Sunday, March 23, 2008

Urime Pashket! / Happy Easter!

Me ket mesazh, Pashket po jau urojm, nga zemra fat dhe lumturi t'deshiroj, ta dhuroft Zoti ate qe nuk ke e pret, dhe te ruajt ate qe e don per jet!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Candidates announced for Montenegro's presidential elections

20 March 2008 Podgorica -- Four candidates will stand for election in Montenegro’s April 6 Presidential poll, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday.

The incumbent President, Filip Vujanovic of the governing Democratic Party of Socialists, is seen as the frontrunner in the vote.

The opposition failed to unite for the poll and have nominated three candidates.

They are Nebojsa Medojevic from the Movement for Change, Andreja Mladenovic with the Serbian List and Srdjan Milic from the Socialistic People's Party.

The Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union and other organisations have been invited to observe the election.

It will be Montenegro's first presidential contest since the country regained its independence in 2006.

Among the key issues in the poll are Montenegro’s into bodies such as the EU and NATO, tackling corruption and organised crime, as well as the country's relations with its neighbours in light of Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Montenegro which was in union with Serbia until 2006 has a significant ethnic Serb minority as well as an Albanian minority.

Vujanovic won the last presidential election in May 2003 with nearly two-thirds of the votes cast.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Albania army depot blast injures about 200, kills 5, damages airport

AP, March 15, 2008 -- A massive explosion at an Albanian army ammunition dump near Tirana on Saturday killed at least five people and injured about 200, including many children. The prime minister said he feared there could be many dead.

The initial blast at the depot at Gerdec village, about 10 kilometers (six miles) north of the capital, Tirana, set off a series of explosions, and ammunition continued to detonate for hours. Albanian state television reported that the number of injured had increased to about 200 by Saturday evening. Health Minister Nard Ndoka said many children were among those hurt.

Police said the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, but terrorism was not suspected.

The office of Prime Minister Sali Berisha said five people had been found dead near the site of the explosion.

Berisha's office issued a statement quoting witnesses as saying that 110 people had been working at the dump at the time of the explosion. It said they reported a delay of about 10 minutes between the initial blast and the explosions that followed, and that many of the workers had managed to run away.

The blast was heard more than 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, and people fled from nearby villages. Flights at nearby Mother Teresa Tirana International Airport were suspended for at least 30 minutes.

Interior Minister Bujar Nishani said authorities evacuated the surrounding area and explosives experts would clear it of any remaining ammunition.
Houses in the area were searched and no bodies were found there, Nishani said.

"The most dangerous area, where it is foreseen there will be dead, is the explosion site where no one has been able to go yet," said Nishani, adding that army and police forces were some 50 meters from the site.

Berisha said that "it seems the number of the dead is considerable," but that information was still incomplete.

The prime minister, a cardiologist, visited victims in hospitals in Tirana and said at least four of those injured were in serious condition. He said most of the injured were suffering from burns and psychological shock.

The army depot is used as a sit to destroy ammunition. (***)

Friday, March 14, 2008

AASO: Kosova Independence Party -- SHOUT!

The Albanian American Student Organization (AASO) of Greater Detroit is throwing down tomorrow night at the Imperial House in Fraser, Michigan USA to honor the newest state in the world -- KOSOVA!

Come one, come all -- even you Serbs if you dare -- to experience a truly exhilarating performance of national pride and unity as the future of Kosova and Albanians around the globe are put on display -- your new generation of leaders.

There will be MUSIC, coupled with DANCING, as we serve shots of SINGING to the latest beats from the streets! Come and feast your eyes on what it means to be truly proud of what and who you are -- ALBANIAN!

Proceeds will go towards the GKS Scholarship Fund that is used to compensate outstanding Albanians students throughout Michigan as they continue to represent a growing class of intellectuals that has been unsurpassed at any time in our long and storied history.

GEZUAR !!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

U.S. State Dept. Country Report on MONTENEGRO

The U.S. State Department just released its annual country report and reported the following incidents relating to Albanians in Montenegro:

In October, following an investigation by police and the prosecutor's office, authorities forwarded an indictment to the court charging police with disproportionate use of force during a raid in Tuzi in September 2006. At the time, authorities asserted that they had foiled a terrorist plot and reported finding a large weapons stash and plans to attack government buildings. Some government opponents asserted that the raid, which took place just before parliamentary elections, was politically motivated (those apprehended were associated with an Albanian nationalist organization). An investigation by the Helsinki Committee of Montenegro concluded that police had used disproportionate force against some of the arrested persons and their family members during the arrests and subsequent interrogations.

Authorities investigated four cases of alleged war crimes. On February 10, the higher court in Bijelo Polje opened an investigation into the actions of 12 officers and soldiers of the Podgorica Corps of the former Yugoslav Army (VJ) suspected of killing six ethnic Albanians from Kosovo in Kaludjerski Laz near Rozaje during the 1999 NATO intervention. Media reported that allegations that the VJ killed, in separate incidents, another 15 civilians between March and June 1999 would also be investigated. In December the higher court in Bijelo Polje opened an investigation into accusations that seven former military and police members committed war crimes against Muslims in 1992 and 1993 in the Bukovica region in the north of the country. The prosecutor's office in Podgorica began criminal proceedings against six police officers alleged to have been directly involved in the deportation of Muslims in 1992 to Republika Srpska, where they were later killed. However, no charges were filed against more senior figures widely believed to have been involved. Podgorica's basic court opened an investigation into the actions of six former members of the VJ suspected of committing crimes against civilians and prisoners of war in the Morinj prisoner‑of‑war camp.

There were 16 members of ethnic minorities in the 81‑seat Assembly and two members of ethnic minorities in the cabinet. Five assembly seats were reserved by law for ethnic Albanians. Ethnic Albanians, Muslims, Bosniaks, and Croats participated in the political process, and their parties, candidates, and voters participated in all elections. No Roma ran for or held seats in the Assembly, and Roma were significantly underrepresented in the government; only one person of Romani ethnicity held elective office at any level in the country.

Education was free, compulsory, and universal through the eighth grade. There was no difference in the treatment and attendance of boys and girls at the primary and secondary levels. Ethnic Albanian children had access to instruction in their native language; however, some Albanians criticized the government for not providing an opportunity for ethnic Albanians to learn about their culture and history.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Montenegro Beach -- FOR SALE

10 March 2008 Podgorica -- The Montenegrin Government expects to attract billions of euros from a tender to rent a famous sandy beach, local media reported Monday.

The preliminary offer for the largely state-owned Big Beach will be made public in the next several days to gauge reaction from potential investors and then the tender will follow, the country’s Economic Development Ministry said.

The anticipated foreign investment into the resort is expected to be the largest single so far in this tiny republic which seceded from Serbia in 2006.

A number of foreign investors have already showed interest for the beach in the southern town of Ulcinj, including companies from Arab countries, Russia and some multinational corporations.

Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic’s cabinet said they expect several billion euros in foreign investment, more new jobs, an increase in property prices and better facilities for tourists.

The Big Beach, being marketed as an "European Dubai", is the one of the largest beaches along the Adriatic with its 13 kilometre-long and 60-100 meter-wide shoreline, covering some 1,500 hectares.

Source / Balkan Insight

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Prisoner's Dilemma

There will be a special AASO meeting tomorrow (March 9th) to discuss a series of extremely disheartening events developing in Montenegro where the victims of Slavic aggression are none other than our Albanians. The venue for the meeting is as follows:

Sunday, March 8, 2008
6:00 p.m.
Oakland University
Student Center – Superior Room

Discussions will commence on the current status and (il)legal proceedings of the 14 Albanians (including three U.S. citizens from Michigan) currently detained in Spuz – a detention center that has been the scene of constant torture, mental/physical abuses and psychological torment by the hands of Montenegro’s corrupt and nationalized ruling party. Thus far, their charges of “terrorism” have been unfounded, but the illegal trial continues after unprecedented delays.

These events have disenfranchised the Albanian minority in Montenegro, where “terrorism-from-above” has been utilized as a tool to control any aggression/reaction from Albanians anywhere in the country. Moreover, many experts following these events are identifying Montenegro’s elites as perpetrating a campaign of “quiet ethnic cleansing” in efforts to dissuade Albanians from participating in any sociopolitical and/or economic developments designed to shun them from society.

As a symbol of control, Albanians in Montenegro were ordered not to celebrate the independence of Kosova, fearing (according to Montenegro’s President) uprisals from the Ser community. But the very next day, 10,000 Serbs took to the streets and protested Kosova’s sovereignty with slogans that read, “Kill Albanians” and “No Independence for Terrorists”.

As recipients of higher learning, we believe it is our inherent duty to stand up to these misgivings and demand what is ours: equality, liberty, and as we have all been bred to realize in America – the pursuit of happiness. Montenegro will not enter the EU without adherence to these rights, I would pray that we would ensure that.

Regardless of the region we call home, Malesia, Ulqin, Plave & Gusine, we deserve the same rights as any peoples in Europe, especially given that we are inhabitants of these lands. Kosova brought this message home, now it is up to us to stress it.

The following statement from Amnesty International underscores these concerns:

“The allegations include reports of repeated beatings, including with the intention of forcing a confession, using hands, fists, feet, sticks and on one occasion, a computer cable. Beatings were allegedly conducted by both individual and groups of police officers at the police station, by the anti-terrorist police involved in the arrest and by police escorting the men to court. One individual reported that a hood was placed over his head; another that he had a gun held to his head; all were subjected to racist threats on the basis of their Albanian ethnicity.”

-- Amnesty International (17 October 2006)
“the hospitalization of prison inmates after a police raid raised questions of brutality and resulted in a change in prison administration” … “Accusations of political interference and complaints of lengthy judicial processes continued to plague the judicial and prosecutorial systems”

-- Freedom House

Kostunica Resigns; Parliament Dissolves; Elections 11 May


The Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has announced his resignation.

Mr Kostunica said his government was no longer functioning because of disunity in the coalition.
He said it was likely that a snap election would be held on May 11, the date already set for local elections in Serbia.

"This is the end of the government," he told a news conference.

Mr Kostunica had conceded earlier in the week that the government was in "deep crisis".
He indirectly accused his coalition partners of giving up on defending Serbia's claim to Kosovo in favour of better ties with the West, which backs Kosovo's secession.

Mr Kostunica said part of the coalition wanted Serbia to be a member of the European Union only if the independence of Kosovo, which two thirds of EU members have recognised, is revoked, while a majority did not want EU membership linked to Kosovo.

His decision to end the government puts him in direct conflict with Serbia's pro-Western president Boris Tadic and his party, who formed the backbone of the coalition which came to power 10 months ago.

Mr Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) says it would support a Serbian Radical Party (SRS) resolution in parliament, calling on the EU to "clearly and unambiguously" confirm Serbia's territorial integrity, as a condition for further European integration.

Mr Tadic's Democratic Party and their liberal G17 Plus partner opposed the resolution in cabinet earlier this week and defeated it 2-to-1.

The pro-EU parties say the resolution will not bring back Kosovo - whose Albanian majority declared independence on February 17 with Western backing - but put a halt to Serbia's bid to join the European Union.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Podgorica Warned Over Kosova Recognition

07 March 2008 Belgrade -- Zoran Lutovac, the newly appointed Ambassador of Serbia to Montenegro, warned the tiny Adriatic republic to honour Serbia's stance and not recognise Kosovo's independence, Radio B92 reported Friday.

Lutovac, Serbia's first ambassador to Montenegro in 92 years, told a press conference in Podgorica that Belgrade is watching "with special attention" what Montenegro will do regarding the recognition of the newest Balkan state, which unilaterally seceded from Belgrade on 17 February.

Serbia would, Lutovac said, undertake the same measures against Montenegro that it has taken against other countries that have already recognised Kosovo, i.e. recall ambassadors from those countries, vowing it will never recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

Lutovac submitted his credential to Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic on Thursday, thus marking the official establishing of diplomatic relations between Belgrade and Podgorica, 20 months after Montenegro declared independence from the then state union of Serbia & Montenegro.

The two republics were the last remaining members of the former Yugoslavia, following the country's violent breakup in the 1990s.

Montenegro named Anka Vojvodic its ambassador to Serbia in 2006. Lutovac said on Thursday that Serbia was committed to further improving friendly relations with Montenegro – relations which had already been "at a high level."

Up to 33% of Montenegro's 650,000-strong population consider themselves Serbs. The country is also home to a number of displaced persons from Kosovo.

Source -- B92 / Fena / Balkan Insight

Monday, March 03, 2008

Guess who's back?

Like a recurring bad dream, the Parliament of Montenegro approved today the program and composition of the new Cabinet and elected the Government of Montenegro headed by the controversial Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic.

Following the election, Prime Minister Djukanovic was sworn in and the ministers signed the oath of office.

Prof Dr Gordana Djurovic was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration and Prof Dr Vujica Lazovic Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy.

The Cabinet also comprises the following ministers:

Milan Roćen – Minister of Foreign Affairs
Miraš Radović –Minister of Justice
Boro Vučinić – Minister of Defense
Igor Lukšić – Minister of Finance
Branimir Gvozdenović – Minister for Economic Development-
Jusuf Kalamperović – Minister of the Interior and Public Administration -
Miodrag Radunović – Minister of Health, Labor and Social Welfare -
Andrija Lompar – Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Telecommunications -
Milutin Simović – Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management-
Predrag Nenezić – Minister of Tourism and Environmental Protection -
prof. dr Sreten Škuletić – Minister of Education and Science -
Branislav Mićunović – Minister of Culture, Sports and Media -
Fuad Nimani – Minister for Human and Minority Rights -
Suad Numanović – Minister without Portfolio