Monday, March 30, 2009



The mayor of the district of Aerodrom in Macedonia, Kiril Todorovski, has made the formal decision to allocate one-time financial aid to 95 families with newborns. Apart from this, each family will receive an eco bag that carries the logo of the district of Aerodrom.

This tradition started at the beginning of 2008 and since then, a total of 716 such formal decisions have been made.

This Skopje district will continue with this campaign that brings good news, and every family with a newborn will receive MKD 5,000 in financial aid in 2009.


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According to Forbes, Macedonia drop 1 spot this year in the ranking for a best country for business. The results as to why #51 is shown in the table below. Forbes looks at many different aspects, including but not limited to Trade, Innovation, Technology, Tax Burden etc.

Macedonia does very well in monetary freedom, placing 8th in the world, and poorly in Innovation and property rights.

In the region (SE Europe), Slovenia is the leader, placing 36, Croatia at 50th. Other countries in the region place rather poorly, Bosnia for instance is 119. Albania is 77th, Serbia 82nd, while Greece ranked 52, right behind Macedonia.

World Leaders, i.e. Best countries for doing business, according to Forbes are: Denmark, US, Canada, Sweden, Hong Kong, Australia, Norway, New Zealand. UAE is the country that made an enourmous jump in the ranking. It moved up 28 spots.


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The US ambassador to Greece, Daniel Speckhard voiced hope that the burning Athens-Skopje name row will be solved in 2010, local media reported on Friday.
Ambassador Speckhard noted this in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center, on the theme "Resilience and Transition: Resetting US- Greece Relations," the local Makfax news agency reported.

"I personally hope that next year we will see certain progress. I know that I said this last year but I'm an optimist because this is a political season in Greece's neighbor,” he said referring to the ongoing double presidential and local election in Macedonia.

“In the near future, this issue will be put behind and it will be easier to focus on the essence and to find a solution acceptable to Greece and its neighbour," Ambassador Speckhard said.

The ambassador noted that the United States will continue its engagement in helping both countries, but said both Greece and Macedonia should seek a solution within the framework of the ongoing United Nations talks.


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Monday, March 23, 2009



George Ivanov from the main ruling VMRO DPMNE party and Ljubomir Frckoski from the main opposition the Social Democrats are set to go into the second round of Macedonia’s presidential election according to early results.
Out of 37 percent of the counted votes, Ivanov is the frontrunner with about 81,000 votes or 37 percent while Frckoski has won 43,000 votes or nearly 20 percent, according to the State Election Commission.

The independent candidate Ljube Boskoski got 36,000 votes or 16 percent, Imer Selmani from the New Democracy party received 29,000 votes or 13 percent, while Agron Buxhaku from the ruling Democratic Union for Integration, DUI got 16,000 votes or over 6 percent.

Mirushe Hoxha from the Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA and Nano Ruzin from the Liberal Democrats won around 7,000 votes each or around 3 percent from the number of ballots counted so far.

Earlier the State Election Commission announced Sunday’s presidential and mayoral elections went without major incident and met democratic norms.

In what was widely seen as a curtail test for the country’s shaken democratic record only the heavy snow disrupted the election with ballot materials unable to reach some remote mountainous areas on time.

But overall the election went "peacefully and in a democratic atmosphere with minor exceptions," the State Election Commission head, Aleksandar Novakovski said at a press conference.

The snow prevented some 12,000 people in certain mountainous vilages, less than one percent of the total voters, to vote as the balloting did not start in 103 out of the nearly 3000 ballot stations, the commission said.

The largest association of domestic monitors, MOST also assessed the vote as generally fair and democratic with few minor, mainly technical and administrative flaws. They have been monitoring the process with over 3000 observers out of almost 7,500 present at the ballots. The police presence was also evident at all ballot stations.

The election is being closely monitored in the West which has previously warned the country that it could face years of delay in its bid to join the European Union if there is a repeat of last year’s election-related violence. In June 2008, violence erupted between rival ethnic Albanian parties during the vote leaving one person dead and several wounded.

In statements given prior to the closing of the vote, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the largest international monitoring group, and the key western ambassadors to the country also expressed that they were content with the way the elections were held.

If none of the seven presidential candidates wins more than half of the votes in the first round a run-off will be staged on April 5 between the two front-runners. The same applies for the 84 mayoral seats.

(Photo credit should read A1)

MD: The picture is from 23.20 hours. percentage may vary with the released results by State election commission.


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Sunday, March 22, 2009



According to initial, unofficial results the State Election Commission (SEC) has been presenting at the Parliament's Press Center, VMRO-DPMNE presidential candidate Gjorgi Ivanov is in the lead with 19,708 votes.

SDSM candidate Ljubomir Frckoski holds the second place, followed by independent presidential hopeful Ljube Boskoski, New Democracy - Imer Selmani, DUI - Agron Buxhaku, LDP - Nano Ruzin and DPA - Mirushe Hoxha.

These results are based on data from 472 polling stations. VMRO-DPMNE announced their two mayoral candidates won in Bitola and Prilep.

overall the election went "peacefully and in a democratic atmosphere with minor exceptions," the State Election Commission head, Aleksandar Novakovski said at a press conference. The turnout until 1700 CET was 48 percent, the commission said.

The snow prevented some 12,000 people in certain mountainous vilages, less than one percent of the total voters, to vote as the balloting did not start in 103 out of the nearly 3000 ballot stations, the commission said.

The largest association of domestic monitors, MOST also assessed the vote as generally fair and democratic with few minor, mainly technical and administrative flaws. They have been monitoring the process with over 3000 observers out of almost 7,500 present at the ballots. The police presence was also evident at all ballot stations.

The election is being closely monitored in the West which has previously warned the country that it could face years of delay in its bid to join the European Union if there is a repeat of last year’s election-related violence. In June 2008, violence erupted between rival ethnic Albanian parties during the vote leaving one person dead and several wounded.

In statements given prior to the closing of the vote, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the largest international monitoring group, and the key western ambassadors to the country also expressed that they were content with the way the elections were held.


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The heavy snow, which fell on Friday and Saturday in Macedonia, is still causing problems in Macedonia, including for the election process. It prevented members of electoral commissions from arriving on time for the start of the voting. On Sunday Macedonia holds its fourth presidential and fifth local elections.

Voting has not started in 53 polling stations in 16 Macedonian municipalities, Makfax agency informs.
They did not open until 8:00 a.m. local time as it is impossible to travel along the roads there. The information was confirmed on Sunday morning by State Electoral Commission Spokesman Zoran Tanevski.
He added that the polling stations could open doors.
“The problems are in the municipalities where it snowed heavily and where it is impossible to travel along the roads there,” he said.
The law says it is possible to open polling stations at 10:00 a.m. local time at the latest.
Tanevski added there were no other problems so far.

In the municipality of Kucani five polling stations failed to open at 7:00 a.m. local time and the municipal electoral commission says the elections will not be held there on Sunday, a Focus News Agency reporter informs.

All these polling stations are situated in hilly and mountainous regions. In the remaining part of the municipality of Kucani the elections are running smoothly. All polling stations that did not encounter problems with the snow opened at 7:00 a.m.
Some of the polling stations in Macedonia were opened with a delay of 30 minutes. The voting runs normally in the polling stations that opened on time and did not encounter problems with the supply of election materials.

The snow has been removed from the major roads connecting Macedonian cities. They have been treated with salt and sand. Road surfaces are dry. However, smaller towns and villages encounter problems because you can reach them by second and third class roads. In some places in the mountains the snow is 80 cm and even 1 m deep. The record is 178 cm on the summit of Popova Sapka in the Sar Mountains.

The media in Macedonia comment that snow will most probably be the biggest enemy of the elections. Radio stations provide listeners with the latest travel situation.


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Several Orthodox Christian believers from Macedonia’s central town of Negotino, worried they would be committing a sin if they vote for Muslim candidate Imer Selmani in this Sunday's presidential elections, have asked, and got the blessing to do so from their local priest.
This unusual request came as the presidential race intensifies ahead of the March 22 poll.

“Since I consider myself to be a big believer, and my fellow citizens know me as one, I consulted my priest in order not to make a mistake, since Imer Selmani is a Muslim,” said one Negotino resident to the local ''Dnevnik'' newspaper.

He said that he is honestly considering voting for Selmani because, “unlike the rest of the candidates, he [Selmani] has insulted no one during the campaign”.

The priest from Macedonia’s Orthodox Church also cited by the newspaper gave his blessing to the believers to vote for whom they like.

“The Bible says that every authority is God given. It makes no difference whether you vote for a Muslim or a Christian. It is God’s will who will win”, the priest replied to the question.

According to the newspaper more and more people from this mainly Orthodox town populated with ethnic Macedonians are considering voting for the ethnic Albanian Selmani, comparing him to Barack Obama who became the first US president with an African American background. Macedonians and Albanians have typically voted for representatives from their own ethnic groups in the past.

Various opinion polls show that Selmani has a serious chance of becoming the first ethnic Albanian presidential candidate to ever enter the second round of Macedonia's presidential elections, slated for April 5.

In 2001 the country suffered an ethnic Albanian armed insurgency. The hostilities ended with the signing of the Ohrid peace accord that granted greater rights to Albanians, which make up about one quarter of the population.

Unlike the other six candidates whose rhetoric during the campaign targets mainly their own ethnicity, Selmani, who readily admits that he was inspired by Obama’s victory in the US, stages rallies in areas populated by the Macedonian majority as well as in the parts of the country where the Albanian community lives.


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Voting has opened in Macedonia’s presidential and mayor elections in a poll seen as a test of the country’s democratic record.

Polls opened at 0700 CET (0600 GMT) and will close at 1900 CET (1800 GMT).

The vote is closely monitored by the European Union after last year’s June general election was marred by violence and fraud in ethnic Albanian areas. The police are present at each of the around 3,000 ballot stations.

The voters will chose among seven presidential candidates, Georgi Ivanov from the main ruling VMRO DPMNE conservative party; Ljubomir Frckoski from the main opposition, the Social Democrats; Agron Buxhaku from the governing Democratic Union for Integration, Nano Ruzin from the Liberal Democrats, the independent candidate Ljube Boskoski, Mirushe Hoxha from the opposition Democratic Party of Albanians and Imer Selmani from the newly-formed New Democracy party.

In a largely colourless campaign, the relative popularity of the ethnic Albanian candidate Selmani, has raised eyebrows. Opinion polls show he has a chance of becoming the first ethnic Albanian to enter the second round of the presidential elections, scheduled for April 5.

However opinion polls show Ivanov has a firm lead and Selmani and Frckoski are seen as the most probable runner-ups.

Together with the Prime Minister, the new President will have to tackle the Athens-Skopje name row right away. Last year’s Greek veto of Macedonia’s NATO membership because of the unresolved row left the country out of the alliance and is now threatening to stall its European Union membership bid as well.

While the local election where 84 mayoral seats are up for grabs has been overshadowed by the presidential race, the battle for the Mayor of the capital Skopje is seeing 11 candidates vie for the prestigious post.

The State Election Commission has accredited 6,981 domestic observers and 524 foreign monitors, mostly coming from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

If no presidential candidate wins more than half of the votes in the first round a run-off will be staged on April 5 between the two front-runners. The same applies for the mayoral candidates.

If the country pulls off a smooth election it can hope for a swift removal of EU visas put up against travelling Macedonian citizens and a date for the start of its EU accession talks this autumn.


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Friday, March 20, 2009



Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki sent a letter yesterday to his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis, calling for surpassing the stalemate in the relations between the two countries and building of good-neighborly, partnership ties.

Taking into consideration the recent misunderstandings over historic matters, presented publicly by senior Greek officials, and in favor of putting an end to the stalemate in the bilateral relations and reviving of the political dialogue, we believe that the two countries would like to express their obligation, responsibility for further development of the Greek-Macedonian relations in the spirit of good neighborliness and partnership. In this spirit of friendship, I would like to reaffirm the three Macedonian initiatives, presented to Greece at the official meeting under the UN aegis on the name issue, being held in Ohrid on January 21, 2008. These initiatives testify for our constant readiness for mutual engagement and cooperation in all spheres, significant for the relations of our countries, as well as for dedication to settling all opened issues in best possible manner, Milososki says in his letter.

In line with the principles of the Interim Accord of 1995, Milososki once again advocates the two countries to sign a Declaration of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation.

- I am certain that this Declaration will not only contribute to the friendship of the peoples of both countries in favor of present, future generations, but also to the peace and development of of the South East European (SEE) region and European continent. Taking into account the sensitivity Greece has been demonstrating about historic issues, I believe that one of the possible steps for building a confidence between the two countries and nations is a joint review of historical events, Milososki says.

In this respect he suggests for the two countries to set up a Joint Committee for Education and History. Taking educational and multi-perspective approach to the Balkan history may play a significant role in the reconciliation with the past by preventing utilization of historic events for stirring up future misunderstandings. Milososki says.

This may be difficult to pass, as Greece has repeatedly scoffed at the idea of joint history books that will apply to all Balkan countries. Greece is the only Balkan country which objects to this idea.

Milososki also suggests for the two countries to re-establish the practice of having regular consultations on various levels, as well as to sign bilateral agreements in all spheres of mutual interest.

Therefore, I wish to reaffirm our Framework suggestion for further development of the relations between our two countries. It will contribute to further strengthening of the cooperation and mutual understanding, as well as to the further development of the regional cooperation - necessary prerequisite for creating stable, prosperous region and its integration with the European, Euro-Atlantic institutions. I firmly believe that Greece, as a country strongly dedicated to the principles of the UN Charter, Final Document of Helsinki and Charter of Paris, will embrace and sincerely welcome these initiatives, aimed at developing friendly relations between the two countries, the letter reads.

Milososki believes that by accepting of these three initiatives, the two governments will send a powerful message about their commitment and constructive approach to ongoing Greece-Macedonia talks on name row settlement under the UN aegis


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A total of 2.500 internally displaced persons and prison inmates are set to vote in presidential and local elections, slated for March 22.

A total of 529 internally displaced persons and 1.971 prison inmates, who are eligible under the law to vote, will cast their ballots on March 21, one day before the Election Day, Zoran Tanevski, the spokesman of the State Election Commission, told Makfax news agency.

A total of 310 internally displaced persons will cast their ballots in Skopje, in polling station within Zdravko Cvetkovski dormitory, while 219 displaced persons will cast their ballots in Kumanovo's Kristal Hotel.

The sick and fatigued voters can cast their ballots one day before the Election Day providing that they registered themselves in municipal electoral commissions.

The polling stations will open Saturday at 07:00 hrs and close at 19:00 hrs. The vote count will be conducted on March 22 at the municipality of domicile.


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Macedonia’s police has prepared a special plan for securing the safety and ensuring a calm atmosphere ahead of Sunday’s presidential and local elections dubbed "Elections 2009".
Presenting the plan to the public on Wednesday, Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska noted that the police will not tolerate any misdeeds on election day.

“We will do everything in our power in line with the law and police authority to enable the citizens to vote peacefully and without pressures,” she told media.

Minister Jankuloska announced that security would be heightened at places where incidents have taken place in the past.

June last year the violence and fraud that happened in the ethnic Albanian populated areas during the general election sparked much criticism from the west. The EU, USA and NATO officials have set the democratic conduct of these elections as a test for Macedonia’s democratic credibility.

Jankulovska notes that election incidents and suspects, who would be arrested on spot, were set to be probed and sanctioned urgently.

But some local think tanks and NGO’s are worried that the state has not done enough to prevent irregularities from happening again. They point to the small number of cases that were resolved from the last election.

Jankuloska reminded the political parties that they bore the ultimate responsibility for peaceful and democratic elections.

On Sunday Macedonia elects head of state and 84 municipality mayors.


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Monday, March 16, 2009



SDSM presidential candidate Ljubomir Frckovski during his tenure as Minister of Interior had asked president Gligorov to accept representatives of the Greek Government who were ready to wire $1 million dollars to bank of his choosing, if he was ready to help and change the name of the country.

At today’s press conference, VMRO-DPMNE spokesperson Aleksandar Bichikliski said the above statement is taken from the book of Macedonian ex president Kiro Gligorov.

“In his book of memoirs, titled “Macedonia is all we got” Gligorov states the following: ‘One day, the minister of interioir, Frckovski, proposed to accept people from the Service, to inform me of something of great importance. I accepted the individuals where they explained they have met with their Greek colleagues who officially proposed if I were to help in changing the name, the Greek Government would transfer 1 million dollars to any bank in the world’ stated Gligorov” says Bichikliski.

“At this meeting, Gligorov was angry, and as the man in charge had requested for Grilakis (Greek Government representative) to be removed from Macedonia. However, two months into his request, Grilakis not just that wasn’t removed, rather had attempted to bribe Gligorov with an amphora from the Aegean Sea, brought in the presidential cabinet by a policeman. Deeply insulted, Gligorov had asked the policeman to return the amphora to Minister of Interior Frckovski. One month later, Frckovski showed up in Gligorov’s cabinet with a golden Rolex watch and a bracelet. Gligorov, angered by the amphora, and the latest gifts, told Frckovski to take the Rolex back, to which Frckovski replied ‘I also got the same watch and bracelet’”.

“We would like for Mr. Frckovski to explain the statements from former Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov including Gligorov’s statements on bribery by Athens and accepting of those bribes by Macedonian Governmental officials.” added VMRO-DPMNE spokesperson Bichikliski.

According to Mirka Velinovska, presently journalist for Nova Makedonija and former close advisor to current president Branko Crvenkovski, Gligorov assassination had been prepared by politicians (B.C., L.F...) on Athens' payroll who were troubled by Gligorov's stubbornness in not changing the name of the country.

The country name was eventually changed by the SDSM (without public knowledge), to the current UN acronym days after Gligorov’s assassination attempt when all of the public attention was focused on Gligorov.


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The voting process in Macedonia's presidential and local election to be held on March 22 - with a likely second round on April 5 - will be the most complex ever staged in Macedonia’s democratic history, the head of the State’s Election Commission said on Thursday.

The situation will be most confusing in the capital Skopje where the voters will have to cast five different ballots in five different boxes, for Head of State, for mayor of Skopje, for Skopje city councilors, for a municipal mayor and for municipal councilors, said Aleksandar Novakovski said at a press conference, in which he presented an educational campaign aimed at familiarizing the voters with election procedures.

A total of six video and audio clips will be aired on the electronic media and posters will be published in newspapers to get the voters familiarized on how to exercise their right.

At the same time, people will be offered information on the specifics of the elections for president of the state, mayors and municipal counselors, he said.

Meanwhile the police said it prepared an action plan for election day.

These polls are seen as test for the country’s democratic credentials after last year’s June general polls ended up in partial violence and fraud. They will be closely watched by the EU.


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Friday, March 13, 2009



Under the motto: "Two Million Became Global Green Brand - Plant and Inspire the Remaining Six Billion", five million fresh seedlings will be planted Saturday in 30 municipalities throughout Macedonia, in the framework of campaign "Tree Day - Plant Your Future.

Citizens will plant two million seedlings, whereas the remaining three million will be planted by employees of public enterprise "Macedonian Woods".

Campaign initiator, opera singer Boris Trajanov said at Thursday's press conference they expect massive turnout after the success of the two prior campaigns.
He added that they won award of global ecological organization "Ching Hai", whereas the campaign was covered by world media.

Campaign organizers visited a number of schools and kindergartens in the past period, informing the youth on the correct way of planting a tree.

"Macedonian Woods" has prepared 54 sites for afforesting of about two million seedlings at an area of 1,000 hectares.

Upon Macedonia's model, Montenegro citizens will plant trees on March 20, whereas Tree Day is to be held at the entire Balkan region in October.

In the first campaign on March 12, 2008, citizens planted two million trees, followed by six million planted on November 19.

The campaign is supported by the Government, Association of Self-Government Units (ZELS) and the NGO sector, diplomatic corps, singers, actors, athletes and companies.

MD: Wonderfull initiative!


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Russian Ambassador to Macedonia Vladimir Solotsinsky on behalf of the Federation President presented the prestigious Medal of Aleksandr Pushkin to Maksim Karanfilovski - Dean of Skopje Faculty of Philology, and Ivan Popovski - Macedonian Culture Ambassador to Russia and director at the Moscow Theater 'Masterskaya P.N.Fomenko'.

Karanfilovski and Popovski are being awarded for their contribution to boosting the Russian-Macedonian cooperation and promotion of the Russian culture.

It is conventional to say that such recognition is bringing more responsibility. All of my life I have been working motivated by my love for Macedonia, Russia and other countries, contributing to the development of cultural, scientific ties and bringing the nations together. I'll keep doing it as my love is not fading away but growing stronger, Karanfilovski said.

The award is especially significant for Popovski as it bears the name of his favorite writer Aleksandr Pushkin.

Such awards present yet another contribution to further development of the good bilateral relations, particularly in the spheres of culture and education, Culture Minister Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska said at the awarding ceremony.

Two Macedonian academicians - Milan Gjurcinov and Gane Todorovski respectively - are also this year recipients of the Pushkin Medal. Their awarding ceremony took place on February 2.

Both ceremonies are part of the observance of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of Russian-Macedonian diplomatic ties.

The Pushkin Medal, given by the Russian government, recognizes extraordinary contributions to Russia in the sphere of Russian culture and education. Established in 1999 by (former) Russian President Boris Yeltsin, the award commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Pushkin.


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Telecom Slovenia lodged a formal offer to buy Cosmofon, the second largest mobile telephony operator in the country.

The Slovenian company said they were interested in acquiring 100% of Cosmofon's stake, revealing no details as to the financial part of the offer.

Telecom Slovenia has been present on the Macedonian market through On.Tel, a subsidiary of the second biggest internet provider in Macedonia On.Net, whose majority of stake the Slovenians bought almost a year ago.

"If the takeover of Cosmofon ends in favor of Telecom Slovenia, the operations on the Macedonian market will be completed and the Group will be able to offer a full range of telecommunication services," the announcement says.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2009



The huge new embassy of the United States being built on top of the hill in Skopje, Macedonia. The embassy is massive, it looks like a fort. The object has several floors above the ground and 15 floors underneath the ground. It will probably be their largest embassy in the world.

(Photo credit should read MINA)

[MD Network]

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An earthquake with a magnitude of 4-5 degrees on the European Macroseismic Scale (EMS) has been recorded Tuesday morning at 09:33 hrs at Jablanica Mountain.

It is a second quake in a row this week, following the quake that hit Struga area last monday measuring 3 degrees on the European Macroseismic Scale. The first quake epicentered in Karaorman Mountain.

Macedonain geological service said the epicenter of the second quake was in Jablanica area, some 110 kilometers southwest of Skopje.

The quake was felt in Struga and Ohrid as well as in Debar and Kicevo and other parts in Macedonia's southwest.


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Event "Macedonia in the Heart of World Poetry" will be opened in Paris on Tuesday, organized by Sorbonne University, festival "Poetry Spring" and University for Audio-Visual Arts ESRA.

Renowned French poets will take part at the event, among whom the three Struga Poetry Evenings (SPE) Golden Wreath laureates Yves Bonnefoy, Adonis and Vasco Graca Moura. Macedonian poets and members of the Macedonian Academy of Science and Arts, Mateja Matevski and Vlada Urosevic will also participate.

Moreover, film "Macedonian Language in the Global World", produced by ESRA and EFA Production will be screened.

Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska, French ambassador to Macedonia Bernard Valero and Macedonian UNESCO ambassador Jordan Plevnes will address the event.


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Friday, March 06, 2009



Macedonia will present a youthful, energetic image at this year's Eurovision song contest. Representing the country will be Next Time, a rock band led by Martin and Stefan Filipovski.

The twin brothers beat out the famous pop singer Kaliopi in the Macedonian contest, which ran from February 19th through 21st.

Kaliopi's duet with folk song legend Naum Petreski was not enough to give her the lead, and it was the young rockers and their song "Something That Will Stay" that prevailed -- by one point. Following the rules of the event, Kaliopi and Petreski's entry will be featured at the Sunny Scale festival, held each June in Montenegro.

The winning song is the work of composers Jovan Jovanov and Damjan Lazarov, with lyrics by Elvir Mekic. This will not be Jovanov's first entry at Eurovision; the late Balkan pop idol Tose Proeski performed his song "Life" at the 2004 event.

"We are feeling phenomenal," Stefan Filipovski said after hearing the results. "We want to thank everyone who voted for us because it isn't possible to write songs or to win the contest without the audience."

"In this contest we appeared ready, and in such a way we will go to Russia. We will do everything we can not to disappoint this nation and this country," his twin, Martin, said.

Over the years, Macedonia has sent many of its most famous singers to Eurovision, including Vlado Janevski, Karolina Goceva and Proeski. None, however, has been able to bring home the top prize.

Last year's Macedonian contestants, the trio of Tamara Todevska, Rade Vrcakovski and Adrian Gadza, failed to reach the finals.

This year, the selection process occurred during the Skopje Music Festival. Although otherwise successful, the Macedonian contest was marred by the death of a 24-year-old audience member. Ivana Mitreska, who was attending the show with her friends, suffered a fatal heart attack. The group was there to support contestant Emilija Gigovska.


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Major archaeological excavations have started at four ancient sites around Macedonia.

The excavations, funded by about 20 million euro by Macedonia’s government, will take place at the sites of Heraklea Lynkestis, Skopje’s Kale Fortress, Stobi and Isar, the Dnevnik newspaper reported. It is expected that the sites will be completely explored, Pasko Kuzman, Director of Cultural Heritage Protection in the Macedonian Ministry of Culture, told the publication.

About 100 people already started excavating unearthed parts of the Heraklea Lynkestis site, which is located at about two kilometres from the town of Bitola in south-western Macedonia. The work on one of the best preserved ancient cities in the country is led by archaeologists Anitsa Georgievska and Engin Hasud from the Institute, Museum and Gallery in Bitola.

Founded in the fourth century BC by the ancient Macedonian ruler Philip II of Macedon – the father of Alexander the Great, and conquered by the Romans two centuries later, Heraklea Lynkestis stood on the Via Egnatia and became one of the key stations on this trading route. Some of the remains that archaeologists have discovered at the site so far are impressive mosaics (in the photograph), Roman baths, town walls, a portico, ancient basilicas, an Episcopal church, a Jewish temple and a Roman amphitheatre which is often used for summer concerts and theatre shows.

Research teams, led by Professor Dragi Mitrevski, also began work at Skopje’s Kale Fortress, situated on a hill above the capital. Today’s remains date to the sixth century, when Byzantines used stone blocks from the destroyed city of Skupi nearby to construct it. After the 1963 earthquake, Kale’s circular, rectangular and square towers were conserved and restored.

The exploration of the Roman city Stobi, near the town of Veles in central Macedonia, also began, under the leadership of archaeologist Silvana Blazheva, director of the newly formed institution Stobi.

The ancient town was built where the Crna River joins the Vardar river, making it a strategic trade and warfare centre.

Hundreds of people will also be excavating the Isar site at the village of Marvinci, near the town of Valandovo in southern Macedonia. A team, led by Zlatko Videski, headed there last weekend in order to begin preliminary field work.


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Greece should withdraw from the dispute over whether there is a Macedonian or a Turkish minority on its territory and focus on protecting the rights to self-identification, freedom of expression and freedom of association of those communities, reads a recommendation in the report by the UN independent expert on minority issues Gay McDougall, who paid a visit to Greece on September 8-16, 2008.

According to McDougall, the rights of these communities to minority protections must be honoured in accordance with the Declaration on Minorities and the core international human rights treaties. Greece is required to comply fully with the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, specifically those decisions that associations should be allowed to use the words "Macedonian" and "Turkish" in their names and to express their ethnic identities freely.

A special section in the report refers to the minorities in the Florina region. McDougall says the Greek government does not recognize the existence of a Macedonian ethnic minority living in that part of Greece, nor the existence of the Macedonian language.

"Many consider this a modern day version of Tito's efforts to create a myth of a Macedonian nation giving support to his expansionist claims against that region of Greece. The response of earlier Greek governments was to suppress any use of the Macedonian language and cultural activities. In recent times the harsh tactics have ceased but those identifying as ethnic Macedonian still report discrimination and harassment. They consider it of crucial importance for their continued existence that their ethnic identity and distinctiveness is respected", reads the report.

McDougall notes that in the 1920s and 30s, laws required the replacement of non-Greek names of towns, villages, rivers and mountains with Greek names. The family names of the Macedonian-speaking population were also required to be changed to Greek names. Community representatives note that traditional names continue to be in common usage and call for reinstatement and the official usage of a dual nomenclature.

Macedonian minority representatives claim denial of the right to freedom of association and political activity, and highlight discriminatory laws affecting thousands who fled Greece during the Civil War, who were stripped of their citizenship and property. A 1982 law stated that, "Free to return to Greece are all Greek by Genus who during the civil war of 1946-1949 and because of it have fled abroad as political refugees". This decision excludes those identifying as ethnic Macedonians and is therefore considered discriminatory.

McDougall says in the report that she had met numerous individuals identifying as ethnic Macedonians, who are fluent in Macedonian language. It was acknowledged that the situation had improved from a previous era, however they described a "softer discrimination", manifested in general hostility and pressure on the part of authorities and the media.

The report notes that Greece recognizes only one minority, the Muslim religious minority in Western Thrace, but does not recognize the minority status of other communities. The Government is convinced that the claims of the existence of other minorities are unsubstantiated and politically motivated. Greece recognizes that only a small number of people speak the Slavic dialect similar to the language spoken in the neighboring country to the north.

During the stay in Greece, McDougall travelled to different regions and conducted extensive consultations with senior government representatives and public officials at the national and regional levels, but also consulted civil society organizations, religious leaders, academics and community leaders. The independent expert is concerned with matters solely within the domestic jurisdiction of the Government of Greece relating to its treatment of minorities and disadvantaged groups inside the country. Her concerns focus on the degree to which legislation, policy and practice fulfil obligations under international human rights law, including minority rights, which have precedence over bilateral treaties and agreements.

The UN Report also notes the discrimination towards Roma in Greece. The independent expert visited Roma communities which lacked basic facilities and faced the constant threat of eviction. Many Roma children are either in segregated schools or do not have
access to education owing to their identity.


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Monday, March 02, 2009



So far unknown individuals have damaged three Greek tourist busses in Ohrid. The vandalists sprayed texts like; "United Macedonia" and "Alexander Macedonian" as well as certain insults.

A part of the Greek tourists who came to ohrid for the "Procka holiday", were really offended because of the insults and said that such acts do no contribute to good memories of their visit to Ohrid.

Ohrid citizens strongly condemn such vandalistic acts and say such things have a negative influence on the image of the city and it's aspirations to return the Greek tourist visits in Ohrid, which has decreased drastically since last year when Greece blocked Macedonia's NATO entry.

The incident was not reported officially to the Ministry of Interior affairs, but the case was recorded by the police.

MD: Even how big the name issue is, such acts are not good. They give Ohrid as a tourist destination a big blow and such acts will cost Ohrid money, since a Greek tourist will now think twice before spending their holiday in the city. Such vandalism has happened before on Greek territory with Macedonians, but if certain Greeks wish to act in this way, it does not mean we should lower ourselves to their level.


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Macedonian oil company Makpetrol said on Monday its net earnings and revenues increased by nearly 65% in 2008.

Makpetrol announced Monday that net earnings increased to 261.48 million denars (4.25 million euros) in fiscal 2008, a 59.44 index point improvement from the fiscal 2007.

The company's revenue for the fiscal 2008 rose to 23.9 billion denars (388.7 million euros), up 21.38 index points from the fiscal 2007. A net sales increase highly contributed to revenue growth.


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Despite the burning Skopje-Athens dispute over the name Macedonia and its historical and cultural heritage, Macedonia plans to ask Greek scientists for help in a project to excavate four major archeological sites, local media said on Wednesday.
The country will spend a record 20 million euros in the next three years on the archaeological research but currently lacks enough qualified archaeologists for the mass excavations. The Agency for the Protection of Cultural Heritage said it is considering inviting experts from neighboring countries, including Greece.

“We have a tremendous job ahead of us,” the project head, archeologist Pasko Kuzman told local Dnevnik daily. “I am aware that our scientists alone will not be sufficient” he said explaining why the Agency plans to invite their colleagues from Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania and Greece to help.

Some of the sites marked for excavation cover exactly the disputed period when the ancient warrior king Alexander and his successors ruled the ancient land of Macedon, now spread acrosss the area of both countries.

Kuzman explained that Macedonia needs several thousand qualified workers and experts for the planned excavation of the fortress in the capital Skopje, the ancient towns of Stobi and Heraclea Linkestis in central and southern Macedonia, and the great necropolis Isar near the south eastern village of Marvinci.

The works on the Skopje fortress started in 2007 and are expected to continue shortly. The other sites have also been partially explored.


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February 27 2010:


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