Friday, September 11, 2015

Hundreds of Thousands of Catalans Join Rally in Barcelona

Demonstrators gather on Meridiana street as they wave Estelada flags (pro-independence Catalan flags) during celebrations of Catalonia's National Day (Diada) which recalls the final defeat of local troops by Spanish king Philip V's forces in 1714, in Barcelona on September 11, 2015

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Hundreds of thousands of Catalans participated in independance rally that was held ahead of regional elections on September 27.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Hundreds of thousands of Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona to participate in a mass independence demonstration, called Gateway to the Catalan Republic. The march began at 17:14 local time (19:14 GMT), a time chosen as a reminder of the year 1714, when Catalonia was defeated during the War of the Spanish Succession.
People are carrying a gigantic arrowhead from the north of the Avinguda Meridiana, a major avenue in Barcelona, toward the Catalan Parliament in the Parc de la Ciutadella. The 3-mile distance has 135 sections, symbolizing the number of members of the local parliament.


The Protest is motivated to the recent violation of the Human Rights, against the Greeks in Southern Albanian particularly in Himara and the demolition of the church of St. Athanasius in Dhermi, held Friday afternoon outside the Embassy of Albania in Athens, members of the National Association "Northern Epirus - 1914".

Starting a New Cold War With Russia a Big Mistake – Sarkozy

© RIA Novosti. Ekaterina Chesnokova
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The world needs Russia to end the civil war in Syria and flush out the Islamic State, French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview Wednesday. He also urged the West not to start a new Cold War with Russia.

“Setting the stage for a new Cold War with Russia is a serious mistake… We need Russia to end the conflict in Syria and our fight against ISIL. This does not mean, of course, that we should agree with Moscow on everything or accept what is happening in Donetsk,” Sarkozy said in an interview with Le Figaro. “Russia should get back to the G8 and lift the meat import ban, while Europe needs to restart its mutually-beneficial dialogue with Moscow,” Sarkozy added.
The United States, the European Union and their allies imposed several rounds of economic, financial and technological sanctions on Russia over its alleged meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.
Russia has repeatedly denied the assertions, and has responded to the sanctions with a food import ban.

Catalans to hold mass rally for independence from Spain

First entry: 11 September 2015 - 15:09 Athens, 12:09 GMT
Last update: 15:09 Athens, 12:09 GMTWorld
Catalans to hold mass rally for independence from Spain
Nearly half a million Catalans have registered to take part in a street rally in Barcelona later to show support for independence from Spain.
A separatist coalition of parties is leading the polls ahead of Catalonia's regional elections this month.
The Together For Yes campaign says if it wins a majority in the regional assembly it will push through plans for an independent Catalan state.
The Spanish government has promised to block any move to break away.
Madrid said an unofficial Catalan referendum last November was invalid.
The poll saw 80% of voters back independence but turnout was 40%.
The Together for Yes group kicked off its campaign late on Thursday night ahead of the mass rally on Friday.
The coalition comprises political groups from both the left and right, who have come together in the face of continued Madrid government opposition to a referendum.
The rally is taking place on La Diada, when Catalans celebrate their national day.


A New Public Protest

About the Demolition of the Church of St. Athanasius in Dhermi
Official government institutions across the country have declared that the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania did not complain about the events concerning the demolition of the Church of St. Athanasius in Dhermi. The truth is that the Church has already issued three public announcement-protests: the first two on August 20th and 21st, in order to stop the demolition plans and a third strong protest on the 26th after the demolition.

More specifically, in the protest of August 21st, it was emphasized that “The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania” harshly condemns such events which affect the property and freedom of religious faith. It asked from the faithful to maintain their composure in the face of these challenges and to remain committed to the defense of the Church. It required the state to assume the legal responsibilities arising from Law No. 10057 / 22.01.2009."

The third protest, highlighted above all the sacrilege, the arbitrariness and the provocative illegality: “This action is a brutal violation of Law No. 10057 / 22.01.2009, of ‘Ratification of the Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Albania and the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania’, Article 21 / 1.2 according to which: ‘1. The buildings and objects used for religious functions are considered sacred by the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. The intervention of State authorities is prohibited, except in specific cases, when this involves a court order, judgment or executive order or in case of a possible threat. 2. The State guarantees that the public space be intact and protects the objects and the specific religious sites in accordance with the Law.’”

Therefore, it is completely untrue that the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania did not complain about these events.

The Orthodox Church as one of the co-organizers of the "International Meeting for Peace", which was held in Tirana on the 6th and 8th of September, discreetly refrained from creating turmoil about the scandalous sacrilege of religious freedom. Nevertheless, it remains inexplicable that without any communication with the Orthodox Church, State authorities took the offensive action against the Orthodox. The Church has already protested and will not cease to defend truth and justice.

From Archdiocese on September 10, 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Greek President discusses refugees issue with former Italian PM

First entry: 9 September 2015 - 18:12 Athens, 15:12 GMT
Last update: 9 September 2015 18:12 Athens, 15:12 GMTPolitics
Greek President discusses refugees issue with former Italian PM - PHOTOS
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos had a meeting on Wednesday with former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato at the presidential mansion.
Pavlopoulos referred to Amato's substantial role in Greece's effort to remain in the European Union.
He also called Amato to mutually confront the major issue of refugees and migrants regarding the initiatives that Europe should undertake.
The president noted that the root of the evil is the war in Syria adding that neither Europe nor the great powers of this world should remain impassive before this evil and reiterated his position for an extraordinary Summit on the migrants’ issue.
On his part, Amato expressed his optimism over the confrontation of the crisis and the promotion of the value of solidarity among the EU country members on the migrants’ issue.
He also said that the solidarity on the migration issue may find a way to reach the eurozone and to create a bridge of confidence between the EU countries of the north and the south and to make a better Europe.


Meimarakis to seek pact with leftists first if he wins election – Reuters

First entry: 10 September 2015 - 22:00 Athens, 19:00 GMT
Last update: 22:00 Athens, 19:00 GMTElections 2015
Meimarakis to seek pact with leftists first if he wins election – Reuters
New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis will seek an alliance with his main leftist rivals first if he wins this month's election, insisting that the country must not miss the "last chance" to pull itself out of a seven-year crisis, Reuters reported.
In an interview with Reuters, the 61-year-old political veteran said his New Democracy party would turn to other pro-European groups if Syriza - the leftist party that led Greece for seven turbulent months this year - rejected his advances.
Syriza forced the election last month when its leader Alexis Tsipras resigned as prime minister, hoping to end a party rebellion over Greece's new bailout deal and return to power with an outright parliamentary majority.
But New Democracy, which lost power only in January, has surprised everyone with the strength of its campaign. Opinion polls put it neck-and-neck with Syriza, meaning the election on September 20 is unlikely to produce an outright winner. A coalition government will therefore have to be cobbled together to ensure Greece is not forced into a disruptive new round of elections.
"The first party that I would turn to would be the one that ranked second," said Meimarakis, who became interim New Democracy leader in July after former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras resigned.
"If the second party does not want to join in, I will turn to the parties which believe in the country's European course and with which we can at least agree on a plan of a viable government, hopefully a four-year term one."
Meimarakis was referring to Syriza, which in negotiating the 86 billion euro bailout with the eurozone and IMF was forced to ditch its election promises to end austerity.
The polls suggest the election will be a largely two-horse race, meaning that if New Democracy wins, Syriza is almost certain to be the second party in the next parliament. Support for each party fluctuates around the 25 percent level.
Greece needs a stable government to implement its side of the bailout deal to keep the country from lurching back towards bankruptcy and an exit from the euro, as it did this summer.
However, Syriza has so far spurned overtures from New Democracy, calling it part of an establishment responsible for the economic malaise. Tsipras says he is still hoping for an outright victory and a mandate to implement the austerity policies demanded by the creditors which have split his party.
Other pro-euro parties Meimarakis could turn to include the Socialist PASOK and centrist To Potami. The right-wing Independent Greeks' party - Tsipras's former coalition ally - however, has suggested it would prefer to team up with Syriza again.
Since sliding into crisis in 2008-2009, Greece has held four parliamentary elections and had seven governments. In 2012 it held two elections in successive months to break a political deadlock.
But a repeat election this time would plunge the country into political instability, said Meimarakis, a former speaker of parliament.
"This is the country's last chance," he said. "I am mature. I'm ready, with a plan, with the party's top brass and a united parliamentary group, to pull the country out of the crisis."
Meimarakis accused Tsipras of scaring away investors during his brief time in power, when the banks were closed for three weeks, capital controls were imposed and several privatization deals stalled.
Greece should unblock big infrastructure projects halted under the last government and sign up to more investment. "Our first aim is to restore confidence in the country," he said.
Meimarakis said that even if New Democracy won outright, it would cooperate with other political forces to form a negotiating team for dealing with the European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders.
"We need to coordinate and reach an agreement. And even if some political forces don't want to take part in the government, there will be a national negotiating team in which they should. It's their democratic obligation to participate," he said.
Syriza has promised to implement the bailout but also negotiate open issues such collective pay bargaining and pension reform. It has also pledged to seek debt relief.
Asked whether he would renegotiate parts of the bailout, Meimarakis said Greece had to make significant progress, meet its fiscal targets to regain its foreign lenders' trust and push for measures to mitigate the impact of economic adjustment.
A New Democracy-led government, he said, would try to ease taxation and seek a restructuring of its debt.
"Our partners do not want to strangle us," Meimarakis said, adding that he was confident the lenders would be ready to discuss measures to ease hardship if Greece met its side of the bargain.
On a sweeping pension reform plan that Greece has promised to present by the end of the year, Meimarakis said not much could be done since Syriza had already agreed to the cuts in payments for the retired.
"We can't push a magic button on this issue and give promises which cannot be fulfilled and will be proven fake," he said. "The next two years will be difficult."

Hungary plans military exercise near Serbian border

Hungary will hold a military exercise near the border with Serbia soon, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Wednesday afternoon.
Source: Tanjug
Hungary's border with Serbia (Beta/AP, file)
Hungary's border with Serbia (Beta/AP, file)
Dacic said that he had been informed about it over the phone by his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto
"The Ministry of Defense of Hungary will inform our Ministry of Defense that they will hold military exercises near the border and that this has nothing to do with any possible military threat on our part," Dacic told reporters in Belgrade.

Albanians in south to set up "association of municipalities"

Bujanovac municipality President Nagip Arifi has announced a "constitutive session of an association of municipalities with Albanian majority."
Source: Beta
(Beta, file, illustration puposes)
(Beta, file, illustration puposes)
The meeting will take place in Presevo, southern Serbia, on September 12, the Beta agency is reporting.
Arifit told the Pristina-based KTV that ethnic Albanian councilors from Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedja will meet on Saturday, and that "all Albanian councilors have been invited."

"The meeting will discuss the formation of an association of municipalities with Albanian majority, based on a political platform that was adopted in 2006 by Albanian councilors (from these municipalities," he said.

Asked about "the support they could receive from officials of Kosovo, Macedonia, and Albania," Arifi said that they had discussions with political subjects "in those countries."

According to Beta, he added that Saturday will be "a significant day for Albanians" in the three municipalities.

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Vucic told Hungary will send soldiers to border with Serbia

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has spoken on the phone with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic about the refugee crisis.
Source: Beta, Tanjug
A file photo of Viktor Orban and Aleksandar Vucic (Tanjug)
A file photo of Viktor Orban and Aleksandar Vucic (Tanjug)
Orban's press service said on Thursday that the two prime ministers "spoke about the crisis situation caused by mass migration on the borders of Serbia and Macedonia."
The migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are transiting the Balkans and Hungary in bid to reach western Europe.

Orban, who is in Brussels today discussing the migrant crisis with EU leaders, "informed Vucic about a new law on border control that will be adopted by the Hungarian parliament and will enable the sending of strong police and military units to the border with Serbia starting September 15," the press service head Baratalan Havasi announced.

Orban also told Vucic that "it is expected that migrants and people smugglers will seek new transit paths and bypass Hungary," and added that "countries in the region must prepare for this situation."

Vucic told Orban that "Serbia is fulfilling its obligation to register asylum seekers arriving from Macedonia, although Macedonia is not carrying out controls at its borders."

Earlier in the day, reports said that a Hungarian parliament member announced his country would establish "transit zones for migrants, in the direction of Serbia."

Ruling Fidesz party member Gergely Gulyas, who heads the Hungarian parliament's legislative committee, said these "transit zone" on Hungary's southern border "will be open in the direction of Serbia, and closed hermetically in the direction of Hungary."

Gulyas described Serbia as "a safe third country," and added Hungary would grant migrants asylum "only if it is proved a similar procedure for asylum seekers in Serbia failed to fulfill international law criteria, or that of the rule of law."

Also on Thursday, the main train station in Budapest was reopened for migrants, but no trains were running to western European cities.

In an opinion piece he penned for a German newspaper, Viktor Orban observed that "the influx of refugees into Europe threatens to undermine its Christian roots."

Athens Denies US Request to Close Airspace for Russian Aid to Syria

Russian EMERCOM plane with humanitarian aid for the people of Syria arrives to Latakia Airport in Syria.

© Sputnik/ Andrei Stenin

Moscow requested and received Athens' permission to conduct flights to transport humanitarian aid to Syria in the period from September 1 to September 24, according to a diplomatic source.

ATHENS (Sputnik) — Greece denied on Sunday US request to close Athens airspace (FIR Athens) for the flights of Russian aircraft with humanitarian aid to Syria, a diplomatic source in Athens said.
"On Saturday, US embassy appealed to the Greek government with a request to prohibit the flights of Russian aircraft in the FIR Athens. The Greek government refused to do so, in order not to worsen relations with Russia," the source told RIA Novosti. According to the source, Moscow has requested and received Athens' permission to conduct flights to transport humanitarian aid to Syria in the period from September 1 to September 24.
Athens is yet to confirm the information.