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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



N1 Executive producer says police responsible for reporter’s safety

January 7, 2021

The safety of N1 TV reporter Jelena Zoric is in the hands of the police and the responsibility is theirs following the threats she got from lawyer Svetislav Bojovic, N1 Executive Producer Igor Bozic said on Thursday.

Zoric received veiled verbal threats from the lawyer and his client Predrag Koluvija who is standing trial in the so-called Jovanjica marijuana farm case which involves several state officials.

Bozic told Nova S TV that this is an ongoing process with the police expected to come up with an assessment of Zoric’s security.

“We went by the book, how it is done, all the legal steps were taken and, among other things, our lawyers will file a complaint with the Bar Association Disciplinary Commission over the lawyer’s behavior. That is a step to be taken after the holidays. The second is that we requested a review of Jelena’s security and there is another detail, those were not the only threats, they continued with a note on her front door. The police is investigating that added threat. They spoke to her and we are waiting for their assessment,” he said.

“If the police assess that her safety has been compromised, the responsibility is theirs if anything happens to her and if they assess that her safety has been compromised they will have to protect her,” Bozic said.

“We should be clear about this, the police are solely responsible for Jelena’s security,” he said adding that “it’s not naive to have a man who grew 12 hectares of marijuana, who sends a message through his lawyer to a journalist who never qualified anything and only dealt with facts. This is an obvious attempt to influence public opinion and intimidation,” Bozic said.

The N1 Executive Producer said that the station is under constant pressure year-round and has to react to attacks on its journalists all the time. He said that is a burden along with the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic when journalists got sick along with the name-calling in parliament.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/n1-executive-producer-says-police-responsible-for-reporters-safety/

Health ministry official: Serbia to get half a million doses of Russian vaccine

January 7, 2021

Health Ministry State Secretary Mirsad Djerlek said Serbia will get half a million doses of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine by mid-January.

He added that a large quantity of Chinese-made vaccine is also expected to arrive. “There will be 110 vaccination points in Serbia as of Friday,” he said.

Djerlek heads the National Immunization Coordination Team. He was inoculated with the Russian vaccine earlier. Djerlek denied media reports of divisions among top state officials about the type of vaccine to take and said that whatever vaccine anyone chooses they will not make a mistake.

“The Health Ministry is fully prepared for mass immunization and once we inoculate between 1.4 and 3 million people we will be able to say that we are close to beating the coronavirus,” Djerlek said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/health-ministry-official-serbia-to-get-half-a-million-doses-of-russian-vaccine/

Coronavirus pandemic regional update

January 6, 2021

Kosovo

Pristina’s Public Health Institute said on Wednesday that in the last 24 hours, two patients died and out of 1,459 tested people, 301 were infected with the coronavirus.

Since the epidemic outbreak, 190,879 people have been tested, and 52,634 have been positive for the virus.

At the same time, 43,835 patients have recovered.

The Institute said that on Wednesday, there were 7,442 active cases of the infection.

Montenegro

Montenegro’s Public Health Institute said on Wednesday that over the last 24 hours, six patients died from COVID-19-related complications, while out of 2,478 tests 643 came back positive for the coronavirus.

Since the epidemic outbreak, 705 patients have died, while 50,697 people have been infected.

North Macedonia

North Macedonia’s Health Ministry said on Wednesday that over the last 24 hours, 12 patients died from COVID-19-related complications, while out of 2,452 tested people, 622 were confirmed infected with the coronavirus.

Since the epidemic outbreak, out of 409,991 tested people 85,328 have been positive for the virus, 2,571 have died, and 16,964 patients have recovered.

On Wednesday there were 16,964 active coronavirus cases.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-pandemic-daily-regional-update-3/

Coronavirus: Slovenia reports record high number of new infections

January 6, 2021

In the last 24 hours, Slovenia has conducted a total of 22,000 PCR and rapid antigene tests, and of them 3,354 have returned positive, according to the information provided by the Slovenian government on Wednesday.

The share of positive PCR tests is a high 37.2% and a share of positive rapid tests is 4.9%, the government’s spokesman Jelko Kacin said.

Currently, the incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period is 1,704.

In the last 24 hours, 31 people died from the complications caused by COVID-19, bringing the country’s death toll to 2,868.

In Slovenia, there are now 21,772 active cases.

So far, the authorities have vaccinated 7,204 people against this infectious disease.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-slovenia-reports-record-high-number-of-new-infections/

Coronavirus: Croatia reports 44 deaths and 1,896 new infections

January 6, 2021

In the last 24 hours, of 9,919 tests performed for coronavirus, 19%, that is 1,896, have returned positive, and 44 COVID patients have died, bringing the death toll to 4,223, according to data provided by Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team on Wednesday.

Currently, there are 6,985 active cases, of whom 2,264 are receiving hospital treatment including 209 placed on ventilators.

Since the start of the epidemic in late February, 1.05 million tests have been performed, 216,286 people have caught the novel virus, and 205,078 of them recovered, including 775 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

Currently, 18, 258 people are in self-isolation.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-croatia-reports-44-deaths-and-1896-new-infections/

Another 760 new coronavirus infections, 35 COVID-19 fatalities in Bosnia

January 6, 2021

A total of 760 new coronavirus infections and 35 deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past 24 hours.

In Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity, 538 of the 3,149 samples tested since Tuesday were positive for the virus and 18 people passed away due to the disease.

In the other semi-autonomous entity, Republika Srpska (RS), 890 people were tested and the results for 184 of them came back positive. The entity also saw 16 new COVID-19 fatalities.

Bosnia’s Brcko District also reported 38 new infections and one COVID-19 fatality.

More than 113,000 people have tested positive for the virus in BiH since the beginning of the pandemic and more than 79,000 of them have recovered so far.

Bosnia’s COVID-19 death toll is more than 4,200.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/another-760-new-coronavirus-infections-35-covid-19-fatalities-in-bosnia/

Coronavirus UPDATE: 39 deaths, 2,882 newly infected in Serbia

January 6, 2021

According to Serbia’s Health Ministry’s data on Wednesday, 39 patients died from COVID-19-related complications over the last 24 hours, while out of 13,512 tested people, 2,882 were confirmed infected with the coronavirus.

The death toll stood at 3,444, with a mortality ratio of 0,98 percent.

Since the epidemic outbreak, 2,358,102 people have been tested, and 352,120 samples have come back positive for the virus.

On Wednesday, 6,405 were hospitalized, and 234 of them were on ventilators.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-update-39-deaths-2882-newly-infected-in-serbia/

‘Jovanjica’ affair: Why new probe in Serbia’s largest drug case ever?

January 6, 2021

Why did the Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin mention a new investigation in the case of Jovanjica marijuana plant, when it was completed last spring with an indictment, what he knew about the President Aleksandar Vucic's brother Andrej, and what information Miroslav Aleksic, an opposition politician, had about the fate of police officers who took part in the original probe, N1 Wednesday's story asked.

Vulin didn’t specify what that new probe would be about. But he said he was sure about one thing related to the largest drug factory discovered in Europe, as described in the indictment.

„We don’t know many things about Jovanjica; we will find out through an investigation, that’s up to the prosecutor’s office, the police and courts. We will find out all that, but for now, we know only one thing – Andrej Vucic has nothing to do with Jovanjica. Andrej Vucic certainly has nothing to do with Jovanjica,“ Vulin said.

He added the police would pay special attention to the testimony of Predrag Koluvija, plant owner, and the main suspect in producing over four tonnes of marijuana.

Koluvija told the court that the head of the Belgrade Police’s anti-drug department Slobodan Milenkovic, Dusan Mitic of the department’s operations, and prosecutor Sasa Drecun, tried to persuade him to accuse Vucic’s brother „of everything.“

Sofia Mandic, a lawyer, said it was unusual for the top authorities and the pro-government media to pay more attention to Koluvija’s words than those by the police.

„People and the media should know that an accused in criminal proceedings can lie, and bear no consequences.

„Unlike witnesses, experts and other participants in the procedure who are obliged to tell the truth, the defendant has the right to lie,“ she added.

In the meantime, Vucic said the two police officers would take a polygraph for the third time. Miroslav Aleksic, an opposition politician, described that as an unacceptable pressure on inspectors who fought against drug dealers and took a lie detector twice in January 2020, amid the investigation into the marijuana and skunk factory. Both times they were proved to have told the truth.

„They are preparing questions for the policemen who arrested Koluvija and discovered Jovanjica, to make them fail the third polygraphic test! Either they take or refuse the test, orders for their removal have already been written waiting to be handed over! The main goal is to replace them,“ Aleksic posted on his Twitter account.

Speaking about the fight against the mafia, which Vucic recently announced, Coluvia’s defence attorney Vladimir Djukanovic, a member of the main board of Vucic’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), and the head of the Parliament Justice Committee, said that some police officers were linked to criminals.

To prove that claim, he mentioned the cars with lights on. „We often read how police lights were confiscated from someone who doesn’t have anything to do with the state. Who can use them? How? And they still drive cars with the lights? That means that someone gives it to them. You wonder where we live,“ Djukanovic said.

However, he forgot to mention that according to the indictment, during the arrest, his client Predrag Koluvija drove a car with lights for which he did not have a license.
Djukanovic is also a defense counsel for Milan Kendija, one of the three police officers arrested on suspicion of being part of Coluvia’s protection

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/jovanjica-marijuana-plant-why-new-probe-in-serbias-largest-drug-case-ever/

BiH's main Bosniak party: Bosniaks in Mostar face threats and pressure

January 6, 2021

In a letter addressed to international community representatives and ambassadors in the country, the Mostar branch of Bosnia’s strongest Bosniak ethnic party, the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), said that Bosniaks in the southern city are exposed to “pressures and threats” following the local election.

The SDA Mostar considers it “completely inadmissible and politically scandalous” that official, judicial and police bodies are “used in the interest and for the purposes of non-governmental organizations with political pretensions, such as the Croat National Assembly of BiH,” the party said, referring to the organization made up of Croat ethnic parties in Bosnia.

The HNS BiH submitted complaints to prosecutors in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNK) alleging that election fraud took place in the December 20 local election in Mostar. The HNK Prosecutor’s Office formed a case and is investigating the allegations.

“The citizens of Mostar have not and will not agree to any legalization of ethnic cleansing or attempts to reduce their rights only to certain parts of the city, which the ‘draftsmen’ of ethnic maps have been trying to deceptively present to the domestic and foreign public as an allegedly ‘legitimate’ solution,” the party said.

The party urged the international community to protect basic human rights and freedoms which are protected by law and international conventions but are “in this way being denied to Bosniak returnees in one part of Mostar.”

“Such abuse of the judicial system in Mostar, the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton (HNK) and Bosnia and Herzegovina by a non-governmental organization with no competencies that has political pretensions, poses a great danger to overall relations in the City of Mostar, especially if we keep in mind the history of events in the last thirty years,” the letter said.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bihs-main-bosniak-party-bosniaks-in-mostar-face-threats-and-pressure/

Kosovo early elections on February 14

January 6, 2021

Kosovo’s acting President Vjosa Osmani said on Wednesday that early general elections would be held on February 14, Serbia’s state RTS TV reported on Wednesday.

Pristina’s Constitutional Court earlier ruled the election of the current Prime Minister Avdulah Hoti’s cabinet illegal.

The December’s ruling said the court followed the Constitution of Kosovo and the Law on General Elections, stipulating that a person convicted by a final court verdict in the last three years could not be a candidate for a deputy or hold a valid mandate in Kosovo’s Parliament.

It said that Kosovo’s Parliament decision from June 3, 2020, when the current cabinet was elected, was not under the Constitution, because the Government did not get the majority of votes of all deputies, and ordered the President to call early elections for not later than 40 days.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kosovo-early-elections-on-february-14/

Vucic says foreigners involved in wire-tapping

 

January 6, 2021

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday that he is sure that foreigners were involved in wiretapping his conversations, adding that the people he was recorded talking to have nothing to do with drug trafficking.

Speaking to the pro-government Vecernje Novosti daily prior to his trip to Mt Athos for Christmas, Vucic said that he doesn’t blame what he called „the foreign factor“ because „this was mixed up by our people“. He said that „honorable police officers“ brought him recordings of his wire-tapped conversations with people who he discusses football. „They were claimed to have connections to drugs so that they could be under surveillance,“ he said, adding that this was done to give the whole thing an air of legality.

„There are evidence and witnesses can confirm that this was not registered and was archived probably so they could blackmail someone,“ Vucic said. He claimed that this was done so that he could be wire-tapped.

He refused to speculate whether top state officials were involved, saying only that state bodies are investigating.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/vucic-says-foreigners-involved-in-wire-tapping/

 

Coronavirus pandemic daily regional update

January 5, 2020

Slovenia

Over the past 24 hours, 2,501 new cases of the coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Slovenia and there have been 35 more related deaths, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

The number of coronavirus infections has slightly increased, with 5,966 PCR tests confirming 1,680 cases and 17,531 rapid antigen tests revealing another 821 infections. The number of active cases currently stands at 20,510, nearly a thousand more than on Monday. There are 1,173 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, including 190 who are in intensive care units. The average number of daily infections in the past seven days is 1,570 per 100,000 inhabitants. According to data from the health ministry, the death toll has increased by 35 to 2,838.

Croatia

Croatia has registered 53 coronavirus-related deaths and 1,071 new infections in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team said on Tuesday.

A total of 2,390 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, including 200 on ventilators, and the number of active cases stands at 5,908. With the 53 latest fatalities, the death toll has climbed to 4,179. Since the start of the epidemic in late February, 214,390 people have been infected with the novel virus and 204,303 have recovered, including 1,009 in the last 24 hours. Currently, 17,448 people are in self-isolation. A total of 1,041,678 people have been tested for coronavirus, including 6,602 in the last 24 hours.

Kosovo

The Kosovo Public Health Institute said on Tuesday that another four people had died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,355 since the pandemic broke out.

It said that 1,282 people had been tested including 199 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. It said that there are 7,600 active cases. The Institute said that another 430 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 43,378. A total of 189,420 people have been tested in Kosovo since the pandemic broke out, 52,333 of who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Montenegro

Montenegro’s Public Health Institute said that another seven people died of coronavirus-related ailments in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths since the pandemic broke out to 699.

It said that 1,273 people had been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, including 424 who tested positive, adding that there are 9,060 active cases. The Institute said that another 492 patients had recovered from COVID-19. The total number of registered cases now stands at 50,054 since the pandemic began.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/coronavirus-pandemic-daily-regional-update-2/

Coronavirus UPDATE: 41 deaths, 2,653 new cases

January 5, 2021

The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily 3:00 pm bulletin on Tuesday that 41 people died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,405.

It said that 12,954 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 2,653 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The total number of people tested to date stands at 2,344,590 with 349,238 confirmed cases.

The bulletin said that there are 6,719 active cases, including 242 patients on ventilators.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/coronavirus-update-41-deaths-2653-new-cases/

Another 32 COVID-19 deaths and 564 coronavirus infections in Bosnia

January 5, 2021

Another 32 people died due to COVID-19 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and another 564 coronavirus infections were registered in the country, healthcare institutions said on Tuesday.

The Public Health Institute of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity said that of the 2,634 samples tested in the past 24 hours, 383 were positive for the virus and 14 people passed away due to the disease.

The other semi-autonomous entity, Republika Srpska (RS), released the results of testing conducted in the previous 48 hours. Of the 591 samples tested, 143 were positive. A total of 18 people passed away due to COVID-19 in the RS since Monday.

Bosnia’s Brcko District also registered 38 new coronavirus cases.

More than 112,000 people have tested positive for the virus in the country since the beginning of the pandemic and more than 78,000 recovered so far.

The COVID-19 death toll is more than 4,100.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/another-32-covid-19-deaths-and-564-coronavirus-infections-in-bosnia/

Bosnia's RS entity expects to receive Russia's COVID-19 vaccine end of February

January 5, 2021

Bosnia’s semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity expects to receive the first doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine at the end of February, the head of the RS Public Health Institute, Branislav Zeljkovic, said on Tuesday.

Zeljkovic said that negotiations for the procurement of the vaccine in the RS are underway but that he does not know whether the situation is the same for the territory of the other entity in the country, the Federation (FBiH).

Procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina is underway via the COVAX mechanism, he said.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnias-rs-entity-expects-to-receive-russias-covid-19-vaccine-end-of-february/

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