International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

A million doses of Chinese vaccine arrive in Serbia

January 16, 2021

An aeroplane carrying 1 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine landed at Belgrade airport Nikola Tesla on Saturday, and it was welcomed by the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic who said on that occasion he would receive this particular vaccine in the coming days.

The vaccines were delivered in 10 containers with 125,000 doses in each of them, said Vucic.

Apart from him, the vaccines were received by Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar, Head of Security and Intelligence Agency Bratislav Gasic, and the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo.

On this occasion, Vucic thanked Chinese President XI Jinping and the Chinese Ambassador for this extremely valuable shipment for Serbia.

The Chinese Sinopharm vaccine is the third vaccine to be used in this country, after Pfizer’s and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/a-million-doses-of-chinese-vaccine-arrive-in-serbia/

Serbian Crisis Team doctor says Chinese vaccine arriving this weekend

January 15, 2021

An official of the Serbian government pandemic Crisis Team said on Friday that a shipment of the Chinese Sinofarm coronavirus vaccine is due to arrive in Belgrade over the weekend.

Dr Zoran Gojkovic told a news conference that the Chinese vaccine will undergo all the tests and checks required by the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia (ALIMS) just like the Pfizer and Sputnik V vaccines. He said that the Pfizer vaccine has been given a permanent license for use while the Russian Sputnik V has been granted only a temporary use license and is still undergoing the test procedures for a permanent license.

“This is the third vaccine in Serbia and we are the only country to get three different vaccines from three manufacturers,” he said, adding that the Chinese vaccine will get a temporary license before getting a permanent permit.

A press release from the Serbian President’s cabinet said that Vucic would be at the airport on Saturday morning to meet the aircraft carrying a million doses of the Chinese vaccine

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-crisis-team-doctor-says-chinese-vaccine-arriving-this-weekend/

Coronavirus UPDATE: 21 deaths, 1,751 new cases

January 15, 2021

The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily 3:00 pm bulletin on Friday that 21 people died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,708.

It said that 10,961 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 1,751 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The total number of people tested to date stands at 2,459,722 with 369,823 confirmed cases.

The bulletin said that there are 5,409 active cases, including 196 patients on ventilators.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-update-21-deaths-1751-new-cases/

Covid daily: Slovenia

January 15, 2021

In the past 24 hours, there have been 1,478 new cases of Covid-19 and 23 related fatalities in Slovenia, the country’s health ministry reported on Friday, adding that the government was still not considering easing restrictions.

A total of 4,897 PCR tests identified 1,144 positive cases (a share of 23.4%) and an additional 334 positive cases were confirmed with 6,321 antigen tests, a share of 5.3%.

Even though the number of new cases is declining, with almost 600 fewer cases in the past 24 hours than one week ago, the government is still not thinking about relaxing restrictions.

There are currently still 22,941 active Covid-19 cases in the country and the average daily number in the past seven days has been 1,465. There are 1,266 hospitalized patients, 199 of whom are in intensive care.

According to the latest data from the health ministry, the death toll has increased to 3,093.
The government believes that the vaccination campaign could result in easing restrictions in April or May.

So far 29,561 people have been vaccinated, or about 1.5% of the population. All elderly people in aged care facilities have been vaccinated as have many health workers.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-pandemic-daily-regional-update-january-15th-2021/


Croatia reports 715 new cases, 33 deaths

January 15, 2021

In the past 24 hours there have been 715 new Covid-19 cases and 33 related fatalities, the national Covid-19 response team said on Friday.

There are 4,653 active cases in the country, of whom 1,855 are people who are hospitalized, including 160 on ventilators.

Since 25 February, when the first case of the infection was reported, there have been 223,812 infections, including 4,550 fatalities. A total of 214,609 people have recovered from the disease, including 1,239 in the past 24 hours.

Currently, 18,048 people are in self-isolation.

A total of 1,107,887 people have been tested for coronavirus, with 5,335 tests conducted in the past 24 hours, the response team reported.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/croatia-reports-715-new-cases-33-deaths/

Bosnia's Federation entity presents vaccination plan

January 15, 2021

Covid-19 vaccine will be free of charge for all citizens of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity and will be received voluntarily, the FBiH authorities confirmed on Friday presenting the vaccination plan for this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The FBiH cantons, ten of them, will be tasked to form operational teams to conduct the immunization as well as the teams for vaccination at healthcare institutions.

“The list of priorities is being created, based on which the immunization will be carried out,” chief of the FBiH Public Healthcare Institute Davor Pehar told a press conference, stressing that the first in line will be the healthcare workers, followed by the residents and workers at nursing homes, persons with chronic diseases and those employed in specific public institutions.

The cantonal operational teams will be in charge of further education on the vaccination process at healthcare institutions.

Each hospital will have its own team, while the general practitioner teams at healthcare institutes will be in charge of this process, said Mia Blazevic of the FBiH Public Healthcare Institute.

One of the recommendations from this institution says that patients should come in for vaccination every ten minutes, to avoid contact with other patients, which means the vaccination of six patients in an hour.

At nursing homes, the vaccination will be carried out at rooms.

Speaking of other details, the healthcare officials said the transportation system has been determined before.

Goran Cerkez, the Assistant FBiH Health Minister, stressed 12 million marks plus an additional two million (approx seven million euros in total) have been planned for this purpose during this year.

“The FBiH is prepared to apply the vaccines and acquire new quantities. That would mean 800,000 vaccines for 400,000 citizens through COVAX mechanism. Additional 800,000 vaccines are expected through the European Union’s common system and we also have funds for other vaccines such as AstraZeneca, which is expected to be registered by end of January,” he concluded.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnias-federation-entity-presents-vaccination-plan/

Bosnia logs 320 new coronavirus cases, 584 patients recover

January 15, 2021

Bosnia and Herzegovina recorded 320 new coronavirus cases and 18 deaths, while 584 Covid-19 patients recovered, according to the data published by the healthcare authorities on Friday.

The new results came from 2,575 lab tests performed.

The Federation entity recorded a total of 75,741 Covid-19 patients, with 58,093 of those who have recovered to date. The region also reported 2,352 deaths.

Republika Srpska entity recorded a total of 38,652 patients and so far 24,848 have recovered. A total of 1,931 Covid-19 patients died since the epidemic outbreak.

Brcko District reported a total of 2,938 patients of whom 2,293 recovered to date and 146 died.

The coronavirus total in Bosnia and Herzegovina now stands at 117,331.

To this date, the healthcare authorities in each of the three administrative units reported 4,429 Covid-19 deaths, while 85,234 patients have recovered – 584 in the last 24 hours.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnia-logs-320-new-coronavirus-cases-584-patients-recovered/

War Crimes witness found dead in Kosovo

January 15, 2021

A former Kosovo Police officer who was due to appear as a witness to war crimes at the Specialist Chambers was found dead at the Badovac Lake outside Pristina on Friday.

The Kosovo Policy Service confirmed that Fadil Sileviqi’s body was found on the banks of the lake on Friday afternoon but gave no details about his death. Police Spokesman Bajram Krasniqi said that the policemen were called in around 2 pm and contacted the family after identifying the body and calling in a state prosecutor.

Sileviqi was summoned to appear before the Specialist Chambers as a witness. His name was released in a public indictment. Two Kosovo Albanians who were sentenced to prison terms for the murder of five members of an Albanian family accused Sileviqi of having framed them for the murders.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/war-crimes-witness-found-dead-in-kosovo/

Arson attack on bar near Belgrade Waterfront

January 15, 2021

A molotov cocktail was lobbed through the windows of a wine bar in the Savamala neighborhood central Belgrade on Friday.

The police said that the restaurant was closed and no one was injured in the attack near the Belgrade Waterfront.

The name of the restaurant was not released in the police press release but photographs on news portals showed police and firefighters in front of the Dudurudu wine bar and restaurant.

Police and firefighters at the scene confirmed that no one was injured and that the fire was put out quickly. No motive for the attack has been released and the attackers were not immediately identified.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/arson-attack-on-bar-near-belgrade-waterfront/

Ambassador says Hungary supporting investments in Serbia

January 15, 2021

Hungary’s Ambassador in Belgrade Atila Pinter said on Friday that his government has earmarked millions of Euro to support Hungarian companies investing in Serbia.

Pinter told Serbian Economy Minister Andjelka Atanaskovic that his government earmarked 25 million Euro to support nine Hungarian companies investing in projects across Serbia. He said their total investments will stand at around 75 million euros.

Atanackovic is quoted in a ministry press release as saying that joint infrastructure projects are of both bilateral and regional importance. “The modernization of the Belgrade-Budapest railway will strengthen our friendly relations and bring the citizens of the two countries closer together,” she said.

According to the minister, Hungary is an important trade partner for Serbia, ranking third among European Union member states right after Germany and Austria. She said that trade between Hungary and Serbia totaled 1.7 billion euros in the first 10 months of 2020.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/ambassador-says-hungary-supporting-investments-in-serbia/

EC warns BiH its failure to manage migrant crisis could hurt its EU aspirations

January 15, 2021

The European Commission warned Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday that the unresolved situation regarding the hundreds of migrants stranded in Bosnia’s northwest without adequate accommodation could have a negative impact on the country’s aspirations to join the European Union.

Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European External Action Service, Peter Stano, said the situation with the migrants at the Lipa tent camp is “unacceptable” and urged Bosnian authorities to urgently solve the crisis.

“The inability of the authorities to implement decisions and fulfill their obligations negatively affects the image of Bosnia and Herzegovina internationally and could also affect the country's European aspirations,” Stano said.

He reminded that EU High Representative Josep Borrell spoke to the Chairman of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, on Monday and reminded him of the country’s international obligations and its responsibilities stemming from its aspirations to join the EU and “made it clear that there would be consequences if Bosnia Herzegovina doesn’t meet those demands.”

Borrell also criticized the conditions in the Lipa camp and Bosnia’s overall failure to manage the migrant crisis, he added.

According to the EU’s estimates, there are some 1,700 migrants currently staying in Bosnia’s northwestern Una-Sana Canton (USK) without adequate shelter from the harsh winter weather conditions. Some 900 of them are stranded in the Lipa camp which was destroyed in a fire in December.

The EU has sent a total of 13.8 million euros in humanitarian aid for Bosnia to accommodate asylum seekers since 2018.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/ec-warns-bih-its-failure-to-manage-migrant-crisis-could-hurt-its-eu-aspirations/

How more than 100 million BAM in EU aid for migrants in Bosnia were spent


January 15, 2021

The European Union has paid some 154 million Bosnian Marks (about 79 million euros) since 2018 to international organizations to help Bosnia manage the migrant crisis and more than 100 million has already been spent, so it is unclear why the migrants in the country are living in such bad conditions.

The EU transferred the money to the accounts of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partners, the UNICEF, UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council. The IOM still has more than 50 million Bosnian Marks on its account to spend until July 2021.

According to EC Spokesperson Balazs Ujvari, the money is not given to governments but always to humanitarian organizations.

The IOM used seven million Bosnian Marks of the money it received to procure specialized vehicles, equipment, uniforms for the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs, the Border Police, the Ministry of the Interior of the Una-Sana Canton (USK), the area in Bosnia most affected by the migrant crisis.

“The problem is that the money was given to IOM and the UNHCR, and they say this was to help to BiH. And then in the Report, you see that a third of that money goes to servicing the salaries of the administration of those same people who gave the money, meaning foreigners,” said Damir Masic, a member of Bosnia’s parliamentary commission for security.

“And now you have an absurd situation, 240 very nice, expensive containers that are adequate for temporary accommodation which is located in Bira and the state has no authority to transfer them from one location to another, so they sit there empty while people are trying to accommodate those people in tents,” he said.

Administrative costs roughly amounted to some 2.6 million Bosnian marks. The establishment of migrant reception centers cost about 14 million Bosnian marks.
According to the IOM, most of the money went to humanitarian aid for migrants, about 40 million Bosnian marks.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/how-more-than-100-million-bam-in-eu-aid-for-migrants-in-bosnia-were-spent/


Ukraine opens criminal case regarding “illegal export” of icon Dodik gave Lavrov

January 15, 2021

Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed on Friday that the country’s Prosecutor General initiated proceedings regarding the “illegal export” of the Orthodox icon which Bosnia’s Presidency Chairman, Milorad Dodik, gave Russia’s Foreign Minister in December, Radio Free Europe reported.

“The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine has initiated proceedings in the criminal case of illegal export,” the spokesperson of Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, told RFE in a written statement.

After Dodik gave Lavrov the 300-year-old gilded icon in December, the Ukrainian Embassy in Sarajevo sent a note to the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking for detailed information on the origin of what it suspects is a piece of Ukrainian cultural heritage. Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture said the icon could have been illegally taken from the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Luhansk by mercenaries.

Bosnia’s Prosecutor’s Office has meanwhile launched an investigation into the matter.

By the end of the month, the icon was returned to Bosnia via the Bosnian ambassador in Moscow, per Russia’s request.

Dodik said last week that the entire narrative regarding the artifact was made up and that the media in Bosnia’s semi-autonomous Federation (FBiH) was tasked with creating a “false story.”

This was, however, disputed by Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dmytro Kuleba.

On Thursday, Dodik mentioned the case while he was criticizing the situation in Bosnia’s judiciary.

“If Ukraine proves that it asked for the icon before the date when I had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, I will agree to hand it over,” Dodik said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry reacted to this statement.

“Ukraine rejects the language of conditioning and ultimatums of the member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik. It is an indisputable fact that the icon originates from the territory of Ukraine,” it said.

It also said that it expects Bosnia’s authorities to help in the investigation and in efforts to bring the artifact back to Ukraine as soon as possible.

“We expect that, instead of turning the icon into a hostage of a domestic political struggle, the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina will provide assistance as part of a criminal investigation,” it said.

The ministry also reminded of the fact that Bosnia and Ukraine are both signatories of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/ukraine-opens-criminal-case-regarding-illegal-export-of-icon-dodik-gave-lavrov/

Head of government in Bosnia's northeastern Tuzla Canton resigns

January 15, 2021

The head of the government of the most populated canton in Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity, the Tuzla Canton (TK), has resigned on Friday.

The resignation came at a Friday session of the TK Assembly, where a representative of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Dzevad Hadzic, requested a discussion on the removal of TK government head, Denijal Tulumovic, as well as the local ministers of education, finance, culture, sports and youth, agriculture, water management and forestry, health and veterans’ issues.

The new majority in TK also requested the removal of the Assembly speaker Zarko Vujovic and his deputy, Boris Kresic, who both resigned.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/head-of-government-in-bosnias-northeastern-tuzla-canton-resigns/

Kosovo Serbs field candidates in early parliamentary elections

January 15, 2021

The Serb List submitted its list of 20 candidates for the early elections to the Kosovo parliament on February 14.

Serb List leader Goran Rakic told reporters in front of the Central Election Commission headquarters that the party has the strong support of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. “That is why I know that we will win all 10 of the seats reserved for Serbs in Kosovo,” he said.

The KoSSev news portal said that about half of the candidates are Serb List MPs and added that the list is headed by Igor Simic and includes Ksenija Bozovic, an official of the GI SDP. That political organization was formed and headed by Kosovo Serb opposition leader Oliver Ivanovic who was gunned down in front of his party offices in January 2018 and has not cooperated with the Serb List to date.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kosovo-serbs-field-candidates-in-early-parliamentary-elections/

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