for a remarkable around-the-clock rescue operation in horrendous weather: 40 knot (75 kph; 46 mph) winds, high seas, choking smoke and the dark of the Adriatic night.
Hundreds of passengers, crew members and two dogs were plucked from the rain-soaked ferry decks in helicopter baskets as the fire blazed below.
Some suffered hypothermia, others mild carbon monoxide poisoning, but the first big group to reach land — 49 people who came ashore in Bari just after dawn Monday — walked off their rescue ship on their own, exhausted and draped in blankets to ward off the cold.
Navy Adm. Giuseppe De Giorgi hailed the Italian ferry captain, Argilio Giacomazzi, for having stayed on board to see the evacuation through, in striking contrast to the skipper in Italy's last maritime disaster. Capt. Francesco Schettino is on trial on charges of manslaughter and leaving the ship early in the 2012 wreck of the Costa Concordia, in which 32 people were killed.
"As an old seaman, I offer my deferential salute to the ship captain for having done his job with great dignity and competence," De Giorgi said. "He was last off, as a captain should be."
Giacomazzi's daughter, Giulia, said her father was "very precise and very careful" about his work.
"The classic story of the sea," she told AP from the family's home in La Spezia. "The captain is the last to leave the ship."
Despite the praise, passengers said the scene aboard the ship was chaos, with virtually no direction coming from the mostly Italian crew. Several said that they knew to get out of their cabins only because other passengers banged on their doors or because they couldn't breathe from the smoke.
"There was no alarm — this was the absolute tragedy," Dimitra Theodossiou, a Greek soprano, told Italy's La Repubblica. "They didn't knock. They didn't advise us. We woke from smoke that entered in the room."
Perlis, the Greek truck driver, described the rescue scene as "a chaos, a panic," hampered by passengers whose feet were burning from the fire underneath them. "And from the feet up we were soaked," he said.
When rescue helicopters arrived, Perlis said, passengers began to clamber for position.
"First children, then women and then men. But the men, they started hitting us so they could get on first. They didn't take into consideration the women or the children, nothing," Perlis said. He said he reached safety after jumping in a helicopter basket carrying a girl.
British show-jumper Nick Channing-Williams told Sky News that he heard an alarm at 5 a.m. — well after the flames were under way. Passengers said that eventually an order went out for passengers to get their life vests and come to the upper decks.
"When we got out on deck, the flames were huge and all the cars were on fire," he said.
"The fire was basically cooking everybody's feet. ... People just panicked," he added. "When the flames are licking up the side of the boat and there's no sign of help ... you do feel somewhat helpless."
A Turkish passenger, Aylin Akamac, told the state-run Anadolu Agency: "We were soaked from the water they doused to extinguish the fire. Our feet froze. People were forced to move closer to the fire to keep warm. We waited outside for hours."
Late Monday, Italy's transport ministry sequestered the ferry, saying Italian and Albanian authorities would decide which port to bring it to amid dueling jurisdictions over any criminal or civil liability for the disaster.

All passengers off stricken Adriatic ferry, Italian coast guard says

From Barbie Nadeau, for CNN
December 29, 2014 -- Updated 1725 GMT (0125 HKT)

Watch this video

Ferry survivors tell horrifying tale

  • NEW: Death toll rises to eight after fire on ferry in Adriatic Sea
  • All passengers evacuated, ship's commander leaves vessel
  • More than 400 people had been on board stricken vessel
  • Fire broke out early Sunday morning as ferry traveled from Greece to Italy
(CNN) -- Eight people have now been confirmed dead after a ferry caught fire in the Adriatic Sea on Sunday, Italy's minister of transport said on Twitter on Monday.
Minister Maurizio Lupi retweeted a post from local media putting the death toll at eight, with 427 rescued.
The Italian coast guard earlier said that all remaining passengers had been evacuated from the vessel, with the boat's commander finally leaving the ship at 2:50 p.m. Monday. The coast guard told CNN it was inspecting the ship and deciding how to transport it -- and where.
Route of the Norman AtlanticRoute of the Norman Atlantic
Burning ferry passengers arrive in Italy
Ferry catches fire between Greece, Italy Ferry catches fire between Greece, Italy
More than 400 passengers had been traveling on the Norman Atlantic between the Greek port of Igoumenitsa and the Italian port of Ancona when the blaze broke out in the ferry's parking bay.
In the first three hours of the fire, around 150 people were able to escape via the vessel's lifeboats. But when the ferry lost power, the electronic arms were unable to function, leaving the rest of the boats dangling uselessly by its side.
Rescue efforts were hampered by strong winds, choppy seas and thick smoke, which prevented other boats from getting close enough to the vessel to get people off.
After waiting for hours in rough conditions, one Greek man told Italian state broadcaster RAI TV that passengers were "dying of cold and suffocating from the smoke," and that their feet were "burning" from the heat of the flames.
Helicopters with night vision equipment worked through the night to pull passengers off the ferry, one by one.
An Italian navy medical team boarded the ship to aid passengers, some of whom had been suffering hypothermia and smoke inhalation, the navy said. The already cold conditions were worsened by the spray from tugboat hoses as authorities attempted to douse the flames.
By Monday afternoon, the Italian navy said 419 people had been rescued, with the country's coast guard later confirming that no passengers remained on board.
A freighter carrying 49 rescued passengers arrived at the port of Bari, Italy, on Monday. Photos showed survivors wrapped in emergency foil blankets being carried away on stretchers.
Greek Merchant Marine Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis earlier raised the death toll to five.
One man died after he jumped or fell into the cold water, authorities said. It is unclear how the other four victims died.
Hundreds trapped on a burning ferry
First images from inside burning ferry
Hundreds aboard ferry burning in Adriatic
Dramatic cell phone images filmed by a passenger showed flames through shattered portholes, while a wider view released by rescuers showed a huge plume of thick, black smoke streaming from the stricken vessel.
Many passengers were unable to reach the lower decks because of the heat, and the water below was so cold that jumping clear of the ferry was not an option.
Sea surface temperatures had been around 14 to 15 degrees Celsius (57 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit), CNN meteorologist Tom Sater said, which would have limited the survival time in the water to six hours at most.
Passengers told Greek and Italian newsgroups they had felt like "prisoners on a burning ship."
It's not known how the fire started, but it's believed to have originated in the parking bay. A truck driver told the Greek news media that trucks filled with oil were "packed like sardines," their cargo scraping the ceiling, which could have set off sparks in rough seas to start a fire, he surmised.
Greek authorities said the vessel's fire doors appeared to have failed, which allowed the flames to spread quickly.
The disaster made national headlines in Greece, Italy and other countries with citizens aboard the ferry. In a Sunday morning public address, Pope Francis offered "affection and prayers" to those affected by the Norman Atlantic ferry fire as well as a collision in the Adriatic Sea between two merchant ships.

Greece plunged into crisis as failure to elect president sets up snap election

Stavros Dimas fails to win required number of votes, meaning parliament must now be dissolved and poll held within 30 days
Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the leftist Syriza party, leaves parliament after the vote. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
Greece was plunged into a renewed political crisis on Monday after parliament failed to elect a head of state, setting the stage for snap polls tipped to bring radical leftists to power.
Athens’s 300-seat house voted by 168-132 in favour of Stavros Dimas, a former European commissioner and the sole candidate for the post, becoming president, but he had been required to win 180 ballots.
“The number of 168 votes is a clear parliamentary majority but as the constitution foresees it does not allow my election,” he said. “What is important, now, is the interests of the country and the Greek people … what unites us is Greece.”
Under Greek law the parliament now has to be dissolved within 10 days and elections called within 30. The prime minister, Antonis Samaras, whose conservative-dominated two-party alliance has been in office since June 2012, said he would seek elections as soon as possible. “Tomorrow I will go to the president of the republic to request snap polls as early as possible on 25 January,” he said. “It is the hour of democracy, which means truth and responsibility, not populism.”
Five years into Greece’s worst economic crisis in decades, the stridently anti-austerity Syriza party is leading polls and likely to win. The leftists have declared that renegotiation of the accords Athens has signed with the EU, ECB and IMF – the bodies that have kept it afloat to the tune of €240bn – will be among its top priorities. It will also seek to write off the country’s monumental €320bn debt – ambitions that have revived fears of Greece colliding with creditors and being ejected from the eurozone.
Following the vote, Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, told reporters the country had experienced “a historic day”.
“In a few days the Samaras government, which pillaged the country, will belong to the past, as will the memoranda of austerity,” he said of the bailout accords. “The future has already begun. You should be optimistic and happy.”
The roll-call vote took place in a sombre atmosphere, eclipsed by the tragedy on board a ferry in the Adriatic where rescue efforts were at that point continuing almost 24 hours after the vessel caught fire.
Christos Pappas, the imprisoned second-in-command of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, was the first to announce that he would not be voting for the government’s candidate. Independent MPs, whom Samaras had hoped to sway in this, the final round of a three-stage vote, followed suit.
As it became clear that deputies were unlikely to reach the 180-vote threshold, the Athens stock exchange nosedived. By the ballot’s close it had shed more than 10% in an indication of investors’ concerns over the turmoil that is likely to hit Greece, which has been bailed out twice, once elections take place.
Stony-faced lawmakers looked on as Golden Dawn MPs, accentuating the deep political divisions now plaguing Greece, screamed at Samaras: “We will see you in prison.” The prime minister immediately called a cabinet meeting for 2pm local time to decide on government strategy in the coming days. Emerging from parliament, he said: “We did whatever we could for a president to be elected by today’s parliament and to avert early elections which hold serious dangers and which the majority of Greeks do not want … unfortunately a minority of 132 parliamentarians are dragging the country to snap polls.”
National Security of Greece, Ionian and Adriatic sea, outside the border control

The closing of the naval base in Corfu, as a result of cuts in the Greek army, brought catastrophe

Intervention by the Greek side, should have happen that when the alarm SOS, is claimed

Italian media, accusing Greece: not provide any assistance


The tragedy of the Ferry Boat "Norman Atlantic", brings strong debates on National Security issues of Greece, for which, lot of accusations and reasons against Greek politics, include for the its maritime border in the northern Ionian and Adriatic Sea.

Greece has been unable to interfere with rescue forces in emergency cases, such as by air and by sea, as the Greek Naval Base, is concentrated in the Port of Salaminas in Pireas.

It is for this reason that military experts, accusing the new strategy of the Greek Army, which has canceled the construction of Naval Base in Corfu, designed even before the 15 years, to protect the northern borders with Albania, especially marine waters. 

The Ferry Boat tragedy of "Norman Atlantic" brings all the reasons why the Greek forces, can not intervene in time, to neutralize the fire inside to the ship. The ship has begun SOS signal in the Greek waters of the Ionian sea, while the operation has started only  afternoon, by the intervention of Italian military helicopters in Albanian national waters.

Reduction of the Greek naval capability in the region of Corfu, and cancel the construction of the base, at last 15 year, has resulted in increasing traffic clandestine drug and arms at the border with Albania, a NATO member country, with poor control of its borders with Greece.

It is also a Reason else weakening control or Adriatic Ionian sea, a load of Greek naval forces, have allowed the Turkish Army, to control the Albanian ports, through its submarine,, according to ( the Greek media reports, in e special edition. 

However, the Italian media, Il Sole 24, accused Greece, which should have intervened in time since the morning in its territorial waters, to be given  SOS.

While the Albanian side, despite her modesty participation, took part in the action, sending a Coast Guard ship ..

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Greek Defense Ministry, sends to help the passengers from the ferry "Norman Atlantis", the frigate Navaros, along with two Super Puma helicopters

Albanian tug tows stricken car ferry towards port

VLORE, Albania Sun Dec 28, 2014 

Dec 28 (Reuters) - An Albanian tugboat was preparing to fix a line and tow the stricken car ferry that caught fire off the coast of Greece earlier on Sunday, an official in the port of Vlore said on Sunday.
Luan Kore, the chief of tugboats at the Albanian port said a tug from Vlore was preparing to tow the Norman Atlantic to Albania's main port of Durres, where it was already being driven by strong winds.

A second more powerful tugboat would be also help tow it part of the way, Kore said.
The Norman Atlantic, an Italian-flagged car ferry chartered by Greek operator ANEK Lines, raised the alarm in the early hours of Sunday after fire broke out in its lower decks.
An international rescue operation involving ships and aircraft from Greece, Italy and Albania has battled heavy seas and strong winds to try to evacuate the 478 passengers and crew and is preparing to work through the night. (Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Alison Williams)

Dramatic appeal by a passenger of Norman Atlantic: ‘We can’t breathe, the ship is tilting!

First entry: 28 December 2014
Dramatic appeal by a passenger of Norman Atlantic: ‘We can’t breathe, the ship is tilting!’ - VIDEO
A passenger on the burning Norman Atlantic ferry described the agony felt by many who remain on the ship as darkness fell over the Adriatic Sea.
Speaking to Greek state television NERIT he said that helicopters have stopped flying.
‘We are about to sink…We are unable to breathe due to smoke. The boat is tilting’, he said.

Samaras repeats call to avoid snap elections: 'Greeks don`t want new adventure'

First entry: 27 December 2014 - 20:15 Athens
Samaras repeats call to avoid snap elections: 'Greeks don`t want new adventure'
The Greek public doesn`t want a new adventure, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warned Saturday as he sought to stave off a snap election by urging lawmakers to choose a new president in a third and final round of voting.
"The Greek people do not want early elections, they want the current parliament to elect a new President of the Republic", Samaras said in the pre-recorded interview broadcast by state TV channel NERIT. 
“I did everything in my power to ensure that a new President of the Republic will be elected and to avoid early elections, because this is in the national interest”, the Greek prime minister said.
“The election of a new President will help the country to overcome recession”, he added.
However, Antonis Samaras said that “if we go on early elections, New Democracy (ND), senior government coalition partner, will win the elections. I can feel that".
Antonis Samaras, referring to Syriza and Independent Greeks (ANEL), called them “deadly enemies”, accusing them for “dangerous plans”, that “will bring about conflict between Greece and our allies abroad”.
"All those who incite such dangerous plans they are either stupid, or they are serving other interests”, he added, stressing that “refusing to elect new President of the Republic is political blackmail”.

Back To The U.S.S.R.? Russia's Year Of Probing NATO

28.12.14 Analysts for Change
Back To The U.S.S.R.? Russia's Year Of Probing NATO

A Norwegian F-16 jet fighter (left) tracks a Russian Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber earlier this year. In 2014, there was a marked increase in the number of times NATO aircraft intercepted Russian planes probing alliance defenses.

By Charles Recknagel

December 26, 2014

It has almost happened twice: a Russian military aircraft spying on a Western country turns off its transponder to avoid commercial radar and nearly collides with a passenger jet.

The most recent time was December 13 over Sweden. The time before that was March 3 over the Baltic Sea southeast of Copenhagen.

Both incidents are the result of Russia's probing Western defense capabilities in 2014 at a level not seen since the Cold War era. Russian planes have also flown up to and crossed Western states' borders and closely overflown Western naval ships to test NATO's response times and strategies.

"A lot of this is training in as close to a combat environment as you can get, particularly for the Russian Air Force," says Thomas Frear, a researcher at the European Leadership Network, a London-based think tank.

He says that over the course of 2014, NATO states have intercepted Russian aircraft probing alliance defenses more than 100 times. That is three times the number of intercepts in 2013.

The probes come as both NATO and Russia have heightened their military preparedness over the Ukraine military crisis and both sides seek to gather more intelligence about the other.

Russia has stepped up its military activities in the Baltic region while, at the same time, NATO has bolstered the capability of member states Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to resist any intimidation from Moscow.

The NATO initiatives include increased air patrols and reinforcement of naval task forces in the Baltic Sea region. Those, along with exercises in the Black Sea, constitute the largest mobilization of NATO forces on its eastern flank since the Central and Eastern European states entered the alliance.

Meanwhile, Russia has conducted major exercises for units in its Western and Southern Military Districts, including in areas bordering Ukraine. Western countries and NATO have called those exercises attempts to intimidate Kyiv at the same time that Moscow has sent soldiers and weapons to help pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The majority of the increased Russian probing of Western states' defenses has focused on the Baltic Sea region. But there have also been incidents along the U.S. and Canadian borders.

Those include Russian strategic bombers in international waters off Canada practicing cruise missile strikes on the United States in early September. And in May, Russian military aircraft approached to within 50 miles of the Californian coast, the closest approach since the Cold War.

'A Very Dangerous Game'

The more aggressive Russian probing carries a risk of dangerously escalating current tensions between the West and Moscow beyond the Ukraine crisis itself.

"The fact that it is being used in such a provocative way with a little bit of brinkmanship, getting close to borders or even crossing borders, that's of course a very dangerous game," says Marc Finaud, a senior adviser at the Geneva Center for Security Policy in Switzerland.

Frear notes that if a reconnaissance plane were to collide with a commercial flight as almost happened in December and March, NATO countries would be obliged by public opinion to pre-empt by force any future probes that could pose similar dangers. That, in turn, could lead to the downing of a Russian plane and create the conditions for a direct conflict.

Asked about the practice in his annual end-of-year news conference, Putin was defiant -- and placed the blame squarely on the United States.

"At the beginning of the 1990s, Russia fully abandoned the Soviet practice of sending our strategic air forces on patrol flights to remote regions. We stopped it altogether," Putin said.

"The American strategic flights with nuclear arms though kept going on. What for? Against whom? Whom have they been threatening? We kept refraining from flying year in and year out and we only renewed these flights two or three years ago. So who's the one provoking? Surely not us."

Adding to worries is the fact that the NATO-Russia Council -- the mechanism which NATO and Moscow created to deal with just such tensions -- has barely met since the Ukraine crisis began. Both sides have stopped cooperating to show their displeasure with the other.

That's a different pattern from crises during the Cold War, but not one that makes the world feel safer.

"The Cold War, for all its dangers, did have an element of predictability," Frear notes. "In a lot of respects, there was cooperation and a wider understanding of the rules of the game. [Those rules] just aren't in place now."

60 Prominent Germans Appeal Against Another War In Europe: “It Is Not About Putin. What Is At Stake Is Europe”

"War in Europe Again? Not in Our Names!"
60 Prominent Germans Appeal Against Another War In Europe: "It Is Not About Putin. What Is At Stake Is Europe"
Two weeks ago, as the S&P was preparing to surge on the latest round of all time high market-goosing algo trickery by the FOMC, 60 prominent German personalities from the realms of politics, economics, culture and the media were less concerned with
blinking red and green stock quotes and were focused on something far more serious to the future of the world: the threat of war with Russia.
In a letter published by Germany’s Die Zeit, numerous famous and respected Germans including a former president and former prime minister write “Wieder Krieg in Europa? Nicht in unserem Namen!”, or, roughly translated, “War in Europe Again? Not in Our Names!
The open letter to the German government, parliament, and media, excerpted here, was signed by more than 60 prominent German personalities and published in the weekly Die Zeit on Dec. 5. The initiators were Horst Teltschik (CDU), advisor to then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl at the time German of reunification; Walther Stützle (SPD), former Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defense; and Antje Vollmer (Greens), former Bundestag Vice President. Teltschik said, in motivating the appeal, “We are giving a political signal that the justified criticism of Russia’s Ukraine policy should not wipe out all the progress that we have made in the past 25 years in relations with Russia.”
Below is an excerpted translation (source) of the original letter found here. Nobody wants war. But North America, the European Union, and Russia are inevitably driving towards war if they do not finally halt the disastrous spiral of threats and counter-threats. All Europeans, including Russia, are jointly responsible for peace and security. Only those who do not lose sight of this goal can avoid fatal actions.
The Ukraine conflict shows that the quest for power and domination has not been overcome. In 1990, at the end of the Cold War, we all hoped that it would be. But the success of the détente policy and the peaceful revolutions allowed people to become lethargic and careless. In both East and West. The Americans, Europeans, and Russians all lost, as their guiding principle, the idea of permanently banishing war from their relationship. Otherwise it is impossible to explain either the West’s eastward expansion without simultaneously deepening cooperation with Moscow—a policy which Russia sees as a threat—or Putin’s annexation of Crimea in violation of international law.
At this moment of great danger for the continent, Germany has a special responsibility for the maintenance of peace. Without the will for reconciliation of the people of Russia, without the foresight of Mikhail Gorbachov, without the support of our Western allies, and without the prudent action by the then-Federal government, the division of Europe would not have been overcome. To allow German unification to evolve peacefully was a great gesture, shaped by the wisdom of the victorious powers. It was a decision of historic proportions.
Once the division of Europe was overcome, permanent peace and security, from Vancouver to Vladivostok, should have developed, as had been agreed by all the 35 heads of state and government of the OSCE member states in November 1990, in the “Charter of Paris for a New Europe.”. . . This goal of postwar policy has not been achieved to this day. People in Europe are forced to live in fear once again.
We, the undersigned, appeal to the Federal Government of Germany to assume its responsibility for peace in Europe. We need a new policy of détente in Europe. This is only possible on the basis of equal security for all and mutually respected partners. The German government is not pursuing a go-it-alone policy, as long as it  continues to call, during this stalemate, for calm and dialogue with Russia. The need of the Russians for security is as legitimate as is that of the Germans, the Poles, the Baltic States, and the Ukrainians.
We must also not push Russia out of Europe….  Since the Congress of Vienna in 1814, Russia has been a recognized global player in Europe. All who have tried to change that have failed violently, the last being the megalomaniacal Germany of Hitler, which set out in 1941 to murderously subjugate Russia.
We call upon the members of the German Bundestag, delegated by the people as their political representatives, to deal appropriately with the seriousness of the situation. . . . Whoever is constructing a bogeyman, putting the blame on only one side, is exacerbating tensions, when the signals should be for de-escalation.
We appeal to the media, to more scrupulously adhere to their obligation to provide unbiased reporting than they have hitherto done. Editorialists and leading commentators are demonizing entire nations, without fully taking their histories into account. Any journalist experienced in foreign affairs would understand the Russians’ fear, since members of NATO in 2008 invited Georgia and Ukraine to join the Alliance. It is not about Putin. Heads of state come and go. What is at stake is Europe.
On October 3, 1990, the Day of German Reunification, Federal President Richard von Weizäcker said: “The Cold War has been overcome, and freedom and democracy will soon be in place in all countries. . . . This is a challenge. We can achieve it, but we can also fail. We are facing the clear alternative to unite Europe or fall back again into painful historical examples of nationalist conflicts in Europe.”
Until the Ukraine conflict, we here in Europe thought we were on the right track. Today, a quarter of a century later, Richard von Weizäcker’s warning is more apropos than ever.
* * *
The full list of signatories:

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Vlora Gulf, in Albania is to send the FerryBoat   "Norman Atlantic" while, the Italian battleship, San Giorgio left Brindisi

Passenger ferry evacuated after fire breaks out off Greece


About 10 miles from Albanian maritime  borders of west of Sasan Island, between passengers Albanians tourists

ATHENS Sun Dec 28, 2014 

(Reuters) - An international rescue effort was under way in high winds after a car ferry carrying 466 passengers and crew caught fire while sailing from Greece to Italy and its captain ordered its evacuation, officials said on Sunday.

Passengers who telephoned Greek television stations gave dramatic testimony of conditions on the ship, which caught fire just before 6.00 a.m. local time (11.00 p.m. EST) while traveling from Patras in western Greece to the eastern Italian city of Ancona.

"They tried to lower some boats, but not all of us could get in. There is no coordination," one said. "It's dark, the bottom of the vessel is on fire. We are on the bridge, we can see a boat approaching... we opened some boxes and got some life vests, we are trying to save ourselves."

It was unclear whether there had been any casualties or whether any passengers were in the water, where cold winter temperatures would make survival difficult unless rescue came quickly.
The Norman Atlantic, carrying 222 vehicles, 411 passengers and 55 crew, was 44 nautical miles northwest of the island of Corfu when it sent a distress signal after a fire started in the lower deck, Greek coast guard officials said.

"The ship is already being evacuated," an official told Reuters, adding that 130 people had been transferred from a rescue boat to a container ship that had been nearby when the fire broke out.
Officials said both Italian and Albanian authorities were taking part in the operation, which was being conducted in difficult conditions with strong winds.

Seven other ships were in the area and rescue helicopters and a C-130 search-and-rescue support aircraft had also been sent.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by James Mackenzie and John Stonestreet)

Samaras: The country is dragged into election on account of the Tsipras – Kammenos duo


Furthermore, he launched an attack against SYRIZA and ANEL and referred to the Chaikalis case.

According to Mr. Samaras everything said by SYRIZA will lead our country outside the euro.

He continued by saying that “Liberation” revealed that SYRIZA is proof that if the troika leaves the Greeks will begin wastefulness and added that the more the Europeans hear what SYRIZA has to say the more they become appalled.

“If we go to elections we will win”, said the Prime Minister and added that: “The people do not want elections”.

Moreover, once again Mr. Samaras urged MPs to vote Stavros Dimas and to elect a president and not trigger early elections.

Minister of Defense Nikos Dendias on a frigate patrolling the Aegean

“Navarino” Navy frigate which is at sea in the Aegean is being visited by Minister of National Defense, Nikos Dendias.
The Minister will remain on the frigate overnight in order to have a complete picture on the operational activities of the Fleet.
With this move, the Minister sends a clear message to our country’s neighbors after the challenges with virtual dogfights in recent  days.
The Defense Minister is accompanied by Navy Chief, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis HN, and Fleet Chief Admiral Panagiotis Litsas HN.

Russia’s new military doctrine lists NATO, US as major foreign threats

Published time: December 26, 2014 
AFP Photo / Natalia Kolesnikova
AFP Photo / Natalia Kolesnikova
Russia has adopted an updated version of its military doctrine, which reflects the emergence of new threats against its national security. NATO military buildup and American Prompt Global Strike concept are listed among them.
The new doctrine was approved on Friday by President Vladimir Putin. Its core remains unchanged from the previous version. The Russian military remains a defensive tool which the country pledges to use only as a last resort.
Also unchanged are the principles of the use of nuclear weapons which Russia adheres to. Their primary goal is to deter potential enemies from attacking Russia, but it would use them to protect itself from a military attack – either nuclear or conventional – threatening its existence.
The new sections of the doctrine outline the threat Russia sees in NATO’s expansion and military buildup and the fact that the alliance is taking upon itself “global functions realized with violation of international law.”
The doctrine lists among major foreign military threats “the creation and deployment of global strategic antiballistic missile systems that undermines the established global stability and balance of power in nuclear missile capabilities, the implementation of the ‘prompt strike’ concept, intent to deploy weapons in space and deployment of strategic conventional precision weapons.”

The Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine.(RIA Novosti / Pavel Kononov)
The Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine.(RIA Novosti / Pavel Kononov)
Another new point in the doctrine is that one of the Russian military’s goals is to protect national interests in the Arctic region.
READ MORE: Sneak peak at Russia’s ‘under renovation’ Arctic base
The document also points to the threat of destabilization countries bordering Russia or its allies and deployment of foreign troops such nations as a threat to national security.
Domestically, Russia faces threats of “actions aimed at violent change of the Russian constitutional order, destabilization of the political and social environment, disorganization of the functioning of governmental bodies, crucial civilian and military facilities and informational infrastructure of Russia,” the doctrine says.
Moscow sees international cooperation with countries sharing its effort to increase security, particularly members of BRICS, the OSCE, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and others as the key to preventing military conflicts, the doctrine states.
Traditional threats that Russia must deal with mentioned in the doctrine include extremism and terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and rocket technology and actions of foreign intelligence services.
The document notes that modern threats are increasingly drifting from a military nature to informational, and states that the likelihood of anyone launching a fully-fledged war against Russia is decreasing.
The Greek WWII Hero and EU Parliamentarian Who Nearly Blew Up Winston Churchill 70 Christmases Ago

The Greek WWII Hero and EU Parliamentarian Who Nearly Blew Up Winston Churchill 70 Christmases Ago

Manolis Glezos, 92, is Europe's oldest member of European Parliament (MEP), and this Christmas marks the 70th anniversary of the day that he almost blew up Winston Churchill.
A Greek campaigner, politician, and nationally-revered war hero, Glezos was elected to the European Parliament earlier this year as a member of the Syriza Party (Coalition of the Radical Left).
In his new position Glezos is regularly put in chambers and debates with members of Europe's new far-right parties. These are the elected faces of a movement that — in various manifestations — is experiencing increased support across the continent. Glezos — who was imprisoned multiple times by the Nazis — told VICE News that reasons for this rise are obvious.
"This phenomenon of the far-right rising into power is always observed once austerity measures are enforced; once poverty, hunger, unemployment, misfortune, and despair befall the people," he said.
France's National Front, Britain's UKIP, the Freedom Party of Austria, Germany's National Democratic Party, Holland's Party for Freedom, and Hungary's Jobbik are all far-right groups that are increasingly garnering attention. While some of these parties wear their fascism a bit more discretely, Greece's Golden Dawn party's main spokesperson allegedly has a visible Swastika tattoo.
Glezos said that Golden Dawn's appeal was nonexistent for 99 out of 100 Greeks before the economy's collapse, but now people are beginning to identify with the issues they raise.
"Those in the European Union responsible for the situation must take this seriously into account," he warned, "unless they want to witness the far-right taking over Europe and the consequences that will follow."
In Photos: Years of Greece's Great Depression. Read more here.
Greeks are coming to the end of their fifth year living under austerity measures, and the effects have been devastating. One in four are out of work. Less available healthcare has led to soaring suicide rates, HIV infection, and child mortality. A UNICEF study of 23 Western countries found that Greece has had the biggest rise in child poverty since 2008, as it has risen from 23 percent to 40.5 percent.
At 89, Glezos was tear-gassed by riot policemen at an anti-austerity protest outside the Greek parliament. His party, the radical-left Syriza, is unreservedly against austerity, and they look likely to win the next general election. The most recent polls have them leading by a reasonable majority. If Syriza do come to power, they hope to renegotiate the bailout.
Glezos told VICE News that his party operates on the idea that money does not create value, only work does. Therefore, bailouts cannot solve their problems.
"When (Syriza) come into power they are capable to face and overcome all hardship and can create goods and culture for everyone," he said.
Glezos also said that he believes those who credit the European Union with stabilizing the continent and averting a third world war have been deceived.
"Unfortunately, the European Union still depends heavily upon the United States and NATO and acts under the absolute political and economic control of Germany and Merkel," he said.
Greece was occupied by the Nazis between April 1941 and October 1944. This period was incredibly difficult for Greek citizens, and an estimated 40,000 Athenians died of starvation. After the Nazis overran the city, they raised a huge swastika over the Acropolis — itself a symbol of the greatness of ancient Greece.
On May 30, 1941, Glezos and a friend — Apostolos Santas — heard that, in a speech from Berlin's Reichstag, Hitler had proclaimed his intention to liberate Europe "from the enemies of Germany."
The reaction of the two teenagers was instantaneous. Glezos told VICE News: "We decided to liberate the Acropolis, the temple of civilization, from the swastika, the symbol of the completion of the German occupation of Greece. Furthermore, we chose that very day in order to express a first reaction to Hitler's gloating. We fully realized the possible consequences and the meaning of our action."
Taking full responsibility for any consequences this rash act might cause, Glezos said that they informed only one friend of their plan "in case we got ourselves killed." In the dead of night, the two proceeded, armed only with a torch and a pocket knife. It took them three hours to scale the 50-foot flagpole. Glezos also said that they consciously and deliberately left fingerprints all over the flagpole.
"We did not wish someone else to be arrested and punished for our action," he said.
This act of defiance inspired others, and was given huge media coverage by local papers which, with Nazi approval, visibly and enthusiastically "condemned" the action. Glezos also avoided execution, though his younger brother was not as lucky.

However, Glezos's notable ability to take a stand would get him in trouble again.
After the German withdrawal, the Allies feared that the Communist group EAM/ELAS would take power. A small British force was sent to Greece to help maintain order, but ended up involved in the shooting of at least 15 unarmed protesters. With the prospect of a prolonged civil war looming, Churchill flew into Athens on Christmas eve, 1944, accompanied by his foreign secretary Anthony Eden.
That same night happened to be the date that Glezos and about 30 compadres had decided to blow up the British headquarters.
Glezos told the Guardian that he spent hours crawling through the sewerage system, fuse wire wrapped all around him, in an effort to plant the dynamite.
"We crawled through all the shit and water and laid the dynamite right under the hotel," he said.
However, when they discovered that Churchill was in the building, the order to detonate the dynamite was withdrawn. Glezos only recently admitted to his part in the plot, and VICE News asked him to explain his reasoning further — why was he happy to blow up the headquarters, but not Churchill?

"The British headquarters had to be brought to ruin, because this was the place from where the war against the Hellenic People (Greek) was being controlled," Glezos replied.

"Let us not forget that in a time of war the ultimate goal is always to destroy the enemy's headquarters. This, however, is different to killing Winston Churchill, one of the leaders of the Allied forces still battling against Hitler at that time," he said. "It was a time when no one would think to forgive us should we be responsible for Churchill's death."

Glezos himself has come close to death, surviving nine assassination attempts, one time that allegedly involved an explosive chocolate bar, Incidentally, Churchill was also targeted by exploding chocolate.

Glezos attributes his survival to a little help from his friends and the influence of his birth village.
"Of the nine assassination attempts against me, seven were avoided thanks to the immediate response of my friends, whilst the other two I managed to survive thanks to the natural survival instinct of any man from Aperathou," he said.

White-haired, but still a forceful speaker, Glezos is now actively campaigning for Germany to pay Greece about 162 billion euros in reparations for WWII. He also claims that Greece is the only injured country that hasn't been compensated for their suffering 70 years ago. He said that it is "inexplicable" that this money hasn't been handed over.

"The payment of the German obligations owed to Greece is a moral need," he said, adding that until these payments are made, there can be no peace treaty between the two countries, leaving them in the "rigged status quo of not at war."
"It is high time for this whole story to come to an end."