Saturday, June 7, 2014

Defencenet: E.Venizelos committed to Albania's EU and these "exchange" does not approve the agreement EEZ?

The Greek geopolitical portal,, calls Athens to block Albanian Eu perspective, since the country does not respect the Maritime Borders..

In a new national "Waterloo" leads the country E.Venizelos who supported the integration of Albania into the EU without the necessary exchange of ratification of the known 2009 agreement by which the Karamanlis government had delimit the EEZ with the Albanian state.

Then the agreement was not accepted by the Constitutional Court of Albania, after Toure pressures and interventions.

Once dozen times Athens has committed publicly via FM E.Venizelou usual suspect that in June Tirana will get the status of candidate country to the EU, in the neighboring Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushatti asked on 28 May by prosecutor to investigate whether there is an offense of treason by Lulezim Basha who negotiated the 2009 agreement on maritime zones!

This means that the Albanian government not only does not intend to ratify the agreement by Parliament, but not even want to be complemented by a protocol, such as Athens sought to close pending.

The Greek government, therefore, has publically committed to advance the European perspective of Albania, is now trapped, while many European countries was negative in giving status of candidate country to Albania now have a coalition in favor of following the "diligent" efforts of the Greek Foreign Ministry.

The commission recommends to grant Albania candidate status for accession to the EU, said European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule.

"Based on our findings, we affirm without any doubt and without any condition or reservation recommendation be given to Albania status of candidate country," said Fule speaking from Tirana.

Albania has asked to receive the status of candidate country since 2009.The tense political situation, however, the lack of measures against corruption and crime and a weak judicial system of the country, stood constricts the European course of Tirana.

And today, as in 2009, diplomatic sources "see" manipulation of the Albanian government of Turkey, which affects the same Prime Minister Eddie Rama.. He did not know then that Turkey is behind the "curtain" undermine the agreement, and that essentially Edi Rama act as mouthpieces of Ankara? Why then pledged without having imposed the legitimate interest of the State to enter Albania in the EU, with our own blessings?

He understood the E.Venizelos that is Greek FM? Because until now is the best FM all countries have opposing interests of the Greek state. Needless to say that this sea area believed to have rich deposits of hydrocarbons.

Amalia visits Papou’s Greek Village of Lia

The second chapter of Amalia’s Greek odyssey, after Mykonos, was a visit to the Greek village of Lia on the Albanian border, where her grandfather, Nicholas Gage, was born.  As he wrote in the book Eleni, the village was occupied by Communist guerrillas during the Greek civil war, and in June of 1948, when the guerrillas prepared to collect the children and send them behind the Iron Curtain to re-education camps, Nick’s mother, Eleni Gatzoyiannis, organized the escape of her 8-year-old son and three of his four sisters, in the hope that they could eventually join their father in Worcester, MA.
After the escape, Eleni Gatzoyiannis was arrested, imprisoned in the basement of her own house along with 30 other prisoners, tortured and eventually executed by a firing squad.  Many prisoners were buried in the yard of the house, which the guerrillas had taken over for their headquarters. After the war ended and the Communists were driven back over the border, the empty house fell into ruin.  In 2002 Eleni Gage, Nick’s daughter, spent a year in the village rebuilding her grandmother’s house, a saga she recorded in her travel memoir “North of Ithaka.
The photos above show three generations: Nick, daughter Eleni Gage Baltodano,  and granddaughter Amalia Baltodano, posing on the terrace of the Eleni Gatzoyiannis house, which has been decorated and furnished just as it was during Amalia’s great grandmother’s lifetime, including traditional clothes of the period. 

The plaque over the door lists three dates: 1856 when the original two-room house was built by an ancestor of Nick’s father, Christos Gatzoyiannis, (a coin with that date was buried under the cornerstone), 1924, when Christos expanded the house by adding on a large room and hallway, and 2002, when Eleni Gage rebuilt her grandmother’s house with the help of Albanian workers, using the same stones that had fallen into the foundation.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pentagon to send military advisers to Ukraine

Published time: June 06, 2014 20:10
A Ukrainian Antonov-26 plane burns after it was shot down by a missile launched by pro-Russian separatists near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on June 6, 2014. (AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev)
A Ukrainian Antonov-26 plane burns after it was shot down by a missile launched by pro-Russian separatists near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on June 6, 2014. (AFP Photo / Viktor Drachev)
American military advisers will soon arrive in politically fractured Ukraine in a move the Pentagon says is designed to build “defense institutions” in the country, where nationalist forces continue saber-rattling against Russia.
In preparation for the consultations, US defense officials met with Kiev authorities earlier this week to discuss ways how the two countries “could strengthen our long-term defense cooperation to help Ukraine build highly effective armed forces and defense institutions,” Pentagon spokesperson Eileen Lainez said, as quoted by Military Times.
The Pentagon considers sending its military advisers “a first step” toward helping to “shape and establish an enduring program for future US efforts to support the Ukrainian military through training, education, and assistance.”
“We are committed fully to getting the assistance to Ukraine as quickly as possible,” Lainez said.
Lainez’s statement follows President Barack Obama’s promise earlier this week that the US would provide Kiev additional military help which may include training of its law enforcement and army personnel.
The Pentagon spokeswoman asserted that Washington does not see a military solution to the Ukrainian crisis, after an armed coup forced out its president, Viktor Yanukovich, following Kiev’s decision to put on hold the association agreement with the EU over economic concerns.
“Our focus continues to be on supporting Ukraine economically and diplomatically,” Lainez said. “As the president has said, we do not see a military solution to this crisis. Throughout the review, we’re looking at items with the intent that whatever is approved will stabilize the situation in Ukraine.”
In the meantime, since March, the White House has approved more than $23 million in security assistance to Ukraine.
On June 4, Obama said that the US was providing additional $5 million aid for "the provision of body armor, night vision goggles and additional communications equipment." The White House also said other aid for Ukraine included 300,000 ready-to-eat meals and financing for medical supplies, helmets, hand-held radios and other equipment.
Obama’s pledges to Ukraine, at the same time, came on the heel of his vows to invest $1 billion in stepping up the US military presence in Eastern Europe in order “to defend your territorial integrity”.
READ MORE: Obama pledges $1bn for more troops, military drills in E. Europe
The US President statements came amid the deteriorating political crisis in south-eastern Ukraine, where anti-Kiev protesters seek independence and where intense clashes between self-defense militia and the regime’s troops are now a part of everyday life.
250 kg of cocaine seized in Montenegro

250 kg of cocaine seized in Montenegro
A record breaking quantity of cocaine has been seized by the Montenegro authorities in the Tivari port, with Albania as its destination.

250 kilograms of highest quality cocaine was hidden in banana boxes. The Montenegro police declared that it was found in one of the three containers that brought banana from Ecuador to Albania.

The drug was distributed in 223 packages and the value reaches 12.5 million EUR. According to the Director of the Montenegrin Customs, Vladan Jakovic, the container was sent by the Vimptikorp SA company, from Ecuador, and the receiver was the Albania company “Rrapo”.

According to the documents of the National Center of Registration, “Rrapo”, with its center in Fier, is owned by Nazike Rrapi and deals with import and export of food products. Top Channel tried to connect, but failed.

The representatives of the Vimtikorp company express their surprise about this, and say that only few weeks ago they have brought another package in Albania, again for the Rrapo Company.

“This is not the first time. We have brought some containers a few weeks ago. We export to many companies and Rrapo is not the only one. We established contacts with them 6 or 8 months ago. They said they needed 2-3 containers each week. We have sent 1 or 2 every week, sporadically”, declared the Ecuadorian company.

The Albanian Police are exchanging information with their Montenegrin counterparts to discover the scheme of this traffic.
Putin hails Poroshenko's 'positive thinking' on settling crisis after D-Day meeting
Published time: June 06, 2014 
Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko (R) talks to Russian President Vladimir Putin after a group photo during the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Benouville, France June 6, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Ukraine president-elect Petro Poroshenko (R) talks to Russian President Vladimir Putin after a group photo during the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Benouville, France June 6, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
President Putin has hailed the Ukrainian president-elect’s “plan” to resolve crisis in the country, stressing that Ukraine should start internal dialogue, and that Russia is not a party to the conflict.
Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s president-elect Petro Poroshenko have briefly spoken on the sidelines of the D-Day anniversary celebrations in Normandy.

D-Day 70th anniversary LIVE UPDATES
Both leaders “have spoken for a prompt end to bloodshed in southeast Ukraine as well as for an end to military actions from both sides – from the side of the Ukrainian armed forces and the supporters of federalization of Ukraine,” said Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov.
Putin and Poroshenko also agreed that there is “no alternative” to “peaceful political means” to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.
Speaking at a press-conference later on Friday, Vladimir Putin told journalists that he welcomes Poroshenko’s "positive thinking" on resolving the Ukrainian crisis and his position that the bloodshed “should be immediately stopped.” He, however, did not give any details of the plan, saying that journalists should ask Poroshenko himself if they want to know more.
Putin has stressed that there should be negotiations between Kiev and eastern Ukraine, and Russia is not part of their domestic conflict.
The Russian president has called on the Ukrainian government to move on “to substantive work” with the people. “No one has suggested anything concrete to the people of the region,” he said.
Putin has also stressed that Kiev should immediately stop its “punitive operation” in the east of Ukraine.
Russia is also waiting to see thorough investigations of violence in Ukraine, including the deadly fire in the Odessa Trade Unions building on May 2.
In general, Putin said, he liked Poroshenko's attitude and if he follows this course, the conditions will be created for the development "of our relations, in other fields too."
"I can’t tell exactly how this will be implemented, but, in general, I liked the attitude. It seemed right to me and if this is what really happens, there will be conditions created to develop our relations in other fields too,” Putin said.
Vladimir Putin also touched upon economic relations between Moscow and Kiev, in particular, referring to Ukraine’s association with the EU.
"As soon as the treaty is signed and comes into force, we will be taking measures to secure the [Russian] economy,” Putin said.
Apart from his conversation with Poroshenko, Russia’s president also held meetings with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“On the margins of a lunch on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings of Normandy’s allies, President Putin had a short talk with Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel and Petro Poroshenko,” Peskov said.
As President Putin himself noted, the most substantial dialogue he had was with President Hollande.
“We spoke in more detail about bilateral contacts, about economic ties and international problems, including the Iranian nuclear issue and Syria and also on some other issues, which are in our mutual interests,” Putin told reporters.
The brief negotiations were followed by a short meeting between Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart, Barack Obama. According to a White House official, their informal meeting lasted 10-15 minutes, Reuters reported.
"Despite that there was no separate meeting [scheduled], the leaders of the two states had an opportunity to share their views on the situation in Ukraine as well as on crisis in the east of the country. Putin and Obama have spoken for the necessity to reduce violence and military actions,” Peskov said.

On Thursday, the Russian president also spoke with UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The two met at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris, where they arrived ahead of the D-Day commemorations.
“Putin and Cameron discussed ways to resolve the situation in Ukraine and the prospects of revitalizing the Russian-UK dialogue,” Peskov said. “In the course of the conversation between Putin and Cameron, various issues of bilateral relations were discussed, including the topic of revitalizing the Russian-British dialogue, which is currently in a frozen state.”
READ ALSO: Putin and Cameron meet in France, 'avoid handshake' upon greeting
The meetings between President Putin and major world leaders on the sidelines of the D-Day commemorations come shortly after the G7 summit in Brussels, where Russia was not present for the first time in 17 years. The G7 leaders condemned Russia’s “continuing violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and threatened that more sanctions would follow unless it helps to deescalate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

James Starvidis, Konstantinos Karamanlis... and Samaras closer together in Athens

The current and former Prime Ministers met at the home of the New Democracy founder on Thursday

Friday, June 06, 2014

Konstantinos Karamanlis... brought Samaras and Karamanlis closer together
The current and former Prime Ministers Antonis Samaras and Kostas Karamanlis recently met at a dinner hosted at the home of New Democracy’s founder and “patriarch” of the Center-Right in Greece Konstantinos Karamanlis.
The two were invited to the private dinner by former Minister Achilleas Karamanlis a few days after the European elections, in an effort to send a message of unity and rally New Democracy’s voters. This is the first time in about seven months that Mr. Samaras and Mr. Karamanlis have had the opportunity to meet and discuss.
Also present at the dinner aside from Mr. Samaras and Mr. Karamanlis, were Achilleas Karamanlis’ son Achilleas Karamanlis, the former NATO commander and Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University James Stavridis and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Konstantinos Karamanlis Foundation Petros Molyviatis.

West threatens Russia with more sanctions

BRUSSELS -- Leaders of the seven most developed countries have warned Russia they are ready for new sanctions if there is no progress in resolving the Ukrainian crisis.
We are ready to strengthen the targeted sanctions and for additional restrictive measures against Russia if the situation requires it, said in a joint statement of the heads of state and government of G7, consisting of the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Canada and Italy .
They gathered last night at an informal meeting, which will continue today, and Russia and Ukraine are the main topics.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also threatened Moscow with tightening of sanctions in a separate news conference.

We can not afford further destabilization of Ukraine, Merkel told reporters in Brussels, adding that the West is very carefully checking whether the situation in southeastern Ukraine is calming.

If there is no progress, we have to decide on sanctions, even very severe sanctions from the third stage, she warned.

According to the previous agreement of Western leaders, the third phase of sanctions could include Russia's state-owned enterprises and breaking the existing trade arrangements.

At least 4 dead in power plant explosion in Kosovo

PRIŠTINA -- At least four people died and more than a dozen others were injured in a strong explosion at the "Kosovo A" power plant near Obilić, local media are saying.
(Wikimedia Commons/Radosav Stojanović, file)
(Wikimedia Commons/Radosav Stojanović, file)
The police confirmed that four workers died, and noted that another blast is expected so measures were taken to conduct an evacuation.
The explosion happened in the part of the power plant managed by the Energy Corporation of Kosovo, whose official Arben Duka said the blast was "terribly strong."

The Express daily writes on its website that the explosion was heard in many parts of Priština, and damaged the property of those who live near the plant.

According to reports earlier in the day, the likely cause of the accident was a hydrogen leak in the electrolysis unit.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was later quoted as saying that a gas container had exploded.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

04 Jun. 2014

NATO Defence Ministers decide to extend NATO’s counter-piracy mission until 2016

NATO Defence Ministers on Tuesday (3 June) decided to extend NATO’s counter-piracy operation Ocean Shield until the end of 2016.
Since August 2009, NATO ships have patrolled the waters off the Horn of Africa as part of Operation Ocean Shield. Their mission is to contribute to international efforts to fight maritime piracy and to help build the capacity of regional navies. Operation Ocean Shield works closely with other naval forces patrolling the Indian Ocean including US-led maritime forces and EU naval forces.
As part of the broad international effort, Ocean Shield has helped to significantly reduce pirate activity in the region. In 2011, pirates captured 24 ships and NATO recorded 129 pirate attacks off Somalia. In 2012, the number of attacks had fallen to 20. Not a single ship has been captured off Somalia since May 2012, and no merchant ships are currently held by Somali pirates.
Despite the successes, piracy remains a threat. NATO assesses that pirates continue to posses the intent and capacity to attack ships. NATO ships continue to detect attempts by pirates to capture vessels. In addition, the root causes of piracy inside Somalia remain.
Ocean Shields helps to protect one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Some 90 per cent of all global trade is carried by sea, about half of that passes through the Indian Ocean. In 2013, the World Bank estimated that piracy costs the world economy $18 billion per year. NATO counter-piracy efforts help reduce that cost.
Ships from Spain, Italy and Turkey are currently part of the NATO fleet which operates roughly from the Arabian Gulf to the north, the Seychelles in the south, the Gulf of Aden to the west and the Maldives in the east, covering an area greater than 2 million square miles or the size of Western Europe.
NATO vessels verify the activity of shipping off Somalia, separating out legitimate maritime traffic from suspected pirate vessels. Commercial ships that are transiting the area are in many cases escorted to ensure their safe passage. NATO ships can actively pursue suspected pirate ships to prevent attacks. NATO boarding teams can board a suspect ship to determine if pirates are on board. As a means of last resort, NATO vessels can use force to stop pirates. Any detained pirates are transferred as soon as possible to national law enforcement agencies.
Foreign press: Albania received the status

Foreign press: Albania received the status
The prestigious Financial Times was among the first foreign media outlets which wrote about Albania’s candidate status, a move that might cause an antagonism among the populist European Anti-EU parties, which won more supporters in the elections of the European Parliament.

“The move for getting a closer approach of poor and mostly Muslim countries are very divisive, especially due to the fear that uncontrolled and unorganized immigration is planting among the old continent”, the newspaper says.

Germany, Netherlands, Britain and France opposed Albania’s candidacy during the last year, while countries such as Italy and Greece have argued that deeper EU integration of Balkan states will help reduce social and political conflict in the region.

The newspaper quotes Stefan Fuele, the EU’s enlargement commissioner, and says that “on Wednesday will deliver a report in Tirana stating that Albania has made sufficient progress in areas such as corruption, organised crime and judicial reform to become a candidate to join the union. Diplomats said that the 28 member states would then be likely to approve the candidacy at a meeting at the end of this month. Albania is already a Nato member.”

The article says that the European Commission had proposed to give the candidate status on December, but the suggestion was opposed by some member coutnries, with the argument that Albania needed more progress as regards the rule of law.

The article says that “The decision on awarding candidacy to Albania – once the secretive dictatorship of Enver Hoxha – is a test for the EU when both populist and mainstream parties are sceptical about the EU’s ability to take on more members in the aftermath of the eurozone crisis.”

The article says that “While Britain’s eurosceptic Ukip party has described Albania’s candidacy as “utter madness”, David Cameron, the UK prime minister, has also used it as political leverage. In December, Mr Cameron threatened to veto EU enlargement unless new rules were agreed to stop “vast migrations”.”

The article quotes a declaration of Prime Minister Rama,who “warned that it would be “dangerous” for the EU to turn its back on the Balkans, as all progress towards peace and prosperity there had come about because of an aspiration to join the EU.”

A series of foreign media have reported the news for the support from Brussels and for Albania’s candidacy with the argument that our country deserves the status, while the last word belongs to the European Union Council with the decision that will be taken by the end of the month. At any case, according to Financial Times, the path towards accession will be long and difficult, since no new members are expected in the block until 2021

Obama, Ukraine president-elect discuss US help to train Kiev's military

Published time: June 04, 2014 09:46
Edited time: June 04, 2014 12:37
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Ukraine President-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw June 4, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Ukraine President-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw June 4, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
The US has pledged additional military help to Ukraine as well as potential training of its law enforcement and military personnel. President Obama’s vows comes as Kiev continues air strikes as a part of its military operation in southeastern Ukraine.
Obama pledges $1bn for more troops, military drills in E. Europe
Since March, the White House has approved more than $23 million in security assistance to Ukraine. Now the US is providing additional $5 million aid for "the provision of body armor, night vision goggles and additional communications equipment."
The White House said other aid for Ukraine has included 300,000 ready-to-eat meals and financing for medical supplies, helmets, hand-held radios and other equipment.
"The United States is absolutely committed to standing behind the Ukrainian people not just in the coming days, weeks, but in the coming years," Obama said.
Obama said it was critical that other countries also support Poroshenko and Ukraine’s new government, including by training its military and police.
Obama’s statement comes a day after he pledged to invest $1 billion in stepping up the US military presence in Eastern Europe amid the Ukrainian crisis.

With an F-16 fighter in the background, U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks upon his arrival in Warsaw June 3, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
With an F-16 fighter in the background, U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks upon his arrival in Warsaw June 3, 2014. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
So far the US has deployed 600 troops for military drills in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.
"As allies, we have a solemn duty - a binding treaty obligation - to defend your territorial integrity. And we will," Obama said, according to Reuters. "Poland will never stand alone. Estonia will never stand alone. Latvia will never stand alone. Lithuania will never stand alone. Romania will never stand alone."
At a separate meeting in Brussels, NATO has said that as an alliance it will not provide military assistance to Ukraine, although individual member states can do so.
NATO said it would “will finalize a comprehensive package of long-term measures to make Ukraine's reforms more effective and its armed forces stronger" later this month.
"We agreed that we will continue to reinforce NATO's collective defense with more air and sea patrols and more exercises and training from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
President Obama has called Poroshenko’s victory in the May 25 election a "wise selection."
Confirmed: Ukrainian air force fired over 150 missiles at Lugansk, bombed admin HQ
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Obama said the two discussed Poroshenko’s plan to restore peace, increase GDP and reduce the country’s economic dependence on Russia.
"In my discussions with him today it's clear he understands the hopes and aspirations of the Ukrainian people," Obama said.
Billionaire Petro Poroshenko won Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election and will be sworn in as the country’s new leader on Saturday.
Poroshenko announced that Kiev would step up its military operation shortly after exit polls predicted his victory in the election, saying that Kiev’s activities in the southeast of the country “will be more effective and military units must be better equipped."

A woman places flowers near the site of an explosion in a regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk June 3, 2014. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)
A woman places flowers near the site of an explosion in a regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk June 3, 2014. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)
Following Poroshenko’s statement, the situation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions significantly deteriorated as clashes between self-defense forces and Kiev troops intensified. In the course of the following two days, Kiev deployed fighter jets and helicopters to attack Donetsk International Airport.
In Lugansk, Kiev admitted firing “more than 150 missiles” from fighter jets on Monday alone.
The total death toll as a result of the so-called “anti-terrorist” operation has so far been put at 181 people, including 59 of the ruling regime’s troops. Another 293 injured people were injured. These figures were stated by the country’s Prosecutor General, Oleg Makhnitsky, on Tuesday. However, it is unclear if the number of fatalities includes self-defense forces as well.
On Wednesday, the spokesman for the anti-terrorist operation, Vladislav Seleznev, said that 300 self-defense fighters had been killed in the last 24 hours. However, self-defense units denied these numbers, saying their losses in the last day were far fewer – two killed and 45 injured.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ukrainian air force fired over 150 missiles at Lugansk, bombed admin HQ

Published time: June 03, 2014 14:56
Edited time: June 03, 2014 16:15
A Ukrainian fighter flies above Lugansk during a battle between resistance fighters and the Ukrainian National Guard in June 2, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov)
A Ukrainian fighter flies above Lugansk during a battle between resistance fighters and the Ukrainian National Guard in June 2, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov)
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also confirmed on Tuesday that the deadly explosion at the city’s administrative building was indeed an airstrike. Kiev has so far denied the responsibility for the incident, saying its forces “do not target” civilian areas.

The moment of the admin HQ blast (Screenshot from video)
The moment of the admin HQ blast (Screenshot from video)
The OSCE Ukrainian mission’s daily report stated that “on June 2, around 15:00 local time missiles hit the building of the regional government administration. According to the observers’ data, the strike was carried out with non-guided missiles launched from an aircraft.”
According to an earlier statement by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the intense bombing in Lugansk area was meant to “support the Ukrainian Border Guards,” which the local militia have been trying to take under control.

“All in all, for fulfilling the combat support of the Ukrainian border guards the army aviators fired more than 150 missiles, carried out three jet sorties and five helicopter sorties,” the statement says.

The air support was backed by fighter jets launching decoy flares to prevent the attacking aircraft from being targeted from the ground.

According to the ministry, two self-defense checkpoints were destroyed in the attack.

Not all the Monday fighting was on the outskirts of Lugansk, apparently, as one Ukrainian missile hit the occupied Lugansk administration building, killing at least eight civilians inside and nearby. Some Kiev politicians have laid the blame on the self-defense forces for the “blast,” which has undoubtedly been confirmed as an airstrike by the accounts of witnesses and the CCTV footage from the scene.

Albania could borrow up to 500 mln euros next year - Cani

Tue Jun 3, 2014

(Reuters) - Albania could borrow up to 500 million euros ($680 million) in its second ever Eurobond or syndicated loan next year, depending on the mood of the market, Finance Minister Shkelqim Cani said on Tuesday.
Faced with high financing needs for its budget, Albania has borrowed 331 million euros from the International Monetary Fund and $220 million from the World Bank as well as from its domestic market, but needs to raise funds on top of this.
Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of a finance conference in Vienna, Cani said the Adriatic nation had "many options" from which to chose and had started initial talks to sound out potential investors.
Albania has not yet decided whether to borrow in dollars or euros and was "seeing options on both of them", Cani said.
"We know 300 million euros is a necessity but we can jump to 500 (million). It depends on how we will see the market and the situation," Cani said.
"We can jump to get a syndicated loan, a loan, or a Eurobond. It is an open issue," Cani, a former central bank governor, said.
Albania borrowed 300 million euros in its debut Eurobond in October 2010 at a rate of 7.5 percent. That five-year Eurobond matures next year. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by James Macharia and John Stonestreet)
EC report for Albania

EC report for Albania
The report of the European Commission about Albania is expected to be approved this Wednesday. As requested by the member countries in the Council of December 2013, the evaluation of the Commission summarizes the achievements of our country in the rule of law, crime, corruption and traffics for the past six months, reiterating more clearly the recommendation of this October, that the country has fulfilled the necessary conditions for the candidate status.

The document goes according to the “written procedure”, which means that it is considered approved by the College of Commissioners if no one of them opposes it, even partially.

The document will be then distributed to the member countries and will be made public in Tirana on the same day, by Commissioner Stefan Fule, in the high-rank dialogue meeting that reviews the key priorities for opening the EU negotiations.

Based on this evaluation by the Commission, and after a review from the representatives of the member countries that cover Balkan, the European Ministers will take a decision on June 23rd in Luxembourg about Albania’s candidacy, and this decision will pass for confirmation to the summit of Heads of States and Governments by the end of this month, on June 26th and 27th.

"Status, Albania would have progressed"

Status, Albania would have progressed
The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, reiterated his stance that the accession of Western Balkan in the European Union serves to the security of the continent as much as to Balkan and European Union integration.

Relating this to the increased number of supporters for the extremist forces in the European Parliament, Rama declared that the hesitation for the candidate status of Albania is an expression of the inability of the European Union to see further than the next elections.

“Albania should have received the status in December, if we could have had less political conflict, less desire to turn everything into a conflict and lose the status just to blame the other party. We would have had more chances to progress in various aspects”, Rama declared.

For the United States Ambassador, Alexander Arvizu, the European Union enlargement with Western Balkan countries is an issue that doesn’t belong only to the aspiring countries that want to enter the European Union, but also of those that are members of the European Union.

“It’s not only the aspiring countries who want the unification, but also those who are inside the block. Their long-term safety, the welfare of their citizens depends on the peace and harmony in the continent. This has always been the stance of the United States, because we believe in Europe, in the future of our citizens, not just for one part of the continent, but in total”, Ambassador Arvizu declared.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Greater Albania, Self-Determination: Steps of unification with Albania

Self-Determination: Steps of unification with Albania
Political unification with Albania, reduction of inequality by removing VAT on food and books, are the main points of the program through which the Self-Determination Movement has started the power race in Kosovo.

The solution that the Self-Determination Movement offers to the citizens, according to Albin Kurti, positions this party at the center left of the Kosovo politics. In an interview for Top Channel, Kurti explained the progressive taxation and the developing state concept.

“Salaries from 170-500 EUR will bay 5% taxes. VAT will be 20% for luxury goods, while basic goods will be removed from the VAT scheme. The developing state is a concept of social-democratic economists, who say that development is achieved from within and is helped fromi outside. Farmers and businessmen need support from the state to compete within and outside the country”, Kurti declared.

As for the unification with Albania, the Self-Determination Movement foresees concrete steps.

“We will make a joint ergister. We will remove permits of work, licensing of businesses. It should be like one single country and work with one customs system. All of these are steps for political unification. Kosovo must join Albania and be one state with one government”, Kurti declared.

The fact that they belong to the center left will not be an obstacle for possible coalitions with the governments that will win the elections.

“The Self-Determination movement wants to make a republican state with full sovereignty and social-democratic regulation within Kosovo. Our orientation is that of the center left. We will make the government very easily, because the economic concept is not serious among other parties. We will join with other parties so that the Self-Determination Movement for the Self-Determination Movement to be on fron. The PDK must be in opposition”, Kurti added.

The Self-Determination Movement has prepared the plans for the unification of Mitrovica, and the security development plan which underlines dialogue with the Serbian citizens in Kosovo, and clear conditions for Belgrade.

For education, the Self-Determination Movement foresees free education for every level and connecting it with economy, and also unifying the curriculas and coordinating the study courses with Albania.

Rama: Irinej's declaration, not welcomed

Rama: Irinej's declaration, not welcomed
Yesterday’s declaration of the Serbian Patriarch, Irinej, that Kosovo is a holy land of Serbia, has left bad impressions to the public opinion and Prime Minister Rama.

Rama boycotted the official dinner organized by one of the Orthodox leaders.

Rama gave a clear message during today’s meeting with representatives of the church, including the Serbian patriarch Irinej.

Rama expressed his discontent with Irinej’s declaratins, saying that his declaration among the Albanian religious celebration was unwanted.

Rama underlined that the orthodox community, like any other religious community, is not united by ethnicity, but by unlimited faith in God. That’s why ethnic borders should not divide it, and not include it in debates of the past about ethnic borders by religious people themselves.

The Prime Minister added that no one who arrives to Albania as a religious representative, should not forget that this is the country where different religions live in harmony, and this should be respected by every visitor.

The fact that the highest authorities had gathered to respect the orthodox community, together with the new Cathedral, was an expression of the traditional respect that this country has for each religion, Rama declared.

“Albania is the wrong country for declarations like those of the Serbian patriarck. After Kosovo’s declaration of independence, this debate simply does not exist and the declaration didn’t respect the country, the Albanian orthodox community and not even the other communities, by damaging this way the joy of such a huge event.

Le Pen on Ukraine crisis: US pursuing own interests, not those of EU

Published time: June 01, 2014 13:35
Edited time: June 02, 2014 15:21
Marine Le Pen, France's National Front political party head.(Reuters / Francois Lenoir)
Marine Le Pen, France's National Front political party head.(Reuters / Francois Lenoir)
The EU is responsible for the developments in Ukraine, French right-wing leader Marine Le Pen said in an interview, stressing the bloc should have its own opinion on global events and not slavishly follow the America’s lead.
“The EU added fuel to the fire by offering the partnership to the country where half of the population is looking to the East,” Le Pentold Der Spiegel newspaper.
Le Pen said she supports federalization in crisis-torn Ukraine, where the coup-appointed government has launched a massive military operation in the country’s eastern regions. The offensive has already claimed dozens of lives, both among the militias and local civilians. Schools, a kindergarten and hospitals in several cities have come under fire.
The French leader warned the EU against falling into Washington’s steps, as those have nothing to do with Europe’s interests.
“The United States is trying to expand their influence in the world and first of all in Europe. They are pursuing their own interests, not ours,” Le Pen said.
She went as far as to call the EU “an anti-democratic monster," where people’s right to self-determination is stolen.
"I want to stop it [the EU] getting fatter, continuing to breathe, touching everything with its paws and reaching into all areas of our legislation with its tentacles," she said.
Earlier Le Pen repeatedly stated that Russia is being unfairly “demonized” and that the campaign against the Russian political administration has been cooked up at the highest levels of EU leadership, with the implicit support of the US.
"I am surprised a Cold War on Russia has been declared in the European Union," she said at a meeting with Russia’s State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin in April. "It's not in line with traditional, friendly relations, or with the economic interests of our country or EU countries and harms future relations."
Le Pen’s National Front far-right party in France has been steadily gaining popularity and scored a triumphant success in the latest EU elections by gaining around 25 percent of the votes.

At least five killed in admin HQ blast as fighter jets deployed to Lugansk, Ukraine

Published time: June 02, 2014 12:18 
Embedded image permalink 
At least five people are reported killed after an explosion in Lugansk administration building. The blast came as Kiev deployed fighter jets to the city in eastern Ukraine. This and heavy gunfire on the ground caused panic among civilians.
The death toll was first reported by RIA Novosti; later it was confirmed by local self-defense forces, who said the blast was caused by the army's fighter jets striking the building.
Ukraine’s air force struck Lugansk downtown at 16.00 pm. Military aircraft made a targeted strike, deploying cluster bombs. The administration building is partially destroyed,” the government of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) said.
Many wounded were trapped inside the administration headquarters, which caught on fire. About six ambulance vehicles have arrived at the site. The death toll may rise.
Those killed - three women and two men - are all civilians, witnesses told RT. One of them was the LNR’s health minister, Natalia Arkhipova. During the air-strike, she was talking to another woman on the administration building’s steps, the self-proclaimed republic’s premier, Vasiliy Nikitin, said.
Large blood stains inside the HQ could be seen on live-streaming video from the area, with pieces of glass and stones also visible on the floor. The camera operator was choking with smoke. On the outside, many windows are shattered, shell fragments covering the nearby area and dark plumes of smoke are coming from the fourth floor.

Photo of the Day

The US Ambassador in Tirana Alex Arvizu during a metting today with the PM of Albania Edi Rama

Himara Issue, The Territorial Division and Albanian Status to EU, the goals of meeting.

Turkish PM's adviser criticizes German media

BERLIN -- An adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized the German media for their "hostile" coverage.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Beta/AP, file)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Beta/AP, file)
According to the German Spiegel magazine, Yigit Bulut "cautioned that they should learn that nobody can so shamelessly attack the Turkish state, its government, and prime minister."
In an article published in the Turkish pro-government newspaper Star, he wrote that "a part of the German media" were reporting about the Turkish government in a hostile manner, and that "the organic connection" between some German media with Turkey must be investigated.

Bulut did not mention any names, but his statement was taken as an allusion to the cooperation between Germany's Axel Springer and the Turkish media group Dogan, which takes "a relatively critical line towards the government in Ankara."

During his recent visit to Cologne, Erdogan himself criticized the reporting of some German media about the Soma mining tragedy.

Serbian patriarch visits Albania, nationalists protest

TIRANA -- Leaders of Orthodox Christian churches - including a delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) headed by Patriarch Irinej - were in Albania on Sunday.
Patriarch Irinej (Tanjug, file)
Patriarch Irinej (Tanjug, file)
They consecrated the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in the country's capital, Tirana.
The consecration service - a major event for all Orthodox churches - was led by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Albania's Balkanweb reports.

Also taking part in the service were the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Serbia, the archbishops of Cyprus, Athens, Warsaw and Tirana, as well as representatives of the patriarchs of Moscow, Bulgaria, Georgia and Antiochia.

According to a statement of the Albanian Orthodox Church, the consecration of the cathedral is not only a special blessing for Albania's Orthodox Christians, but also a reaffirmation of Orthodox Christianity worldwide.

The complex of the new Resurrection of Christ Cathedral, situated in downtown Tirana, includes the Chapel of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, a bell tower and the Cathedral center, and symbolizes the rebirth of the autocephalous Albanian Orthodox Church.

A youth festival concert outside the cathedral, scheduled for Sunday evening, will be attended by Albanian President Bujar Nishani, Parliament Speaker Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha, who is also mayor of Tirana.

Basha is scheduled to receive the leaders of the Orthodox churches on June 2.

Nationalists protest

Members of Albania's nationalist Red and Black Alliance on Sunday gathered in protest against the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) delegation that attended the ceremony on Sunday.

The delegation, headed by Patriarch Irinej, also included Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, who is also the archbishop of Cetinje.

The police arrested several protesters, detaining six of them, Albania's Balkanweb reported quoting Alliance activists.

Alliance activists opposed the participation of the SPC dignitaries as they said the church "ignores Albanian history and considers Kosovo to be part of Serbia," and also believes that "Serbia is better off without European Union membership than without Kosovo."

They particularly blame Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama for inviting SPC representatives to attend the consecration of the cathedral, which they see as "an unprecedented move."

The nationalist Red and Black Alliance advocates "a uniform Albanian state where everyone is equally Albanian by ethnicity and there are no divisions into a majority and minority," Tanjug reported.

The Alliance has maintained close ties with Kosovo's radical Self-Determination movement, led by Albin Kurti, Albanian media have reported.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ecumenical Patriarch inaugurates cathedral in Tirana; gov't leaders attend
01/ 06/ 2014
Ο Πρόεδρος της Αλβανίας Bujar Nishani παρακολουθεί τα εγκαίνια του νέου Καθεδρικού Ναού της Αναστάσεως του Χριστού στα Τίρανα, Κυριακή 1 Ιουνίου 2014. Το νέο Καθεδρικό Ναό της Αναστάσεως του Χριστού στα Τίρανα εγκαινίασε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος. Στην τελετή και στο πολυαρχιερατικό συλλείτουργο που ακολούθησε, προεξάρχοντος του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίου συμμετείχαν οι Πατριάρχες Ιεροσολύμων Θεόφιλος, Σερβίας Ειρηναίος, Ρουμανίας Δανιήλ, οι Αρχιεπίσκοποι Κύπρου Χρυσόστομος, Αθηνών Ιερώνυμος, Βαρσοβίας Σάββας και ο επιχώριος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Τιράνων και πάσης Αλβανίας Αναστάσιος, καθώς και οι Μητροπολίτες -Εκπρόσωποι των Πατριαρχείων Αλεξανδρείας, Αντιοχείας, Μόσχας, Βουλγαρίας και Γεωργίας. ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ/ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ/ΔΗΜΗΤΡΗΣ ΠΑΝΑΓΟΣ

[In the photo, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (L) greets Albanian President Bujar Nishani 

ANA-MPA - The new Greek Orthodox cathedral, Resurrection of Christ, was inaugurated in Tirana by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and several heads of Orthodox churches from other countries including Greece and Moscow, in a ceremony that was attended by the leading officials of Albania.

Bartholomew was assisted in the liturgy by the patriarchs of Jerusalem (Theofilos), Serbia (Irineos) and Romania (Daniel); the archbishops of Cyprus (Chryssostomos), Athens and All Greece (Ieronymos), Warsaw (Savvas) and Tirana and All Albania (Anastasios); and metropolitans representing the patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Moscow, Bulgaria and Georgia.

The ceremony and related events were attended by Albanian President of the Republic Bujar Nishani, President of Parliament Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama, and main opposition leader and Tirana Mayor Lulzim Basha. They will all formally welcome the visiting church leaders on Monday morning.

 Bartholomew arrived in Tirana on Saturday afternoon.

[In the photo, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (L) greets Albanian President Bujar Nishani
Conference held in Tirana for the citiziens of Presevo Valley
A conference was held in Tirana for the Presevo Valley, organized by the Humanitarian Fund of Eastern Kosovo.

This Fund aims to prevent the displacement of Albanian families from the Presevo Valley, taking action in building more than 50 homes in the Valley for the homeless.

With the motto "build, deliver, prevent" during the conference held in Tirana, it was covered in details the success of this humanitarian project and a report was presented by its leaders and organizers as Xhemal Memeti, Aziz Aziri, etc.

Attending the conference were various intellectuals from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and the Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja. / /