Saturday, February 15, 2014

Greek FM Venizelos in Tirana, just at time, the Democratic Party of Albania, will organize a large national protest against Rama Government

Weekly "Stoxos"a special edition about 100Th anniversary of Proclamation of Northern Epirus Autonomy

Montenegro police clash with anti-gov't protesters

              Montenegro police officers arrest a demonstrator during a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. The demonstrators who assembled in the downtown area of the capital, Podgorica, on Saturday demanded the resignation of the government of the long-standing prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. They accuse his government of rampant corruption, unemployment and economic mismanagement. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
The Associated Press Montenegro police officers arrest a demonstrator during a protest in Podgorica, Montenegro, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. The demonstrators who assembled in the downtown area of the capital, Podgorica, on Saturday demanded the resignation of the government of the long-standing prime minister, Milo Djukanovic. They accuse his government of rampant corruption, unemployment and economic mismanagement. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) — Police in Montenegro fired tear gas and stun grenades Saturday to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing protesters who were blaming the government for high unemployment, economic mismanagement and alleged corruption, and demanding its resignation.
The protests were called by an informal Facebook group that asked Montenegrins to voice solidarity with Bosnian anti-government demonstrators who earlier this month stormed into the country’s presidency and other government buildings in Sarajevo and torched them over similar demands.
In Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, at least nine riot policemen were injured in the clashes with the demonstrators, many of them wearing masks to conceal their identities. At least 20 demonstrators were detained during the violence, which erupted when some 300 protesters tried to march toward the downtown government headquarters.
‘‘Bosnia has taken to the streets. What are we waiting for?’’ the organizers said on their Facebook page. ‘‘Tens of thousands of unemployed, hungry and robbed people should take justice into their own hands!’’
‘‘We can’t pay our 500 euros electricity bills with 100 euros (monthly) salaries,’’ protest organizer Ljubo Varagic said.
Montenegro, a tiny Adriatic Sea state of 600,000 people, and neighboring Bosnia were part of the former six-republic Yugoslavia that broke up during civil wars in the 1990s. Montenegro has been run for the past 25 years by Milo Djukanovic, now the prime minister, who has shifted several times from premier to president and back again.
‘‘I think that the corrupt elite, led by Djukanovic, should end up in jail,’’ said Marko Milacic, one of the demonstrators. ‘‘The mother of all demands is that Djukanovic leaves power after 25 years.’’
Montenegro’s economy, heavily hit by the Yugoslav wars and wartime U.N. sanctions, is mostly based on tourism. It is in the in process of transition as the country seeks European Union membership.
Djukanovic, his family and ministers have often been accused of corruption.
Critical situation in Himara

Photo: Mothers from Himara, during massive demonstration in Vlora 1997, against totalitarian regime 

According to information coming from Himara, seen an increase in the number of secret and special police, including dozens of inspectors INUK

The news that a person from Himara, is arrested by the police forces of Vlora, has caused a real earthquake, mobilizing the population of Himara, that person is released, as to them, the charges brought against him, does not constitute a violation of law.

Prior to this fact, the Police Department of Vlora, looks set to discharge the resident with Greek citizenship, of Himara, as fears of a protest scaling can create precedents, against the constitutional order of Albania.

"He has distributed leaflets, which commemorate a historic event the Autonomy of Northern Epirus " for SManalysis said some residents from Himara .

But the situation is serious. The uncertain future within the Albanian "failed" state, The human Rights, poverty, destruction of buildings with permission by autocton residents from INUK, looting of property by the Albanian mafia, revision history as a democratic process, constitute a reflection of the population of Southern Albania particularly in the Himara Region, noted the surces to SManalysis

Arrested  in Himara: Slogans for the 100th anniversary of the Independence of Northern Epirus

According to information from Albanian press, is captured F. Dimogiannis by the Albanian authorities proceeded to arrest because he distributed sllogans for the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the autonomy of Northern Epirus in the center of Himara .Annyway, very tens is the situation in Himara Region, particularly for tomorrow 
previsted in Athens the 100th anniversary of the Independence of Northern Epirus

Albanian PM postpones visit to Serbia

BELGRADE -- Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama will postpone his visit to Serbia, planned for February, the Belgrade daily Politika writes.
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
The media in Albania are quoting his office as saying that the reason is the holding of early parliamentary elections in Serbia, which have been scheduled for March 16.
The possibility that the visit could take place was recently announced by Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić, who said this would most likely happen in February, but that a date had not been agreed yet.

It would have been the first visit of an Albanian prime minister since 1946, when Enver Hoxha traveled to Belgrade.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia, again in the head of list for the "Failed State" for 2013

This is a list of countries by order of appearance in the Failed States Index of the United States think-tank Fund for Peace. A failed state has several attributes. Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline. Since 2005, the index has been published annually by the Fund for Peace and the magazine Foreign Policy.[2] The list has been cited by journalists and academics in making broad comparative points about countries or regions

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Greek frigate Psara (F-454) will participate EU Mission to Support Nato Anti-piracy Patrols

Albania: No turning back for Ambassadors

No turning back for Ambassadors
The propositions for ambassadors seem to be the beginning of a delicate relation between the government and the presidency, which in previous cases have brought to institutional clashes.

Two of the government's propositions for the diplomatic representatives in Saudi Arabia and Vatican are respectively Ermir Gjinishi and Adrian Ndreca. They are not the names that the President decreed a few days ago, although their names were sent to the President at the same time.

While Gjinishi's name has remained more in the shadows, the opposition MPs raised some concerns about Ardian Ndreca in Vatican, regarding some articles of him about positions held by the Presidents. Medias speculated that maybe this was the reason why he didn't find the consensus of the President for this post.

When contacted by Top Channel for the reason why the propositions were not decreed, the President's institution mentioned article 21 of the law for foreign service 2003, which says that the Head of State has a deadline for this issue. Although facing an expected blocking of Ndreca's candidacy, sources from the government confirm for Top Channel that they will not withdraw from proposing this name for ambassador at the Holy See, with the conviction that Ndreca's candidacy enjoys credentials.

Based on this reference of the Metropolitan Archbishop  of Tirana and Durres, who values this candidacy as very decent, with a long experience of cooperation with the international organizations in Vatican, saying that he enjoys the respect and evaluation of the Holy See institution, those who proposed his name insist on this candidacy since they see the diplomatic relations with Vatican as very important.

The government representatives add that they are waiting for the president to exert the constitutional prerogatives and that every stance of personal foundations damages the relations between the government and the presidency.

The institutional stalemate between the government and the presidency have happened even before, in cases when the propositions for ambassadors have not been decreed for more than one year.

It remains to be seen if this will be repeated and causing delays which leave embassies without their highest representative, the Ambassador.

Greece on high alert after extremists declare war on ‘German capitalist machine’

Published time: February 13, 2014 12:32
One of the four arrested Turkish men is escorted by anti-terror police officers to the court in Athens, Feb 11. AP photo
Presidential guards are framed through a burned EU flag in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the parliament in central Syntagma square in Athens.(Reuters / Yannis Behrakis )
Download video (29.38 MB)
Greek authorities have stepped up security after a leftist extremist group declared war on the “German capitalist machine.” The group has claimed responsibility for attacks on a Mercedes-Benz branch and on the German ambassador’s residence in Athens.
An anarchist group calling itself the Popular Fighters has come forward, claiming to be behind a botched rocket attack on the offices of German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz in the Greek capital.

The attack itself was carried out on January 12. Investigators found evidence this week that showed the rocket was fired from the near vicinity of the factory, but veered off course and landed in a field.

On Tuesday the group sent a 20-page manifesto to Greek satirical magazine To Pontiki, explaining the attack was carried out in solidarity with the Greek people against the “German capitalist machine.”

The group also said it riddled the residence of the German ambassador with bullets before dawn on December 30 last year.

They claimed it was a revenge attack in memory of 77-year-old Dimitris Christoulas, who committed suicide in front of parliament in the center of Athens in 2012.

Christoulas’ death became a symbol of the deepening despair over the worsening financial situation in Greece.

"As we sprayed gunfire at the hyper-luxury home of the German ambassador we imagined beside us the thousands of people who line up at soup kitchens … the unemployed, those working for 400 euro [a month]," the group said. The Popular Fighters also called on their followers to step up attacks during Greece’s rotation of the presidency of the European Union which started at the beginning of this year.

As the situation continues to deteriorate in Greece, the country has seen an increase in the popularity of both the far left and the far fight. One of the country’s most infamous, far-right parties the Golden Dawn is currently under investigation to ascertain whether or not the party is a criminal organization. Despite the controversy, the Golden Dawn has pledged to run in the European elections in May.

Recent polls show that if the Golden Dawn were to run in the elections now it would get between 8.9 and 10.3 percent of the vote.

Currently six of the 18 lawmakers, including the Golden Dawn’s leader, are in pre-trial detention pending an investigation into a wave of attacks on immigrants and political opposition figures.

RT correspondent Maria Finoshina said that many Greeks blame Germany for forcing the country to introduce harsh austerity measures that have pushed up unemployment rates in the country.

The Hellenic Statistical Authority published figures on Thursday that Greek unemployment reached a record high in November of last year of 28 percent. The figure is still higher among young people with over 60 percent of them out of work.

“People are tired, they don’t even have the energy to take to the streets and protest. They no longer believe that they can change the current situation,” said Finoshina, reporting from Athens.
Robert Harneis, journalist and author, said that there was a lot of “ill-feeling” among the Greeks for the German people.
“They know that a lot of the money that is given to the Greek government to “help the Greeks” – 80 percent of that money goes straight back to the German and French banks that unwisely lent money to the Greek government,” Harneis told RT.
Albania seizes 2 tons of marijuana

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian authorities say they have seized 2 metric tons of marijuana hidden in a rocky part of a bay and destined for Greece or Italy.

Police said Thursday that the cache was found at the Karaburun Peninsula, 150 kilometers (95 miles) southwest of the capital Tirana, and that seven suspects were being questioned. A minivan believed to have been used to transport the marijuana was also seized.

Albania, one of Europe's poorest countries, produces large quantities of marijuana and is a transit point for Asian heroin. Last month, police seized a total of 3.6 tons of cannabis, 12 kilograms (26 pounds) of heroin and cocaine and arrested 98 people.

The government has said fighting drug production and traffic is a top priority as it seeks to join the European Union.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"USNS Spearhead" in Mediterranean Sea

Gazeta RD

Democratic Party prepares revolt against the Government Rama

According to the newspaper the Democratic Party, "Rilindja Demokratike" in February 20, will be held large protests called by the opposition party the biggest Albanian Democratic Party.

But the newspaper also warned that Albania among them is a huge potential Balkan spring, after poverty and unemployment is added with the new Socialist government.
Turkey Albania: Continues military cooperation

Kodheli in Ankara, Turkey investment to strengthen Naval Base in Pashaliman and Kucovo Air Base

TURKEY - Turkey and Albania will cooperate together in the field of military industry. Turkey will support the Albanian Armed Forces and will be investments especially in Kucova and Airport Base Pashaliman .

This fact was announced at the meeting that the Minister of Defense, Mimi Kodheli has been in Turkey  with chief of the General Staff Army General Necdet Ozel, during her two-day visit to Ankara, which was done at the invitation of her counterpart, Minister Protection of Turkey, Ismet Yilmaz.

Minister Kodheli briefed her counterpart with Albania's role in regional affairs. She also mentioned to the joint meeting of the two governments Albania - Kosovo and expressed his conviction that "such a meeting with the Turkish government would serve not only our two countries but the entire region."

In these meetings Kodheli asked cooperation opportunities, "particularly in the field of military industry," noting that " Albania should definitely keep in view Poliçan Plant, medicine of Gramsci, as the only economic opportunities for local residents". -

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German parliamentarian Rolf Mützenich: 'Protests in Bosnia legitimate'

People in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been protesting corruption, mismanagement and poverty. The country's security minister warns of a citizen 'tsunami.' German Social Democrat Rolf Mützenich tells DW what can be done.
DW: Most of the protests we've seen have been in the Bosniak-Croat federation, not in the largely Serbian part, the Republika Srpska, despite its even worse economic state. Could these protests turn into a pan-Bosnian insurgence?
Rolf Mützenich: I wouldn't rule it out. There have been intense and less intense protests in different parts of the country - mainly against representatives of the political system.
Last summer's protests targeted parliament for its role in the crisis and the fact that ID numbers for newborns had not been implemented. People are unhappy with their leaders and the corrupt structures that have taken hold in the system.
The independent Office of High Representative was originally set up by the international community to help Bosnia-Herzegovina develop institutions and prevent escalation. But it hasn't done more than observe, really. Are Europeans and other countries now willing to step up to the plate?
It's crucial that we at least make proposals on how we can help within the framework of the international community - how we can directly address the issues people are worried about. We also have to talk seriously with political representatives of different ranks.
The international community still has the authority to force Bosnian politicians who resist progress to step down. Why doesn't it use this authority?
We don't have simple answers for these situations either. There are also concerns that if we get involved that way there'll be massive upheaval in the system.
We must not forget the backdrop against which these structures developed. But you're right - the political elite has been discredited by its actions, not least because they effectively gave up on some parts of industry.
So, it's essential that the German government weighs the options with its EU partners to meet the very justified concerns of the protesters.
The High Representative, Valentin Inzko, caused outrage recently when he suggested intervening with EU troops. Who was this intervention aimed at?
German parliamentarian Rolf Mützenich gestures with his hand to emphasize a point. German parliamentarian Rolf Mützenich
I don't subscribe to that type of statement, especially when you resort to violent means straight away. These protests were indeed used by some groups to stage violent protests… But I thought it impressive that many people appealed on the Internet to those who caused the devastation to also clean up their mess.
What can the German government do to help people there?
First of all, show respect to those who are brave enough to protest the political system and certain representatives of it. But we have to do more than just launch appeals.
We have to make sure that these protests are taken seriously. We have to observe carefully and make sure that indvidual political parties don't misappropriate these protests along ethnic and nationalist lines.
There'll be elections shortly, and these kinds of crises have indicated time and again that we're possibly dealing with repression by the state on the one hand, and, on the other, that the protests are being used to steer them towards completely different, much more sensitive, areas.
I think the country needs reforms, and quickly. The political elite must change its attitude towards what it represents - the people and their legitimate interests.
Rolf Mützenich is a German Social Democrat and has been a member of parliament since 2002. He is foreign policy spokespesron and deputy parliamentary leader for foreign policy, defense and human rights in the Social Democrats' parliamentary group.


Photo: Presidents Obama and Hollande
The Russian Navy's carrier battle group (CVBG) operating in the Mediterranean Sea has been joined by the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, Northern Fleet spokesman 1st rank Captain Vadim Serga told Interfax-AVN on Monday.
"The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has arrived to the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea where it met with the heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Petr Velikiy. The two ships' crews hailed each other during a lineup ceremony on the upper deck last Sunday," Serge said.

Very soon the Admiral Kuznetsov will replenish its stock and sail to a part of the Mediterranean Sea southwest of Cyprus, the spokesperson said. After that the aircraft carrier's flight deck will be used for sorties by Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-based fighters and Kamov Ka-27 carrier-based helicopters, as well as joint drills held with the large antisubmarine ship Admiral Levchenko.
The Admiral Kuznetsov began its long journey on December 17, 2013, Serga recalled. Over this period the CVBG of the Northern Fleet's aviation wing has gained significant practical experience in flights from the aircraft carrier's deck in the open sea, having performed more than 120 sorties with a total mid-air time of around 90 hours.
Albania improves the media freedom

Albania improves the media freedom
Albania marked progress with the media freedom. "Reporters without borders" rank Albania 85th in 2014. Our country was 102nd in 2013.

The organization based in Paris considers the government change in Albania as a new page in the media history.

"The elections 2013 changed the governments in Albania. The Socialist Party had a clean victory, which ended two decades of difficult elections. Their program for the media in Albania is ambitious; planning a new legislation that improves transparency for the media property, which reinforces the independence of the public broadcast, and guarantees information access which was held by state entities. In October 2013, 11 members of the board of directors of the public television prolonged their mandate with one year. This gives an idea of the level of challenges that the new government is facing, which inspires that Albania should be accepted as a candidate country for the EU membership".

The report ranks Kosovo 80th, while in 2013 it was 85th. Macedonia is behind Kosovo and Albania in the region, going from the 116th place to 123rd, and Montenegro in 114th, lower than last year.

As regards the other South Eastern European countries, Slovenia is 34th, Serbia 54th, Croatia 65th, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66th. In the list of 180 countries, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg and Andorra are on top of the list. Last on the list are Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea. The US have fallen to the 4th place, while last year they were 32nd.
Albania; Record-breaking price for car insurance

Record-breaking price for car insurance
Car insurance price has increased overnight with 45%, reaching the highest historic level in the internal market.

"We have been informed about this price increase. It is 19.800 ALL for cars with a motor lower than 1.6 liters, and 20.900 for over 1.6 liters", declared Shpetim Halilaj, Insurance Agent.

Insurance prices fell to minimal levels two years ago, raising a concern that the market might be unbalanced, since officials said that a minimal risk price for companies to be stable was 14.000 ALL. Compared to that time, prices have increased with five times.

The Public Insurance INSIG Company Director says that now they show the real insurance cost. But consumers feel frustrated about this strong increase for a product that the government forces them to buy.

The insurance fee has always been a hot topic, and many accusations have been made for companies agreeing on prices.

"I don't believe there is a proper agreement, but some kind of silent agreement, or mutual thinking that the only way to leave this vicious circle is this. INSIG is obliged to follow the market, even when the market goes up or down, or you're outside the market", Kalaja declared.

The Competition authority says that there is no information about a price change in block, and that if they will find out about this, they will take the necessary decisions. But in 2012, the Competition Authority fined 9 insurance companies with 700.000 USD for violating article 4 of the competition, which deep inside is a creation of a cartel, and an agreement for fixing prices, including the government's company INSIG. The Court of First Instance found this decision non offensive, but it was rejected at the Court of Appeal.

Braçe: Urgent investigation of increased price

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission of Economy and Finances, Erjon Brace, addressed with a letter to the AMF, Competition Authority and the Minister of Finances, asking information about the increased price of the obligatory car insurance.

Brace says that the Commission for Economy and Finances has been concerned about this news, that all companies increased the fee on the same day. He says that even more concerning is the fact that the state company INSIG has become part of this decision, bringing a price increase of 43%.

Greece plummets to 99th place in press freedom index

Slippage represents 'dizzying fall for the world’s oldest democracy', says Reporters Without Borders
Updated At:
'While freedom of information is occasionally abused in some European Union countries, it is repeatedly and blatantly flouted in others. This is the case in Greece,' says Reporters Without Borders annual press freedom report
A 'no signal ' sign appears on the public ERT, NET and ERT3 channels, after the government suspended state television and radio broadcaster ERT in June (AFP) Freedom of information is "repeatedly and blatantly flouted" in Greece, pushing the country into 99th place out of 180 countries this year's World Press Freedom Index.
The country's downwards spiral in press freedom, which represents a remarkable drop of 80 places since 2002, is a "dizzying fall for the world’s oldest democracy", said Reporters Without Borders, which authored the report. 
Although closely challenged by Greece, Bulgaria – in 100th place – retains the status of lowest ranked European Union country after a trying year marked by five months of major protests and political tension.
“Suffering from the effects of the economic crisis and a surge in populism, Greece (99th) fell 14 places” on last year, the report, published on Wednesday, said.
“While freedom of information is occasionally abused in some European Union countries, it is repeatedly and blatantly flouted in others. This is the case in Greece,” it added.
The report said that apart from economic difficulties - it refers to the rising unemployment among journalists - "the Greek media have a bad reputation that is the result of years of clientelism". 
"Reporters covering the frequent street protests against the austerity measures adopted by a series of short-lived governments have been the victims of both police violence and violence by demonstrators accusing them of colluding with the government," it added.
It referred to the shutdown by the New Democracy-Pasok government of the country's national broadcaster ERT in June, describing it as a "a turning point in Greece’s media history", one that also represented "an unprecedented decision in a European Union country".

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Group claims attack on German ambassador's home


The Associated Press

An organization calling itself Popular Fighters Group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a December shooting attack on the German ambassador's residence in Athens.
The group sent a 20-page manifesto to the weekly satirical newspaper To Pontiki saying the shooting, in which nobody was hurt, was a response to Greece's financial crisis and Germany's role in enforcing Greek financial reforms.
Gunmen riddled the official residence of Ambassador Wolfgang Dold with bullets from two AK-47 assault rifles in the attack on Dec. 30, but no one was hurt. Police recovered more than 60 bullet casings
The group said it carried out the shooting in memory of a man who had committed suicide in the Greek capital's main Syntagma Square in April 2012 for financial reasons.
In the manifesto, which To Pontiki published on its website, the group also claimed to have fired a rocket at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz on the outskirts of the Greek capital on the night of Jan. 12, as part of a "campaign against the German capitalist machine."
Greek authorities have not recorded such an attack. Police said the anti-terrorism unit was investigating the claims.
Germany is the single largest contributor to the international rescue loans Greece has been relying on since 2010. In return for the bailout, the country has had to impose deep austerity measures that have increased unemployment and lowered living standards for many Greeks. Germany has been seen as one of the harshest critics of Greece's progress in reforms.
Popular Fighters Group had opened fire at the headquarters of Greece's governing center-right New Democracy party near central Athens in Jan. 2013 in another attack that caused no injuries.

Bosnia crise

RS president: Early elections unacceptable

BANJA LUKA -- RS President Milorad Dodik has said that protests in the Federation entity of Bosnia are politically motivated and that early elections are unacceptable.
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
"Political forces from the Federation are seeking an escalation of unrest in all of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the situation in the RS is stable and peaceful and the problems and vandalism in the Federation is not a reason for early elections throughout the country," Dodik told the daily Glas Srpske.
The post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina consists of two entities - the Muslim-Croat Federation (FBiH), that last week saw violent protests, and the Serb Republic (RS), where there have been no demonstrations.

"Since the beginning of these events there has been an attempt to impose a story that something is supposedly problematic in Bosnia-Herzegovina, from the point of view of what is happening in the Federation, while they persistently avoid saying that the problem is in several federal cantons where the governments were brought down, and that it needs to be solved there. The authorities on the level of all of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as far as I can see, are functioning," Dodik said in response to requests from the Federation to hold early elections in the whole country.

"That is an unacceptable proposal," he said.

Dodik pointed out that "in this atmosphere of accumulated problems in the Federation, the RS is stable and calm, and understands what is happening."

"The RS is aware that there are problems, but these problems are not reason for early elections. We should go to regular elections and finish the story," Dodik said, recalling that voting is scheduled to take place in October and that by that time, "a democratic atmosphere should be prepared, instead of an emergency situation."

On Monday, the government of the Federation entity urged all political actors to adopt legislative changes and a decision on holding early elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, while a proposal to change laws should be forwarded to the Bosnian Parliament for approval on an expedited basis today.

"If the changes cannot be adopted in the short term, the High Representative Valentin Inzko needs to impose them," Federation Prime Minister Nermin Nikšić said after he talked with demonstrators in Sarajevo.

This view was taken on Sunday by the leadership of the Bosniak SDP party. That early elections would be good for Bosnia is also a stance held by the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action and member of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the ranks of that people, Bakir Izetbegović.

"Problems in Bosnia should be solved peacefully"

SARAJEVO -- Outgoing Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić has said that the problems in Bosnia-Herzegovina should be resolved through agreement and without conflict.
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
"We do not want to interfere in the internal affairs of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we want these problems to be resolved through agreement, without conflict."
"We wish all the best to Bosnia-Herzegovina, not only to the Serb Republic but also to the Federation, and we even planned to soon hold the first joint session of the government of Serbia and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I do not know if it will now be possible," Dačić told the Turkish news agency Anatolia.

As reported Radio Sarajevo, Dačić commented on the situation in Bosnia to stress how important it was to preserve peace and stability in the region, because, as he said, "a single spark is sometimes enough to cause instability."

He added he did not want to comment on the statements made by RS President Milorad Dodik, as Serbia guarantees and supports the Dayton agreement according to which Bosnia-Herzegovina has two entities and three peoples.

"Our wish is that the Balkans is stable, which means that these problems are solved by peaceful means and by agreement, not by causing instability," Dačić said, adding that "sometimes these things can get much wider dimensions than it initially seems."

UN Security Council on new Kosovo report

NEW YORK -- PM Ivica Dačić has said that any debate referring to potential change in the scope and mandate of EULEX should not bypass the UN Security Council.
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
This is "having in mind that UN serves as an umbrella organization for the international presence in Kosovo and Metohija," he said during a meeting to discuss UN chief Ban Ki-moon's regular report on Kosovo, held at UN Headquarters in New York.
"I believe that today's meeting is the right opportunity for us to initiate talks on a reconfiguration of EULEX, as UNCS is the only adequate forum for an agreement on changes at Kosovo and Metohija that will lead to a permanent and stable progress in the field," Dačić told members of the UN Security Council.

He stressed that the elections in northern Kosovska Mitrovica will be held and that a mayor will be elected, although the murder and the arrests of mayoral candidates contribute to the atmosphere of fear and insecurity.

After the mayor is elected, formation of the community of Serb municipalities (ZSO) will commence and the drafting of its statute is already underway, added Dačić.

Dačić warned that Priština did not prepare the legal framework for an effective realization of authorities of the future ZSO as envisaged in the Brussels agreement, and is not showing the political will to implement that part of the agreement.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci assessed the situation as much more positive, and noted that significant progress has been made in Kosovo over the past three months, citing as examples the holding of municipal elections across the entire territory for the first time, formation of local municipalities in the north, the EU integration process and the results of normalization of Belgrade-Priština relations.

Head of UNMIK Farid Zarif underlined that major progress has been achieved through the Brussels agreement, adding that new steps should now be encouraged. This is the year of great changes and political progress, especially related to the historical document signed in April, Zarif said via video link from Priština, noting that the Brussels agreement strengthens the confidence and communication in the field.

Ambassadors of UNSC member states voiced different opinions on the situation. Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin stressed that his country supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, while U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power welcomed the recognition of Kosovo's independence by more than one hundred states.

The U.S. representative congratulated Kosovo on successful holding of the second round of local elections, and supported the continuation of dialogue between ethnic communities.

The Russian ambassador said that he shares the concern expressed by outgoing Prime Minister Ivica Dačić regarding the position of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, and reiterated his country's support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia. Churkin added that UN Security Council Resolution 1244 is tied to the legal solution of the Kosovo issue and that Russia opposes the diminishing of UNMIK's role.

Russia pointed to the need to protect the minorities in Kosovo and Metohija, while the U.S. called for the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.

Ambassadors of the U.S. Samantha Power and United Kingdom Sir Mark Lyall Grant also proposed to lengthen the period between the UNSC meetings on Kosovo, which would allow more time for the two sides to negotiate.

China's representative Li Baodong pointed out that UNCS Resolution should remain the legal foundation for a solution acceptable for both sides, and encouraged Belgrade and Priština to continue their practical and constructive dialogue, strengthening the results achieved so far and contributing to the peace and stability in the Balkans and the wider region.

The progress in the dialogue and the need to implement the achieved agreements were also stressed by other ambassadors of member states of the most powerful UN body.

The UNSC meeting included presentation of the regular three-month report on the situation in Kosovo and Metohija by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Head of the EULEX Mission Bernd Borhart.
Dead ducks that were killed by Albanian hunters float in the sea near Velipoje, Albania.
Indiscriminate hunting of birds in Albania led to empty skies and a two-year ban on the practice.
Rachel Hartigan Shea
Published February 10, 2014
Last July, novelist and bird-watcher Jonathan Franzen wrote a devastating account for National Geographic magazine about the mass slaughter of migrating birds across the Mediterranean. The situation, he wrote, was especially dire in Albania, which lies along a major migratory flyway. Due to indiscriminate hunting, the skies above Albania were literally being emptied of birds.
But not anymore. Thanks in part to Franzen's article, the Albanian government has declared a two-year ban on hunting. "This is really good news," says Franzen. "If you were to stop hunting in one place in Europe, you would want to stop it in Albania."
National Geographic spoke with Franzen about the ban and what it means for the future of migrating birds.
Why is Albania so important for birds migrating between Africa and Europe?
There are three major flyways that migrating birds take to Europe. A really important one in the eastern Mediterranean is the Adriatic flyway. Along that entire Balkan coast, it's pretty much mountains and a few small deltas where rivers come out—except in Albania, which has the greatest system of wetlands, I think, in the entire Mediterranean. It's a resting place for birds that have crossed the Mediterranean. They're about to go over the mountains to get to central and eastern Europe. For forever, they've been able to rest there and feed and fuel up for the final push over the mountains so they can reproduce.
How has hunting affected these migrations?
Every spring and fall millions of birds fly into Albania and very few get out alive. You have spectacles like 50,000 geese coming to escape an especially cold European winter and every last goose getting wiped out, including endangered species. You can see ducks flying back and forth offshore, unable to come in. They've just flown across the Mediterranean, flown across the Adriatic, but every time they try to come in to rest and feed, there are hunters all along the beach to shoot at them. People pull over at the side of the road and leap out with guns and fire at some bird they'd seen on a wire. These are totally unsustainable levels of shooting.
Albanians weren't the only ones doing the shooting, though.
Albania had become a destination for Italian tourist hunters because in the European Union, at least on paper, there are much stricter controls on what you can shoot and when you can shoot. I was there in March. These glorious wetlands, which should have been full of tens of thousands of birds, maybe hundreds of thousands, were essentially devoid of birds because there were these tourist hunting parties going out in boats day and night and shooting it up.
Albanian hunter takes a position in a tree stand as he hunts in the early morning on Lake Skhoder.” width=
A hunter peers from a tree stand on Lake Shkoder in Albania.
How will the government be able to enforce the ban?
It's rather easy. If you hear a gunshot anywhere now, you know that the law is being broken. The only way to approach the problem when you are a relatively poor country with reduced enforcement ability is a total ban. Some years ago, when Albania banned small boats off the shore because of problems with smuggling, this approach really worked. Even if you were legitimate, there was a ban, so you couldn't go out. I think the hunting ban is likely to have a substantial impact.
What do you think the future looks like for bird migrations in Albania?
A year from now, these wetlands that should be full of birds will be at least half full. The really critical habitat in Albania is already protected. The people in the environment ministry were smart. They said, "Even though we don't have the manpower to enforce this, we're going to get these preserves set up, on paper at least, so that when we have a ban or better enforcement they're there." The habitat that is protected now is sufficient to sustain millions of migratory birds.
How long do you think it would take for the bird populations to completely recover?
I'm not a scientist, so I don't know how long it would take to get stable or even increasing populations of these various migratory birds, but they're very resilient. If a duck is allowed to rest, feed, and recover for a few days in Albania before going on to its breeding ground, it can produce five or six offspring—half of which usually survive to return next spring. Birds reproduce well if they're given half a chance.
Where's the next place that you would like to see a hunting ban?
In terms of numbers of birds killed in the Mediterranean, Egypt is certainly the worst place. Given the political situation there, though, it's very difficult to imagine any kind of serious ban. What you can hope for in a place like Egypt is that there would be a ban on certain kinds of unfair technologies that are radically unsustainable—like the use of electronic playback [of birdcalls] and high invisible nets that catch everything coming off the water. If those were declared illegal, that would have a huge impact just by itself.
This interview was edited and condensed.
"Lion of Himara" Pyros Dimas directly into the ANT 1, TV Gr, ora 22:15

Three times, the World Olympic Champion, also chairman of the group in the Greek Parliament of PASOK deputies Pyros Dimas, to be, a special guest in the show's well-known "Antena 1 TV", "The Kardashians".

Pyros Dimas, is the highest personality of the Himara Community, honored with the title "Lion of Himara".

Remember, today evening, at 22:15 (ora Tirana) on TV Antenna Gr.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Albanian government believes transit of Azerbaijani gas is not beneficial for their country
18:51 10/02/2014 » Economy

Albanian government believes transit of Azerbaijani gas is not beneficial for their country

Current government of Albania accuses its predecessors in signing of an agreement with Azerbaijan under the framework of TAP which is not enough beneficial for their country, as Independent Balkan News Agency reports.
According to the article, the project of Trans-Atlantic Pipeline (TAP) will become one of the largest investments projects of Albania for the last 23 years; the investments will at least equal to 1 billion EURO. However, now a question rises; what will the government of Albania do for gasification of the country? Some politicians are afraid that the country will only serve as a transit route to link other countries with TAP. “The problem is that Albania doesn’t have its own network of gas,” the article reads.
The PM of Albania, Edi Rama argues that the previous government of the country presided by Sali Berisha signed the most disadvantageous contract. According to his opinion Albania won’t get as much benefits from the project as the other participants will do.
On its turn, Berisha said that TAP is a transport system to deliver Caspian gas to Italy whereas gasification is a completely different process. “The country should create its own system of gas network, TAP doesn’t have anything to do with that,” he said.
According to him, he once addressed the Azerbaijani government for assistance with general plan for gasification of Albania, but he doesn’t know whether the current government continues those negotiations or not.
Besides, Edi Rama claimed that the previous government didn’t do anything to include Kosovo in TAP. Sali Berisha commented on this stating that because of Nagorno Kraabakh conflict Azerbaijan doesn’t recognize Kosovo and that’s why “Azerbaijan cannot include the country into the project, the independence of which it doesn’t recognize.”
Note that the project TAP aims to transport gas from Caspian region through Greece, Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and then to Western Europe. The initial capacity of TAP pipeline will be 10 billion cubic meters per year with the capacity to expand to 20 cubic meters. The shareholders of TAP are Swiss AXPO (42.5%), Norwegian Statoil (42.5%) and German E.ON Ruhrgas (15%). It is expected that the construction of TAP will start in 2015.
Bosnia: 'It's just like Ukraine'
Protestors clash with police officers on the street.
Anti-government protests in Bosnia died down over the weekend. However, former German envoy to Bosnia Christian Schwarz-Schilling tells DW that the problems there won't go away - for a long time.
 Bosnien Unruhen in Sarajevo 2014
DW: On Friday, protesters across Bosnia set fire to government buildings and battled riot police. As a politician, you know most of the places where the violence erupted: Did you see this coming?
Christian Schwarz-Schilling: Yes. Quite frankly, I've seen it coming for a long time. It was always ignored by the international community. And the consequence of that could be disastrous.
 CDU Politician Christian Schwarz-Schilling
Christian Schwarz-Schilling
Many demonstrators are impoverished citizens who don't have enough money to eat. They aren't organized. Could a movement emerge from this that ultimately leads the country in a more positive direction?
A movement could emerge. There is enough firepower in Bosnia. And once the poverty level reaches a certain barrier, once pensioners no longer receive their pensions, when teachers no longer receive their salaries and policemen aren't paid - which is on the horizon - then a violent movement is more than likely to emerge. Whether or not this will be positive? We can't say that with any certainty now.
What should politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina do to bring lasting peace to the situation?
The politics that they have practiced must be stopped immediately. The privileges they have enjoyed for too long from old times now must be curtailed. But this would necessitate involvement from the international community. And I don't see that coming.
It's just like with Ukraine. There, the international community woke up only after a critical situation arose. The same thing will happen in Bosnia.
 Protestors clash with police officers on the street.
Unemployment in Bosnia is at an alarming 40 percent
What do you think the international community should do in Bosnia?
They have to take responsibility into their own hands. The Dayton Accords still give them the power to do so.
 A police officer rests against a wall.
Security forces in Sarajevo were overwhelmed
To simply say it's no longer necessary to be present in this region - this must be changed. It is imperative that measures be taken that include the application of mandates that go all the way to the [United Nations] Security Council. Above all, it must be shown distinctly that the international community is ready to act.
As long as this remains in question, as long as officials say that the problems are to be resolved by Bosnia alone - even though the international community played a large role in the formation of the current, ungovernable situation - then there can't be any long-term improvement.
Christian Schwarz-Schilling (83) was the high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and observed the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the Bosnian War on December 14, 1995.

A1 Report - Arvizu takon Idrizin: PD të marrë seriozisht rolin e PDIU në...

US Represent meets Chameria Party

U.S. Ambassador in Tirana, before leaving from Albania, officially meet the Party for Unity, Justice and Integration of the "Chameria Community" 

Doubts, what U.S. Ambassador in Tirana, talked "personally or to give message" to all the elite of Chameria Community of Albania, but according to the chairman Shpetim Idrizi, the Chameria Issue, was the Top Agenda of the talks. 

Two weeks ago, U.S. Ambassador designed  in Tirana , Donald Liu, met with the Pan Epirotic Federation of USA in Washington Nicholas Gage.
EU president Greece expresses 'regret' over Swiss vote on immigration

The Greek presidency of the European Union has expressed its regret at the result of a referendum in Switzerland halting mass immigration.

“The introduction of quotas on immigration from the EU citizens goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland as enshrined in the bilateral agreement in place, which is a key factor in the harmonious development of our relations,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The EU will have to examine the implications of the outcome of the vote and is ready to work with the Swiss government in order to find ways to tackle the issues arising therefrom,” Athens added.

Swiss voters on Sunday narrowly backed proposals to reintroduce immigration quotas with the European Union.

While neutral Switzerland is not a member of the EU, its immigration policy is based on free movement of citizens to and from the EU, with some exceptions, as well as allowing in a restricted number of non-EU citizens.

That pact on free movement of people, which came into force 12 years ago, was signed as part of a package of agreements with the EU, some of which could now be in danger of unravelling, to say nothing of the effect on a globally oriented economy that employs large numbers of foreign professionals.

"This is a turning point, a change of system with far- reaching consequences for Switzerland,» Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga told journalists in Berne.

The European Commission in Brussels said in a statement that the vote went against the principle of free movement of people. It said it would examine the implications for its relations with Switzerland, taking into account the position of the government, which had urged citizens to vote 'no'.

"For us, EU-Swiss relations come as a package,» said Hannes Swoboda, a member of the European Parliament. «If Switzerland suspends immigration from the EU, it will not be able to count on all the economic and trade benefits it is currently enjoying. We will not allow ... cherry-picking."

Who is behind Bosnia's riots?

Dissatisfaction with the economic and political system in the country has pushed diverse groups to unite in protest.

Last updated: 10 Feb 2014 
Lana Pasic

Lana Pasic is an independent writer and analyst from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Protesters have demanded government resignations and salary reductions for state officials [EPA]
On February 7, Sarajevo was preparing to mark 30 years of the Winter Olympic Games, which it hosted in 1984. However, instead of celebrating the Olympic flame, Bosnians cheered to the flames that engulfed government buildings.
Citizens in Sarajevo gathered in front of the cantonal government building to show support to the workers, youth and citizens in Tuzla, who have been protesting against corrupt privatisation processes and dismissals of employees from former state companies. Throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina[Ba], in Bugojno, Visoko, Velika Kladusa, Bosanska Krupa, Cazin, Sanski Most, Banja Luka, Kljucu, Tesanj, Gracanica, Travnik, Maglaj, Brcko, and Gora, citizens gathered in front of government offices, demanding changes.
Who is protesting and why?
The protests began in Tuzla, organised by the workers of former state companies, who protested against not only the closure of companies, but also corrupt privatisation processes. These groups  voiced their grievances as early as January, demanding resignations and broader changes within the economic and social system. However, the protests gained momentum on February 4 when other societal groups joined them. Workers, citizen's associations, youth, pensioners and war veterans came out on the streets of Sarajevo, Mostar, Zenica and other cities, to express their grievances.
Al Jazeera World - Sarajevo My Love
The events that many refer to as "Bosnian spring" involve many different groups of people, and are not centrally organised. Additionally, even though some peaceful protests in Banja Luka took place on February 7, the entity of Republika Srpska has not experienced the same level of citizen activism, or demands for resignations. The protests are largely taking place within the Bosniak-Croat Federation, and are aimed at, not only federal, but also cantonal structures. The Bosniak-Croat Federation consists of 10 cantons, producing a bloated, inefficient and expensive public administration.
The groups in each of the cities that witnessed protests are organised differently, led by the informal groups, citizen associations, labour movements or youth. Yet, their demands are very similar: government resignations, reduction of salaries for high-ranking government officials, free and good quality health services, and others.
In Tuzla, informal citizens' groups "Revolt" and "Udar" ("coup d'etat") have been the most vocal supporters behind the protests. The leader of "Udar"[Ba] and informal leader of the protests, Aldin Siranovic, was arrested and beaten, which sparked more outrage among citizens and brought some 6,000 citizens on the streets the next day. Both associations have a strong social media presence and use it to inform, invite and organise their supporters.
In Sarajevo and other cities, on the other hand, citizens have not yet organised around any associations or labour unions.
Hijacking the protest movement
Although the protests are led by the non-political groups, political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina have in the first days attempted to hijack the protests by blaming "others" for the country's social and economic ills. Fahrudin Radoncic, leader of the Party for the Better Future, stated [Sr] that protests are a result of years of bad governance. Similarly, Zlatko Lagumdzija, of the Social Democratic Party, added that the accumulated frustrations and anger have brought citizens on the streets. Bakir Izetbegovic, a member of the Bosnian three-person presidency insisted [Sr] that he does not feel responsible for the protests, and that the system needs to change.Yet, all of these political parties are part of the same government. They themselves have, if not created, at least supported, perpetuated, and had benefitted from the current system.
Protesters throughout the Federation insist that no political party [Sr] was behind the riots and that they do not want any political involvement in the protest movement.
As the destruction of public property and acts of violence escalated during the protests, the focus of the media moved from the reasons behind the riots to the "hooligans" involved in the rampage. Yet, these young people are also the citizens, who have come out in the streets demanding changes and voicing their grievances. Facing an unemployment rate of 58 percent, Bosnian youth have been brought up in a state of chaos, corruption, hate speech, constitutional and institutional disarray and hopelessness, which have certainly left psychological consequences on them and on society at large.
Since the 1990s, all levels of government have shown utmost insensitivity to the social and economic destitution of citizens, youth, and particularly marginalised social categories. This kind of systemic institutional violence, political abuse of power, incompetence and neglect has planted seeds of anger and frustration. And in the context where 20 years of transition have brought nothing more than poverty, corruption and neglect, these repressed frustrations among young people have exploded, targeting the symbols of political power.
Talk to Al Jazeera - Is another conflict looming in the Balkans?
Although there might be small groups who have come out to burn and loot, as is the case with every large gathering anywhere in the world, the majority of young people called "hooligans" are just angry and frustrated youth, wanting broader structural changes.
Demands and motivations
The workers, citizen's associations and youth joined by the pensioners, war veterans and rapidly disappearing members of the middle class, employed and unemployed, have the same grievances against the corrupt, bloated public administration system. While the average salary in the country is 400 euros[Ba], the government officials receive more than 3,000 euros[Ba]. Citizens are motivated by these political and social injustices, unbearable poverty, growing inequality and unsustainable constitutional order.
Although initiated by the workers' protests against privatisation and corruption, protesters' demands have evolved over the past few days. In each canton, a list of demands has been presented. In Sarajevo [Ba/Sr/Hr], citizens' groups have demanded resignation of both, federal and cantonal governments. Among the Most organised protests was that of Tuzla, where protesters produced a "Manifesto for New Bosnia and Herzegovina"[Ba], which contains 37 demands and points.
The Manifesto calls for the reduction of politicians' salaries, revision of budget, independent anti-corruption committee, free health care and commitment to youth employment, among other points. It invites state-level politicians to resign and insists that nationalist and religious-based political parties should be banned. High on the agenda is also the restructuring of the country, and abolition of cantons and entities, in order to reduce the enormous costs of public administration. In 2010, 500 million euros were spent on maintaining country's bureaucracy - that's 150 euros per second!
So far, governments of three cantons within the Federation have resigned: Tuzla, Zenica and Sarajevo[Ba/Sr/Hr]. The Prime Minster of the Federation, Nermin Niksic, stated[Sr] that if he is asked to resign, he will do so. Yet, this is not the end, but only the beginning.
Although it was expected that after the January 7 riots, protests would calm down during the weekend, protesters across the country continue to gather in front of government buildings. The organised and unorganised, formal and informal groups continue to assemble, demanding more resignations and tangible changes. 
Lana Pasic is an independent writer and analyst from Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.