Friday, April 24, 2015

Greece Could Give Up ‘Economic Logic’ for Politics on Russian Gas Offer

Nikos Kotzias / John Kerry

© AFP 2015/ SAUL LOEB
Opinion
A political approach to Russia's economic proposal to invest in a gas pipeline running through Greece may prevent Athens from pursuing its own economic interests, a Greek expert told Sputnik on Friday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Greece is currently weighing the political and economic effects of Gazprom's offer for gas price discounts as well as potential profits for its cash-strapped economy in exchange for building an EU-bound gas line for Russian natural gas shipments. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said Tuesday he was approached by US Secretary of State John Kerry who said the United States was willing to make a counteroffer, although details were not disclosed, according to the Associated Press.
Kotzias commented on his nation's considerations, saying they were purely economic, and not political.
George Kapopoulos, a senior political analyst for the Greek business magazine Imerisia, told Sputnik that Greece was at a crossroads.
"There are two attitudes to the energy strategy. The first one corresponds to the reality, to the real supply and transportation export. The second one has purely political and geopolitical priorities, and it often leads to choices that do not have economic logic."
The pundit added that Russia, a major gas supplier for Europe, cannot easily be replaced.
Under the label of energy security for Europe, Washington has been promoting its own energy projects in the region in a bid to wean it off Russian natural gas. If Greece agrees to a joint energy project with Russia, this may put it at odds with Washington, which has long been critical of the European Union's reliance on Russian gas supplies.
If Greece refuses Russia, the United States may try to step in, although there is no knowing if it could out-compete Russia, which accounts for around 30 percent of EU gas imports.
Andreas Marazis, Junior Researcher at FRIDE, an EU-Spanish think tank on European development and dialogue, said it was impossible to predict the outcome without knowing the details of a purported US "counteroffer."
"Russia has made a concrete and seemingly attractive offer to Greece, but since the US has not yet clarified the precise details of its proposal, it is impossible to tell at this stage if it would be competitive with that of Gazprom."
Russia is building a major gas pipeline across the Black Sea to Turkey, continuing to its border with Greece. The Greek energy minister told Sputnik in early April that the countries would sign a memorandum of understanding on the Greek section soon.
The Greek pipeline could be built by a consortium of Russian and European companies, according to Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

Can Europe stop migrants dying in the Mediterranean?

  • 25 February 2015
  • From the section Europe
The coffins containing bodies of immigrants who died were taken to Porto Empedocle in Sicily
More than 3,000 people are estimated to have died in the Mediterranean Sea last year. The Pope has warned the waters are in danger of becoming "a vast cemetery".
People smugglers have been described as the most ruthless travel agents on the planet and the Italian Navy rescue mission has been downsized among claims that helping migrants at sea creates a "pull factor".
What could European countries do to stop these deaths? Four expert witnesses give their perspective with the BBC World Service's The Inquiry.

Andrea di Nicola: Demand is high for 'ruthless travel agents'

The Italian criminologist and author spent two years travelling around Africa and the Middle East speaking to smugglers.
Andrea de Nicola says Europe faces a huge battle against the smugglers
"When we interview and spend time with the smugglers, they were almost laughing at Europe saying 'You cannot stop this. If you try and stop this, if you close your border I will earn more, my prices will increase.' This is what they told us."
Some smugglers pack migrants into unseaworthy boats in the face of winter storms. Others have sent a freighter packed with people on autopilot towards the shore.
"Travelling by sea can be the cheapest way into Europe, but a better class of service can be bought.
"A Turkish smuggler made his clients enter Italy on yachts with two or three skippers and they were full of Afghans and Syrians. They were sailing through the Mediterranean Sea during spring time or summer time. It was less risky and more costly for them.
"The price paid [by migrants] was something like 7-8,000 euros for each person."
Large, sophisticated networks stretching across continents, comprising thousands of individuals will be hard to stop.
"They trust each other. They work together. They are more capable of co-operating among each other in a criminal system than we are among countries of the European Union. This is incredible.
"It's essential [for the EU] to co-operate in terms of judicial and investigative co-operation. For instance, the co-operation with Turkish authorities should be boosted in order to make the life of the smugglers more difficult."

Professor Alessio Patalano: 'Italy's dilemma'

The visiting professor at the Italian Naval War College says Italy's now-defunct operation Mare Nostrum (Our Sea), which saved thousands of lives, should be reinstated and funded by European countries.
Prof Alessio Patalano says Italy's rescue model should be adopted by the EU
In October 2013, an Italian fisherman and his crew rescued 155 migrants from the sea near the island of Lampedusa when their boat capsized. Some 368 died.
The Italian government set up operation Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) to patrol and save lives in the Mediterranean.
"It was something that was popular in terms of the broader public and even within the political corridors in Italy, it's something that touched pretty much everybody.
"The military deployed planes, helicopters, submarines and destroyers to find and pull people out of the sea.
"The mission was pretty clear really. We should try very hard to prevent further disasters of this kind from happening at sea.
"What Mare Nostrum presented to them was a scale of humanitarian crisis that went past the standard numbers that you would deal with if you were in the Italian Navy."
The Italian Navy and Coastguard expected to save about 3,000 people a year.
"There is nothing in the recent history of the Mediterranean that would suggest in that year you had 156-157,000 people rescued at sea.
"There is absolutely no precedent in that sense, in terms of scale, the impact, the costs and the ability to meet the challenge."
The £10m a month cost of Mare Nostrum was too much of a strain on Italy's naval budget. It turned to Europe for help. In response, the EU launched Operation Triton which has a budget a third the size.

Forensic anthropologist Robin Reineke,: 'Shifting the problem creates more deaths'

The forensic anthropologist is the Executive Director, Colibrí Center for Human Rights and works on the Mexican/US border tracking migrant deaths. She says using geography - like the desert, or the sea - to deter migration does not work. Desperate people will try to make the crossing however dangerous it is.
Robin Reineke says changing strategies bring different issues.
"In 1994, the border patrol under the Clinton administration shifted strategy. It was known as 'prevention through deterrence' and was predicated on this idea that if people got to the border wall and they saw how difficult it would be, they wouldn't try."
Borders in El Paso, San Diego and Arizona were strengthened. The reaction from migrants was to find another way to cross.
"Essentially, would-be migrants were pushed into the very, very remote mountainous and arid parts of Arizona. In the early 2000s we saw a rapid, tragic increase in the number of fatalities in southern Arizona in the span of just a couple of years.
"Prevention through deterrence has not been a strategy that's been successful in deterring people. Unfortunately it's led to the deaths of thousands of people but it has not had an impact on the flow of unauthorised immigrants across the US-Mexico border."

President of the European Parliament Martin Shulz: 'We need a proper structure'

The president of the European Parliament says Europe needs to increase the humanitarian effort, but a political solution is needed in the long term.
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, says a new system must be introduced
"We need a complete new system of migration. Fifty per cent of all refugees are going to five member states of the European Union, which has 28 members.
"So what we need first of all is what we call 'burden sharing'. All member states of the European Union must contribute to manage this problem of refugees."
He says one way to reduce the number of people who die trying to get into Europe illegally is to make it easier for them to do so legally.
"We need rules for access to the European Union. Who will take how much quota of immigrants and which kind of immigrants get access to the European Union.
"This is for sure the better way than to allow illegal uncontrolled immigration."
Mr Schulz understands it is a hard political sell but argues national governments must be honest with their citizens.
"The question is: Is a government obliged to tell its citizens what they want to hear or what is the real need to explain?
"The Europeans must understand that we are in the beginning of a major change in the structure, not only of Europe, but the world as a whole with a lot of migration.
"People in this global world are moving and they will move also to Europe."
The Inquiry is broadcast on the BBC World Service, on Tuesdays from 13:05 GMT. Listen online or download the podcast.

Russia Issues International ARREST WARRANT For ROTHSCHILD & SOROS!


Vladimir Putin, now in full control of Russia as Prime Minister (then) NOW President , wishes to build a strong Christian nation. In a televised Christmas message on January 7 2008 Putin said:

 “The Russian Orthodox Church contributes to the promotion of moral values in society. One should not completely draw a line between the culture and the church. Of course by law in our country the church is separate from the state. But in the soul and the history of our people it’s all together. It always has been and always will be.”
Russia will make The United States reflect upon what they allowed Rothschild to do to their own country. So when you see protests against Vladimir now, keep in mind it is probably staged by The Rothschild’s trying to control Russia once again.
Russia
Putin Issues Arrest Warrant for Financial Terrorist George Soros!!
Financial terrorist and Hungarian banker, Convicted Felon George Soros… Russian Intelligence has fingered Soros for using cross-collateralized compounded Swedish and Danish foreign currency derivatives for the purpose of an attack on the Russian stock market..
Soros’ use of these cross-collateralized compounded derivatives utilizing Luxembourg banks violates the terms of the Basil II European Union banking agreement.
The thing that should give pause to the Heads of State Western is like Putin did in freeing Russia from those who wanted to bring the total economic and social collapse and beat up in jail all those who have tried.
Are they influencing Lubawitschern Putin? The fact is that Putin is loyal to Russia and its people, and never allow anyone, even when he is in command in that nation, to sell out and to let his country into the clutches of the NWO. For this he ordered to issue an international arrest warrant against George Soros, who has been caught red-handed as he prepared to send financial aid to what is called opposition in Russia, which recently made the streets in dozens of thousands of people telling lies and misinformation-cheating during the elections.
Now Mr. Soros has little room to continue his dirty games with the speculation that has devastated the entire global financial system, in collaboration Rothschild / Rockefeller and other jackals.
Putin’s speech, which was officially issued by the Russian authorities.
Today it is made public the following statement by the Russian Federation and its Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, has been asked for an arrest warrant against the International Terrorist Finance, the Hungarian currency-Mogul George Soros, the Russian secret services have found that Soros was using foreign currency derivatives with other Danes to start an attack against the Russian Currency Shares in the market.
It should be noted that Soros was using these derivatives with the help of Luxembourg banks, which is forbidden after the contract was made by the EU called Basel II.
Both the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and European Union have issued an Interpol “Red Notice” which is not only against the immediate arrest of Soros, but also against the Sharks on Finance, Bush, Clinton, criminal organization, Marc Rich and his firm, which is located in Switzerland, the Commodities Broker-Richfield, which is why the Russian Premier Putin has recently met the Chef of the Federal Reserve  making clear that the Russian Federation will not accept that such use is made of people like Soros and Rich to commit criminal acts of the derivatives market and Finance, which led to social destabilization across the globe.
Putin will be done and start the hunt for these criminals and their accomplices Bankers Rothschild, Rockefeller……….

Medvedev invites Vucic to visit Moscow


Published: BELGRADE – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has invited his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic to visit Moscow. The invitation was extended to Vucic by Russian Ambassador Alexander Chepurin during a meeting in the Serbian government Thursday.
medvedev2.si_-650x3655
Vucic and Chepurin discussed political and economic cooperation between Serbia and Russia, the government’s media relations office said in a release.
They agreed that the upcoming exchange of high level visits would significantly contribute to improving relations between the two countries, especially given that preparation of several intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the field of social security, culture and other fields of common interest was underway.
They also believe that Serbia’s participation in the upcoming business forum in St. Petersburg will give additional impetus to cooperation, the release said.

Albania, Germany to cooperate in terrorism fight


TIRANA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Albanian Prosecutor-General Adriatik Llalla and German federal prosecutor Harald Range Thursday stressed the great importance of cooperation in identifying the groups involved in the recruitment of "foreign fighters" for Middle Eastern armed conflicts.

Llalla, who is in Germany at the invitation of his counterpart, stressed the need for close partnership in the fight against terrorism and organized crime.

In addition, both interlocutors shared views on the need for swift communication between the two countries' prosecution offices to increase efficiency in investigations.

Apart from the existing cooperation between the two countries' judicial authorities, the two senior officials expressed willingness to sign an extradition pact between the two countries to send sentenced people from Albania to Germany and vice versa.

The Albanian chief prosecutor also requested Germany's technical and legal assistance to strengthen investigative capacity in Albania, as well as increasing the institution's independence.

Dnevnik, Macedonia: Edi Rama eyes Balkans border restructuring, while Brussels hugs him


23 April 2015 | 09:48 | FOCUS News Agency
Dnevnik, Macedonia: Edi Rama eyes Balkans border restructuring, while Brussels hugs himPicture: AFP
Skopje. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama received Brussels’ support for the European integration of Albania and was praised as “constructive partner in the region”, while just a few days earlier the prime minister repeated his position that the restructuring of the borders in the Balkans was inevitable and the unification of Albania and Kosovo was a clear project, Macedonian journalist Iskra Korovesovska in a commentary published in the Macedonian Dnevnik daily.
“He even made an appeal towards the EU, since it was up to its approach to determine the development of the things.
Instead of reaction to Rama’s statement for change of the border, which Brussels considers impossible, the Union kept silent about the issue and on the top of it even praised the politician.
How should we interpret this silence, while the Albanian prime minister is firmly talking about restructure of the European borders,” the author writes.
Dnevnik also cites a statement of Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, who said that if Voislav Sesel said only a two words, then everyone would rise in Brussels, though Sesel is currently nobody in Serbia, while when a prime minister of a country talks about border changes, everyone kept silent.

Albania charges local youth with trying to join Syria rebels


TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian authorities say they have charged a young man with allegedly trying to join Muslim extremists fighting in Syria.

Police say the 18-year-old was detained in Greece for illegally entering the country from Albania, and promptly handed over to Albanian authorities who arrested him Thursday.

Although Albanian officials say some 70 local people are believed to have joined extremists from the Islamic State group fighting in Syria, the teenager is the first to have been arrested and charged.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years to jail.

Nine Albanian Muslims, including two preachers, are on trial for recruiting for Syrian rebels.
About two-thirds of Albania's 3.2 million people are Muslims. Mainstream religious leaders have called on believers not to join rebel groups in Syria.
Prosecution or Persecution

Prosecution or Persecution

By Andy Manatos
 
A gunshot rang out in the Russell Senate Office Building as U.S. Senator Lester Hunt pressed the end of the barrel of his gun to his temple. He experienced the destructive, often lethal, power of threatened national humiliation. A group of U.S. Senators, including Joseph McCarthy, attempted to secure their party’s majority of the Senate by keeping Senator Hunt from running for re-election. They threatened to have spread in headlines across America about his son’s 1954 arrest for gay activities, which were then considered scandalous.
National humiliation is a mega-weapon that carries life-shattering ramifications even when wielded honorably. For example, two U.S. Senators who were censured by the Senate in the 1950s and ’60s died prematurely in the wake of their national humiliation. Taken alone, the high-profile prosecution tarnishes reputations and careers with irrevocable consequence; it must only be applied to the indisputably guilty. Otherwise, we victimize the innocent.
Essential to the determination of indisputable guilt is presumed innocence. Today’s media-led portrayals of Congressional activities are too often presumed as nefarious. Ironically, this Congress is the cleanest in history and in the world. This negative presumption makes perfectly legitimate activities, like Congressional questioning of apparent agency wrongdoing, appear improperly motivated and against the public interest.
The Congress and agencies were better understood in the 1970s and ’80s when Senator Bill Proxmire gave his highly publicized “Golden Fleece Award.” His monthly prize, given to the worst example of agency misconduct, made the American public more aware of the need for Congressional oversight of agency transgressions.
Today, America is virtually unaware of the egregiousness of agency wrongdoing. Who knows of the recent case of a paraplegic widow of a WWII hero and Army general who had her pension, tax returns and social security checks withheld by the Veterans Administration (VA), to the tune of $140,000? Years of family efforts to secure her funds failed, and she was on the verge of being forced from her daughter’s home. At a contributor’s request, a Member of Congress raised it to the VA Secretary’s level and the widow’s funds were returned.
Or take the case of a builder who signed a contract with the federal government and fell victim to a foreman who wanted a different contractor. This foreman gave the builder a change-order with a 30-day deadline, withheld for 31 days his approval of the required change-order plans, and then fired the builder for missing the deadline. A Senator’s questions, urged by a contributor, corrected this agency wrongdoing.
Incorrect presumptions about Congressional oversight of agencies ignore the fact that Senators and members: (1) Come to Washington to spend significant amounts of time questioning apparent U.S. government wrongdoing; (2) Have no actual control over agencies except for the moral weight of their questions; (3) Have their questions essentially ignored by the agencies 99 percent of the time; (4) Gain information about questionable agency actions from many sources including friends, some of whom support their reelection; and (5) Scrupulously refuse to raise questions lacking in merit, regardless of who makes the request.
For those who work with the Congress, smelling the occasional crooks among the hard working public servants is not difficult. And, too frequently, we see the innocent attacked. The investigations and prosecution of Senators Ted Stevens, John McCain and national hero John Glenn come to mind, as does the impending case against Senator Bob Menendez.
Misuse of this life-shattering mega-weapon intruded into my life as a boy when my father discovered the slumped body of his boss, Senator Hunt. Its intrusion continues today into the lives of my friends.
• Two friends and likely-to-win Senate candidates lost Senate seats and their dreams due to unjust ethics investigations and prosecutions during their campaigns from which they were exonerated after the elections.
• An innocent friend was terribly humiliated before his neighbors, horrified family and the invited media as he was handcuffed and arrested at 5 a.m. in his nightclothes. The arrest and charges against my friend were dropped but they unnecessarily hurt his reputation and business, and he lost over $1 million in legal fees.
• Another later-exonerated friend lost his honor, hundreds of thousands in legal fees and his health. Friends attribute his early death to his acutely felt humiliation.
• And, finally, a very bright, very shy and very innocent high school friend escaped the humiliation of an unjust government prosecution by taking his own life.

Joseph Walsh said to Senator Joseph McCarthy, his era’s destroyer of lives in the sincere pursuit of wrongdoing, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, have you no sense of decency at long last?”

Mignatiou.com

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-manatos/prosecution-or-persecution_b_6988238.html?utm_hp_ref=bob-menendez

Fourteen migrants killed in FYROM, hit by train


First entry: 24 April 2015
Fourteen migrants killed in FYROM, hit by train
Fourteen migrants were hit by a train and killed in central Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) late on Thursday as they walked through a canyon along an increasingly well-trodden Balkan route for migrants trying to reach western Europe.
The accident happened at around 10.30 p.m. near the central city of Veles. Rescue efforts were hampered by difficult terrain, with the site of the accident accessible only by foot or railway.
FYROM's state prosecutor said that from interviewing survivors it appeared most of the group were from Somalia and Afghanistan.
Local media reported that the group numbered around 50. They were hit by an international train traveling from the southern border town of Gevgelija to the Serbian capital, Belgrade, the same route taken by migrants trying to get from Greece to Hungary.
"The driver saw a large group, dozens of people," the prosecutor said in a statement.
"At that moment, he took action to stop the train and engage the siren, at which point some people left the tracks. The train was unable to stop before hitting and running over some of them."
Reuters

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Photo of the Day
Tsipras - Holland meeting

The 'Grexit' Issue and the Problem of Free Trade

Stratfor



By George Friedman
The Greek crisis is moving toward a climax. The issue is actually quite simple. The Greek government owes a great deal of money to European institutions and the International Monetary Fund. It has accumulated this debt over time, but it has become increasingly difficult for Greece to meet its payments. If Greece doesn't meet these payments, the IMF and European institutions have said they will not extend any more loans to Greece. Greece must make a calculation. If it pays the loans on time and receives additional funding, will it be better off than not paying the loans and being cut off from more?
Obviously, the question is more complex. It is not clear that if the Greeks refuse to pay, they will be cut off from further loans. First, the other side might be bluffing, as it has in the past. Second, if they do pay the next round, and they do get the next tranche of funding, is this simply kicking the can down the road? Does it solve Greece's underlying problem, which is that its debt structure is unsustainable? In a world that contains Argentina and American Airlines, we have learned that bankruptcy and lack of access to credit markets do not necessarily go hand in hand.
To understand what might happen, we need to look at Hungary. Hungary did not join the euro, and its currency, the forint, had declined in value. Mortgages taken out by Hungarians denominated in euros, Swiss francs and yen spiraled in terms of forints, and large numbers of Hungarians faced foreclosure from European banks. In a complex move, the Hungarian government declared that these debts would be repaid in forints. The banks by and large accepted Prime Minister Viktor Orban's terms, and the European Union grumbled but went along. Hungary was not the only country to experience this problem, but its response was the most assertive.
A strategy inspired by Budapest would have the Greeks print drachmas and announce (not offer) that the debt would be repaid in that currency. The euro could still circulate in Greece and be legal tender, but the government would pay its debts in drachmas.

The Deeper Questions

In considering this and other scenarios, the pervading question is whether Greece leaves or stays in the eurozone. But before that, there are still two fundamental questions. First, in or out of the euro, how does Greece pay its debts currently without engendering social chaos? The second and far more important question is how does Greece revive its economy? Lurching from debt payment to debt payment, from German and IMF threats to German and IMF threats is amusing from a distance. It does not, however, address the real issue: Greece, and other countries, cannot exist as normal, coherent states under these circumstances, and in European history, long-term economic dysfunction tends to lead to political extremism and instability. The euro question may be interesting, but the deeper economic question is of profound importance to both the debtor and creditors.......................................................

more see: https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/grexit-issue-and-problem-free-trade?utm_source=freelist-f&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Gweekly&utm_campaign=20150421&mc_cid=a228ca89db&mc_eid=1c7ab09ec5

U.S. Prepared to Intercept Iranian Convoy Suspected of Carrying Weapons to Yemen

U.S. Warships Prepare for Possible High Seas Standoff With Iran

Nightly NewsAmerican warships are prepared to intercept a convoy of Iranian ships suspected of carrying weapons to Houthi rebel forces in Yemen, senior defense and military officials told NBC News on Monday.
An Iranian convoy of freighters, escorted by warships from the Iranian military and Revolutionary Guard forces, appears headed for Yemen, the officials said.
They emphasized that while the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier group would be in position to intercept the convoy, an intercept could also be carried out by Saudi Arabia, Egypt or the United Arab Emirates, which are patrolling the waters off Yemen.
Supported by the United States, Saudi Arabia has led Sunni Arab countries in carrying out more than three weeks of airstrikes targeting the rebels, who are backed by Iran and have seized parts of Yemen.
There is no indication that U.S. or other coalition warships have been in contact with the Iranians, but one official told NBC News, "They know we're there."
Some U.S. officials are concerned that the leak of the information is not good, coming at the same time as the United States and other countries try to reach a final agreement on Iran's nuclear program.
"Since this is now public, the Iranians may feel they've been backed into a corner" and attempt to run through any blockade set up by the coalition warships, one official said.
The deployment comes after a U.N. Security Council resolution approved last week imposed an arms embargo on leaders of the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, who have taken over much of Yemen.
The resolution passed in a 14-0 vote with Russia abstaining. Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. A massive ship that carries F/A-18 fighter jets, the "TR" is seen more of a deterrent and show of force in the region.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest would not comment specifically on any Navy movements in Yemeni waters, but said the U.S. has concerns about Iran's "continued support for the Houthis.
"We have seen evidence that the Iranians are supplying weapons and other armed support to the Houthis in Yemen," Earnest said Monday. "That support will only contribute to greater violence in that country. These are exactly the kind of destabilizing activities that we have in mind when we raise concerns about Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East."
He added, "Iranians are acutely aware of our concerns for their continued support of the Houthis by sending them large shipments of weapons."

Alexis Tsipras meets Angela Merkel


First entry: 23 April 2015
Alexis Tsipras meets Angela Merkel - PHOTOS- BREAKING
The meeting between Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under way in Brussels on the sidelines of the extraordinary summit on migration.  


Commissioner Avramopoulos: 'EU at war with people smugglers'


First entry: 23 April 2015
Commissioner Avramopoulos: 'EU at war with people smugglers'
The European Commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said the European Union will “hunt down” human smugglers in the Mediterranean to bring them to justice. 
“We cannot allow these criminals to continue exploiting human lives,” Avramopoulos told a press conference at Auberge de Castille, ahead of an extraordinary EU summit to discuss a way forward on migration after some 650 unidentified migrants perished at sea in one of the deadliest shipwrecks ever.
“The EU is at war with human smugglers and we will hunt them down and destroy their capacities.  We will seize the smugglers’ boats, destroy them and bring the smugglers to justice.” 
Avramopolous, flanked by Italian minister for the interior Angelino Alfano and deputy prime minister Louis Grech, insisted that European countries cannot tackle migration flows ‘alone and divided”, and that immediate remedies must be sought to prevent any further loss of life. 
But he warned that migratory flows would not disappear anytime soon. “The EU must come up with structural and holistic solutions to the instability in the migrants’ countries of origin,” Avramopolous said. “Global migration won’t end, no matter how much money the EU pours into its policies.” 
When asked, Avramopolous added that migration issues should play a key role in ongoing UN-brokered Libyan peace talks. 
Louis Grech praised the EU for sending a “strong message” that it is willing to take action. 
“Passiveness in the face of such tragedies is no longer an option,” Grech said, referring to two recent shipwrecks off the coast of Libya that resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 migrants. “The EU must take charge.” 
Deputy Italian Prime Minister Angelino Alfano described the recent tragedy as a “punch in the stomach” for those who are indifferent about the Mediterranean’s migration problems.
He said that the EU has “finally woken up” and realized that the problem is a European one, and not just a southern European one. 
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/

Pakistan, Albania to boost cooperation in diverse sectors

President Mamnoon Hussain offers to provide higher education and training facilities to Albania.
Pakistan and Albania have agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in economic, trade and cultural fields.
The understanding came at a meeting between the President Mamnoon Hussain with his Albanian counterpart Bujar Nishani on the sidelines of centenary celebrations of Canakkale battles at Istanbul in Turkey today.
President Mamnoon Hussain also offered to provide higher education and training facilities to Albania.
He said that high level contacts are necessary for maintaining and expanding friendly relations between Pakistan and Albania.
The President said that Pakistan values its relations with Albania which are marked by goodwill and cordiality and expressed confidence that the relations between the two countries will grow stronger in the years ahead.
Mamnoon Hussain said that parliamentary relations are an important pillar of bilateral relations. He said a Pakistan - Albania Parliamentary Friendship Group already exists in Pakistan's National Assembly and we look forward to the formation of a similar group in Albanian Parliament.
The President stated that the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is below potential and called for exploring ways and means to further expand it. He underscored that bilateral trade can be enhanced further with greater interaction between the Chamber of Commerce of the two countries.
The President emphasized that both countries need to work on establishing institutional framework and linkages to further the bilateral cooperation. He underlined the need to work toward increasing bilateral collaboration through cultural and people to people contacts.
The President said that negative propaganda is being carried out against Islam and called upon all Muslim countries to take collective measures to address the situation.
Albanian President Bujar Nishani said that people of Albania consider Pakistan a sincere friend and Albania desires expansion of bilateral relations with Pakistan.  He said that Pakistan could take advantage form Albania's expertise in textile, tourism, mining, energy and agriculture sectors.
President Mamnoon Hussain also conveyed the sentiments of solidarity of the people of Pakistan with the Albanian people on the recent floods that caused widespread damage and displacements.
President of Albania also extended invitation to his Pakistani counterpart to visit Albania and a similar offer was made by President Mamnoon Hussain to Albanian President.

Djuric to travel to Kosovo "with or without permission"


BELGRADE -- Serbian Government Office for Kosovo Director Marko Djuric has said that he will visit the province despite the fact Pristina did not officially approve it.
Djuric addresses a news conference on Wednesday (Tanjug)
Djuric addresses a news conference on Wednesday (Tanjug)
"I was informed by the provincial government that it is unable to allow me to visit Gracanica, which was to be organized during today and tomorrow," he said.
"My only message is: See you in Kosovo and Metohija. After all, the republic-level government has seniority over the provincial," Djuric told journalists, in reference to the governments in Belgrade and Pristina.

He spoke on Thursday after a meeting of the Serbian Parliament's Committee on Kosovo and Metohija.

Asked whether the decision of the authorities in Pristina was "a response and an act of reciprocity in relation to the cancellation of Hashim Thaci's trip to Belgrade," Djuric said that he received no explanation for Pristina's decision not to enable him to go to Gracanica.

Djuric also said that further progress in talks with interim institutions in Pristina will not happen until the issue of the formation of a community of Serb municipalities (ZSO) has been resolved.

"The debate on the Statute of the ZSO is in a serious stage. We are consulting with representatives of the municipalities and several drafts are being worked on. Before anything is determined, things must be measured and evaluated many times. In any case, the domestic public will be learn about our draft statute," Djuric said.

Gas for Greece, Mayhem for Macedonia. From Color Revolution to Unconventional Warfare


An armoured vehicle of a special police unit passes a checkpoint on the road to the village of Goshince, from where police officers were taken hostage overnight, north of the capital Skopje on April 21, 2015

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At the exact same time that Greece has received a guarantee for billions of cubic meters’ worth of Russian gas, Macedonia is being rocked by the threat of a renewed Albanian insurgency designed to offset Moscow’s pipeline plans.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced that Russia will guarantee 47 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Greece via the Turkish Stream, which would then go onwards to supply the European market. While it’s not yet specified exactly which path the pipeline will take from Greece to the EU, it’s more than likely that it’ll go through Macedonia en route to the former South Stream’s envisioned Serbian hub, and thenceforth through Hungary, Austria, and beyond, just like Russia originally anticipated last year. There’s one major obstacle to that strategy, however, and it’s that the US is attempting to transform its failed Color Revolution in Macedonia into an Unconventional War to neutralize this geostrategic route, utilizing the specter of an Albanian terrorist campaign modeled off the Syrian template to achieve its destructive goals.
From Color Revolution to Unconventional War
In the years since the War on Yugoslavia, the US has perfected and patterned a novel method of regime change that proceeds according to pre-established escalation checkpoints. Washington first issues either a direct or implicit/covert ultimatum to the targeted government, the rejection of which serves as the ‘dog whistle’ for activating the dormant Color Revolution social infrastructure present in the country. Should that plan come to fail, then some of the associated destabilizing actors are transitioned into launching an Unconventional War. The final step, should that fail and a Great Power doesn’t diplomatically intervene (as Russia did with Syria in September 2013), is to repeat the Libyan Scenario of a conventional intervention that leaves no doubt as to the success of its regime change odds.
Adapting this template for the Macedonian application, it can be seen how the country has thus far successfully repelled the Color Revolution attempt by Zoran Zaev, which in turn led to concrete Russian investment in the country’s pipeline infrastructure that set the stage for the Putin-Tsipras agreement earlier this month. Now that the Balkan Stream pipeline plans are rapidly gaining traction, the US realized that it needs to act quickly to in order to sabotage them, hence the sudden reemergence of Albanian terrorism in Macedonia. While this problem was previously so serious as to push the country near civil war in 2001, it’s generally subsided since then, with only a handful of extremists unhappy with the generous Ochrid Agreements that guaranteed the Albanian minority vast political and social rights. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the country of Albania, the US’ regional Lead From Behind proxy, from threatening regional destabilization in order to create Greater Albania.
Albanian Agitation
An international scandal rocked the Serbian capital of Belgrade last fall when Albanian nationalists used a drone to fly a Fascist-era Greater Albania flag through a football stadium during a heated match, threatening to rekindle ethnic tensions that had long remained on edge in that corner of the Balkans. The provocation thankfully didn’t result in any deaths, but it did raise fears that the same style of World War II historical revisionism from Ukraine was slithering down to the Balkans with implicit US strategic support, opening up a new geo-ideological front in the New Cold War. Earlier this month, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama confirmed that Fascist-era thinking is indeed alive and well in Tirana when he officially pushed for the creation of Greater Albania. He spoke of his country’s plans to annex the Serbian Province of Kosovo (which he calls “unification”), saying that it was “inevitable” and “unquestionable”, and that the only question is “Will it happen in the context of the EU as a natural process and understood by all, or will it happen as a reaction to EU blindness or laziness?” The Serbian government rightfully responded with indignation, warning Albania against “banging the war drums” and saying that the two entities would “never unite”.
This was just the opening salvo of Tirana’s regional agitations, however, as a short while later, Hashim Thaci, the former political leader of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army and Foreign Minister of the unilaterally self-proclaimed government of Kosovo, said he would travel to Belgrade to attend a conference he was invited to. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic warned that “If he turns up in Belgrade, the Ministry of Interior will act according to the law and bring him to justice”, since Thaci had been convicted in absentia of terrorist-related offensives in 1997 and sentenced to a decade imprisonment. Not even a week later, about 40 individuals identifying themselves as members of the thought-to-be disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, the same group that Thaci himself once led, crossed over from Kosovo (now under NATO occupation and no longer administered by Serbia) and raided a Macedonian police post near the border. They took a couple police officers hostage and ominously declared that “We will have an Albanian state”, before scurrying back to their NATO protectorate after a few hours.
Thus, just as Albanian nationalism threatened to make South Stream a pipedream, so too does it seem poised to do the same with Balkan Stream, as in the course of only six brief months, Albania and its Kosovo satellite have shockingly:
* Flown a Fascist-era flag over Belgrade;
* Openly declared their intentions to unilaterally impose a Greater Albania on the Balkans;
* Revived an irredentist terrorist organization;
* And staged a violent border incursion into Macedonia.
The most destabilizing aspect is that the US, EU, and NATO haven’t condemned any of this whatsoever, and in fact, Albania and Kosovo enjoy de-jure and de-facto NATO support, with the former being an official member and the latter being occupied by one of the US’ largest bases in Europe, Camp Bondsteel.  These disturbing facts reveal implicit Western support for Albanians aggressive actions, adding credence to the analysis that they are indeed being coordinated by the US in order to sabotage Russia’s Balkan Stream project.
Forecast Indicators And Coming Consequences
* Here’s what to monitor as the situation further develops:
* Possible expansion of terrorist raids into Serbia’s Albanian-populated Sandzak and Presevo Valley border regions;
* Albanian/Kosovar/NATO/US military reactions and official statements to the terrorist incursion (whether in Macedonia and/or Serbia);
* The loyalty of Albanian political parties to the democratically elected government of Macedonia;
* And the ‘second wind’ potential of the Macedonian Color Revolution and its possible transformation into a EuroMaidan-like meltdown.
Other than the possible disruption of Balkan Stream’s construction and the violent formalization of Greater Albania, the consequences of renewed ethnic destabilization in the Balkans could include:
* A strengthening of Serbian-Macedonian ties centered on shared victimhood;
* Intensification of CSTO/SCO/Eurasian Union outreaches to beleaguered non-NATO and non-EU members Serbia and Macedonia;
* The threatening of China’s Balkan Silk Road plan for high-speed rail from the Greek port of Piraeus to Budapest (via Macedonia and Serbia);
* And subsequently, possible Chinese shadow mediation at settling the conflict before it spirals out of control.
Finally, be on the lookout for US/EU ‘mediation’ attempts that are nothing more than ‘good cop’ diplomatic tricks to pursue their ‘bad cop’ geopolitical designs. Also, be wary of any initiative or statement that could be interpreted as a subversive invitation for US/NATO military intervention in Serbia and/or Macedonia.

Dodik's plane heading to Armenia unable to fly over Turkey

BANJA LUKA -- Milorad Dodik was on Wednesday traveling to Armenia at the invitation President Serzh Sargsyan, but his plane did not receive the permission to fly over Turkey.
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
After several hours of waiting in Bulgaria, the plane on Wednesday afternoon returned to Banja Luka.
Dodik, who recently sent a draft declaration to the RS assembly that would recognize the Armenian genocide, was supposed to participate in ceremonies dedicated to its 100th anniversary.

The leader of the Serb entity (RS) in Bosnia-Herzegovina said upon his return that it was "obviously said that the plane cannot fly through Turkish airspace," even though, as he said, RS government aircraft previously encountered no problems from that country, the Fena news agency reported.

"It is obvious that some new circumstances have emerged. We can only guess about them," said Dodik.

He also confirmed that Turkish authorities gave the permission to the plane after it had returned to Banja Luka.

He told reporters that the permission "probably would not have been issued had we not returned from Bulgaria."

Dodik added that he "does not want to give qualifications to this," but that "the fact cannot be erased in this manner that 100 years ago a terrible crime was committed against Armenian Orthodox Christians, committed by Turks, and that the Turkish state does not want to recognize it as genocide."

Pilot Sreten Ilic said that authorities of Armenia on Tuesday granted the airplane the permission to land the next day.

"Given that our plane has no direct flight to Yerevan, we planned landing in Burgas, where, after landing and refueling and preparing to take off for Yerevan, we were informed by the Bulgarian air traffic control that we were not allowed to fly over Turkey," said Ilic.

The pilot also told reporters that they waited for four hours but did not receive any explanation why Turkey had rejected their request to fly over its territory.

Thaci: There'll be consequences of "Belgrade's refusal"


VIENNA -- Serbia's decision "not to approve" his visit to Belgrade is "contrary to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue," Hashim Thaci has said.
(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)
"It will certainly have its consequences," Thaci, who serves as Kosovo's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, told the Vienna daily Presse.
However, he did not wish to say what those consequences might be.

But Thaci revealed there would be "no direct counter-measures" toward Serbian politicians.

"Serbia's behavior towards me will serve as an example of how not to treat our neighbors," said Thaci.

He added he was "surprised that official Belgrade was against his arrival."

Serbia's authorities last week informed those in Pristina that Thaci, convicted in 1998 to ten years in prison on terrorism charges, would be arrested if he traveled to Belgrade.

"Ministers from Kosovo government have visited Serbia, and senior representatives of Serbia were in Kosovo, and such visits are no longer any news," said Thaci, recalling the recent second anniversary of the Brussels agreement, and that senior representatives of Belgrade and Pristina have been meeting in Brussels within the dialogue.

"Why then they could not allow my trip to Belgrade?," he asked.

Thaci also said that "the refusal to secure his stay in Belgrade, the threats to him, to Kosovo's representative in Belgrade, as well as to the organizers of the conference, show that Serbia is still a hostage of the past and the policies that led to the most horrible tragedies and suffering."

Regarding the valid arrest warrant against him, Thaci "pointed out that, when it was issued, courts were dealing more with politics than justice."

After Serbia's authorities announced Thaci would be arrested if he showed up in Belgrade, the Youth Education Committee NGO which organizes the event withdrew the invitation, saying it did so under pressure and threats.

Greece will live through its most difficult summer since WW II, says ex-minister


First entry: 23 April 2015
Greece will live through its most difficult summer since WW II, says ex-minister
Opposition MP and former Health minister Adonis Georgiadis is forecasting dire days ahead.
"We will have a very difficult summer. The most difficult since World War II," said conservative New Democracy MP Georgiadis in an interview with lifestyle magazine "ΕΓΩ! Weekly"
"Greece is in decline. Can its politics thrive?" Georgiadis told the magazine.
Asked what he foresees for the future, Georgiadis replies: "I've told you, I foresee a great catastrophe...I want to hope that it will take the form of bankruptcy within the euro, so we can
return to the Eurosystem after a new, harsh (bailout) programme.

The NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy

EXERCISES


TRIDENT JAGUAR 15


Exercise TRIDENT JAGUAR 2015 took off on thursday, April 15 at the NATO Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway. The NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-ITA) will be involved in a 13-day training simulation that will enable the Italy led Command to obtain the NATO  validation for its reconfiguration as a Joint Task Force Command Headquarters.
NRDC-ITA staff will be dealing with a crisis management  scenario in a complex environment involving military and non -military actors.



 

NATO’s High Readiness Force Headquarters, NRDC-Italy is taking part in the land-heavy crisis response Small Joint Operation (SJO) exercise, TRIDENT JAGUAR 15 (TRJR 15) at NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger.

During the exercise, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Italy (NRDC-Italy) will be evaluated as a Joint Task Force (JTF) HQ, able to provide an immediate military response in reaction to the traditional and asymmetrical threats associated with a fictional failing state in northern Europe as part of the SKOLKAN 2.0 training scenario.

Lieutenant General Marchiò, Commander NRDC-Italy said: "TRJR 15 represents the outcome of more than three years of commitment of the 12 contributing nations of NRDC-Italy. This effort will allow our HQ to comply with the NATO Level of Ambition and will test our readiness to deploy worldwide in response of any crisis under the NATO umbrella."

Read the full article here http://www.jwc.nato.int/media/news-archive/527-nrdc-italy-s-trident-jaguar-exercise-underway-in-stavanger