Saturday, February 28, 2015

Everything will be done to punish those behind ‘vile’ murder of Nemtsov - Putin

Published time: February 28, 2015 
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Boris Nemtsov.(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised that everything will be done to punish those responsible for the organization and execution of the murder of opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov.

READ MORE: Boris Nemtsov killed in Moscow LIVE UPDATES
Everything will be done for the organizers and executors of this vile and cynical murder to receive the punishment they deserve," the statement on the Russian President’s official website said.
Boris Nemtsov, a veteran opposition figure in Russia, was gunned down in a drive-by attack in central Moscow overnight Friday.
The murder, which happened just away from the Kremlin, triggered worldwide condemnation and calls to bring the killers to justice.

Boris Nemtsov murder prompts Putin 'justice' pledge

Boris Nemtsov addresses the crowd at a rally in Moscow to oppose President Putin's policies in Ukraine - 15 March 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will do everything possible to bring to justice those who committed the "vile and cynical" murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. In a telegram to Mr Nemtsov's mother, published on the Kremlin website, Mr Putin offered
condolences and praised Mr Nemtsov's openness and honesty.
Mr Nemtsov was shot four times in the back on a bridge near the Kremlin.
Western leaders demanded a transparent investigation into the killing.
In the telegram to Mr Nemtsov's 86-year-old mother, Dina Eydman, Mr Putin said: "We will do everything to ensure that the perpetrators of this vile and cynical crime and those who stand behind them are properly punished."
He said: "Please accept my deepest condolences in connection with this irreparable loss. I sincerely share your sorrow.

"Boris Nemtsov has left his mark in the history of Russia, in its political and public life. He occupied significant posts in a difficult time of transition in this country. He always openly and honestly voiced and upheld his views."
Expressing shock at the "cruel and cynical murder", Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Mr Nemtsov was a "principled person" who "acted openly, consistently and never betrayed his views".
On Saturday there was a steady stream of people leaving flowers at the site of the killing.
Mr Nemtsov, 55, served as first deputy PM under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s but fell out of favour with Mr Putin and became an outspoken opponent, particularly on the Ukraine conflict.

Russians give their reaction to the death of Boris Nemtsov

In a recent interview, Mr Nemtsov had said he feared Mr Putin would have him killed because of his opposition to the war.
Mr Nemtsov died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the conflict.
The march, due to be held in a Moscow suburb, has now been cancelled, and the organisers have been given permission to hold a mourning procession in the centre of the city.
Russian state media say it will begin on Kitaigorodsky Proezd at 15:00 local time (12:00 GMT) and pass the site of the killing. Analysts say it is rare for state media to announce the time and place of opposition rallies.
Amid widespread global outrage, US President Barack Obama condemned the killing as a "brutal murder".

Analysis: Artyom Liss, BBC Russian
Russia woke up in shock on Saturday. The press, the social media, the politicians - all describe the killing of Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of the country's opposition, as something that was - until Friday night - completely unthinkable.
He was gunned down a stone's throw away from the Kremlin, in an area which is always tightly policed, and where security cameras are everywhere you look. He was, it appears, tracked for hours as he travelled around central Moscow.
The investigation will probably take a very long time. From experience, few in Moscow believe that it will name those who ordered the killing. The Russian police have a long history of catching people who pull triggers - but they are much less successful when it comes to identifying their masterminds.

The Russian government must conduct a "prompt, impartial and transparent investigation", the US president urged.

"I admired Nemtsov's courageous dedication to the struggle against corruption in Russia and appreciated his willingness to share his candid views with me when we met in Moscow in 2009," Mr Obama said in a statement.
A statement from the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of Mr Nemtsov's "courage" for his frequent criticism of Russian government policy.
Mrs Merkel "calls on President Putin to ensure that the murder is cleared up and the perpetrators brought to justice", her spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, says the Kremlin was not involved in the killing
UK Prime Minister David Cameron echoed the calls for an inquiry, saying he was "shocked and sickened" by the news.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described Mr Nemtsov as a friend of Ukraine.
He said: "Boris had declared he would provide clear evidence of Russian armed forces' participation in [the war] in Ukraine. Somebody was afraid of this... They killed him."
Amnesty International demanded a "prompt, impartial and effective" investigation into what it said was "a cold-blooded murder of one of those free voices whom the authorities have so actively sought to silence".
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Mr Putin, told the BBC that any suggestion the Kremlin was involved in the killing was nonsense.
'Meticulously planned' Mr Nemtsov was shot at around 23:40 (20:40 GMT) on Friday while crossing Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge accompanied by a woman, Russia's interior ministry said.
Police stand around the body of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, with St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin in the background, 27 February Mr Nemtsov was shot on a bridge within sight of St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin
Mr Nemtsov feared his vocal opposition to President Putin's policies on Ukraine could get him killed
Flowers are left outside the Russian embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, 28 Feb Flowers were also left outside the Russian embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev
He was shot with a pistol from a white car which fled the scene, police said.
Russian investigative committee head Vladimir Markin said in a statement that several motives for the killing were being considered including "Islamic extremism" and the victim's alleged links with Ukraine.
"Mr Nemtsov may have been sacrificed by those who do not shun anything to reach their political gains," the statement said.
It added that the attack was meticulously planned and the killers had been tracking Mr Nemtsov's movements around the city.

Rama: The Balkans in danger of Islamic extremism, the EU save

Rama: Ballkani në rrezik nga ekstremizmi, BE ta shpëtojë

"if Islamic extremism will find the way to become a religious nationalism in the form of movement within the Balkans, would be the end of this that we have today, "said Rama

The visit to Bucharest was chosen as the right moment for the Romanian public presentation of the book "Sacrifice, Kurban", authored by the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama.

Such PM Rama considers how we should behave Europe Balkans diversity of religious beliefs and the so-called Islamic State of ISIS-it, which according to the head of the Albanian government "represents an extreme escalation of Islamic radicalism".

"We think that he escalation is a very strong reason for Europe and the European Union that this religious diversity in the Balkans is to take the defense as soon as possible to accelerate the process of integration, not making policies that are tactical and not have nothing strategic in relation to Balkan countries, because if Islamic extremism will find the way to become a religious nationalism in the form of movement within the Balkans, would be the end of this that we have today, "said Rama.

From Bucharest Prime Minister Rama explained for the first time his view of why she calls "radical Islam" may find ground in several Balkan countries.

"Radical Islam finds it easier to penetrate the psychological territory of frustration by the reluctance of the EU to act swiftly and quickly pull us inside. Islamic radicalism is acting exactly in this area, conveying the idea that Europe is not our way, because Europe is a Christian club and therefore Europe is hesitant to us, "argued Rama.

Prime Minister Edi Rama, which advocates that the Balkan region is at peace, because all believe and are dreaming of membership in Europe, was honored in Bucharest with the title "Honoris Causa".

/ Top Channel

Friday, February 27, 2015

Boris Nemtsov, Russian opposition politician, murdered in Moscow

First entry: 28 February 2015
Boris Nemtsov, Russian opposition politician, murdered in Moscow
Famous Russian politician Boris Nemtsov has been shot dead in the center of Moscow, according to Tass news agency.
"Boris Nemtsov was shot four times in the center of Moscow at Vasilyevsky spusk. Investigation team is working at the scene," Tass reports siting police sources.
A law enforcement source told Interfax news agency that a white vehicle approached Nemtsov, fired the shots, and rushed away
Nemtsov’s colleague has confirmed his death.
"Unfortunately, I'm currently looking at the body of Nemtsov on the Zamoskvoretskiy bridge [nearVasilyevsky spusk]," a fellow member of his RPR-Parnas party, Ilya Yashin, confirmed to RIA Novosti. "I see the body, and a lot of police."
Nemtsov served as Russian deputy prime minister under former President Boris Yeltsin. Though he was more involved in business than politics in recent years, Nemtsov voiced opposition to President Vladimir Putin, criticizing the government and its policies. Since 2012, he co-chaired the pro-business party RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia – People's Freedom Party).
Nemtsov’s assassination comes just one day ahead of the Vesna (“Spring”) opposition rally slated for March 1 in Moscow.

Γ. Επιτήδειος: "Η Αλβανία καταπιέζει τους Έλληνες της Β. Ηπείρου"

EU Progress Report in EP, should be conditioned by really "Reforms in Albania

"Greater Albania" and the Human Rights of the Greek Community  in Himara Region, the video speech held by EMP of the Golden Dawn, George Epitideios

Defence council replaces top brass in Greek Air Force, Army

First entry: 27 February 2015
Defence council replaces top brass in Greek Air Force, Army
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence, known as KYSEA, decided on Wednesday on a change of guard for the heads of the Greek Air Force and Army, following a meeting which was presided by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The Chief of General Staff of the Greek Air Force, Lieutenant General Evangelos Tournas will be replaced by Lieutenant General Christos Vaitsis, the Chief of the Greek Tactical Air Force (HTAF).
The council also decided to replace the Chief of the Greek Army, Lieutenant General Christos Manolas, with the Commanding General of the First Army, Lieutenant General Vassilios Tellidis.
Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS) Chief, General Mikhail Kostarakos, will remain in his post, as well as the Chief of the Hellenic Navy, Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.

Rama asks Romania to recognize Kosovo


During his visit to Romania, Albanian PM Edi Rama was received by his counterpart, Victor Ponta.

Rama urges Ponta to recognize Kosovo

Rama urges Ponta to recognize Kosovo
Prime Minister Edi Rama met with his Romanian counterpart Victor Ponta. In a joint press conference the Albanian PM urged him to recognize Kosovo's independence, as it is an issue of common security. 
"My repeated request is for Romania to finally recognize Kosovo and help increasing the number of recognitions. This is not a bilateral issue, but an issue of common security. We must not let other forces influence this security area", he said while visiting Romania.
Rama also said that Ministries of Education of both countries, have signed an agreement for Albanian students who want to study in Romania in the field of IT. According to him, another agreement will be reached in the field of energy. 
Meanwhile, Rama also spoke about the support that Romania will provide in the joint project with the European Commission to build a network of experts who will assist Albania in the integration process. 
"These experts have helped Romania, and other countries and are willing to come and work in Tirana", he said. 

Secretary General visits NATO military headquarters in Naples


  • 27 Feb. 2015
  • |
  • Last updated: 27 Feb. 2015 14:33
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Allied personnel for their service and for their contribution to NATO operations and missions during his first visit to Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters in Naples on Friday (27 February 2015). “You are helping to keep our Alliance safe, and our world more secure,” he said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg sings the Book of Honour of the Allied Joint Force Command, Naples in the presence of JFC Commander Admiral Mark Ferguson
The Secretary General underscored the command’s “wide range of responsibilities” and its key role in running a large number of missions and operations.  He noted that Allied Joint Force Command Naples has been at the forefront of NATO’s engagement to train Iraqi security forces, protect civilians in Libya, combat terrorism in the Mediterranean, and bring stability to the Balkans.
Upon arrival at Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Mr. Stoltenberg met with the Commander, US Admiral Mark Ferguson, and other key officials. Touring the facility, the Secretary General received a series of briefings in the Joint Operations Centre. He completed his visit with a town hall address to the headquarters’ personnel.
Every one of you here today, and every one of your colleagues, can be proud of the work you do”, he said.
Secretary General Stoltenberg is wrapping up a two day visit to Italy. Earlier on Friday, he visited and addressed the NATO Defence College in Rome. On 26 February, Mr. Stoltenberg held talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, and other key officials and parliamentarians.

A frustrating independence anniversary

Logo OBC

Violeta Hyseni Kelmendi | Pristina

27 February 2015

Kosovo - Ignacio Maria CocciaKosovo celebrated its seventh anniversary since the proclamation of independence, amidst news of thousands of its citizens trying to leave the country for better economic conditions in the EU

When Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, in February 2008, there were a lot of expectations about how the youngest and poorest state in Europe was going to improve. Seven years on from independence, hopes turned into frustration and despair. Accordingly, few Kosovars saw any reason to celebrate this anniversary of Kosovo’s statehood.

“This disinterest to celebrate Kosovo’s birthday is natural, as enthusiasm often falls in countries where citizens have high expectations, but face big challenges”, says political analyst Halil Matoshi.

The departure of tens of thousands of people from Kosovo into the European Union is the best sign of the furious disappointment of Kosovars with the post-independence situation. They realize that having independence and freedom is not sufficient if there is not economic development and social welfare. Around 45 percent of the Kosovo population is unemployed and around 20 percent live in poverty. Tired cause of the difficult economic conditions, unemployment and poverty, in the last few months hundreds of people departed each night from Kosovo seeking asylum in EU countries and dreaming of a better future. They travelled by bus to Serbia and then, with the help of traffickers, entered into Hungary. Officials in the EU said that almost none of them has any chance of receiving asylum, and that they will be deported.
Don't leave!

On the occasion of the seventh anniversary of independence, Kosovo's Prime Minister, Isa Mustafa, urged its citizens not to leave the country. “People have no reason to leave Kosovo, they have a reason to stay," he said during a speech in a special parliamentary session. PM Mustafa promised a brighter and more prosperous future for Kosovo citizens, pledging to fight unemployment, poverty, corruption and organized crime.

The violent January protests in Pristina with anti-government demonstrators throwing stones and clashing with police are another indicator of the general discontent of Kosovars with a corrupted leadership, lack of rule of law, stalled economic and social progress, and lack of perspective for young people.

“Of course, seven years on from independence, people expected progress in all fields, but instead we have now degradation and regress in education, economy, justice, health system etc. People are depressed and feel hopeless. They see that justice is selective; jobs are offered only to those who are affiliated with political parties or groups of interest. Political parties have impact almost in all segments of the life and if you are not part of it, you are completely isolated”, says Besa Luzha, a political analyst.

According to her, a very weak health system and low pensions coupled with the luxurious life style of the politicians, and their arrogance towards simple citizens, have contributed to simmering the discontent of people with the governing elites in Kosovo.
Far from our expectations

On the seventh anniversary of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, the president Atifete Jahjaga in her speech acknowledged that “Kosovo still does not resemble to the image we hoped for and desired […] Our journey to enlivening the vision of an independent, democratic, free Kosovo, in peace, continues to remain difficult. Lots of work has been done. Mistakes have been made. There were many successes, as well as sacrifices and continuous challenges […] Many a time have we been disappointed, isolated and hopeless. We felt powerless, disenchanted, tired. Because the Kosovo of today, for which we were ready to surrender our own existence, has yet to fulfill our expectations”.

Since breaking away from Serbia, Kosovo has been recognized by 108 countries, including the US and 23 out of 28 EU member countries. Political analyst Halil Matoshi considers that these recognitions - although not sufficient for Kosovo to become a UN member state - can be seen as a success story, combined with Kosovo’s membership in some other international organizations, including the recent membership of the International Olympic Committee.

But Kosovo’s status remains an unfinished issue when it comes to its relations with the two Brussels based organizations, EU and NATO, that Kosovo aspires to join one day. Neither the EU nor NATO recognize Kosovo as an independent state, due to the fact that some member states disagree with Kosovo’s separation from Serbia. Hence both the EU and NATO refer to Kosovo with the asterisk (Kosovo*) which means: “This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence”.

This denomination is an uncomfortable compromise for Pristina and Belgrade to enable Kosovo’s representation in international and regional gatherings. It was reached after many long months of negotiations between both parties facilitated by the EU. Indeed, since Kosovo declared independence, the EU has spent much energy in the effort to normalize relations between Pristina and Belgrade, as a precondition for aspirations of both countries to join the European Union.

Despite the general discontent with the progress that Kosovo has made seven years after independence, there are some achievements too, including the new highway that connects Kosovo with Albania, a better legislative framework, new schools and a better road infrastructure.
State building

“We have never believed that this state building would be easy, because our resources and capacities are limited; growing pains are considerable, priorities abundant and expectations high. We have no time for disappointment and there is no room for hesitation…We made Kosovo. Now we must build the state which we all desire”, said President Atifete Jahjaga in her speech on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of independence.

This year Kosovo is expected to sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, but analysts warn that, even with this agreement, Kosovo will not be treated as an independent country. On the other hand, there is not much room for optimism regarding visa liberalization. The EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, in his recent visit to Kosovo made it clear that before EU can recommend a visa-free status for Kosovo citizens, the number of asylum applications to the EU and the number of people irregularly staying in the Schengen area needs to fall.

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Far from Kosovo

Young Kosovo citizens are leaving the country in growing numbers, looking for a better future in the EU, as they realize that independence did not entail economic growth

21 January 2015
Kosovo: looking for a Parliament

Kosovo's political crisis has been solved bypassing its democratic institutions, namely the Parliament, making the State weaker in the long term

3 December 2014
Kosovo elections: coalition partners clash in Pristina

Tensions between LDK and PDK in view of Kosovo's local elections of November 15th. Bitter fights over the control of Pristina, the likely boycott from Kosovo Serbs. The electoral campaing in the chronicle of our correspondent

11 November 2009
Safety Net for European Journalists


America, much more than Europe, sees strategic stakes in the Aegean

Greece and geopolitics

A semi-guided missile

NEVER imagine that the euro zone is the only club in which Greece is a maverick player. The Hellenic relationship with NATO, and bilateral defence ties with the United States, have long been important (although many would say diminishing) and contested.
Whatever the strains, America has often put discreet pressure on its European allies to avoid a rift with Greece, as much because of geopolitics as economics. In recent days, that pressure has been felt once more. It is not just linked to the services that Greece now delivers to NATO, which are modest; it also reflects the perils that would arise if Greece cut loose from all western clubs.

In many ways, the odd thing about Greek-NATO relations is not the history of tension but the fact that they exist at all. On the Hellenic left, it is axiomatic that Greece suffers from being a pawn in western strategic games which connived at military rule from 1967 to 1974.Greece quit NATO’s military wing for six years in 1974 after Turkey overran northern Cyprus; in 1981 leftists took power, pledging to expel American bases and ultimately take Greece out of NATO. In the 1990s Greek opinion was pro-Serbia and loathed NATO bombing that country. Study the wishlist of the ruling Syriza party today, and you will see “leaving NATO” somewhere at the end.

Yet the relationship trundles on and seems unlikely to stop. Greece hosts an air and sea facility on Crete, and American early-warning aircraft use a base near Albania. Greek ships and aircraft are listed among NATO assets, although austerity has affected their readiness. Despite Greek-Turkish rows over Aegean airspace, relations between those countries, which are both allies and historical rivals, seems just about manageable, and underpinned by strong economic ties.Like every other small NATO member, Greece horse-trades to boost its role in the alliance structure; and as is noted by Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United Services Institute, a think-tank in London, its bargaining strength has ebbed as other southeast Europeans have joined NATO.

Quitting NATO would be a gift to regional rivals, and the new defence minister, Panos Kammenos, vows that Greece will stay for the foreseeable future. A member of a small nationalist party in coalition with Syriza, Mr Kammenos backs co-operation with America as well as Greece’s warming ties with Israel, even if he feels cultural bonds with Russia as a devout Orthodox Christian.
Such details interest an American administration which knows Greece’s new rulers less well than previous ones. (Two recent prime ministers, George Papandreou and Antonis Samaras, were room-mates in an American college.) American fear of “losing” Greece is palpable but has less to do with its military value and more to do with general fear of defences unravelling, says Wayne Merry, a fellow of the American Foreign Policy Council. Any breach in the dyke would bode ill, especially as Islamist fighters in Libya are just a speed-boat ride away.

America will also watch to see whether the sympathy some of Greece’s new rulers feel for Russia (and reluctance to impose sanctions over Ukraine) leads to real strategic change. So far it has not.

Cyprus Signs Military Deal With Russia


Russia and Cyprus have signed a military cooperation agreement that would allow Russian navy ships to make regular port calls on the island.

The deal with European Union member Cyprus, which also hosts British military bases, comes amid Russia-West tensions over Ukraine, the worst since the Cold War times.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said after Thursday's talks with visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that the agreement would primarily refer to Russian navy ships involved in international counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts. He added that military cooperation between Russia and Cyprus isn't directed against any third party.

Russia has sought permission for navy ships to use ports in various parts of the world to replenish supplies and undergo maintenance, deals that would allow Moscow to expand its global military presence.

Tirana, announces the new threat to the Balkans, both ISIS and Russia

"There is not only ISIS that could threaten stability in the Balkans, but also Russia, may include the Balkans in war, ranging from Serbia"

In a meeting held on security issues in Albania and the Balkans region, Albanian Defence Minister Mimi Kodheli, stated that "There is not only ISIS that could threaten stability in the Balkans, but also Russia, may include the Balkans in war, ranging from Serbia"

"If Balkans remains united, facing racial and religious divisions, could face the risks. Thus said Defence Minister Mimi Kodheli, at the Atlantic Council Conference on "Security Situation in Europe and the challenges and threats against her" held in Tirana.

Kodheli stressed that NATO Alliance during the past two years is facing risks of old and new, which come mainly from the east and south.

"We all know that ISIS on one side and Russia on the other side are two delicate matter after returning source of tension in Europe. Russia is a powder keg of Europe and a constant threat to the Western Balkan region as a region with significant has racial divisions and religious, which must be overcome to deal with these risks,"she sai.

The declaration of Albanian Defense Minister comes after the stateman of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was appearing before a U.S. Senate subcommittee when he was asked about "the growing influence of Russia in Europe."

In this context, besides Serbia, Kerry also mentioned "Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, and others.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Η απογραφή στις Δρυμάδες και τα νέα τουριστικά χωριά

"STOP", the registration of property titles, in the Region of Himara, without come back properties

«Τρέξτε να προλάβετε», λέει το Δημαρχείο.

Μέχρι 1 Μαρτίου θα μπορέσετε να καταθέσετε τα χαρτιά σας για να καταγράψετε το κτήματα σας, φέρτε ότι χαρτιά έχετε και δεν έχετε!!!
Γιατί τέτοια βιασύνη; Γιατί Δρυμάδες; Γιατι τα αγροκτήματα;

Ας τα πάρουμε με την σειρά.

Γιατί τέτοια βιασύνη;
3 μήνες πριν από τις εκλογές, το Δημαρχείο ανακοίνωσε (ξαφνικά) ότι τον Φεβρουάριο ξεκινά η εγγραφή των αγροκτημάτων και με βάση το τι προβλέπει η όλη διαδικασία θα πρέπει να έχει τελειώσει μέχρι τέλη Μαρτίου!!!

Γιατί θα πρέπει να γίνει η εγγραφή το χειμώνα που οι κάτοικοι είναι εκτός; δεν μπορούν να περιμένουν την άνοιξη που και ο καιρός είναι καλύτερος για τέτοια δουλειά και ο κόσμος είναι στο χωριό και μπορεί να ταξιδέψει ευκολότερα από την Αθήνα;
Είναι ακατόρθωτο να καταγράψουν χιλιάδες οικόπεδα και αγροτεμάχια μέσα σε δύο μήνες μέσα στην κακοκαιρία.

Γιατί Δρυμάδες;
Γιατί γίνετε η έγγραφη στις Δρυμάδες και όχι στην Χιμάρα που είναι και το κέντρο του Δήμου και κανονικά θα έπρεπε να είναι και το πιο σημαντικό; Τι έχει στις Δρυμάδες που είναι πιο σημαντικό από την Χιμάρα;

Γιατί τα αγροκτήματα;
Στις Δρυμάδες, οι κάτοικοι δεν έχουν τίτλους ιδιοκτησίας για τα σπίτια, τα ξενοδοχεία και τις επιχείρησης που έχουν κληρονομήσει, που έχουν επενδύσει και που είναι και η πιο σημαντική περιουσία που έχουν. Γιατί δεν ολοκληρώνουν πρώτα την εγγραφή που έγινε το 2011 (πριν 4 χρόνια ) δίνοντας στο κόσμο τίτλους ιδιοκτησίας για τα σπίτια και τις επιχειρήσεις;

Οι απαντήσεις:
Εδώ και 3 χρόνια έχουν αδειοδοτηθεί από το Δημαρχείο της Χιμάρας πολλά "τουριστικά χωριά" τα οποία περιμένουν την έγκριση από την Εθνική Επιτροπή της πολεοδομίας της Αλβανίας.

Υπάρχουν όμως μερικά νομικά προβλήματα για να ολοκληρωθεί η διαδικασία έγκρισης της αδείας από την Εθνική Επιτροπή Πολεοδομίας:
-Ο νομός απαιτεί Πιστοποιητικό ιδιοκτησίας από το Γραφείο του Εθνικού Κτηματολογίου όχι απλή Βεβαίωση ιδιοκτησίας η ακόμα χειρότερα Τίτλο ιδιοκτησίας με βάση το νόμο 7501.
-Χρειάζεται εγκεκριμένο πολεοδομικό σχέδιο που δεν έχει εγκριθεί ακόμα.

Και τα δύο αυτά δεν μπορούν να γίνουν αν ΠΡΏΤΑ δεν γίνει η απογραφή. Δηλαδή, δεν μπορούν να εκδώσουν πιστοποιητικό ιδιοκτησίας αν δεν γίνει η απογραφή.

Μέχρι τώρα δίνουν μόνο ΒΕΒΑΙΩΣΗ ιδιοκτησίας και στο σκέλος "Συνορεύει με:" γράφουν "περιοχή χωρίς απογραφή", (Zone e pa manaxhuar). Το πολεοδομικό σχέδιο δεν μπορεί να εγκριθεί αν δεν γνωρίζει το ιδιοκτησιακό καθεστώς πρώτα. Δηλαδη, το σχέδιο πρέπει να λάβει υπόψη το ιδιοκτησιακό καθεστώς όταν αποφασίζει που θα κτιστούν δρόμοι και τουριστικά χωριά, ειδικά την κρατική περιουσία.

Υπάρχει όμως και τρίτος λόγος:
-Η απογραφή χρειάζεται για να γίνουν οι απαλλοτριώσεις για τα κτήματα που θα πάρουν από τους κατοίκους για να εφαρμοστούν τα νέα σχέδια. Για να γίνουν οι απαλλοτριώσεις, πρέπει πρώτα να γραφούν τα κτήματα στο Εθνικό Κτηματολόγιο και μετά να απαλλοτριωθούν.

Στην καλύτερη περίπτωση, από την απογραφή δεν θα κερδίσουν οι κάτοικοι στις Δρυμάδες αλλά τα μεγάλα συμφέροντα. Στην χειρότερη περίπτωση, θα πάρουν τα κτήματα από τους κατοίκους με 281λεκ το τετραγωνικό μετρό με απαλλοτρίωση.

Ο Εκσκαφέας

Kosovo Serb Politician Ivanovic’s Custody Extended

Oliver Ivanovic, who is on trial for war crimes and ordering the killings of Kosovo Albanians, has been remanded for another two months despite a new plea from the Serbian president.
Behar Mustafa, Petrit Collaku
Mitrovica, Pristina
Ivanovic in court. Photo: Beta.
The court in Mitrovica in northern Kosovo on Thursday extended Ivanovic’s custody, ignoring the latest top-level appeal from Belgrade for him to be freed on bail during his trial.
Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic said that Ivanovic’s release from detention would be “a confirmation of respect for basic human rights and impartiality of court proceedings”.
Nikolic said that the Serbian government had offered guarantees that Ivanovic would attend court when asked if released, so to keep him in custody represented “an abuse of justice”.
A former Serbian government official and head of a Kosovo Serb political party called Freedom, Democracy, Justice, Oliver Ivanovic is accused of war crimes by ordering the murder of ethnic Albanians in Mitrovica on April 14, 1999 during the NATO bombing, when he was allegedly the leader of a paramilitary police unit.
He is also accused, along with another person, of inciting the killing of ethnic Albanians during unrest that erupted after the war on February 3, 2000, when many Albanians were driven from their homes.
Two set of witnesses this week testified that they saw Ivanovic in uniform in 1999, contrary to his insistence that he never wore military clothing during the conflict.
The latest witness to testify on Thursday, Faik Hyseni, said he saw Ivanovic wearing a paramilitary jacket during the war.
“He was wearing sports clothes and he had same jacket as the other 500 paramilitaries in Mitrovica had as a uniform,” Hyseni testified. But he said he never heard Ivanovic give an order.
On Wednesday, an Albanian couple, Zeqir and Nurije Alija from Gjakova/Djakovica, testified that they were travelling to Montenegro in 1999 when their bus was stopped by two men in “military or paramilitary” clothing. They said they later realised that one of them was Ivanovic after seeing him on television when he was an MP in Kosovo’s parliament.
A third witness on Wednesday, teacher Florije Peci, testified that she heard that Ivanovic committed crimes in 1999 but never saw him do so.
This caused Ivanovic’s lawyer, Nebojsa Vlajic, to say that the prosecution witnesses were failing to prove the defendant’s guilt.
“None of the witnesses so far could confirm the indictment against my client,” Vlajic told BIRN.
Four other defendants, Dragoljub Delibasic, Aleksandar Lazovic, and father and son Ilija and Nebojsa Vujacic, also face charges of murder or attempted murder.
All of them have pleaded not guilty.
The trial will continue on March 11.

ANEL leader Kammenos calls for investigation into Greek bailout

First entry: 25 February 2015 - 16:34 Athens, 14:34 GMT
Last update: 25 February 2015 16:34 Athens, 14:34 GMTPolitics
ANEL leader Kammenos calls for investigation into Greek bailout
Independent Greeks (ANEL), the junior coalition partner in the Syriza-led government, called for the setting up of an investigation committee which will examine the conditions that led Greece into signing a bailout programme, party leader Panos Kammenos said at the party's parliamentary group meeting on Wednesday.
"ANEL's parliamentary group unanimously decided the drawing up of a text on the establishment of an examining committee," Kammenos said, according to state news agency ANA-MPA.
According to sources cited by the agency, Kammenos briefed his deputies on the developments related to the Eurogroup meeting saying Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis negotiated "under very harsh and difficult conditions" and this was the first time Germany was sidestepped.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will Kammenos later on Wednesday in parliament after the end of their respective parliamentary group meetings. The two men are expected to discuss issues related to the Defence ministry.

Mario Blejer to Advise Albania's Central Bank

The renowned Argentinean economist is to become an adviser to the new governor of Albania’s Central Bank, Gent Sejko, the Prime Minister has announced.
Besar Likmeta
Albania's Central Bank | Photo by : Hektor Pustina/LSA
Prime Minister Edi Rama announced the appointment of the Argentinean economist on Thursday on Twitter.  
“The famous economist Mario Blejer, who served as director of monetary policy in the Bank of England, will be an advisor to our governor,” Rama wrote.
The 67-years-old economist has held several senior positions both in Argentina and abroad. From January to June 2002, he headed Argentina’s Central Bank.
Apart from the advisory role with the Bank of England, he also served as an advisor for the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and taught economics at  New York University and George Washington University.
Before Gent Sejko was appointed governor in mid-February, Blejer had been billed as a possible Central Bank chief, after Prime Minister Rama expressed a desire to appoint a foreigner.
However, disagreements between Rama and President Bujar Nishani led to the appointment of Sejko as a compromise candidate.
Former governor Ardian Fullani was shown the door for negligence after an employee stole millions of dollars from the vaults.

Serbia "in line of fire" over Ukraine, says U.S. official

WASHINGTON -- The United States thinks a number of European countries, Serbia among them, are "in the line of fire" when it comes to relations between Washington and Moscow.
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was appearing before a U.S. Senate subcommittee when he was asked about "the growing influence of Russia in Europe."
In this context, besides Serbia, Kerry also mentioned "Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, and others, Georgia, Moldova, Pridnestrovie," RIA Novosti reported.

He also told the subcommittee it was Russia that "engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I've seen since the very height of the Cold War."

"And they have been persisting in their misrepresentations - lies - whatever you want to call them about their activities there to my face, to the face of others on many different occasions."

Russian President Vladimir Putin on several occasions denied that Moscow was supplying pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine with weapons.

The war there has so far claimed the lives of more than 5,600 people.

Members of the U.S. Congress want U.S. President Barack Obama to approve sending arms to Ukraine, something opposed by many European countries.

As he addressed the subcommittee on Tuesday, Kerry did not wish to state his position on the issue, but said it was "under active consideration."

U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy remarked during the hearing there was concern that the debate about sending arms to Ukraine was overshadowing "a far bigger project that is unfolding before us" - and that is "the spread of Russia's influence."

"What we see in Ukraine in the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Russia's influence in that region," he said, and added that legal instruments should be found to suppress that influence which he believes encompasses Moldavia, Georgia, Serbia, Montenegro, "Latvia, the Baltic".

Murphy added that this was a case of "asymmetric warfare," and described it in the following way:

"They buy the media, pay off public servants, or intimidate those they cannot buy."

According to him, "such Russian behavior" has not met with the West's adequate response.

Resources are needed to conduct such a strategy, he explained.

The U.S. senator noted that he was in the Balkans last fall, and that during his trip he noticed "great Russian influence in Serbia."

"Russia is marching in Serbia with greater than ever influence," he said, adding that at the same time, the U.S. embassy in Belgrade struggles to raise funds for exchange programs.

During the debate, Kerry also offered this analysis:

"Russia is engaged in a massive effort to sway nations, to appeal to them, reach out to them, and fundamentally, tragically, sort of reigniting a new kind of East-West zero sum game that we think is dangerous and unnecessary."

At the same time, reports quoted him as saying that Washington was doing "a pretty good job of standing up for Ukrainian sovereignty."

Kerry also "urged the world and Congress to increase its economic support for Ukraine."

"We all need to be prepared to step up and be there economically for Ukraine as they reform and try to implement their dream and vision," he said.

Serbian citizens top list of asylum seekers in EU

BRUSSELS -- Serbia is still ranked first when it comes to the number of its citizens seeking asylum in Western Europe, a recent report by the European Commission has said.
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
It is necessary to take a series of measures to stop it, the report added.
Serbian citizens account for 42 percent of all asylum seekers from the Western Balkans, followed by citizens of Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro, says the commission's regular report of the visa-free travel regime in the region.

Almost three quarters of all asylum seekers went to Germany, despite having almost no chances being granted an asylum, the commission determined.

The report indicates that the number of asylum seekers has been rising constantly since the Western Balkan nations were put on the white Schengen list, and the document also lists a number of steps the countries from the region and EU members should take.

The countries of origin, including Serbia, are asked to improve their mutual cooperation and border control and to prosecute people who incite immigration for their own profit.

The EU countries that are the destination points for the asylum seekers are advised to shorten the time needed to process asylum requests, review their regulations concerning financial benefits for asylum seekers and strengthen their cooperation with the Western Balkan countries in order to stop the surge of asylum requests.

"Moscow planned to annex parts of Ukraine"

LONDON, KIEV, MOSCOW -- Moscow "has been planning to annex parts of Ukraine for more than 12 months," according to the Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
Britain's Independent carried a report on its website saying the claims made by the paper were "sensational and extraordinary," and translated into English by the Ukrainian media outlet Kyiv Post.
According to the "bombshell document" Novaya Gazeta said it received, "Putin's office put together a 'step-by-step' guide to taking Crimea and other eastern Ukrainian provinces more than a year ago," before President Viktor Yanukovych was forced to leave office and the fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine.

The Independent said that "according to a document allegedly leaked" by the Russian newspaper, "Russia identified Yanukovych as politically bankrupt, and outlined a plan by which a coup would set in motion events ultimately leading to Russian expansion."

The British website describes the Russian daily as "one of the last independent media outlets in the country and was recently nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for its investigations," and notes that its claims "could not be independently verified."

"Novaya Gazeta reported in its introduction that the events that have followed in the past year in Ukraine resemble with a great deal of correlation the step-by-step the basis, political and PR logistics of Russia's interference into Ukrainian affairs and estrangement from Ukraine of Crimea and eastern provinces," said the article.

Among the highlighted details of the plan are “a pejorative assessment of Yanukovych, whom Russia later presented as a victim of a coup and the only legitimate leader of Ukraine," the British website quoted the paper, and adding that the document "details the eastern, cross-border regions of Donbas and Dnepr, among others, as euroregions that are legitimate from the point of view of the European Union."

“Using instrument, Russia should achieve deals on cross-border cooperation and then establish direct interstate relations with the Ukrainian territories where stable pro-Russian electoral sentiments exist,” the alleged document reads, said the Independent, and also "suggests that Russia’s support for such territories will obviously be a burden for the budget in the current situation, but adds that in geopolitical perspective it will give us a priceless gain - our country will receive access to new demographic resources and highly-qualified personnel in the industrial and transport sphere."

"One section of the document appears to lay out the need for the destabilization of events in western Ukraine," reports the British website, and further quotes it:

“To launch the process of the ‘pro-Russian drift’ of Crimean and Eastern Ukrainian territories, it's needed to create the events that would give this process political legitimacy and moral justification, beforehand."

Κυβέρνηση της Αλβανίας και του Κοσσυφοπεδίου, θα συναντηθούν στον Αυλώνα, 23 Μαρτίου.

 Η διαμαρτυρία των κατοίκων της Αυλώνας, το 1997 με τρία δάχτυλα, το σύμβολο Ορθόδοξηας

Έντι Ράμα με τον Πρωθυπουργού του Κοσσυφοπεδίου, Ίσα Μουσταφά, σε μια τελετή στο Κοσσυφοπέδιο

Αναλυτές είπαν ότι αναμένεται μια ισχυρή δήλωση για την ένωση της Μεγάλης Αλβανίας, αλλά παρακολουθείται βήμα προς βήμα από την Ελλάδα.

Τον Νοέμβριο του 2012, με την ευκαιρία της 100ής επετείου από την ανακήρυξη της ανεξαρτησίας της Αλβανίας, Σαλί Μπερίσα, ο τότε πρωθυπουργός, προκάλεσε Ελλάδα, τα "σύνορα της Αλβανίας, ξεκινώντας από την Πρέβεζα".

Γρήγορη αντίδραση της Ελλάδα, από τον Υπουργό Εθνικής Άμυνας, Δημήτρης Αβραμόπουλος, αφιέρωσε το Αλβανός πρωθυπουργός Σαλί Μπερίσα, την απώλεια των πολιτικών εκλογών το 2013.

Αλλά σημερινός πρωθυπουργός Έντι Ράμα, έχει συμπεριληφθεί στην πολιτική φιλοσοφία του, για τον ίδιο εκλογικό αποτέλεσμα, τον αλβανικό εθνικισμό και την ένταξη του Κοσσυφοπεδίου, το σχέδιο της Μεγάλης Αλβανίας.Σύμφωνα με την εφημερίδα «Αλβανοί», μια εφημερίδα που πρόσκεινται στην κυβέρνηση του Ράμα, θα υπάρξουν εκπλήξεις στο γεγονός ότι «η Αυλώνα, δεν είναι μόνο το κέντρο της ίδρυσης του αλβανικού κράτους, αλλά παρόλο που ο πρωθυπουργός Έντι Ράμα, εξελέγη βουλευτής από αυτή την πόλη ».

Αναλυτές είπαν ότι αναμένεται μια ισχυρή δήλωση για την ένωση της Μεγάλης Αλβανίας, αλλά παρακολουθείται βήμα προς βήμα από την Ελλάδα.

Τον Νοέμβριο του 2012, με την ευκαιρία της 100ής επετείου από την ανακήρυξη της ανεξαρτησίας της Αλβανίας, Σαλί Μπερίσα, ο τότε πρωθυπουργός, προκάλεσε Ελλάδα, τα "σύνορα της Αλβανίας, ξεκινώντας από την Πρέβεζα".

Ωστόσο, η Αυλώνα, είναι ένα από τα πολλά σημαντικά διεθνή κέντρα για τον αλβανικό εθνικισμό, αλλά και για γεωπολιτικά ζητήματα μεταξύ της Αλβανίας και της Ελλάδα.

Το 1997, η Αυλώνα, περιλήφθηκε ως κύριο κέντρο, της αντίστασης ενάντια στην κυβέρνηση του Σαλί Μπερίσα στα Τίρανα, ανακηρύσσοντας αποστασιοποίηση από το αλβανικό κράτος, αλλά η παρέμβαση του ΟΑΣΕ, τερματίστηκε ο εμφύλιος πόλεμος ανάμεσα στο βορρά και το νότο της  Αλβανίας.

 Στην Αυλώνα, ζει μια ελληνική κοινότητα, μερικές δεκάδες χιλιάδες, οι οποίοι δεν έχουν αναγνωριστεί επισήμως από την κυβέρνηση της Αλβανίας.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Albania: Omonoia’s Notice on Greek Language

by Ioanna Zikakou - Feb 25, 2015

The Democratic Union of the Greek Minority, Omonoia, appealed to the Albanian government to pass the law on minorities which will clearly provide for the use of each minority’s mother tongue.

The organization made an official notice on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, where it stressed that even though the Albanian state had committed by signing international conventions on the protection of minority languages, the use of minorities’ mother tongues does not conform to the conventions but in several occasions it is prosecuted directly or via the state’s connivance. In fact Omonoia stated that the persecution peaked with the tragic incident of August 12, 2010 when Greek minority member Aristotelis Goumas was murdered in Himare.

Greek shopkeeper Aristotelis Goumas was hit by a car driven by three Albanian men from Vlore. According to eyewitnesses the death occurred after an altercation in Goumas’ store, when the three men demanded that Goumas not speak to them in Greek in his own store, which Goumas refused. The suspects reportedly drove over the victim at least twice to make sure he was dead.

The death sent shockwaves through the ethnic Greek community of Albania, and demonstrators blocked the main highway from Vlore to Sarande, which passes through the region. The event was reported by all major news outlets in both countries, and was strongly condemned by both the Greek and Albanian governments.

Omonoia also noted in its notice that Greek language teaching is very limited in Greek minority education, while it is almost non-existent in the country’s public administration. The few public signs in Greek have been painted or smudged for years “to remind us of the wild environment in which they survive,”
- See more at:

Albania to work with German firm on power line to Italy

A file picture of Albania’s central bank, in Tirana. Three Chinese contractors managed to overpower three Albanian gunmen who tried to rob them on a mountain road in northern Albania. — Reuters picTIRANA Wed Feb 25, 2015

Feb 25 (Reuters) - Albania signed a deal on Wednesday with German project management firm Max Streicher to create a company to build a 200 million euro ($227.1 million) power line to Italy.

The deal signed in Munich, Germany, will see Max Streicher act as leader of a group that will conduct a feasibility study, secure financing and bring on board other investors, the Energy Ministry said.

"The realisation of this project creates bigger possibilities for further investments in the energy sector in Albania, especially renewable energy," the ministry added.

It said "the European Union considered the project of great interest because it fostered energy security and integrated the region of South Eastern Europe to the European energy market".

NATO-member Albania was granted candidate status to join the European Union last year.

The government has started a campaign to fight electricity theft and upgrade the network to bring the embattled sector to profitability.

Albania lies across the Adriatic Sea from Italy; the closest distance between them being just 60 miles. The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will bring Azeri gas to Europe, passes via Greece and Albania to Italy.

The deal with Max Streicher comes after Germany financed -- half as a loan and half as a grant -- the building of 400-kV transmission line in 2013 linking the grids of Albania and Kosovo.

($1 = 0.8807 euros) (Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Mark Potter)

Financial Times: A Syriza compromise will lead to the rise of Golden Dawn

The Financial Times released an article recently warning that Golden Dawn could gain political dominance should Syriza break its promise to the Greek people and compromise with European lenders. The article, written by Wolfgang Münchau, attempts to assess the Greek government’s options & tactics in the upcoming Eurogroup meetings.

Münchau recommends that Syriza stand firm against the lenders, with finance Minister Varoufakis to remain calm against the coldness that will inevitably come from his counterparts in the Eurogroup meeting. Münchau, after assessing the possible ‘worst case scenarios’, comes to the conclusion that the absolute worst possible scenario would be to do what we inevitably all know Syriza will do; give in to the money lenders. Münchau states:

‘The worst-case scenario would be for the Greek government to blink first, and accept defeat. If Syriza were to be co-opted into policy consensus, the only political party left to oppose these policies would be Golden Dawn’.

The fake socialists of Syriza, who have already backtracked on their promise to end austerity, and offered to pay back every last cent to the international loan sharks, will continue to talk tough until the usurers begin to tighten their squeeze closer to the approaching end date. Syriza has been fairly explicit on their position regarding this issue: we agree with the usurers, but any universal acceptance of your requirements will infuriate the Greek people who will turn to Golden Dawn. For this reason, we must put on a show, and change the aesthetics surrounding the current Troika and Memorandum (such as renaming it) in order to sell it to the Greek people, while still inflicting them with the same poison as the PASOK/New Democracy regimes.

Consequently, for the coalition of Syriza-ANEL, there is no plan B, but not even a plan A for the negotiations with the European ‘partners’. Their only bargaining chip has been a warning to the Europeans about the rise of Golden Dawn. To this end, the fully controlled media and fraudster counterfeit polls will continue to paint Syriza as a beacon of light, while they pretend to fight for such endless changes, such as renaming the Troika to the ‘Greek Program’ in order to ddeceive the Greek people.

Unfortunately for Syriza, the Greek people are much brighter than they think, and will soon wake up to see that Tspiras and his gang of Marxists are no different to the overtly capitalists tools of New Democracy, and the equally fake Socialists of the corrupt PASOK. Syriza will have a short life line, even with the media on their side, and the inevitable rise of Golden Dawn will show the Greek people once again the true meaning of Hellenism.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Golden Dawn honours the anniversary of Autonomy in Northern Epirus

Golden Dawn paid respect to the anniversary of Autonomy in Northern Epirus. MEPs Epitideios & Kapelonis attended the event, in the company of other Golden Dawn members. From the early morning, our comrades attended the Church of Saint George Karytsi, in praise of the efforts of Hellenic heroes who fought in the Northern Epirus struggle. Together, they followed the path to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, where MEP Giorgos Epitideios laid a wreath in honour of those who had fallen.

China submarines outnumber U.S. fleet -U.S. admiral

A Chinese Navy nuclear submarine takes part in an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy in Qingdao, Shandong province April 23, 2009. 
© Guang Niu/Pool/Reuters A Chinese Navy nuclear submarine takes part in an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy in Qingdao…China is building some "fairly amazing submarines" and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top U.S. Navy admiral told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior.

Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee's seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of deployment.

For instance, China had carried out three deployments in the Indian Ocean, and had kept vessels out at sea for 95 days, Mulloy said.

"We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines," Mulloy told the committee.

U.S. military officials in recent months have grown increasingly vocal about China's military buildup and launched a major push to ensure that U.S. military technology stays ahead of rapid advances by China and Russia.

Mulloy said the quality of China's submarines was lower than those built by the United States, but the size of its undersea fleet had now surpassed that of the U.S. fleet. A spokeswoman said the U.S. Navy had 71 commissioned U.S. submarines.
U.S. submarines are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. and General Dynamics Corp.
In its last annual report to Congress about China's military and security developments, the Pentagon said China had 77 principal surface combatant ships, more than 60 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped small combatants.
Mulloy did not provide details about the number of surface ships now operated by China.

He said the U.S. military did not believe China carried nuclear missiles on its submarines, but that it had been producing missiles and testing them. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Gunna Dickson)