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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Covic informs intl officials of new charges against BiH election watchdog

December 30, 2020

According to him, there are many elements of illegal and institutionally unacceptable actions performed by the Central Election Commission in Bosnia, many of which have been presented to them before, and the new findings allegedly show elements that can be used for criminal prosecution.

His letter refers to the election watchdog's decision to recount the ballots from several Mostar polling stations following the local election. Namely, the Central Election Commission suspects that some polling stations did not count the ballots properly and that some ballots were illegal.

Covic stated that he needs not to emphasize how dangerous and insolent it is to take such actions that destabilize relations and bring unrest between Croats and Bosniaks in the city which is an example of a post-conflict local environment that always requires a careful, balanced and delicate approach.

“Due to the abundant evidence supporting the above-mentioned indications, it is to be expected that the Prosecutor's Office and the Court will comment on the conspiratorial nature of the Central Election Commission's activities in conjunction with Bosniak political entities, primarily in terms of planned fictitious registration of Bosniak voters in majority Croat areas and the complicity in accompanying conspiratorial embezzlements that directly favored Bosniak political entities,” Covic said in his letter addressed to EU Ambassador Johann Sattler, international community's High Representative Valentin Inzko, US Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson and Head of OSCE Mission Kathleen Kavalec.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/covic-informs-intl-officials-of-new-charges-against-bih-election-watchdog/

Fmr. intl. administrator: Bosnia not ready to close the OHR

December 30, 2020

Speaking to N1, former international community's administrator in Bosnia, Christian Schwarz-Schilling said he would not speculate on the appointment of a new High Representative, overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the 1992-1995 war in the country, but that he would welcome German politician Christian Schmidt's appointment in Office.

“I can only say I'd be very happy to see Christian Schmidt as the new High Representative. He's a good politician and I've known him for a long time – he's an expert. He also knows BiH so why not,” Schwarz-Schilling said in an interview with N1.

He noted this would be a positive sign that Germany is maintaining an active engagement in Bosnia especially now when it is getting a strong partner who is also a great friend of BiH – Joe Biden as US President.

Asked to comment on the previous work of the Office of the High Representative (OHR), he said when he came to office, the goal was to close the OHR and to hand over the entire management over the country to local politicians but their objections to necessary reforms proved BiH was not ready to function without the OHR.

“I can't say I blame the OHR. I know that [Valentin] Inzko (incumbent High Representative) wanted to do more. The OHR is the hostage of international politics. The EUFOR (European peacekeeping forces) is much smaller, the OHR is getting smaller but Bosnia's achievements on its EU accession path are also getting smaller. This can't go on,” Schwarz-Schilling warned adding that the OHR must stay in Bosnia because it is the one institution that can regulate many of the existing issues legally.

Asked to say what Bosnia needs to do to amend its Constitution properly, Schwarz-Schilling said it needs to make all the citizens equal before the law and make the state functional so it can enter the EU. The current Constitution can only push the country backward, he concluded.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/fmr-intl-administrator-bosnia-not-ready-to-close-ohr/

AbazoRelations with Serbia could improve

December 30, 2020

Montenegrin deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic told N1 that relations with Serbia could improve greatly if official Belgrade extradited former Montenegrin state official Svetozar Marovic who is wanted for a number of serious crimes and if the decision to expel the Serbian ambassador is withdrawn.

Marovic was charged with a number of crimes allegedly committed while he was in power as a senior official of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS). He fled to Serbia and the Montenegrin authorities demanded his extradition. “We requested Marovic’s extradition and we believe that we should turn a new page in relations with Serbia which is certainly closest to us historically, traditionally, and in terms of family and certainly with other countries in the region,” he said.

Abazovic acccused the outgoing Montenegrin authorities, headed by the DPS and its leader President Milo Djukanovic, of attempting what he said is a “creeping coup d’etat” in parliament.

Commenting the decision to declare Serbian Ambassador Vladimir Bozovic persona non grata, he said that the new government was not the one to order him out of the country. He expressed the hope that the two countries’ foreign ministries would resolve the problem and that Podgorica would name a new ambassador to Serbia. “All our policies should be based on good neighbor relations,” he said. Podgorica expelled Bozovic and Belgrade responded by expelling Montenegro’s Ambassador Milosevic.

“Our hand is out and Serbian officials are more than welcome in Montenegro and I hope that we will have to get a chance to come to Belgrade as guests,” he added.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/abazovic-tells-n1-relations-with-serbia-could-improve/

Coronavirus: Slovenia reports 2,413 new cases, 36 deaths

December 29, 2020

Over the past 24 hours, more than 13,000 coronavirus tests have been performed in Slovenia, confirming 2,413 new cases of the infection, and there have been 36 more related deaths, Slovenia's Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

The number of active cases stands at 19,284, which is 1.6 percent more than on Tuesday.

The rolling seven-day average of new daily new cases has increased by 2.8% to 1,389.

The Covid-19 death toll has gone up to 2,631, the health ministry said. There are 1,170 Covid patients in hospitals, 203 of whom are in intensive care units.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a689091/Coronavirus-Slovenia-reports-2-413-new-cases-36-deaths.html

Coronavirus: Croatia registers 1,350 new cases and 56 deaths

December 29, 2020

Croatia on Tuesday registered 1,350 new cases of coronavirus and there are currently 7,673 active cases in the country while 56 people have died in the past 24 hours, the national COVID response team reported.

A total of 2,654 infected people are currently hospitalized and 254 of them on ventilators.

Since 25 February when the first case was registered in Croatia, a total of 206,596 people have been infected with the virus, of whom 3,795 have died and 195,128 have recovered, including 1,657 in the past 24 hours. Currently, 26,918 people are in self-isolation.

To date, a total of 1,004,346 COVID tests have been conducted, 7,411 of them in the past 24 hours.

Source: http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688781/Coronavirus-Croatia-registers-1-350-new-cases-and-56-deaths.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 46 deaths, 3,136new cases

December 29, 2020

The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily 3:00 pm bulletin on Tuesday that 46 people died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,119.

It said that 14,987 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 3,136 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The total number of people tested to date stands at 2,268,962 with 331,755 confirmed cases.

The bulletin said that there are 9,366 active cases, including 283 patients on ventilators.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688825/Coronavirus-UPDATE-46-deaths-3-136new-cases.html

Bosnia reports 543 new coronavirus cases along with 48 fatalities

December 29, 2020

Bosnian health officials reported 543 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, along with 48 virus-related fatalities.

The country's Federation (FBiH) entity reported 358 new cases after testing 2,642 samples for the new coronavirus. The entity's Public Health Institute said they recorded 23 deaths caused by the virus.

The Republika Srpska (RS) region said they registered 149 new cases of the disease. This entity also reported having 20 fatalities over the last 24 hours.

Brcko District health officials said they recorded 36 new coronavirus case along with four fatalities.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688765/Bosnia-reports-543-new-coronavirus-cases-along-with-48-fatalities.html

Montenegro reports two coronavirus-related deaths

December 29, 2020

The Montenegrin Public Health Institute said on Tuesday that two more people had died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours,

It said that 1,627 people had been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in that period, including 435 people who tested positive.  

The Public Health Institute said that 619 more patients had recovered from COVID-19.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688973/Montenegro-reports-two-more-coronavirus-related-deaths.html

North Macedonia reports 17 more coronavirus-related deaths

December 29, 2020

The North Macedonia Health Ministry said on Tuesday that another 17 people had died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 2,473 since the pandemic broke out.

It said that 2,467 people had been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in that period, including 498 who tested positive. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stands at 82,301 since the pandemic broke out including 19,572 active cases.  

The country’s Public Health institute said that another 606 patients had recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 60,256.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688981/North-Macedonia-reports-17-more-coronavirus-related-deaths.html

Neo-nazi desecrate People's Heroes Crypt in Belgrade

December 29, 2020

Neo-Nazis published a video of the organized desecration of the four People's Heroes Crypt in the Belgrade central Kalemegdan park, built in 1948, with "Death to Fascism - Freedom to the People."

A video taken during the desecration, which VOICE website had access to, showed a large group of people near the Crypt, who, along with Nazi shouts, wrote "Death to the Commune" graffiti.

Some three-minute recording in black and white was accompanied by music by neo-Nazi bands and ends with the message "You still exist - that's tolerance," the organization "Anti Antifa Belgrade" reported.

The logo is illustrated with the "Celtic Cross", an international neo-Nazi symbol.

"They are attacking people and property in an organized manner, and they filmed the attack and desecration of the symbol of anti-fascist struggle. Of course, there is no reaction from the authorities, and that is why we call on all anti-fascists to unite and be careful," the AFA posted on its Facebook page.

That was not the first such incident, but the competent state authorities had never found the perpetrators of those heinous acts, although they occasionally left recordings and photos of their Nazi feasts on social networks, AFA said.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688731/Neo-nazi-desecrate-People-s-Heroes-Crypt-in-Belgrade.html

Petrinja Mayor calls for urgent emergency aid for Petrinja after 6.3 quake

December 29, 2020

Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbovic has called for immediate emergeny aid following a 6.3 strong earthquake that struck Petrinja at 12.20 pm Tuesday, saying that half the town has been destroyed.

"We are dragging people out of cars. We don't know if there have been any casualties. I have heard that the kindergarten has collapsed but luckily there were no children in it," said Dumbovic.

"The people are in panic looking for their loved ones," he added and called for anyone that can, to come and help in Petrinja, particularly professional fire-fighters and the army.

In a statement for N1 television, Dubmovic said that he had spoken to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic who set out immediately to go to Petrinja.

Prior to leaving for Petrinja, Plenkovic said that some buildings in downtown Zagreb have caved in. Zagreb residents have taken to the streets in fear of another tremor.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688761/Petrinja-Mayor-calls-for-urgent-emergency-aid-for-Petrinja-after-6.3-quake.html

Earthquake in Croatia: At least seven dead, including little girl

December 29, 2020

With a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale, a strong earthquake hit the area of Petrinja in Croatia, killing at least seven people including a girl of 13, the authorities said.

It was also felt in Serbia, while the operation of the Krsko nuclear power plant in Slovenia was stopped as a precaution.

The center of Petrinja was completely destroyed.

The Croatian authorities said that a total of seven people, including a girl of 13, had died in the earthquake that shook the country earlier on Tuesday and that at least six people had sustained serious injuries.

A large number of Zagreb residents took to the streets, and many were trying to leave the city, which had led to a traffic collapse.

Croatia's President Zoran Milanovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic arrived in Petrinja.
There are also people injured in the earthquake in Zagreb, Croatian radio reported

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688791/Earthquake-in-Croatia-One-girl-killed-in-Petrinja-injured-in-Zagreb.html

Activists protest plan to build metro station on protected wetland

December 29, 2020

Activists opposed to the construction of the first Belgrade metro station at a protected wetland area were prevented from entering the building where the Belgrade City Assembly was meeting on Tuesday to adopt the plan that would allow the start of construction.

Security guards and Communal Militia officers at the Sava Center stood at the doors and prevented the activists from entering the building with police in riot gear deployed inside.  

The protesters wanted to interrupt the city assembly session and prevented its members from adopting the initial construction plan which would effectively mean that construction crews could go into the wetland and start building the metro. They said that the plan should be taken off the agenda and that the public debate should be organized again when the pandemic allows a public presence.

  Deputy Mayor Goran Vesic said that the protest was intended to hide the opposition’s goal fo preventing the construction of the metro.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688961/Activists-protest-plan-to-build-metro-station-on-protected-wetland.html

Montenegro adopts changes to Law on religious freedom

December 29, 2020

The Montenegrin ruling coalition MPs adopted early on Tuesday the changes to the Law on Religious freedom, while the opposition boycotted the session.

“Despite the opposition’s obstruction, violation of the Constitution and laws, the Parliament passed the changes of the Law on Religious Freedom. After a year, they corrected an injustice which the former regime wanted to bring upon the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), treating and using its property as its own,” Zdravko Krivokapic, Montenegrin Prime Minister said in his tweet following the session.

He added the decision made all religious communities equal before the Law and that it was a victory for the legal state “which the people defended in the street for 12 months.”

The Law triggered mass protests across Montenegro in 2020, gathering both people dissatisfied with the new Law and those unhappy with the 30-year-long rule by President Milo Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) which lost power in the last elections.

DPS earlier said the changes favoured only one religious community and one nation, i.e. the SPC and the Serbs.

Justice and Human Rights Minister Vladimir Leposavic said the discussion on the Law lasted 365 days and that the people “almost as on referendum” demanded the changes.

The DPS supporters protested against the changes to the Law.

On Tuesday, former Prime Minister and DPS deputy Dusko Markovic said that the atmosphere in the country's Parliament during the Law's debate was scandalous and anti-constitutional, adding he would file charges against all those who "violated the Constitution."

SPC and official Belgrade backed the request for changes and protests across the tiny Adriatic republic earlier in the year.

Many observers agreed the dissent mainly contributed to the opposition's victory last April, after 30 years.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688667/Montenegro-adopts-changes-to-Law-on-religious-freedom.html

Coronavirus UPDATE: 43 deaths, 2,559 new cases

December 28, 2020

The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily 3:00 pm bulletin on Monday that 43 people died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,073.

It said that 11,190 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 2,559 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The total number of people tested to date stands at 2,253,975 with 328,619 confirmed cases.

The bulletin said that there are 9,728 active cases, including 288 patients on ventilators.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a688481/Coronavirus-UPDATE-43-deaths-2-559-new-cases.html

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