Saturday, April 12, 2014

Russia sets 4 conditions in return for aid to Ukraine

Published time: April 12, 2014 10:48
Activists and communal workers dismantle the barricade set on Maidan square during the mass protests of pro-EU opposition against President Viktor Yanukovych regime in  Kiev on April 10, 2014. (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)
Activists and communal workers dismantle the barricade set on Maidan square during the mass protests of pro-EU opposition against President Viktor Yanukovych regime in Kiev on April 10, 2014. (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)
Ukraine should recognize Crimea’s independence, reform the country’s constitution, regulate the crisis in its eastern regions and guarantee the rights of Russian speakers if it wants to get financial help from Moscow, Russia’s finance minister has said.
“If Ukraine fulfils these four conditions, then Russia will be able to propose further steps on additional help both on financial and gas issues,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said after meeting with his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schauble, in Washington.
Deescalating tensions in eastern Ukraine should be peaceful, based on Ukraine’s legislation, “without discrimination against Russian-speaking population, without victims and bloodshed,” Siluanov said.
It is necessary for Ukraine to conduct constitutional reform, hold legitimate presidential elections and “form a government with which one may negotiate,” he said.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)
Ukraine’s gas debt is now estimated at over $2.2 billion. On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin wrote letters to the leaders of 18 European countries, including Germany and France, warning that Ukraine’s debt crisis had reached a “critical” level and could threaten transit to Europe. He also called for urgent cooperation, urging Russia’s partners in the West to take action.
According to German Chancellor Angela Merkel "there are many reasons to seriously take into account this message […] and for Europe to deliver a joint European response.”
In total, Moscow has subsidized Ukraine’s economy to the tune of $35.4 billion, coupled with a $3 billion loan tranche in December. Due to Ukraine’s gas debts, Gazprom revoked all discounts and is now charging $485 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, a price Ukraine says it will not be able to pay.

Pro-Russian activists rally at a barricade outside the regional state administration in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatolii Stepanov)
Pro-Russian activists rally at a barricade outside the regional state administration in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatolii Stepanov)
The deteriorating economic situation is coupled with escalating tensions in Ukraine. The country’s Interior Ministry promised a harsh response to the riots in the east, especially in the “separatist regions” of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov. The coup-appointed authorities said they would arrest all violators, "regardless of the declared slogans and party affiliation."
Eastern and southern Ukraine have been showing discontent with the new government in Kiev for weeks. Tensions escalated Monday when protesters in several cities started seizing local administration buildings. Major protests took place in the cities of Donetsk, Kharkov and Lugansk, while smaller actions and some clashes were reported in Odessa and Nikolayev.
After Donetsk activists proclaimed the region independent and demanded a referendum on its future status, Ukraine’s coup-imposed president Aleksandr Turchinov ordered the sending in of armed personnel and armored vehicles to the east.
At least 70 activists have been arrested in the course of the crackdown launched by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry in the eastern city of Kharkov. Most of them remain in prison, with 62 people detained for at least two months.

Sanctions are ‘co

Militants raise Russian flag in Ukraine city, risk of 'gas war' looms

KIEV Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:26am EDT
An armed man gestures in front of the police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014. REUTERS-Gleb Garanich
Pro-Russian protestors wave the Russian flag in front of the police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014. REUTERS-Gleb Garanich
Masked men empty bottles of vodka to use them for petrol bombs in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014. REUTERS-Gleb Garanich
1 of 5. An armed man gestures in front of the police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

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(Reuters) - Armed pro-Russian militants raised the Russian flag in an eastern Ukrainian city on Saturday, deepening a stand-off with Moscow which, Kiev warned, was dragging Europe closer to a "gas war" that could disrupt supplies across the continent.
At least 20 men armed with pistols and rifles took over the police and security services headquarters in Slaviansk, about 150 km (90 miles) from the border with Russia.
Officials said the men had seized hundreds of pistols from arsenals in the buildings. The militants replaced the Ukrainian flag on one of the buildings with the red, white and blue Russian flag.
Some local residents helped the militants build barricades out of tires in anticipation that police would try to force them out, a Reuters photographer at the scene said. But there was no sign that any police action was imminent.
The occupation is a potential flashpoint because if the militants are killed or hurt by Ukrainian forces, that could prompt the Kremlin to intervene to protect the local Russian-speaking population, a repeat of the scenario in the Crimea region when Russian troops were sent in.
Russia denies any plan to send in forces or split Ukraine, but the Western-leaning authorities in Kiev believe Russia is trying to create a pretext to interfere again. NATO says Russia's armed forces are massing on Ukraine's eastern border, while Moscow says they are on normal maneuvers.
Ukraine's acting foreign minister Andrii Deshchytsia said he had spoken in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and demanded Moscow stop what he called "provocative actions" by its agents in eastern Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine have been locked in confrontation since protests in Kiev forced the Moscow-backed president from office, and the Kremlin sent troops into Crimea.

Ukraine's PM Offers Concessions to Separatists in Donetsk

Pro-Russian supporters and an Orthodox priest (front) stand next to a barricade in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine on April 11, 2014.
Pro-Russian supporters and an Orthodox priest (front) stand next to a barricade in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine on April 11, 2014.
VOA News
Ukraine's acting prime minister has offered concessions to regional leaders and pro-Russian protesters, after Kyiv's deadline passed for separatists to vacate state buildings they had seized. 

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and other top Ukrainian government officials traveled to the city of Donetsk, where they met Friday with eastern Ukrainian governors and mayors, as well as other influential eastern Ukrainian figures, including tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man.

The acting prime minister said he supported amending Ukraine’s constitution and changing laws to devolve power.
Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks with local leaders in Donetsk on April 11, 2014.Ukraine's acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks with local leaders in Donetsk on April 11, 2014.
Such a proposal would mean that regional governors and their administrations would no longer appointed by the central government, and regional referendums would be permitted.

Addressing another concern of Russian-speaking residents in eastern Ukraine,  Yatsenyuk also promised that no one would be allowed to “limit the Russian language and the right to speak it in Ukraine.”

It is unclear if such concessions will satisfy the armed pro-Russian militants who stormed government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and other eastern Ukrainian cities this week, demanding Kyiv allow a referendum on independence.

Latest images from Ukraine
  • A pro-Russian protester whose helmet reads "Donetsk Republic," pickets a building where Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was meeting with regional leaders from eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk, April 11, 2014.

Separatists in Luhansk, who seized the state security building and call themselves the Southeastern Army, showed little signs of backing down from their demands.

"We demand that the central authorities pass a law within three days on a local referendum and formalise the status of united forces of the Southeastern army as a military unit,'' said Valery Bulatov, a leader, who was quoted Friday by Reuters news agency.

Kyiv had threatened to use force if the buildings were not cleared by Friday morning. But during his visit Friday, Yatsenyuk said he is optimistic the standoff can be resolved.

"I would like to state clearly that the central government is not only ready for dialogue with regions, but is ready to fulfill lawful requirements and wishes of all the citizens of our country," he said. "In the framework of the changed constitution, we will be able to satisfy specific requests of every single region."

Also Friday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the standoff in the east.

According to the ministry, Lavrov told Kerry that Washington should use its influence with Ukraine’s government “to prevent the use of force” and encourage Kyiv “to have a dialogue with representatives of the (Ukrainian) regions to create conditions allowing for comprehensive constitutional reform.”

Recent surveys suggest residents of eastern Ukraine overwhelmingly oppose any move to join Russia.


Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin said Friday Russia would fulfill its obligations to European gas clients and had no plans to halt deliveries to Ukraine -- a day after warning that supplies to Europe could be disrupted by Ukraine's failure to pay its gas bills.

Putin was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying, "We guarantee fulfillment of all our obligations to our European consumers."

His comments appeared to aimed at easing concerns in Europe, while also keeping pressure on Ukraine to pay its $2.2 billion debt for Russian gas.

The Obama administration has accused Putin of using gas as a "tool of coercion."

Ukraine's energy minister told parliament Friday that Kyiv hopes to buy gas from
Europe to shore up its energy security, fearful Russia will cut gas supplies over Kiev's refusal to pay Moscow's soaring prices.
According to Reuters news agency, Yuri Prodan told parliament the European Union would stand in solidarity with Ukraine if Russia reduced supplies, making sure Moscow could not increase flows through alternative pipelines to bypass its former Soviet neighbor.

Russian troops

Amid the tensions, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Russia must withdraw tens of thousands of troops from the Ukrainian border and enter into sincere dialogue with the West.

On Friday, Rasmussen saiid the alliance was not discussing military action over Ukraine, but added that it was taking steps to protect its partners effectively.

NATO on Thursday released aerial photographs showing what it says are 40,000 Russian troops, along with tanks and aircraft massed near the Ukrainian border.

An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows tanks and infantry fighting vehicle elements of the Russian Motor Rifle Regiment near Kuzminka, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows tanks and infantry fighting vehicle elements of the Russian Motor Rifle Regiment near Kuzminka, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)

The photographs, released to news outlets, follows repeated Russian assurances the deployment is no cause for alarm.  Russia has denied any plans to invade eastern Ukraine.

Many observers believe Putin is hoping to keep the new government in Kyiv unstable to scuttle efforts to establish closer ties to the West.

Ukraine's current government came to power following the so-called "Euromaidan" protests that forced the country's pro-Russian leaders from power in February.

In late March, Russia annexed Crimea following a referendum in the Russian dominated Black Sea region, a move considered a violation of international law by the EU, U.S. and NATO.

The United States and the European Union immediately slapped sanctions on key Russian leaders -- and have threatened to add more punitive measures if Putin escalates the crisis.

The U.S., EU, Ukraine and Russia have agreed to hold four-way talks on the crisis, expected to take place next Thursday in Geneva.

Friday, April 11, 2014

SP: We have 84 votes for territorial division

SP: We have 84 votes for territorial division
One day after the Socialist Party Parliamentary Group leader, Gramoz Ruci, declared that they will wait for the opposition one other week and then will approve the territorial reform on their own, other majority leaders are saying that the reform is being done because it is necessary.

“There is no more time for waiting. The Special Commission must approve the new administrative division. This is the opposition’s last chance to complete this important reform”, declared Bashkim Fino, co-chairman of the Territorial Reform Commission.

Fino’s appeal for the opposition’s last chance was reinforced by the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, who declared that Albania has six times more aqueduct workers than the European Union, and six times less water than every country of the union. This shows that the territorial division in local units is not functional.

The government leader reminded that his agreement is with the Albanian citizens, and that it will be respected very rigorously.

“We want to realize this with the opposition, that’s why we waited for so long. But we haven’t waited without doing anything. We have worked intensively with the communities, thanks to the extraordinary support of our partners and donators. We were voted in June 23rd to lead, and the Albanian people has removed us any possible alibi for the next four years, because they gave us a qualified majority, with which we must and we will realize the territorial reform. We will also make other reforms that require qualified majority. But we cannot wait endlessly with crucial reforms such as that of justice”, Rama declared.

The declarations for the territorial reforms, which have been blocked in the Parliament for three months, were made during the recent presentation the first phase for winning projects of the local units. Considered as the biggest initiative for the local government, the 100 million USD fund will go for 50 different projects in all districts, projects that are related with the rehabilitation of city centers, squares, sportive areas, tourist and informal areas. For the second person in charge at the Albanian government,  who has led the project selection process, the lack of projects in various regions of our country has caused abandonment.

“100 new working sites will be created from today. Hundreds of construction businesses and other services will have a new market and new space to breathe. Thousands of new jobs will open through these projects during 2014”, declared the Deputy Prime Minister, Niko Peleshi.

The Prime Minister underlined that museum cities that could be motors of tourism and development have not seen any investment in decades. He used Berat and Gjirokaster as an example, which had their last investments in the 70s and 80s. Edi Rama declared that in these cities they will invest for what has not been invested in 20 years.

“We will start rebuilding the old city. We will reconstruct 30 roads within the city, which are practically disappearing. We will allow traditional professions to survive after this long agony”, Rama declared.
 Video of The Day
 Today in Drymades, Himara Region, again INUK...............

Greek welcome for Angela Merkel while protesters are held at bay

German chancellor flies into Greece to champion country's turnaround, but opposition leader calls visit election stunt
Protesters in Greece during Angela Merkel visit
Hundreds of angry Greeks gathered in an uneventful rally to protest Angela Merkel's visit in central Athens. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/REUTERS
Angela Merkel flew into Greece on Friday to champion the country's apparent turnaround from eurozone basket case to paragon of austerity, but Greeks remain bitterly divided over the impact of the policies she has foisted on their country.
Officially it was all smiles. Under azure blue skies Greece looked good. It has just borrowed successfully from foreign investors for the first time in four years. And the economics are certainly more encouraging than they were 18 months ago when the German chancellor last dared venture this far south.
This was the story she wanted to focus on as she met Greek entrepreneurs and the man who did much to implement her vision of economic rigour, which Greece had to adopt to stop the eurozone falling apart: prime minister Antonis Samaras. "I firmly believe that after a very, very tough phase, this country harbours boundless possibilities still to be exploited," Merkel told the businessmen.
It was all a far cry from October 2012, when riot police clashed with protesters who compared her to Hitler. This time there were no "Get out Merkel" signs or demonstrators dressed in Nazi garb, or thousands denouncing the "mother of austerity" because Greece's fragile governing coalition, in its determination to welcome the leader, banned public gatherings – at least in Syntagma square – from taking place.
An attempt by trade unionists, leftists and state sector workers to demonstrate against policies that have ruined much of the country's middle class was kept in check by a security cordon around the capital. During her seven-hour stay – a visit that took place against the background of a bomb attack outside the Bank of Greece – 5,000 heavily armed police officers kept watch over the city centre.
That Athens is no longer hostile territory for Merkel cannot be denied – even if polls show the vast majority of Greeks still have a "negative view" of her.
Under the stewardship of Samaras, the conservative-dominated government has delivered on the fiscal front, reining in budgets, achieving a primary surplus few would have foreseen and masterminding Thursday's successful return to bond markets after four years of being forced to depend on more than €240bn in bailout funds to keep the country afloat.
"Capitalism is all about borrowing so psychologically and symbolically our return to markets has been hugely important," said Theodore Pelagidis, professor of economics at Pireaus University. "But after seven years of recessionary austerity measures Greece has experienced the depression of the century," he told the Guardian. "The government wants people to look forward, to forget the harsh measures it has been forced to implement, but in reality the recovery is going to take years because we now have to rebuild the economy from scratch."
With the country having seen more than a quarter of its output lost to the crisis, unemployment at a record 26.7% and poverty levels rising inexorably, political opponents accused Merkel of dancing on the ruins of Greece. The radical left main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, whom Merkel did not meet, denounced the visit as a stunt aimed purely at shoring up "her ally Samaras" before crucial European parliament elections next month. The German chancellor, he said, would never see the reality of Greece's rescue when she refused to visit hospitals, schools and other public bodies ravaged by relentless cost-cutting at the behest of Berlin.
"Soon she will be faced with a government that will negotiate properly," pledged the leftist, insisting that with Greece's monumental debt, Athens' return to markets had been little more than a public relations exercise to win public support before the May vote.
"It is manifestly clear that not only are we not out of the crisis but we remain enclosed in the trap of debt," he told supporters on the campaign trail. Tsipras's vehemently anti-austerity Syriza party is enjoying a steady though marginal lead, over both parties in the governing coalition.
Before Merkel boarded her plane for Berlin, she requested that she be taken to a traditional Greek taverna beneath the Acropolis. A late afternoon bout of rain stopped as she got there. Like everything about her flying visit the re-emerging sun was well timed in a country where so much reality had been hidden from her eyes.
New Albania Army scandal

Imami: Albanian Military infrastructure, is used to transport drug

 Former Minister of Defense of Albania , Arben Imami, accuses the Albanian Government that is conducting the drug trafficking infrastructure side of the Army

Imam : Albanian risks exit from NATO

TIRANA - The Ministry of Defence has responded through a letter sent to the Prosecutor's Office yesterday following allegations made ​​by former Minister Arben Imami . In a letter to the Ministry required the disclosure of charges against Imam Assembly Armed Forces.

Former Defence Minister Arben Imami accused in Parliament yesterday that according to his military infrastructure is under the service of drug trafficking . This statement came after Imam Kodheli proposal which the Minister said yesterday that the situation is catastrophic Armed Forces and urged the adoption of a new law to improve the situation but without touching any constitutional authority of the President in his capacity as Commander Armed Forces General . 

 While replicas for this law by former Minister Imami , who charged that the procedures that the law, infringe the powers of the head of state, ended Defence Minister Kodheli.
Greek-Albanian border: Blocking explosives shortly before going to Greece

kallepe tritol

One day after released 900 Albanian prisoners

 An arsenal seized in Korca (15,000 cartridges, 60 grenades, etc.) during a police operation last night's mini arsenal discovered at the Greek border near the village Arrëz, just before they manage to spend on Greek territory.

Korca police not has yet to disclose the names of two persons allegedly involved in the case, who taking advantage of the dark and the inaccessibility of the area lost in the woods, just realized the presence of the police.

Investigations are continuing to identify the two offenders

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Satellite images reveal Russian military buildup on Ukraine's border

Nato images show fighter planes, helicopters and troops which officials say could be ready to move in 12 hours
Russian SU33 fighter planes
A satellite image shows Russian SU-33 fighter planes near Ukraine's border. DigitalGlobe
Nato has released satellite images of the Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s eastern border: a powerful concentration of fighter planes, helicopters, artillery, infantry and special forces which officials say could be ready to move with just 12 hours notice.

The images appear to undermine official suggestions from Moscow that there is nothing unusual about the troop movements, nor any reason to be alarmed.
The pictures show rows of hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles apparently waiting for orders in fields and other temporary locations around 30 miles (50km) from the frontier. The images, taken in the past two weeks, show some of what Nato said was around 100 staging areas that were almost entirely unoccupied in February.
One of the images showed the previously empty Buturlinovka airbase 90 miles from the border now hosting dozens of fast jets, even though there are no hangars or other infrastructure normally associated with such activity. Another, of Belgorod, 25 miles from the border, showed about 21 helicopters on a greenfield site – again with no hangers or infrastructure – which officials said could be part of a forward operating base.
Russian fighter jets at Buturlinovka airbase
Russian SU-27/30, SU-24 and MiG-31 fighter jets on the tarmac at Buturlinovka airbase. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
“This is a capable force, ready to go,” said Brigadier Gary Deakin, who runs Nato’s crisis operations and management centre at the alliance’s military headquarters near Mons, Belgium. “It has the resources to move quickly into Ukraine if it was ordered to do so. It is poised at the moment, and it could move very fast.”
Deakin said between 35,000 and 40,000 Russian troops were “at a state of advanced readiness”, and could deploy “within 12 hours from a decision taken at the highest level”. With many of the troops and tanks currently based within about 30 miles from the border, that could mean crossing into Ukrainian territory within an hour of moving.
According to Nato the images reveal telltale signs of an invading force, and not merely troops on “exercise” as Moscow has claimed. The images apparently show that in Kuzminka, where tanks and infantry fighting vehicles have gathered, there are no proper barracks, significant buildings or even parking. “We just don’t see much infrastructure. There is more here than it was built for,” said Deakin.
Russian fighters at Primorko-Akhtarsk airbase
Primorko-Akhtarsk airbase in southern Russia. Photograph: AP
Deakin warned that a potential strike force could go further than Ukraine’s eastern regions where pro-Russian elements are currently demanding secession. “Undoubtedly it could strike into eastern Ukraine, but it could also do a land bridge to Crimea, and potentially even down the Black Sea coast to Odessa. The capability is there, but we don’t know the intent,” Deakin said. “That is grounds for concern.” With a total armed personnel of just 130,000, Ukraine would be unlikely to provide much resistance to the invading Russians, officials added.
The images were released as separatist protests in mainly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine entered their fifth day, with pro-Moscow supporters still out in a standoff in two cities. Kiev has said protesters who seized public buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv are copying events in Crimea, annexed by Russia last month.
Moscow has denied it is preparing an invading force. The Russian foreign ministry insisted on Wednesday that troops near Ukraine’s border posed no threat and the movements were nothing more than the “everyday activity of Russian troops on its territory”. But the Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, dismissed these claims. “As I speak, some 40,000 Russian troops are massed along Ukraine’s borders,” Rasmussen said in Prague on Thursday. “Not training, but ready for combat. We have seen the satellite images, day after day.”
Russian forces at Yeysk
A satellite image purporting to show Russian special forces at Yeysk, southern Russia. Photograph: AP
Russian officials have also accused Washington and Nato of fuelling tension in the region, with the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, claiming in a Guardian article that it the US and EU that are destabilising Ukraine.
Senior Nato officials have warned that the buildup is already having a psychological, destabilising effect, helping stoke up the turmoil in eastern Ukraine. “These masked guys would not be taking over government buildings if there were not 40,000 soldiers just across the border,” said one official.
The revelations come before next week’s meeting of top diplomats from the EU, Russia, Ukraine and the United States to discuss the crisis. The meeting’s venue has still to be decided, but it will gather Lavrov, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and Ukraine’s foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytsia.
At the same time, Nato is drawing up measures to bolster its defences in central and eastern Europe, and is likely to include a tripling of air patrols in the Baltics. Nato’s top military commander, the US air force general Philip Breedlove, will present proposals for air, land and sea reinforcements to Nato ambassadors next week. Britain is among the Nato members offering support, including four Typhoons, while Denmark has offered four F-16s and France has put forward another four, either Rafales or Mirages.

Russian MPs seek to sue Gorbachev over USSR collapse

Published time: April 10, 2014 09:16
Edited time: April 10, 2014 18:18
Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson)
Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Scott Olson)
A group of MPs representing both majority and opposition parties have asked Russia’s Prosecutor General to probe the events leading to the breakup of the Soviet Union. They view possible action against former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
In the letter, signed by two MPs from United Russia, two Communists and one representative of populist nationalist party LDPR, the parliamentarians claim that at the March 1991referendum the majority of Soviet citizens voted that their country should remain united, and therefore the actions of several top officials that led to USSR breakup were unlawful.
They also noted that in November 1991 the Prosecutor General’s Office of the USSR commenced a criminal case against President Mikhail Gorbachev, but closed it the next day under pressure from higher courts.
According to the authors of the letter (and the prosecutors in 1991), Gorbachev is personally to blame for the creation of the State Council of the USSR – the new body that was not described in the Soviet Constitution and yet took the responsibility to decide on the secession of the three Baltic republics. The MPs also noted that such crimes have no statute of limitation and Gorbachev himself did not enjoy any sort of immunity at current moment.
In comments with the popular mass circulation daily Izvestia, one of the sponsors of the initiative, Evgeny Fyodorov, claimed that the thorough investigation into the 1991 events would allow for a “correct historical and political picture” and veritable conclusions that, in the politicians’ view, would give an impetus for the “national liberation movements” in former Soviet republics.
MP Mikhail Degtyaryov said that it was extremely important to hold an investigation and restore a full picture of the 1991 events as these are the roots of all events on the post-Soviet space, including the current violent crisis in Ukraine.
People in Kiev are dying and will keep on dying because of the people in the Kremlin who made a decision to break up the country a long time ago,” he told Izvestia.
Gorbachev has dismissed the accusations against him as attention seeking and “complete foolishness.”
These calls only reflect the urge for self-promotion experienced by certain MPs. They like being named and talked about, but their appeal has not been worked through and is completely unfounded from the historical point of view,” the ex-Soviet President told Interfax.
Gorbachev also noted that he must still have enemies in Russia who try to blacken his name through various campaigns.
I must be a hindrance for someone, the fact that over the last 20 days there were several reports about my death supports this allegation,” he said. “I do not react to such statements, I keep tending to my business and my health,” the veteran Russian politician added.
Albania sudden releases 900 prisoners
i burgosuri i pare i dale ne vlore
Photo: A prisoner released from Prison of Vlora`s Police Departament
5 himariotes, politically convicted, do not benefit from this decision

It is surprising, historically, released for prisoners, were carried out on the occasion of national holidays in November, but many prisons are filled by capacity, authorities claim

But analysts believe that this contingent, can be used by Albanian nationalist extremists, just equipping benefit international passport

Tirana. About 900 Albanian prisoners from the 4800 total, mainly for criminal penalties, have benefited the "blessings of Albanian politics" signed by President Nishani.

The decision was taken suddenly, with the approval of the Albanian opposition, though, many believe, was not exactly the time to release them, because such decisions, taken on the occasion of the National Day, which is at the end of November of each year.

According to sources, there has been, no interest for a remission of five citizens from Himara with Greek citizenship, who were sentenced full 15 years on charges of breach of Albanian national symbols, during administrative elections in 2007. Those living outside of Albania, and is expect from the Strasbourg Court to give a decision. Greece has considered this political trial process, while not made ​​any concrete diplomatic action to address, to Tirana to release them.

Meanwhile, analysts believe that there is a shadow over this decision, in a time that Albanian citizens, serving in religious conflicts, as in Syria and Iraq, while the contingent, can serve the Albanian nationalist Extremism, also using international passport and payments of fat.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bomb Explodes Outside Bank of Greece

Τα ξένα ΜΜΕ για την έκρηξη στην Αθήνα

A bomb exploded outside a Bank of Greece building in central Athens before dawn Thursday, causing some damage but no injuries.
The blast came hours before Greece was to return to the international bond markets for the first time in four years, and a day before German Chancellor Angela Merkel was to visit Athens.
The explosion was heard throughout the area, a largely commercial zone which is one of the Greek capital's most central, a few blocks away from the Greek parliament. It was preceded by two anonymous calls to a news website and a newspaper warning that a bomb had been planted in a car outside the central bank building.
As dawn broke, television footage showed the charred remnants of a car in the middle of the street, with only two wheels still recognizable. Debris was strewn around. Forensic experts in white coveralls began combing through the blast site and inspecting the wreckage.
Police cordoned off all roads leading to the area. Gaggles of office workers unable to access their offices gathered in nearby cafes.
A police officer at the scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the bank building and surrounding buildings had suffered some damage — mainly broken windows.
The news website that received one of the anonymous calls at 5:11 a.m. local time (0211 GMT) said the caller warned a bomb containing 75 kilograms (150 pounds) of explosives had been planted in a car and would explode in 45 minutes' time. The explosion occurred at about 6 a.m.
The attack comes as financially stricken Greece returns to borrowing on the international bond market. The country announced Wednesday it was issuing a five-year bond — its first since it became locked out of international markets in 2010.
The government has hailed the return to the bond market as proof that the country is emerging from its deep financial crisis.
"The evident target of the attackers is to change this image, and change the agenda," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on an early morning television news show. "We will not allow the attackers to achieve their aim."
Since 2010, Greece has relied on funds from an international bailout, in return for which it has imposed deeply resented spending cuts, tax hikes and labor market reforms. Greece's economy has shrunk by a quarter, while unemployment hovers at 28 percent.
Greece has a long history of domestic militant groups who plant usually small bombs late at night that rarely cause injuries. Although the country's deadliest terrorist group, November 17, was eradicated and its members jailed in the early 2000s, several newer groups are still active.
One of the November 17 members, however, vanished while on furlough from prison in January. Another two suspected members of a different group, Revolutionary Struggle, vanished during their trial in 2012. They had been released after serving the maximum 18 months in pre-trial detention. That group is best known for firing a rocket into the U.S. Embassy in Athens and bombing the Athens Stock Exchange.
Albanian marijuana in Europe

Albanian marijuana in Europe
“Albanian marijuana has invaded Europe”. This is how Italian TV shows and newspapers treat the problem of the drug which arrives from Albania in huge quantities, with sophisticated transportation vehicles.

RAI’s “Porta a Porta” with journalist Bruno Vespa and the “Corriere della Sera” start their trip from Lazarat, with shocking numbers: at least 300 plantations which produce more than 1000 tons of marijuana with a profit of 4.5 billion EUR.

Only one plant of marijuana gives a profit of 300 EUR. The Puglia region is the first station of the Albanian drug, due to the geographic area. Seven tons of Marijuana have been blocked in the Puglia coast between Brindisi and Lecce, while only for this year authorities have seized four tons.

The vehicles used by traffickers for transporting drugs are various, starting from powerful inflatable boats to small boats and water scooters. The control of the Italian and Albanian authorities is becoming even stronger, with modern equipment from the air, land and sea.
Photo: V. Stramarko, the elderly woman, protesting to INUK in Drymades, November 2013.

INUK: Two victims from demolition of buildings in Vlora Prefecture

It was passed without any comment in the media, but the demolition was executed INUK, in Drymades, an elderly woman with Greek Nationality has died as a result of a heart attack, some time after the collapse of the building.

Tirana. INUK consequences of demolition, (The National Inspectorate Urbanistic of Albania), have brought the two victims, a man and an elderly woman.

The cause of death, in this case, according to doctors, have been attack cardiac diagnosis for which there is no doubt that the demolition of their property objects from INUK, have caused trauma to the heart.

V. Stramarko, an elderly woman from Drymades of Himara, has failed to face the heart attack, when some time ago, is battling INUK of police, who demolished a building to her son.

INUK during the process in Drymadhes, has collapsed with dozens of buildings, which belong to the indigenous inhabitants of the Greek Nationality of the Himara Region, equipped with building permit from Himara Municipality. But INUK interventions were criticized by the Albanian opposition and Omonia, the Greek Organisation of Albania, which asked the Constitutional Court to intervene for the removal of powers of INUK.

Meanwhile, the case of a person in Vlora, which was under construction collapsed a 7-story hotel, from INUK, with TNT explosion , has made ​​news in all local and international media. after some time, the citizen from Vlora, the owner of this building, was found dead due to heart problems.
Greek official criticizes proposed Athens mosque referendum
Greek official criticizes proposed Athens mosque referendum

Greek official said the referendum on building Athens mosque would damage Greece's reputation.

World Bulletin / News Desk
A proposal for holding a referendum on the building of a mosque in Athens will damage Greece's international reputation, a senior Greek official said Thursday.
In a written statement Yorgos Kalacis from the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, criticized the proposal from Aris Spiliotopoilos, the New Democracy Party's candidate for mayor of Athens at May's local elections.
Greek parliament approved a plan in 2011 to build a mosque in Athens, after demands from thousands of Muslim residents.
Athens has been criticized by human rights groups such as Amnesty International for being the only European Union capital without a mosque.

Priština advised to establish war crimes court

PRIŠTINA -- EU representative in Priština Samuel Žbogar says the creation of a special court to deal with crimes committed against Serbs in Kosovo was "inevitable."
He for this reason advised members of the Kosovo assembly to vote in favor of its establishment.
"I strongly believe that deputies in the Kosovo assembly will press the 'Yes' button, and will realize that this question cannot be avoided by pressing either 'Yes' or 'No'. But, by saying 'Yes', Kosovo will take the process into its own hands, Kosovo will itself seek to shed light on this issue," he said.

Žbogar told the Albanian language daily Koha Ditore said that "otherwise this tribunal will be established by the Security Council, and then the judicial process would be completely under the control of the United Nations."

According to him, the EU understands that it is difficult for Kosovo to examine the issue of establishing a special court for possible charges stemming from a report prepared by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty - which contains allegations that the ethnic Albanian KLA kidnapped Serb and other civilians, illegally imprisoned them, and had their body parts removed and sold in the black market.

"But the establishment of such a tribunal is now inevitable and the choice is between Kosovo doing it with the approval of the European Union, or Kosovo refusing and the UN Security Council doing it, as a Special Tribunal of the United Nations," Žbogar was quoted as saying.

According to him, the option in which the tribunal is established with the approval of "Kosovars" would be far better for Kosovo itself, as the court would be within the Kosovo system, "with a part of it in an EU country," and with international judges that would, in the next few years, "conclude that issue."

The second option, the formation of a UN tribunal, would involve a process that could be "endlessly protracted," warned this official.

According to Žbogar, it is essential that the tribunal be established to treat individual cases, and that it would "in no way be directed either against Kosovo or against the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)."

Kiev threatens force against eastern Ukraine protesters

Published time: April 09, 2014 13:54
Supporters of a referendum on the region's status rally outside the Security Service of Ukraine headquarters in Lugansk. (RIA Novosti / Yuri Streltsov)
Supporters of a referendum on the region's status rally outside the Security Service of Ukraine headquarters in Lugansk. (RIA Novosti / Yuri Streltsov)
Ukraine’s acting Interior Minister is threatening to resolve “in 48 hours” the situation in eastern regions where administrations of at least two cities are controlled by protesters demanding a nationwide referendum on the state structure.
Arsen Avakov told journalists on Wednesday that the coup-imposed government is ready to use force in the mutinous eastern regions.
"There are two solutions: a political one through negotiations or through force,” the minister said on the margins of a government meeting.
“For those who want dialogue, we propose talks and a political solution. For the minority who want conflict they will get a forceful answer from the Ukrainian authorities,” he said as quoted by Reuters, adding that in his opinion a “solution to the crisis could be found within 48 hours.”
The minister informed that a special police task force from western regions of Ukraine has already arrived in Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov, cities where protests against the new government in Kiev have been continuing for weeks now.
On Monday, popular assemblies in Donetsk and Kharkov, where local administration headquarters were captured by protesters, declared independence from Ukraine and announced the creation of the independent Donetsk People’s Republic and Kharkov People’s Republic.

Last night, the police force that arrived from Kiev managed to recapture the local administration in Kharkov, arresting approximately 60 activists and bringing them to a detention center in Kiev. Armed with automatic weapons and masked law enforcement officers stormed the building on early morning and cleared the central square of protesters.
In Kharkov about 30 percent of policemen refused to storm the administration. Avakov has already announced that they will be fired.
A journalist of Russia’s Lifenews TV channel reported from the central square of Kharkov that according to evidence witnessed by the local citizens, some police officers dressed in uniforms of the Jaguar riot police task force seem unable to understand when addressed in either Ukrainian or Russian. They reportedly communicate with each other in English.
In Donetsk the buildings of power structures remained under control of the protesters as some police officers refused to counteract protesters.
The aggravation of the anti Greek propaganda in Albania

Albanian media completely focused about a prisoner, who dead in Greek prisons

Despite efforts to Athens to negotiate new maritime border, the Government Rama, seems to have abandoned the project, battling a situation, not at all friendly with Greece

Tirana . Views published by the Greek newspaper "To Vima" about the death of an Albanian prisoner, have grown quite a stressful situation against Greece, in Albania, reports from SManalysis sources.

The situation is always the tough, while Albanian nationalists, have warned against protests answer form, the Greek police authorities. Friendly climate is harsh threats changed in almost all media and social networks of Albanians in the whole world.

Meanwhile, the Albanian government has stated that it has approved the establishment of a bilateral commission, to cooperate with the Greek government, in all matters concerning all the water borders with Greece. But despite this effort, the review of the maritime border, a claim strongly requested from Athens, nor apparently in the talks agenda.

Greece prepares as much as $688 million of real estate for sale

By Sharon Smyth
Greece is preparing a property portfolio valued at as much as 500 million euros ($689 million) to offer to investors by the end of this year, according to the head of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund.
The properties will be worth at least 350 million euros and will include leased city buildings, homes and development land, Andreas Taprantzis, executive director at the fund, said in an interview in Athens. UBS AG, Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas SA are advising the fund on the portfolio, he said.
The fund, which completed almost 5 billion euros of deals including 1.8 billion euros of real estate over the past 14 months, is tapping into renewed investor demand for Greek assets. The nation is emerging from a six-year economic crisis that almost forced it to leave the euro.
“There has been a huge shift in sentiment and, after sniffing around for quite a while, investors are now anxious to dig up Greek opportunities,” Taprantzis said. “Look how stocks have performed.”
The Athens Stock Exchange General Index has jumped 175 percent since reaching a 22-year low in June 2012 and the economy is set to grow in 2014 for the first time in seven years. The country’s bonds returned 23 percent in the first quarter, the best among 34 sovereign-debt markets tracked by Bloomberg World Bond Indexes.
Greece is selling everything from land to ports and airports as part of a 240 billion-euro bailout from Europe and the IMF. The asset fund has a mandate to raise 11 billion euros by 2016. The original target after the first bailout in 2010 was for 50 billion euros by 2015.
“It is a buyers’ market, with low price levels that will allow for strong potential capital gains,” said Spyros Raptis, manager of valuations and planning at Athens-based real estate adviser Redvis. “The expected economic recovery and growing activity will definitely lift up real estate returns.”
Last month, the fund agreed to sell Hellenikon, a former airport site that’s almost twice the size of New York’s Central Park, to a group of investors led by Lamda Development for 915 million euros. In December, the fund and the National Bank of Greece SA accepted a 400 million-euro bid from the Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund IV for 90 percent of Astir Palace, a luxury seaside hotel complex in an Athens suburb.
Pangaea REIC, the real estate investment trust owned by Invel Real Estate Partners and the National Bank of Greece SA, aims to raise about 1 billion euros by the end of 2014 to invest in Greek and Italian real estate assets.
“Apart from privatization plans, we are identifying signs of a growing activity in the field of indirect real estate investments,” Raptis said, “The plans of Pangaea as well as other deals show that investors have started to consider their positions in the Greek market.”

Second US Navy destroyer heads to Black Sea

Published time: April 09, 2014 
The USS Donald Cook (AFP Photo)
The USS Donald Cook (AFP Photo)
​Another US military ship is set to be deployed in the Black Sea amid the Ukrainian crisis. The US Navy destroyer Donald Cook will join the USS Truxtun, whose stay in waters bordering Russia was extended to ‘conduct drills’ with Romania and Bulgaria.
“We’ll also send another ship to the Black Sea within a week,” Derek Chollet, the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs told the House Armed Services Committee, as he said the Department of Defense sanctioned to prolong USS Truxtun’s stay in the Black Sea “to conduct exercises with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces,” after it left the region on March 21.
Chollet highlighted the main pillars of the Department of Defense response to the crisis in Ukraine and how they fit within the overall policy of US response towards Russia, saying that Moscow's move to accept Crimea's choice to join Russia “challenges our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace.”
The Pentagon maintains senior-level defense dialogue with Ukrainian officials since the outbreak of the crisis, Chollet said.
“We have led efforts at NATO to offer Ukraine greater access to NATO exercises, invited Ukraine to participate in the development of military capabilities and provided capacity-building programs to the Ukrainian military,” he said.
On Monday the Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren also stated that a second US ship will soon arrive to the Black Sea. No details have been provided, but DoD official told AFP that USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer, has been deployed.
On Tuesday, headlines in Bulgaria circulated reports emerging from the Bulgarian Defense ministry, that a missile cruiser USS Donald Cook is soon to arrive to the Black Sea to join the war games.
Donald Cook is capable of firing SM-3 missiles, which allows the ship to function as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. It is deployed in Spain as part of the US missile shield program in Europe. The vessel is expected to dock into a number of ports along Romanian and Bulgarian coast, and bring some additional 175 US marines to the Romanian coast.
Last week, the Pentagon announced that the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response force in Spain will be reinforced with 175 marines.
“We’re increasing the number from 500 to 675,” Warren said, claiming that the move had been planned last year.
While the additional marines will officially be part of the Spain-based force, Warren said they are to be based in Romania where they will join nearly 300 marines already in the country.
Warren insisted that the purpose of additional deployment of another ship is done “primarily to reassure our allies and partners in the region that we’re committed to the region,” he said. “We’re still planning the details of our operations in the Black Sea but we expect port calls and exercises with other Black Sea nations.”
This is the fourth US warship to visit the Black Sea since February, a trend Moscow heavily criticized in the past.
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Washington as violated the Montreux Convention which regulates the number ships that can enter the Black Sea.
“There exists the Montreux Convention, which gives extremely clear criteria limiting the deployment of warships not belonging to the Black Sea governments in regard to tonnage and length of stay,” Lavrov said.
“We have noticed that US warships have extended their deployment beyond the set terms a couple of times lately, and at times they did not always comply with the regulations that are set within the Montreux Convention.”