Friday, November 13, 2015

France Declares State of Emergency, Closes Borders Amid Paris 'Nightmare'

Forensic police search for evidences outside the La Belle Equipe cafe, rue de Charonne, at the site of an attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, after a series of gun attacks occurred across the city. More than 100 people were killed in a mass hostage-taking at a Paris concert hall and many more were feared dead in a series of bombings and shootings, as France declared a national state of emergency


The French capital was rocked Friday night by a series of coordinated terrorist attacks perpetrated by suicide bombers and gunmen armed with Kalashnikov automatic rifles; French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and closed the country's borders as the death toll continued to rise.

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  • 08:00

    Temporary Medical Centre Set up for Paris Attack victims

    Saturday morning victims and survivors of the attacks in Paris were taken to the ballroom of the 11th district's town hall, where a special facility has been set up.    
  • 07:50

    Police Cordon Still in Place at Cambodian Restaurant in Paris

    Police cordon at a Cambodian restaurant in the 10th arrondissement in Paris, where one of the Friday attacks took place, has not been lifted, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports. Police continue their work at the site, which as about one kilometer away from the Bataclan concert hall.
    Earlier, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported that police lifted the wide cordon around the Bataclan concert hall after a hostage situation at the club was resolved.
  • 07:39

    French President Francois Hollande discussed the Paris terrorist attacks with his US counterpart Barack Obama

    "The two leaders pledged to work together, and with nations around the world, to defeat the scourge of terrorism," the White House said in a statement.
  • 07:12

    Air France to Peform Planned Flights Despite Paris Attacks, Free Flight Changes Possible

    The carrier is offering free flight changes to passengers who are not willing to travel on November 13-15.
  • 06:58

    Eight Terrorists Killed in Paris Attacks

    Eight terrorists are dead after the Friday deadly attacks in Paris, which took the lives of over 150 people, BFM TV reports.
    Earlier reports said that 7 terrorists died. Three of them reportedly blew themselves up at the Bataclan music venue.
    Attackers held hostages at the concert hall, where around 100 people died on Friday.
  • 05:56

    San Francisco City Hall stands in solidarity with Paris

  • 05:50

    Prosecutor: Accomplices of Paris attackers may still be on the loose

    French police are hot on trial for accomplices of suspected in commiting terrorist attacks in Paris.
  • 05:43

    All attackers are believed to be dead

    Head of Paris police says that all attackers are believed to be dead.
  • 05:41

    Bataclan rock venue attackers blew themselves up with suicide belts

    Paris police say attackers at Paris rock venue blew themselves up with suicide belts as police approached.
  • 05:34

    CIA to remain silent for now on terrorist attacks in Paris

    The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is not going to release information at this time on Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, a CIA press officer told Sputnik.
    "Nothing to share at this time," the CIA press officer said on Friday night.
    A series to terrorist attacks took Place in the French capital on Friday, in which about 150 people were killed, according to media reports. The New York Police Department announced earlier that US law enforcement officers are assisting French police in the investigation into the terrorist attacks

Ambassador: U.S. has no reason to bring down Vucic's cabinet

The United States has no reason to be bringing down the government of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, U.S. Ambassador Michael Kirby has said.
Source: Blic, Tanjug
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
Speaking for the Belgrade-based daily Blic, he pointed out that his country is "very satisfied with the work of the Serbian government headed by the prime minister."
"I spoke with Vucic and I told him clearly, 'America is not bringing down your government, we have no reason to do such a thing'," Kirby said, when asked "whether he spoke with the prime minister about the claims that some Western countries are working to topple the Serbian government."

The American diplomat mentioned a number of things the government and Vucic are doing, that the United States is satisfied with, such as commitment to Serbia's EU accession, constructive participation in the process of normalization of relations with Pristina, establishing cooperation with Albania, Vucic's visit to Srebrenica, economic pro-market reforms, fruitful relations with the United States regarding economic and military cooperation.

According to Kirby, Vucic is to be credited the most for all the good work done by the government. "Do you know any member of the government who advocates for Serbia's EU accession more strongly than Vucic," he asked."

Why would we work against him, Kirby continued, and added: "Why should we bring down his government"?

"Something like that would not make any sense," said Kirby, stating that he expected recent developments in UNESCO regarding Kosovo's failed bid to join - where the United States and Serbia were on opposite sides - will not worsen relations between the two countries.

According to him, cooperation in many other areas is very good.

"It is known that Serbia and the U.S. disagree on issues related to Kosovo's status, but then again, we agree about the current process of normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina under the auspices of the EU, which does not mean official recognition of Kosovo by Serbia," the diplomat has been quoted as saying.

According to him, in the past few years there has been important progress in mutual understanding when it comes to Kosovo, as well.

"On the other hand, we cooperate very well on a number of other issues, and the United States has generous assistance programs for Serbia. We think there is no reason for our good relations to change due to our differences in UNESCO," said Kirby.

US Ambassador in Tirana: In Albania has corrupted ministers, has deputies criminals, has the court incompetent, has incriminated parliament

donald lu

It has some time that the US Department Relations with Albania, are going just as occurred in 1996. Albanian leaders, are the same character, rob assets and public funds, being confronted with social problems from more serious poverty.

TIRANA US ambassador in Tirana, Donald Lu, known for the direct language to express, said on Friday that the judicial reform are preventing Albanian political leaders. "Who fears more justice reform? I know who, corrupt ministers, MPs criminals, incompetent judges, and prosecutors who take your money when you do not prosecute someone, "he said.

He further said that US support all proposals for judicial reform and that reform should remove judges and prosecutors are corrupt and incompetent and will create the first opportunity for the establishment of an independent system of bribery, powerful people and crime organized.

Greek Flag Burned Outside OMONOIA Offices in Albania

By Anastassios Adamopoulos -


OmoniaA Greek flag was burned outside the offices of the “OMONOIA” organization by unknown individuals on Monday night in the Agious Saranta area in south Albania.

The Democratic Union of the National Greek Minority OMONOIA is an organization located in southern Albania that aims to promote the Greek community’s rights in the country.

The organization released an announcement condemning the attack and called on the Albanian authorities to act.

“Nations’ symbols are sacred and we call on the Albanian justice to shows us the appropriate sensitivity that is required by the country’s constitution and laws, so that the perpetrators can be led to justice,” the announcement notes.

OMONOIA further noted that while it is contributing to Albania’s democratization, it expects to be shown respect.
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President Pavlopoulos: Greece will Defend its Sovereign Rights

By A. Makris -

PavlopoulosGreece will not back down, even in the slightest, in defending its sovereign rights, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Wednesday from the eastern Aegean island of Chios.

In statements made with Turkish leadership in mind, Pavlopoulos added, however, that Athens is nevertheless extending a hand of friendship to its eastern neighbor.
“We extend a hand of friendship, peace and cooperation in these difficult times. I personally think that we have more things that unite us, than things that divide us,” Pavlopoulos said on the island, which is one of the primary destinations for war refugees and irregular migrants disembarking from the opposite Turkish coast.
“…we will not take a single step back regarding our sovereign rights. We will defend our country, our borders; based on all international law, written and customary, and we want the same from Turkey: respect for international law,” he noted.

Pavlopoulos is visiting the eastern Aegean island of Chios to attend events commemorating the 103rd anniversary of the island’s liberation from Ottoman rule.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Greece Makes Progress in Talks With Lenders Awaiting New Aid Tranche

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hold their earpieces as they address a press conference following talks at the chancellery in Berlin, on March 23, 2015


Greece could reach an agreement with its creditors on the remaining disputed issues by Saturday, securing the release of more financial aid, the Naftemporiki newspaper reports citing the country’s Government Council for Economic Policy.

ATHENS (Sputnik) – The council held a meeting on Thursday, noting significant progress in Greece’s ongoing talks with its lenders, which include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) and Eurozone countries.
The creditors are expected to approve the allocation of a delayed 2-billion-euro tranche of aid to Greece on Sunday.
Under an agreement with Greece’s international creditors, which was signed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in July, the country committed to introducing more austerity measures and to coordinating its budgetary decisions with its lenders in exchange for the country's third bailout program, worth 86 billion euros (about $94.8 billion).
Greece’s trade unions organized a general strike on Thursday, protesting against austerity measures, which are highly unpopular with the country's population.

Hitting the High Seas: New US Battleship Aims to Sail Next Month

The future USS Zumwalt Navy destroyer

© Flickr/ Naval Surface Warriors

After seven years of construction, the DDG-1000 Zumwalt, the US Navy's first 21st Century destroyer, is scheduled to hit the water for the first time in December to undergo an initial set of sea trials.

The Zumwalt features a tumblehome hull optimized for stealth, a new propulsion and power distribution system, and a software environment that ties together nearly every system on the ship.
"We've got a builder's sea trial with a notional start of the 7th of December," Sean Stackley, the Navy"s top official for research, acquisition and development, said in an interview with Defense News.
"That is the critical milestone in terms of being able to deliver in the spring. We need a successful trial. We'll learn things from the trial, we always do. First-of-class, we expect to learn a lot."
The roughly 15,700-ton Zumwalt has been under construction since 2008 in Maine at the Bath Iron Works shipyard of General Dynamics. But development and design started even earlier than that.
But the Zumwalt will not be fully operational when it leaves Maine next year. Its mission systems – which include the ship's combat systems, radars and other sensors – will be installed when it reaches its home port of San Diego, Defense News reported.
"This two-phased delivery approach has been in place since the contract was first struck," Stackley said.
The Navy plans to build only three DDG-1000s. It originally planned to build 32 ships, then reduced that number to 12 before settling on three. The service simply was unable to afford the ship's price tag – $4 billion each, not including research and development. Total program costs are near $23 billion.

UN chief: Community of Municipalities deal's cornerstone

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stresses in his latest report on Kosovo the importance of establishing the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO).
Source: Tanjug
In his latest regular report on the work of the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, covering the period from July 16 to October 15, Ban also emphasized the importance of drafting the future community's statute within the agreed framework, noting that the ZSO is "one of the cornerstones of the Brussels agreement."
The part of the EU-brokered agreement reached in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue relating to the Community of Serb Municipalities has been suspended by Pristina earlier this week.

In his report, Ban welcomes "the continuous progress" in the Brussels dialogue and the agreements reached on August 25, and especially that related to the ZSO.

"The establishment of the association/community is an essential step towards achieving the full implementation of this historic agreement and further improvement in the daily lives of Kosovo’s population," the UN chief stated, and added:

"I congratulate Prime Minister Vucic and Prime Minister Mustafa on their exceptional leadership in carrying this process forward. I encourage all leaders in Pristina and Belgrade to sustain this momentum, including by finalizing the statute of the association/community in the time frame agreed, as well as ensuring swift implementation of all agreements included in the August 25 package."

Ban also "strongly welcomed the much awaited endorsement of the constitutional amendment and other laws to establish the Specialist Court by the Assembly of Kosovo."

"The progress made in this regard has been crucial to demonstrate Kosovo’s commitment to the fundamental principles of justice and accountability. I call upon all stakeholders to expeditiously complete the remaining arrangements for the full and prompt establishment of the court," the report said.

The UN secretary-general then " condemned the use of violence and intimidation by the opposition parties to impede the normal proceedings of the Assembly of Kosovo, as well as the unacceptable physical attacks by opposition activists directed at the prime minister and members of his government."

"I call upon all political actors to refrain from rhetoric and actions that are incompatible with the principles and norms of a civilized and democratic society," Ban said.

The report commended "the progressive steps towards strengthening regional cooperation, as exemplified by the Western Balkans summit in 2015, which focused, among other issues, on cooperation with European financial institutions. Proposed development projects designed to benefit the population of the region, collectively and cooperatively, represent crucial contributions towards the goals of peace and stability."

Ban called for "the swift appointment of the chair of the Pristina Delegation for the Working Group on Missing Persons, so as to facilitate progress without delay on this matter."

When it comes to the security situation, he said it was "generally stable" but that attacks occurred against "non-majority communities' cultural and religious heritage":

"A total of 26 incidents affecting cultural and religious heritage sites have been recorded, 17 of which occurred at Serbian Orthodox sites, 3 at Roman Catholic sites and 1 at an Islamic religious site; an additional case was recorded at the Jewish Community Center in Kosovo and the remaining four targeted other cultural heritage sites."

"The incidents included a number of cases of theft of property from Serbian Orthodox Churches, mainly in eastern Kosovo, and subsequently led to arrests of three suspects by the Kosovo police. On 1 August, four Kosovo Serb members of the Assembly of Kosovo, one of them the deputy president of the Assembly, received telephone threats related to their voting positions in the Assembly. These threats are being investigated by the Kosovo police," said the report.

The report notes that "following the withdrawal of a highly controversial draft law on cultural heritage from discussion at the Assembly of Kosovo in May 2015, Kosovo Prime Minister Mustafa, in dialogue with representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church, initiated the establishment of a working group to fully revise the draft law. The initial draft law, which had aimed at identifying the means to strengthen the preservation and protection of cultural heritage sites, while facilitating their public access, led to expressions of serious concern by the Serbian Orthodox Church, particularly as these sites were defined in the draft law as property of the government of Kosovo."

When it comes to returns, Ban said that "the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registered 213 voluntary returnees to Kosovo between July and September 2015 (123 Kosovo Serbs, 37 Kosovo Egyptians, 23 Kosovo Ashkali, 22 Kosovo Roma, 6 Kosovo Bosniaks, 1 Kosovo Albanian and 1 Kosovo Montenegrin)."

OSCE urges Albania to reject libel bill

Albania should reject a bill introducing imprisonment for libel of public officials, says OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
Source: B92
Dunja Mijatovic on Thursday expressed concern about draft amendments to Albania’s Criminal Code, and called on members of parliament to reject the bill which establishes imprisonment as a penalty for libel against public figures, the OSCE said in a statement.
“Public bodies and officials should not enjoy additional protection from critical speech, on the contrary they should tolerate a larger degree of criticism than ordinary citizens. Criminal sanctions for libel or defamation are excessive and disproportionate. They should be replaced by effective and appropriate civil or administrative law remedies," Mijatovic said.

If adopted, the proposal by the Council of Ministers would introduce prison terms of up to three years for “libel against a high state official or elected person," the OSCE said on its website, adding that the bill will come up for a vote in parliament on November 13.

“I call on members of parliament to reject the new proposal and instead consider fully repealing criminal defamation,” Mijatovic said.

In 2012, the authorities in Albania decided to abolish prison sentences for defamation offences, a decision that was welcomed by the representative, the OSCE noted.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Secretary General stresses value of Nordic Defence Cooperation in visit to Sweden


  • 09 Nov. 2015
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  • Last updated: 10 Nov. 2015
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday (10 November 2015) welcomed efforts to strengthen defence cooperation among Nordic Allies and partners during talks with Nordic Defence Ministers in Stockholm. “It makes sense to deepen our cooperation further. Not just among Nordic Allies and partners, but also with our Baltic Allies,” the Secretary General said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Nordic Ministers of Defence
He said that the security challenges that NATO faces today, including Russia’s increasing military activity from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean and the terrible violence in the Middle East and North Africa not only affect Allies but also Nordic partners like Sweden and Finland. “To respond effectively we all have to adapt,” said Mr. Stoltenberg, adding that NATO had strengthened its defence by doubling the size of the NATO Response Force, increasing air and maritime patrols in the Baltic Sea region and by rotating more troops through central and eastern Europe for exercises. “Our focus is collective defence, but also crisis management and cooperative security,” he said. He said that NATO had strengthened ties with Sweden and Finland to boost situational awareness, increase defence against hybrid warfare, and do more joint training and exercises to strengthen security in the region.
Prior to attending the Nordic defence meeting, the Secretary General met with Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem and met with members of the Swedish Parliamentary Committees on Defence and Foreign Affairs. On Monday, Mr. Stoltenberg held talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven, and described the country as “one of NATO’s most active partners.”  In addition, the Secretary General praised Sweden’s strong commitment to international security, including its participation in NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo and thanked Sweden for its contribution to the NATO Response Force and NATO exercises. 

All Talk, No Action


The EU is anticipating that over three million refugees could arrive to Europe by the end of next year. EU politicians cannot decide what to do with all these people; they're erecting fences, pushing migrants to take more dangerous routes to "the promised land."

All Talk, No Action
Following the first mass drowning of refugees in Mediterranean waters in 2013, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to "take action to prevent such tragedies in the future."
Two years into the refugee crisis — leaders are still holding meetings to work out how to avoid a "humanitarian catastrophe."
Meanwhile, nearly 800,000 refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants have arrived in Europe already this year. And more than three million is expected to arrive by the end of next year.

Read more:sputnik

Putin invites Serbian counterpart to visit Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited his Serbian counterpart Tomislav Nikolic to visit Moscow soon, it has been announced.
Source: Sputnik
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
Putin's greetings and the invitation were delivered by Russian Ambassador to Serbian Aleksandr Chepurin during his meeting with Nikolic in Belgrade.
Nikolic thanked Chepurin for Russia's vote against Kosovo's membership in UNESCO

, saying that the country once again proved itself to be "a sincere friend and ally to Serbia."

Nikolic "especially stressed it was good that the absurd and the precedent of the so-called Kosovo, which is not an internationally recognized state, becoming a member of the organization had been avoided" - something he said would have introduced "new divisions and opened the door to UNESCO's complete politicization."

The details of Nikolic's visit to Russia will be determined in early December, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will arrive in Belgrade.

Nikolic and Chepurin today also agreed on the details of the upcoming visit of federal Russian agency Rossotrudnichestvo Director Lyubov Glebova, who also serves as Russia's coordinator in the project to fresco paint St. Sava's Temple in Belgrade.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was recently in Russia for a three-day visit when he met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin.

Ambassador Chepurin commented on Vucic's trip to say it was "the most productive and content-rich visit of a Serbian prime minister in the past years, perhaps decades."

Albania MPs Vote to Form Civil Society Council

MPs from the ruling parties have voted to set up a National Council for Civil Society in a move to include NGOs in the decision-making process - but opposition MPs have withheld support.
Fatjona Mejdini
 Non-governmental organizations are expected to choose 13 representatives to the council | Photo: Albanian parliament.
Albania's parliament has voted to set up a National Council for Civil Society in an attempt to create an organized structure that includes the voice of civil society in the policy-making process.

The parties forming the ruling majority in parliament voted on Thursday to pass a law on the creation and functions of the council, which will be an autonomous advisory structure working closely with Council of Ministers.

Non-governmental organizations are expected to choose 13 representatives to the council while 13 others will be senior members of government and one other will came from the business community.

The structure will be led by the Minister of Welfare and Youth. The vice-chair of the council will be chosen from the representatives of civil society.

The law on the council requires the body to meet at least three times a year. Members are not going to get paid.

The government says it is a way to institutionalize collaboration with civil society in order to promote democracy and raise transparency in decision-making.

However, opposition MPs did not support the initiative, claiming that the draft prepared by the government shows that it wishes only to control civil society.

Opposition Democratic Party MP Albana Vokshi, chairwoman of the parliamentary commission for social issues, told BIRN that her colleagues refused to vote the law after their proposals were not taken into consideration.

Vokshi said also the draft did not include suggestions coming from civil society and the Ombudsman's office, although they were invited to give their opinions about the draft in a commission meeting.

"It is clear starting from the title of the law that this council doesn't belong to civil society. This is a National Council for Civil Society, not a council of civil society," she said.

The vice-chair of parliament's commission for social issues, the Socialist Party MP, Klodjana Spahiu, confirmed that the law passed in parliament without major changes and the suggestions of the civil society in the commission phase.

"The law was passed... from the draft that the government sent us," she said.

The Ombudsman had asked for the minister of social welfare not be chairman and for the body to have its own budget and place of work.

The director of the Albanian Helsinki Committee, Vjollca Mece, told BIRN that she appreciated the initiative - but also had some objections about the government's draft.

NATO Seeks Dialogue With Russia ‘Based on Transparency’ - Stoltenberg

NATO country flags wave outside NATO headquarters in Brussels

© AP Photo/ Geert Vanden Wijngaert

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO wants to avoid deterioration of relations with Russia. However, his statement sounds a little peculiar, taking into account the increase of its military presence in the Baltic Sea region.

During his two-day visit to Stockholm, Stoltenberg said that the military alliance wants to avoid further confrontation with Russia and seeks cooperation. The statement looks a little bit ridiculous given the heavy military presence of NATO forces in the Baltic States.  However, Stoltenberg does not seem confused by this fact and does not see any contradiction between political dialogue and demonstration of power.
"We are committed to cooperation and dialogue with Russia, but that cooperation should be based on the transparency of military activities to avoid accidents and dangerous situations; there is no contradiction between a strong defense and political dialogue," Stoltenberg told the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
According to Stoltenberg, NATO increased its presence in the Baltic region as a response to Russia's alleged provocative activities.
"This is a reaction to what we see on the part of Russia. But we want to avoid escalation, a new Cold War, confrontation. Therefore, we always send the message to Russia that we want cooperation, but this cooperation must be based on respect," Stoltenberg said.
NATO has been ramping up its operations in the Baltic States as well as in Eastern Europe since the Ukraine crisis began. According to various reports, it is considering different ways of increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe to put further pressure on Russia.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Catalonia Parliament Begins Process of Splitting From Spain

Carme Forcadell (C) delivers her first speech as Parliament's new president during the Catalan regional Parliament's constitutive session on October 26, 2015 in Barcelona


The Parliament of Catalonia on Monday passed a resolution to begin the process of seceding from Spain.

MADRID (Sputnik) The initiative was backed by 72 out of 135 votes in parliament.
Embedded image permalink

The process of gaining independence from Spain consists of forming a government and other state structures, as well as drawing up a constitution. Once a new constitution is accepted, Catalonia will declare its independence. According to supporters of Catalonia’s secession from Spain, the process should take approximately 18 months.

Thaci reacts to UNESCO outcome: We'll try again

Kosovo Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci has said that he regrets the fact Pristina's bid to join UNESCO fell three votes short.
Source: Tanjug
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
He commended the campaign led in an attempt to achieve Kosovo's membership in this UN agency, the local media in Pristina said on Monday.
"A large majority of the world's countries voted for Kosovo. Unfortunately, we were three votes short of the necessary majority. In the ten months that the secret and the public campaign has lasted, we gave our maximum and what's important, both citizens and friends of Kosovo did much. Kosovo cannot be stopped on its path, we will be a candidate for membership in other organizations, including UNESCO once again," Thaci wrote on Facebook.

Kosovo's bid to join UNESCO fails

UNESCO has not accepted Kosovo as a member; the proposal failed to gain a two-thirds majority at the organization's General Conference in Paris on Monday.
Source: B92
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
142 countries voted - 92 in favor, 50 against, while 29 abstained. Pristina's bid required 95 votes in favor to be successful.
Among the countries that voted against were Brazil, China, Russia, Spain, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Palestine, North Korea, Slovakia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bahrain, Indonesia.

Those who abstained, included, among others, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Greece, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and Zambia.

Among the countries that were in favor of the bid were Belgium, France, Canada, Bulgaria, Belize, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Malaysia, Pakistan, Panama, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, the Czech Republic, the UK, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Chad, Thailand, Turkey, Afghanistan, Albania, Germany, Andorra.

Earlier in the day, Serbia tabled a proposal to postpone a decision - but this proposal was rejected.

The request to allow Kosovo to join was explained as an issue "unrelated to recognizing Kosovo as a state or supporting its UN membership," while a vote in favor would "give citizens of Kosovo access to cultural values and education and support UNESCO's mission."

Serbia and others who opposed the request maintained that allowing Kosovo to join would represent "a politicization of the organization, and a violation of international law."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Kumbaro: Kosovo deserves to be part of UNESCO

Albanian Minister of Culture, Mirela Kumbaro, said today at the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris, that Kosovo deserves UNESCO membership. During her speech, Minister Kumbaro said, that culture does not recognize administrative boundaries. "Let us join together to promote peace", she said.

On October 21st, the Executive Board of UNESCO supported the request of Albania and recommended to the General Conference Kosovo's membership.

The 38th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO begun on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015, in Paris and will last two weeks. Among the many issues to be considered is the recommendation of the Executive Board of UNESCO for Kosovo's accession to this organization. The General Conference has 195 members, of whom 111 have recognized Kosovo, and 84 haven't. The recommendation need a two-thirds majority to pass.

On the eve of the vote in the General Assembly for Kosovo's membership in the agency of the UN, Serbia is developing a broad diplomatic campaign to vote against the country's membership

Chepurin: Kosovo’s UNESCO admission against UNSC Resolution 1244

Published: BELGRADE – Kosovo’s admission to UNESCO would be a violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin stated on Saturday.
Photo: RTV
Photo: RTV
Russia believes that Serbia’s position against Kosovo’s admission to UNESCO is lawful and righteous and supports Serbia in what it deems necessary for protection of its national interests, Chepurin told Tanjug.
Russia starts from the fact that, according to Resolution 1244, Kosovo is not an independent state, which is a binding legal basis for regulating the Kosovo issue, he pointed out.
The ambassador also said that the situation in Kosovo is far from stable, and that Serbia’s cultural, historical and religious monuments have been systematically destroyed.

BIRN Albania Journalist Wins CEI SEEMO Prize

Aleksandra Bogdani from BIRN Albania received the CEI/SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism in Bucharest on Thursday.
Marian Chiriac
Aleksandra Bogdani awarded for her investigative reports | Photo: BIRN.
The Central European Initiative, CEI, and the South East Europe Media Organisation, SEEMO, on Thursday awarded Aleksandra Bogdani for her professional achievements as an intrepid reporter covering complex stories of human trafficking, organised crime and child abuse, corruption and national security.

She received the CEI/SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits.
Bogdani is an investigative journalist and editor for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, in Albania.
She has more than a decade of experience working as a reporter, editor and deputy editor-in-chief.
The CEI presented the awards on Thursday at the South East Europe Media Forum in Bucharest, Romania.
Bogdani impressed the jury with the courage she had showed as a woman producing an in-depth series of six investigations into the network of recruiters who send Albanian muslims to fight in Syria for the Islam State of Iraq and Levant, ISIS, and the al-Nusra front.

The jury composed of prominent journalists, correspondents and editors from across Europe, examined 25 nominations from eight CEI member states.
They took into account the personal risks taken in uncovering stories, the quality of the reporting and the impact on society of the stories, when making their decision.

Nadia Burdey, from Ukraine, was awarded as a promising young journalist who follows high professional standards in a difficult environment.
Special mention was made of three Montenegrin reporters, Mirko Boskovic, from RTCG, and to Vlado Otasevic and Ana Komatina, from CIJ Montenegro, for contributing to the advancement of investigative journalism in their country.

In addition to her prestigious award, Bogdani received a significant cash endowment from the CEI Executive Secretariat.

Greek Security Forces, in the name of FRONTEX may patrolling Southern Albania

After successfully monitoring of Greek F-16 aircraft, Airspace of Albania, already the Greek security forces may patrolling the south of Albania.

The European Union border protection agency Frontex says it will deploy forces along Greece's border with neighboring Albania.

Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri on Friday told Albanian television station Top Channel the agency wants to prevent migrants from attempting to reach Western Europe by traveling through Albania.
That route isn't used at the moment by the large number of people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Tirana says, however, it has made preparations to shelter refugees should they begin arriving during the winter.

Leggeri said there was no plan for a camp in Albania as "that could be a burden on the countries in the region and it is not in line with the union's decisions for the distribution of the emigrants from Greece to the other EU countries."

OSCE Conference in Vienna for the Protection of National Minorities: "ESVI 1914" briefed on the latest developments in Albania


"The new administrative division in the Albanian territory, during the establishment of new municipalities, provinces which have majority ethnic Greeks and Christian - Orthodox religion, are fused with areas inhabited by Albanian Muslims. It is characteristic that the Municipality of Himara, whose inhabitants are the overwhelmingly Greek-Orthodox Christians were joined with the province Vranisti which is populated by Muslims" noted ESVI 2014

Conference for the Protection of National Minorities organized by the Organization for Security and Stability in Europe (OSCE) held in Vienna's Hofburg Palace, during the weekend of 29-30 October.

This gave this international meeting of the National Association of Northern Epirus 1914.
The report of the Association for the problems facing the Northern Epirus today presented Friday, October 30, in the third session on "National Minorities in inter-state relations and recommendations of Bolzano / Bozena."

 ESVI 1914 report, as in that of the Conference of Warsaw, were described, with additions of the latest developments, the human rights abuses in the ownership, demographic and cultural deterioration, terrorism against the Northern Epirus by the Albanian state and fanatics Albanians and attacks against the Orthodox Church, which last more and multiply.

Certainly the text begins with a clear reference to the Protocol of Corfu.

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