Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Crvenkovski and Gruevski express condolences for Tose Proeski's death

Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski expressed today condolences for Tose Proeski's tragic death.

"God blessed Macedonia with a special gift, to have your loving son as its companion, and blessed all of us with a pleasure to be contemporaries of a great artists with an endlessly humane soul filled with love, understanding and compassion for all people", says the telegram sent by the President Branko Crvenkovski to the Tose Proeski's family.

"He has always been and will continue to be our pride and pride of our country and his work will remain as a Macedonian precious treasure, a pride of every Macedonian and an everlasting artistic value in which his cultural greatness will live forever", PM Gruevski's said in his letter of condolences.

Milovanovich/Fouere: Macedonia lost a great son

US Ambassador Gillian Milovanovich and the European Ambassador Erwan Fouere "joined the grief of the nation" by sending letters of condolences for the death of the Macedonian singer Tose Proeski.

"Tose touched countless lives while he was with us. He was an excellent example of how much kindness a man can give. His music and the joy he was giving to millions and the inspiration he gave particularly to the young people, continue to live as an eternal heritage", says the Ambassador Milovanovich's letter released to the Macedonian media.

Ambassador Fouere's reaction was similar: "He was one of the best Ambassadors of the country and the region. His music and his voice were warming the hearts of all generations. His music will remain as a living testimony to inspire the current and future generations", Fouere said in his letter.

Shocked Macedonians mourn pop star Proeski

Shocked Macedonians on Tuesday mourned one of their biggest stars, singer Tose Proeski, who was killed in a car crash on a Croatian motorway in the early hours.

In the capital Skopje, thousands of sobbing fans gathered in the main square, lighting candles and leaving flowers, teddy bears and posters of the 26-year-old pop star in makeshift shrines.

The government said the day of Proeski's funeral would be a day of national mourning and awarded him the title "Honorable citizen of Macedonia". It cancelled its sessions for the day, and sent a delegation to Croatia to recover his body.

"We all couldn't help but love Tose Proeski," said Macedonia's President Branko Crvenkovski in a statement expressing his condolences to the singer's family.

Croatian police said Proeski's vehicle hit the back of a truck and crashed into the protective fence on the Zagreb to Belgrade highway near Nova Gradiska, 120 km (70 miles) east of Zagreb. He was asleep in the passenger seat.

Two other people in the car were injured.

Macedonian television stations interrupted their regular programs with news of the accident.

Proeski, a classically-trained singer, started his pop career at 15, releasing his debut album at 18

His boyish good looks and passionate delivery made him a regional favorite. He had several number one hits in Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia with songs such as "Cija si" (Whose Are You) and "Ako me poglednes vo oci" (If You Look Me In The Eyes).

He sang in Macedonian and Serbian and represented Macedonia in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004.

He was also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and toured the Balkans to promote humanitarian projects.

Popular Macedonian singer Toshe Proeski dies in car accident in Croatia

Macedonian pop star Toshe Proeski, whose ballads earned him admirers across the former Yugoslavia, died Tuesday when his car crashed into a truck on a motorway in Croatia, police said.

Proeski, 26, represented Macedonia in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, and his good looks and romantic songs such as "Heart is not a stone" and "Tie me to yourself" won him fans across the former Yugoslavia.

He recorded seven albums, as well as duets with other popular singers in the Balkans.

In Macedonia, parliament canceled its session after hearing the news, and the government declared Wednesday a day of mourning. Dozens of teenagers gathered at the main square in the capital, Skopje, to light candles and pay tribute to him.

"Macedonia and the Balkans lost an angel," said the head of the Macedonian Orthodox church, Archbishop Stefan.

Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski said: "We all have been blessed with such a great singer and with his immense soul filled with love."

Proeski began his music career in 1996. He studied singing at Skopje Music Academy and in New York. He was also known for his charity work, and became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2004.

U.S. ambassador to Macedonia, Gillian Milovanovic, who worked with Proeski on several humanitarian projects, said he was an "outstanding example of how much good one person can accomplish."

In his native town of Krusevo in central Macedonia, schools canceled classes.

Proeski's body is expected to be transferred to Macedonia late Tuesday, and to be buried in Krusevo.

Croatian police spokeswoman Kata Nuic said the driver of Proeski's car and another passenger were also injured in the crash. Nuic said the accident likely was caused by "speed and (driver's) exhaustion."

Balkan pop star dies in car crash

Macedonian pop star Tose Proeski, a hugely popular singer in the Balkans, has died in a car crash in Croatia.

His fan base rivals that of Elvis Presley in the Balkans. He sang for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest.

Police said the 26-year-old's car was in a collision with a lorry on a motorway near the eastern Croatian town of Nova Gradiska.

Two other people were hurt. Proeski won many awards in Balkan song contests.

Reuters news agency says that in the Macedonian capital Skopje many people wept after hearing the news and a day of national mourning was called for Wednesday.

Local radio stations started playing Proeski's songs back-to-back.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bulgarian embassy in Skopje maltreats Macedonians

Skopje. After all what has been achieved for the last 17 years, since Bulgaria recognized the independence of Macedonia and started working for the building of real neighbor relations, now everything is collapsing, the Macedonian daily Vecer reports, citing Bulgarian media.
Bulgaria is voluntarily giving up everything, achieved so far and the leading role for this belomgs to the Bulgarian embassy in Skopje.
According to the daily, the main weapon, that the Bulgarian Ambassador Miho Mihov has were the visas. Apart from having to wait for 60 days to obtain a visa, the Macedonians had to receive invitation from a relative, or company in Bulgaria and to prove that they have at least EUR 60 for each day of their stay in Bulgaria.

Ljubco Georgievski requested separation of Macedonia

Skopje. If Kosovo receives independence, the Albanian extremists would attack Macedonia in five years, the former Macedonian Prime Minister, now Bulgarian citizen Ljubco Georgievski forecasted form the coasts of the Black Sea, the Macedonian TV channel A1 announced.
Speaking in the Bulgarian coastal resort town of Sozopol, Georgievski has requested that Macedonia, which according to him was now functioning as a federative state, is separated, as the towns of Tetovo, Debar and Gostivar, which are purely Albanian, are given to the Albanians.
Georgievski proposed that Skopje and Struga remain in the Macedonian part of Macedonia, as the two towns were half-Albanian in his opinion.

Strumica observes day of mourning

The Municipality of Strumica today observes a day of mourning over the death of two minors in rehabilitation center in Bansko.

Dragan Stoilkov from Vinica and Bajram Memish from Skopje died in a blaze that broke out last weekend at the rehabilitation center.

The employees at the Center staged a ceremony in commemoration of two victims of deadly fire. They placed wreaths and lit candles at the entrance of the facility.

The investigation into the fire is ongoing and the initial results are to be released today.

Unofficial reports say the fire was probably caused by a spark of electric wiring in one of the rooms of the old facility.

Macedonia’s NATO accession not directly related to Kosovo: German Defense Minister

Skopje. Macedonia’s accession to NATO is not directly related to the solving of Kosovo issue, the German Defense Minister Franz Josef Yung said today in Skopje after meeting his Macedonian counterpart Lazar Elenovski, Makfax reports.
Yung said that in September NATO will present a report on the progress of the reforms in Macedonian. Concerning the military field the country has marked an excellent progress of reforms that are required for being granted membership in the Alliance, Yung stressed.

Bulgaria to Maintain Visa Regime With Macedonia

Although the number of Macedonians entering Bulgaria has fallen recently, its consul in Skopje, Vencislav Cvetanov, told local media on Wednesday that Bulgaria does not plan to abolish the visa regime it imposed in January when it joined the European Union.

In an interview published in local Dnevnik daily, Cvetanov said the issue of visas was more “a problem for Macedonia to decide” and that “if Macedonia improves the border control… and talks things through with the European Union, things may be different”.

Since the beginning of the year, Bulgaria has issued 50,000 visas for Macedonian citizens - between 300 to 700 visas per day.

The visa regime imposed by Bulgaria on non-EU neighbours hit the inhabitants of the 14 Macedonian municipalities on the eastern border hardest.

However, Bulgaria has already eased the procedures for these people. They need only to prove they have been living there for six months, and have an invitation from a Bulgarian national, in order to enter the country.

The number of Macedonians visiting Bulgaria decreased significantly

Skopje. The number of Macedonian citizens who are visiting Bulgaria has decreased significantly, but this is normal for a country where there is a visa regime. But I believe that the regime between Bulgaria and Macedonia is comparatively liberal, Ventsislav Tsvetanov, consul of the Republic of Bulgaria to Skopje, in an interview for the Macedonian daily Dnevnik.
According to Tsvetanov it should not be forgotten that Bulgaria is an outer border of the EU and any visa regime means barrier, so that the European Union can be secure.

Macedonia won’t have ambassadors in other countries soon

Skopje. It seems that much of time will pass before Macedonia sends ambassadors to other countries. There is no initiative to organize a meeting with President Branko Crvenkovski and PM Nikola Gruevski to appoint ambassadors on the posts of those whose term of office has expired, Macedonian A1 TV reported.
Government’s attempt to send a representative in Brussels proves the lack of dialogue between the president and the prime minister, at a time when Macedonia must be very active in diplomatic aspect, the media says.
“In a year, when having diplomatic relations with members of the EU and NATO is highly important, we stand last in this sphere. The level of diplomatic relations is decreasing, as we don’t have ambassadors in this centers”, President Crvenkovski said in Berovo.
The government did not wish to comment on this criticism. The terms of office of most of the ambassadors will expire in September, or have already expired - however, under the decision of Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Milososki the terms of offices will be prolonged.

Macedonia’s secrets

All data about secret agents, allies, plans, current stocks and other secret data of the Macedonian Security and Counterintelligence Directorate (UBK), have been stolen from the archive, Macedonian newspaper Dnevnik writes, citing sources from Macedonian Ministry of Interior. An officer of the UBK who ran away to Bulgaria a month ago had sneaked into the archive of the counter-intelligence service. The Macedonian Ministry of Interior announced Thursday there were no signals reported about such a theft. The main suspect is with initials I.S. He worked as an analyzer in the Macedonian counterintelligence and is nephew of former Interior Minister Dosta Dimovska, incumbent director of the Macedonian cultural and information center in Sofia.
I do not have a nephew who is working in the Macedonian Interior Ministry or counterintelligence, said Dosta Dimovska.
According to journalist Alexander Damovski, director of the Macedonian Vreme newspaper, the case in point is a large scandal – one of the largest that happened in the recent period of the Macedonian intelligence. He stressed the information was reliable.

There are about 500,00 illegal weapons in Macedonia

Skopje. Murders, wounded, frequent attacks with automatic guns, wedding shootings, etc. This is the reality in Macedonia – a country, where there are perhaps about 5090,000 illegal weapons, which according to the UNDP is in the hands of about 170,000 people, the Macedonian A1 TV channel comments.
Courts in Macedonian have not issued even once a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail over possession of illegal guns, though trials are being held for several times against one and the same people for possession and trade with illegal guns.
The fact that the law makes no difference between possession of an illegal hunting rifle and a Kalashnikoff gun is also a juristic omission. In other countries the possession of a military gun is usually punished very stern.
The state has so far formed only a Commission for guns and light weaponry, where the Interior Ministry, other ministries, and UNDP take part. However, there is no representative of an NGO in that Commission, though these organizations are the most active ones in initiating campaign against the usage of guns, the TV comments.

Macedonia's Defense Minister says he is not afraid of Commander Hoxha’s threats

Skopje. Macedonia’s Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski does not take the threats of Xhezair Shaqiri, also known as Commander Hoxha, seriously. Commander Hoxha threats that the village of Tanusevci (near Skopje) will part from Macedonia and will join Kosovo, the Macedonian Vecer daily reads.
Acccording to Elenovski Macedonia is in full control of its territory and the situation si stable. He added that there is no information about any destabilization. According to the Minister the risk of military conflicts in the region is too low now. He says that the forces that could cause some conflict are too small and marginalized and that all the states in the region are firmly looking in the direction of Euro-Atlantic integration.

15,5 kg of marijuana confiscated on Macedonian-Greek border

Skopje. Macedonian police have confiscated 15,5 kilograms of marijuana on the Bogorodica border crossing at the Macedonian-Greek border, the Macedonian Makfax agency reported.
As reported by the police, the drug was discovered in an automobile driven by V.K. (47) from Radovis, hidden in specially prepared compartments.
According to police information, the drug was intended for Greek narcotics' market, and the accused was supposed to transfer it across the border. The police will criminally charge him and another person, Z.I. (36) from Skopje, who is on the run.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Macedonia and Albania does not expect postponement of NATO membership over Kosovo

Skopje. Macedonian Minister of Defense Lazar Elenovski has assessed the information about the possible postponement of NATO membership invitation to Macedonia as speculations, the Macedonian MIA agency informed.
It was reported earlier today that only Croatia will receive invitation for NATO membership next year in April, while Albania and Macedonia will be left in the waiting list until Kosovo status issue is solved.
Yet, Elenovski pointed out that the geopolitical situation is an inevitable factor, but in this case he considers that if the situation remains the same it will not affect the invitation for NATO membership since Kosovo issue is being solved on a political and diplomatic level.

Separation of Kosovo will mean separation of Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece: AOK veteran

Pristina. Any separation of Kosovo will have to be done in accordance with the international principles – the right to self-definition, ethnic principle or principle of the majority. But these principles should not be used only for Kosovo, but also for Presevo, /Southern Serbia/ , Macedonia and Montenegro. This was said by Faton Klinaku, Secretary of the Organization of the Veterans of the Army for the Liberation of Kosovo.
Where there are more Albanians – there will be Albania. This will happen if they start a separation of Kosovo. At the end of it all, such development is in our benefit, since all Albanian swill unite in a single country’, Klinaku said.
‘I whould also say that before 1999 the Albanians were the majority in Northern Kosovo, Klinaku said. After the war the UNMIK administration and the Kosovo institutions were absent from that part of Kosovo. This allowed Serbia to occupy these lands. In other words, if there is no separation, the situation before the war in 1999 should be taken into account, when the Albanians were a majority in Northern Kosovo.

Doubts over Macedonia NATO membership invitation in 2008

Skopje. There is some possibility that Macedonia does not receive invitation for NATO membership at the Summit in Bucharest in 2008, high standing diplomatic sources have told the Macedonian A1 TV channel.
This turn in the recent optimism could be explained with the still unsolved issue about Kosovo status. There are also worries that the crisis could easily go to Macedonia and Albania as well, and this is instability that NATO could not afford in member states. That is why there is a variant for the next Summit to apply the formula 1+2, i.e. Croatia to receive invitation, while space for maneuvers to be left for Macedonia and Albania and their invitation to be sent after Kosovo issue is solved.
The diplomatic sources have told A1 that security is of high importance in the variant in which Macedonia is left in the waiting room, though it enjoys the open support of both Washington and Brussels.

Subscriber growth helps boost Cosmote profits by 24.6%

Greek mobile group Cosmote reported a 24.6% year-on-year rise in net income in the second quarter, to EUR101.6 million (USD138.6 million), helped by strong subscriber growth, the effects of its takeover of the Germanos retail chain in Q4 2006 and forex gains. Revenues for the three months ended June 2007 climbed 36.6% to EUR738.4 million, and EBITDA improved by 22% percent to EUR248.4 million. Cosmote operates in five countries: Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia (FYROM) and Romania, through its respective units Cosmote Greece, AMC, Globul, Cosmofon and Cosmote Romania respectively. Total net subscriber additions in Q2 2007 reached 870,000 to give it a total of 13.1 million customers at the end of June 2007, a 39.4% increase from a year ago and on track to exceed a target of 15 million in 2009. The retail network of Germanos was the driving force behind much of the growth, accounting for around 63% of total net subscriber additions (excluding Albania) in Q2 2007 compared to around 38% a year before. Romania had the highest number of new additions at over 350,000, whilst Cosmote Greece added over 250,000 customers. Cosmofon in FYROM added 18,000 new subscribers in the second quarter to end June with 515,785 users.

Cosmote reported 37.5% year-on-year consolidated revenue growth for the first half, and H1 profit growth of 12.5%. Overall, international revenues in H1 2007, accounted for approximately 31% of group revenues (excluding Germanos), within targets set by the firm in 2005 (30%-35%), despite domestic operations continuing strong revenue growth throughout the period and Romanian operations still being in an early development phase. Total group CAPEX reached approximately EUR219 million in H1 2007. Romania accounted for around EUR84 million of the investment as it continues investing heavily to expand its network capacity. Greece absorbed EUR65 million and Bulgaria a further 37 million. Group net debt stood at EUR2.5 billion at the end of June, following a dividend payment of EUR244 million at the end of the month.

Macedonia’s Security Council Against Partition of Kosovo

24 08 2007 Skopje_ Macedonia supports the new talks for the future status of Kosovo but also calls for the preservation of the principles of the contact group, especially the one that is against any partition of the protectorate, country’s president said according to local media Friday.

“The partition of Kosovo could harm Macedonia’s interests”, country’s President Branko Crvenkovski told reporters.

Earlier this week Crvenkovski summoned a meeting of the council, a body comprised of Macedonia’s top officials to discuss possible partition of Kosovo, saying that the redrawing the territory’s borders could stimulate extremism in the region.

Following the meeting Crvenkovski has also said that “there are no information about stability and security threats for Macedonia which are linked with the process of defining Kosovo’s future status.”

Macedonia’s Security Council has also insisted on demarcation of the border with Kosovo and decided to invite international envoys that are tasked with determining territory’s status for consultations, he said as quoted.

Murder in front of a cafe-bar in Gostivar

One person was killed in front of a cafe-bar in Gostivar with two knife stabs in the chest area, reported the Police.

According to the same source, on Thursday, around 16:30 in front of the "Jeta" cafe-bar in the "Javor" mall there was an argument between A.A., the owner of the bar, and Neim J.

"A.A. stabbed Neim J. twice in the chest area. Neim J. was transferred to the Gostivar Medical center, but, due to the seriousness of the injuries, was re-transferred to Skopje Clinical Centre, where he succumbed later", is said in the official announcement.

The perpetrator is in custody of Gostivar Police and, after fully documenting the case, he will be criminally charged.