Wednesday, March 31, 2010



If this impending and irresponsible conduct by Greece didn't take place in the past two decades, then Macedonia would have been already a member of EU, at least together with Bulgaria and Romania, noted Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki after meeting his Hungarian counterpart Péter Balázs, who is paying his first official visit to Macedonia.

The Macedonian FM announced that a new meeting with mediator Matthew Nimetz could be likely held in mid-April. - Macedonia as always is prepared to take constructive participation, he added.

When asked whether the name issue could hinder Macedonia's integration to EU and NATO and whether he had a message to convey from Greek Alternate FM Dimitris Droutsas, FM Balázs briefly responded "yes", underlying that he didn't convey messages from others. - I speak on my behalf, he noted.

Speaking about the "Europe 2014" project, the Hungarian FM referred to a joint declaration inked in Budapest by Hungary, Serbia, Greece and Croatia, aimed at accelerating the process of EU integration of Western Balkans.

- It doesn't have to mean that all W. Balkan countries will join EU by 2014, because it also depends on individual achievements. I personally wish that to happen, but in EU, its 27 members reach unanimous decisions, stated Balázs.

- If Greece really wants to promote the "Western Balkans 2014" strategy, then it should change its attitude towards Macedonia's EU integration issue and towards the youngest state in the region, whose independence is recognised by a majority of EU members - that is Kosovo, stated Milososki.

It is being talked about EU integration of the Western Balkans, the Macedonian FM stressed, and those who can make that step further are blocked. Considering last week's incident when intolerant militant extremism was promoted, I believe this is often being used by Greece's political elite - to speak one thing and to do something else.

In the declaration, amongst other things, it is highlighted that differences existing between certain countries should be decreased, not increased. There's no political sense, said Balázs, an atmosphere of competitiveness to be created between countries heading towards EU integration. They should be assisted to meet the membership criteria.

Macedonia and Hungary foster excellent relations, both politically and economically. However, there is room for their improvement, Macedonian FM Antonio Milososki and his Hungarian counterpart Péter Balázs concluded following their meeting Wednesday in Skopje. To boost the cooperation, ministers Milososki and Balázs signed a cooperation protocol between Macedonia and Hungary's ministries of foreign affairs.

Hungary, said Milososki, is able and willing to make an effort the region of Southeaster Europe to receive more attention within EU. Labeling Hungary a spokesperson of Western Balkans in EU and NATO, Balázs stated that his country advocated acceleration of region's EU integration.


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UNESCO has positively responded to a request submitted by the Ministry of Culture and UNESCO National Commission for immediate assistance in amount of $50,000, intended for reconstruction of the monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski.

The assistance is of great importance for swift overhaul of this exceptionally significant monument of culture, which after last year's fire is left with serious damages on the wooden construction, carved ceilings, ornamented windows and furniture and wall paintings. The Government has provided Denar 18 million for the monastery, therefore its reconstruction will be launched immediately with the UNESCO donation, Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska stated Wednesday.

She also informed that UNESCO would support the "Krusevo Etno City" project with Euro 36,000 after a request was submitted by the UNESCO National Commission. Previously, representatives of the UN organisation visited Krusevo to review the project.

This assistance is of major significance for the city, local development to attract foreign and local tourists, thus strengthening Krusevo's economic capacities, Kanceska-Milevska noted.

UNESCO financially supports the second Global Conference for Interreligious Dialogue as well with $100,000, which will be held between May 6-9 in Ohrid, under the auspices of the Government and UNESCO. $40,000 have been also donated by the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia for the conference.

Over 150 participants have registered so far for the conference. Three milestones will be marked during the event - 100 years since the birth of Mother Teresa, 1,100 years since the death of St. Naum of Ohird and 1,400 years since the publication of the Qur’an.


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President Gjorge Ivanov believes the replacement of the ones responsible for the chanting of anti-Macedonian and anti-Albanian slogans at the military parade in Athens is not sufficient, but that Greece needs to change its attitude towards neighbors.

"This is worrying, because an EU and NATO member-state still has security forces that produce hate speech", said Tuesday President Ivanov while taking part in campaign "Tree Day" in Veles.

Ivanov spoke with Albanian counterpart Bamir Topi regarding the incident in Athens.

"Unfortunately, this is not the first time that members of the security forces use hate speech in front of Greece's top officials. The feelings of both Macedonians and Albanians have been hurt this time. The talk with President Topi focused on the concern regarding these developments, which do not happen for the first time", added Ivanov.

According to him, at a time when we all expect unity and embracing of European standards and values, such events raise concerns.

"It is not enough that those who did it are replaced. I believe it is not a time for replacement, but a change, a change of Greece's attitude towards neighbors. This is what we expect from them", underlined President Gjorge Ivanov.


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American rapper 50 Cent has arrived in Macedonia yesterday with a private plane and with his G-unit. He will hold his concert tonight in Skopje.

He also left a message:

  • [50 cent in skopje]

  • [kirilica]

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    Monday, March 29, 2010



    Greece's Ambassador to Macedonia, Alexandra Papadopoulou, apologised for the nationalistic and racist chants at a military parade in Athens. She was convened Monday in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Deputy Minister Zoran Petrov extended protest, urging for formal apology.

    - This is an isolated incident and should not be blown out of proportions. It should be condemned and it is being condemned. This doesn't represent the people of Greece, its position and mentality. Therefore, I ask you not to give much importance to this isolated incident. It should not be used for political or other goals, because it won't help, Papadopoulou told reporters after meeting Petrov.

    "They are Skopians, they are Albanians, we will make new clothes out of their skins", was one of the slogans at the military parade held in Athens this past Thursday marking Greece's independence day.

    The unit causing the incident, according to the ambassador, is not part of the army forces, but of the coast guard unit. Civil Protection Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis has already taken adequate measures to probe the incident and to identify those responsible. - Once they are identified, those persons will be punished, Chryssochoidis has said, stressing that an officer in charge had been already suspended.


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    Under the slogan "Grow together", tomorrow will start the fifth edition of the "Day of the trees - plant your future!" campaign where there will be around 7,5 million trees planted all around Macedonia.

    The campaign formally kicked off friday where ambassadors of foreign countries in Macedonia, planted new trees at "Tri krusi" in Dracevo.

    This years edition will also have a Balkan character said main organiser, Boris Trajanov.

    "For the first time this year there is also a huge interest from neighbouring countries to have a similar campaign. On March 30 we will plant trees together with Bulgarians, Greeks, Albanians and Serbians", Trajanov says.

    In the previous 4 editions of the campaign, around 8000 hectars with 20 million trees were planted.

    The first edition of the campaign was held in March 2008, there were planted around 2 million trees. On the 28th of October 2008, the second edition was organised with planting of 6 million. On march 14 2009 another 5 million and November 19 2009 7,5 million.

    The campaign will start tomorrow from 9:00 to 16:00 and in most of the regions, there will be free transport to the places. Because of the huge interest among the citizens, 30 March has been declared as a non working day.

    MD: Great and unique initiative!

  • [Tree Day 2010]

  • [kirilica]

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    Saudi Arabia is pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into Islamist groups in the Balkans, some of which spread hatred of the West and recruit fighters for jihad in Afghanistan.

    According to officials in Macedonia, Islamic fundamentalism threatens to destabilise the Balkans. Strict Wahhabi and Salafi factions funded by Saudi organisations are clashing with traditionally moderate local Muslim communities.

    Fundamentalists have financed the construction of scores of mosques and community centres as well as handing some followers up to £225 a month. They are expected not only to grow beards but also to persuade their wives to wear the niqab, or face veil, a custom virtually unknown in the liberal Islamic tradition of the Balkans.

    Government sources in traditionally secular Macedonia (official title the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), said they were monitoring up to 50 Al-Qaeda volunteers recruited to fight in Afghanistan.

    Classified documents seen by The Sunday Times reveal that Macedonian officials are also investigating a number of Islamic charities, some in Saudi Arabia, which are active throughout the Balkans and are suspected of spreading extremism and laundering money for terrorist organisations.

    One of the groups under scrutiny is the International Islamic Relief Organisation from Saudi Arabia, which is on a United Nations blacklist of organisations backing terrorism. It did not respond to inquiries, but has previously denied involvement in terrorist activities, calling such claims “totally unfounded”.

    According to its website, it works in 32 countries to provide relief to the victims of natural disasters and to carry out humanitarian, health and educational projects.

    “Hundreds of millions have been poured into Macedonia alone in the past decade and most of it comes from Saudi Arabia,” said a government source. “The Saudis’ main export seems to be ideology, not oil.”

    Sulejman Rexhepi, leader of the Islamic community in Macedonia, said a number of mosques had been forcibly taken over by radical groups. Four in central Skopje are no longer under the control of the official Islamic authorities. New imams claim they have been “spontaneously” installed by the “people”.

    “Their so-called Wahhabi teachings are completely alien to our traditions and to the essence of Islam, which is a tolerant and inclusive religion,” said Rexhepi.

    In some mosques believers are being told that Macedonia, which sent 200 soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan, has been tricked into supporting a crusade against Islam spearheaded by Britain and America. Radical clerics have shown footage from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories to illustrate their claims that the West is waging war on Islam.

    Rahman, a 35-year-old cab driver from Skopje, Macedonia’s capital, said he had stopped going to his local mosque since it was taken over by extremists. “Following the Haiti earthquake the new imam said God would punish the West for their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with natural disasters,” he said.

    Bekir Halimi, an imam trained in Syria, runs Bamiresia, an Islamic charity that has been investigated for alleged terrorist links and money laundering. Police raided its offices but failed to find any evidence of terrorist links.

    “We are fully entitled to receive funding from both governmental and non-governmental organisations from Saudi Arabia,” said Halimi, who refuses to name the sources of his funding but rejects any suggestion of criminal activity.

    Macedonia’s law enforcement agencies warn that the European Union and America have failed to recognise the growing problem of Islamic extremism in the Balkans.

    Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, has declared stability in the region to be her top priority, but local politicians complain that the EU and Nato are reducing their presence in troublespots such as Bosnia and Kosovo.

    Last month, Bosnian security forces raided a village strongly influenced by Salafi extremists and found a weapons cache.

    In raids elsewhere rifles, bombs and rocket-propelled grenades have been uncovered.

    The West has put considerable political and financial efforts into helping build democracy in Bosnia following its civil war in the 1990s. Saudi organisations have also asserted considerable influence, giving more than £450m to build more than 150 mosques and Islamic centres.

    In Macedonia, Fatmir, a former disc jockey, explained how he became an adherent of Salafism. The father of two has grown a beard and instructed his wife to wear a niqab. He now makes his living by selling Islamist literature. “Ours is the Islam of the 21st century,” he said.


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    Sunday, March 28, 2010



    The Macedonian ministry of foreign affairs calls up the Greek ambassador to Macedonia, Alexandra Papadopoulou for a conversation tomorrow because of the racist and anti-Macedonian chants by the Greek army in the independence day parade held in Athens.

    At the meeting with deputy minister Zoran Petrov, Macedonia will leave a protest note and will ask for a formal apology, according to MIA news agency.

    Governmental spokesman Martin Martinovski said at a press conference today that the racist and anti-Macedonian chants do not contribute in any way to building proper neighbourly relations.

    "I dont want to comment too much, but as a princip we judge every manifestation which supports hatred. This will not contribute to the spirit of building good relations with our neighbour", said Martinovski.

    "They are Skopians, they are Albanians, we will make new clothes from their skin", was one of the chants by a unit of Greek soldiers at the parade.

    Greek press reports that the officer of the unit has been suspended and there will be punishments for the soldiers. The minister of civil protection ordered a research and said that no one has the right to spread hatred and xenophobia.

    The Albanian government has also expressed that they will protest to the Greek government.


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    Saturday, March 27, 2010



    "We will make clothes out of the skins of people from Skopje" and "Blood will flow out of the Albanian pigs", Greek army specials were chanting.

    Racist and Nazi slogans were chanted against Macedonians, Turks and Albanians the day before yesterday at the military parade of the Greek Armed Forces held in Athens on Independence Day.

    While the soldiers were marching they chanted: "They are Skopians, they are Albanians, we will make new clothes out of their skins", Greek daily newspaper Eleftherotypia reports.

    In a commentary the daily stresses that such slogans were not shouted by members of "Golden Dawn", but rather members of the army's special diving forces.

    "Why all the hate?", the Greek newspaper asks and expressed astonishment of the Greek army violating the law of discrimination. "Are we living in 2010 with a socialist government? or in the past of military dictatorship?" Eleftherotypia asked.

    Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis condemned the behavior of members of special forces and said that there is no place for such people in the Greek Navy.

    "Nobody has the right to discredit the ceremony with racist slogans, hatred and xenophobia", he said.

    MD: This is an disgrace! Macedonia should make this known at the international community


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    U.S. President Barack Obama wrote a letter to his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov, expressing gratitude for Macedonia's decision to send extra troops to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

    Obama also encourages the process of seeking a resolution of the name dispute with Greece, and he also supports Macedonia's integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.

    In his letter, President Obama voices his gratitude for additional troops and trainers Macedonia plans to send to Afghanistan. With such a contribution, The Macedonia is among the countries with biggest contribution to ISAF, he added.

    We highly appreciate your country's partnership in the response to common challenges, not just in Afghanistan but elsewhere in the world, including Bosnia and Iraq, Obama said in his letter, noting that he encourages the name resolution process.


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    Macedonian-Canadian ice hockey player of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Steve Stamkos had a pair of goals to tie a pair of Hart Trophy winners for the NHL lead in goals.
    That's not the race he's interested in.

    Stamkos scored his 44th and 45th goals, tying Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead, and Paul Szczechura also scored twice to help Tampa Bay beat Boston 5-3 on Thursday night. The win was the 500th in Tampa Bay franchise history, and it kept the suddenly streaking Lightning alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

    "It would be nice" to win the scoring title, Stamkos said. "But if I win it and help this team win at the same time, that's (better). I just want to try and produce offence. That's my job, that's my role. I want to help this team win and see what happens at the end of the year."

    Antero Niittymaki stopped 47 shots the Lightning, who have won two straight since losing five in a row -- and 12 of 14 -- to fall to the brink of elimination. Niittymaki stopped 19 shots in the third period as Boston tried furiously but belatedly to come back from a three-goal deficit.

    Martin St. Louis also scored for the Lightning.

    Tuukka Rask made 13 saves for Boston, which dropped to 15-15-6 at home, winning just two of its last 14 home games. Since the Winter Classic at Fenway Park, the Bruins had not scored three regulation goals at home before Thursday.

    Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and Mark Recchi scored for Boston, which has a two-point lead over ninth-place Atlanta, a 2-1 overtime loser to Toronto on Thursday night. The 10th-place New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils in a shootout to move three points behind Boston.

    And then there's the Lightning, who jumped over Florida into 11th place, six points behind Boston.

    "We've got an uphill climb, but no one in this dressing room is quitting right now," Stamkos said. "That's two big wins for us -- a big win against the team that we're chasing. It's been a tough year for us. We believe we deserve a better fate. We've been very inconsistent this year and it's definitely cost us to where we are right now. But we've still got a shot. We've got to believe that."

    Stamkos was the league's top draft pick in 2008, following a path taken by Ovechkin (2004) and Crosby ('05). Ovechkin won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player in 2008 and '09, and Crosby was the MVP in '07.

    "It's pretty surreal when you think about" being tied with Ovechkin and Crosby, Stamkos said.

    Stamkos scored just 49 seconds into the game and then added another with 26 seconds remaining in the second period to make it 4-2 and give him 45 for the season.

    "He's a young player that's had a great year, and he's playing with a lot of confidence," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "They're led by a guy named St. Louis, who's the heart and soul of this team. This young player is kind of riding his coattail and soaking in everything he can."


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    Friday, March 26, 2010



    Georgia is prepared to recognise Macedonia under its constitutional name, reads Greek daily Eleftheros Typos. Citing diplomatic sources, the daily claims that this is a proposal of Mikheil Saakashvili’s government.

    “In these difficult times for Greece, it is really strange that a small country such as Georgia makes this step,” says a US source for the daily. The sources the daily consulted assume that this decision is probably ordered by Washington.

    From within the Macedonian Foreign Ministry they say that this is probably a speculation since at the moment, they have no announcements on establishing diplomatic relations with Georgia. Nonetheless, if the daily’s predictions are true and Georgia recognises Macedonia, it would be the 128th country to do so.


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    The planned monument of Alexander the Great in the centre of Skopje will be accompanied by music, as well as light, sound and water effects, mayor of the Skopje municipality Centar, Vladimir Todorovic, announced recently.

    The monument of Alexander the Great – the thorny figure in the side of Greek-Macedonian relations, will be created and installed in the centre of Skopje by the end of next year as part of the grandiose Skopje 2014 project, which envisions the construction and renovation of dozens of monuments and buildings in the capital’s downtown area, with the aim of enhancing its appeal and administrative functionality.

    The Alexander the Great statue, together with the statues of eight lions, costs 4.5 million euro and the fountain – 3 million euro, Todorovic explained, cited by the Utrinski Vesnik newspaper. The publication commented that if the salaries of the commission members who selected the monument’s maker and her fees are included, its cost would reach 10 million euro.

    This, according to the publication, automatically disproves previous reports that 10 million euro will be used for the construction not only of the Alexander the Great monument, but those of four lions, the horse-riding statues of nineteenth-century revolutionary figures Gotse Delchev and Dame Gruev and three more statues.

    “Whether the monument is too expensive is a relative thing. I can only assure you that it will be very beautiful, which you will see at the end of next year when we expect it to be completed,” Todorovic said, cited by the publication.

    “According to our recent information, more than half of it has already been moulded. The fountain, on the other hand, will be produced for nine months. There are already preparations on the ground for the construction activities. The fountain will have a beautiful marble massive staircase and a mini promenade around the pillar of the monument,” Todorovic added.

    MD: Check out the video below to see how it should look like and to see the rest of this Skopje 2014 project. The project was received with many critics. People saying the government should spend these millions on health, hospitals, education instead of placing 100 fancy monuments around the city.


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    Thursday, March 25, 2010



    Branko Crvenkovski faced another challenge on his way to visit laid of teachers in the city of Shtip. Most of the teachers started throwing rocks at the former president, similarly when Crvenkovski went to visit Bitola two weeks ago. There, Branko was not allowed to even walk around the city because he was always in danger of being attacked by passers by (this snippet went unreported by most of the SDSM run media).

    The teachers in Shtip who reacted angrily to Branko's arrival asked "What is he doing here? He ruined the country and now makes rounds around Macedonia? Where was he since 1991, now he shows up in Shtip, in 2010?" said one of the teachers who scuffled with police in order to get a piece of the former president.

    According to Crvenkovski and the SDSM, the teachers in Shtip were organized by PM Nikola Gruevski, calling him "Milosevic". In similar fashion SDSM accused Gruevski of organizing the mud slides and rain around the country.


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    Macedonia’s ruling party VMRO-DPMNE proposes a majority model for election of MPs in one election cycle despite the efforts of its coalition partner DUI to propose a proportional model with open candidates’ lists.

    VMRO-DPMNE offers this model as the best model for MPs’ personal responsibility, which is in accordance with the English election model, says Aleksandar Nikolovski of VMRO-DPMNE.

    DUI, on the other hand, proposes open proportional lists and one election unit. Model proposed by NDI aims at providing independence to MPs, who are expected to be obedient to their parties.


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    Data from the State Statistical Office showing that Macedonia concluded 2009 with a slight GDP drop of 0,7% and with a 1,2% growth of economic activity in the final quarter of 2009 indicate that the country is officially out of recession, Vice PM and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski stated.

    "These results combined with reduction of unemployment show that Macedonia has generally managed to overcome the crisis with only minor consequences. The third best economic result in Europe, measured according to GDP, has been achieved and negative consequences on the market of workforce have been prevented," Stavreski told a press conference in the Government attended by ministers of the economic team.

    According to him, the result confirmed that economic policies carried out prior to the crisis and the packages of anti-crisis measures conducted in 2009 had helped the Macedonian economy to tackle the crisis with minor consequences.

    "We are assured that the 2009 achievements are very close to Government's projections of 0,6% GDP drop with the achieved one of 0,7%. We believe that this enables strong credibility for Government's policies and projections for the period to come when it is expected Macedonia's economy to make a positive 2% growth for this year," said Staverski, expressing assurance that a growth as high as 4% would be made in 2012 as well.


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    Wednesday, March 24, 2010



    Concert of Stefan Schultze's Big Band from Germany and the performance of pieces by Macedonian jazz composers will mark Tuesday the start of the 33. "Days of Macedonian Music", due to last until March 31.

    The event is organized by the Macedonian Composers' Association (SOKOM), under the auspices of President Gjorge Ivanov and the Ministry of Culture.

    "Days of Macedonian Music" will also include performances by Romanian ensemble "Archaeus", the Macedonian Philharmonic, New London Chamber Choir, Kokan Dimusevski and stringed quartet "Equilibrium".

    Workshops, promotions of CDs and books, along with scientific debates will be held within the event.

    Traditional SOKOM awards for best premiere of a piece by a Macedonian author in the previous year, best performance of a piece by a Macedonian author in the previous year, and life achievement will be announced today and presented on March 25.


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    The name dispute is a bilateral issue that should not have an effect on Macedonia’s Euro-integration. This is also the official stance of Brussels, which should provide assistance in finding a solution, followed by the beginning of Union accession negotiations, Slovenian Member of European Parliament (MEP) Jelko Kacin told MIA.

    Kacin was asked to comment on the statement of Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule at the Western Balkan Summit at Brdo-pri-Kranju, saying that bilateral disputes should not influence the Euro-integration process.

    “This is Brussels’ official position and we keep reiterating this in all EU institutions. Greece’s blockade on Macedonia is a bilateral row, which prevents Macedonia from obtaining a date, but we are seeking for solutions”, states Kacin.

    The Slovenian MEP announced he would send a letter to Commissioner Fule and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in an attempt to settle the issue.

    “We should use the opportunity of Iceland’s accession talks date so that both countries start negotiations”, added Kacin.

    According to him, it is in the region’s interest that another Western Balkan country began EU accession talks as soon as possible, which is good for all neighbors, including Greece, taking into consideration its deep political, social and economic crisis, but also in EU’s benefit.

    Pertaining to EU having a plan B if the name row is not settled soon, MEP Kacin said reserve plans must always exist, with the main message being dynamics in the process.

    Commenting the absence of Serbian President Boris Tadic from the Slovenia conference, he assessed the Western Balkan region is not held hostage by Serbia.

    “If we are referring to hostages, then Belgrade holds itself hostage”, said Kacin, who is the EP Rapporteur for Serbia.

    He stressed EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy’s failure to attend the summit was poor judgment, whereas the absence of Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose country currently holds the EU Presidency, “is related to the country’s focus on June’s Western Balkan summit in Sarajevo”.


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    Komercijalna Banka branch at "Partizanski Odredi" boulevard in Skopje was robbed early Tuesday.

    According to the Ministry of Interior, bank employees reported two masked individuals perpetrated the robbery at gun-point, without injuring anyone in the process.

    Police operation for tracking the perpetrators and the stolen amount of money is ongoing.


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    'Republic of Northern Macedonia' is a name that meets Greek requirements, says country's Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas in an interview with Greek TV station "Skai".

    "It is known that mediator Matthew Nimetz has referred to name 'Republic of Northern Macedonia' in the past. The Greek position about a name with a geographical qualifier is well known, so I think that if anyone uses logic will see that this proposal is within the framework of the Greek side's thoughts", says Droutsas.

    According to him, direct contacts between the two sides, such as the upcoming meeting of countries' PMs George Papandreou and Nikola Gruevski, could be of help to the UN-led process.

    "The Greek government has said it has the political will to see this issue resolved. Our position, the national red line, is well known. We expect the political leadership of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to change its approach, come to the table of negotiations under the UN in a constructive manner and, if there is a political will, then it can soon be resolved", stresses Droutsas.

    Asked if Washington put pressure on Athens regarding Skopje's NATO accession, he did not give a direct response, adding "there is a wish also on the part of countries such as the United States to see Skopje within NATO, to move ahead with their accession course".

    "We want them to join NATO too, and we promote their accession course towards the European Union. But we stress that the prerequisite for this is the prior resolution of the name issue", stresses Droutsas, expecting the United States 'to play their own part' and exercise pressure on the leadership in Skopje.

    Pertaining to the possibility of determining a date for beginning of Macedonia's accession negotiations at EU's summit in June, the Greek Deputy FM says this would not be a problem if the name issue was settled by then.


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    Tuesday, March 23, 2010



    Eleven wineries from Macedonia, supported by USAID's AgBiz program, are promoted at international fair "ProWein 2010", held March 21-23 in Dusseldorf.

    The objective is for companies to increase competitiveness and productivity, thus successfully and sustainably penetrating new markets for agriculture products of added value.

    Wineries "Tikves", "Skovin", "Dalvina", "Ezimit", "Imako Vino", "File", "Vardarska Dolina", "Stobi", "Popova Kula", "Lozar" and "Bovin" present their products at a 120m2 national stand within the Dusseldorf fair.

    "ProWein" is the only fair for wine and alcohol beverages in the world. Following last year's fair, four Macedonian wineries that took part managed to export products to Belgium, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.

    The AgBiz program has thus far provided support to 179 companies of the agriculture sector in the improvement of their exporting competitiveness.


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    A Macedonian delegation will be heading to Brussels this week to present Ohrid travel guide to EU lawmakers as well as to Belgian tour-operators and travel agencies.

    The presentation was initiated by the Macedonian embassy in Brussels.

    Last week, the city of Ohrid hosted Tof Tours, one of the largest tour-operators in Belgium, whose representatives came to Ohrid to gather first-hand information and personally see the beauties of Macedonia's pearl and the hotel accommodations quality.

    Zoran Tuntev, a man in charge of the event in Ohrid, said the article titled "The Seven Wonders of Ohrid" published in the New Year's edition of prestigious The Parliament magazine, drew much attention in Brussels.

    "This is the best way to present Ohrid and Macedonia in the heart of Europe and an excellent example of how we should act to promote it," Tuntev said.

    Besides presenting Ohrid's beauty through brochures and video footage, the Macedonian embassy will stage tasting of Macedonian food and wine, alongside the Macedonian traditional music.

    Sky wings airline plans to launch direct flights Brussels-Ohrid in the near future.

    Ohrid promotion event will take place at the Macedonian embassy in Brussels.


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    Rainbow, the political party of Macedonian minority in Greece, will issue a newspaper in over 20,000 copies on 1 May. The newspaper will be in two languages, while most of it will be in Greek. A radio in Macedonian language will be launched in due time as well, Dimitri Joanu - a member of Rainbow, told the Macedonian community in Australia.

    Joanu accompanied by professor Victor Friedman are in Australia, upon an invitation by the human rights committee.

    - A bulk of the members of Rainbow and Krste Petkov Misirkov foundation in Edessa and its region are young, ambitious people who exercise their basic human rights without fear, said Joanu.

    He added that a class of about thirty students had been formed in Thessaloniki to learn the Macedonian language.

    Prof. Friedman, a linguist and expert of Macedonian language and history, said Greece had not democracy at the moment and it must change its politics radically.


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    The number of passengers at Macedonian airports in February has increased compared to the same period last year.

    A total of 36,153 passengers were recorded last month both at the Skopje and Ohrid airports, which is a 3,6% increase compared to February 2009, when 34,883 passengers were transported, the Ministry of Transport and Communications informs.

    34,481 passengers were recorded last month at "Alexander the Great" airport in Skopje, which is a 1,7% increase in relations to February 2009. The number of charter flights has also gone up by 61,7%.

    In February, the "St. Paul The Apostle" airport in Ohrid registered 1,672 passengers - a 70,6% increase than the same period in 2009.


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    Sunday, March 21, 2010



    Unfortunately, Jelena Antic and her team, the Liberty University Flames (13th seed) did not get past the University of Kentucky (4th seed) today in the NCAA Women's basketball tournament.

    Liberty gave Kentucky a major battle throughout the teams’ NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship first round matchup, Saturday afternoon at Freedom Hall. However, the Wildcats pulled out an 83-77 victory, keyed by freshman A’dia Mathies’ career-high 32 points and a 26-11 advantage from the foul line.

    The Lady Flames 10-game winning streak and their 2009-10 season came to an end, despite Liberty’s 50 percent field goal shooting, 38-26 rebounding edge and 57 combined points by the trio of Devon Brown, Avery Warley and Kylee Beecher while Jelena Antic made it four Lady Flames in double figures, ending up with 10 points and seven boards. Liberty closes the year at 27-6.

    MD: Great job nonetheless and we and all of Macedonia should be very proud of her!! Watch a recap at the link below.

  • Kentucky - Liberty Lady Flames

  • [bigsouthsports]

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    Saturday, March 20, 2010



    Greek waterpolo players looking at our huge MACEDONIAN flag before we beat them 7-6 this week.

    (Photo credit should read MINA)

    [MD Network]

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    Friday, March 19, 2010



    Macedonian basketball player Jelena Antic and her team, the Liberty University Flames are getting ready for the first round of the NCAA Women's basketball tournament.

    The Liberty Flames as the no.13 seed have drawn no.4 seed Kentucky. The game against Kentucky will be played in Venerable Freedom Hall in Louisville at 2.30 PM ET (19:30 CET) on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

    MD: We wish her and her team good luck tomorrow! Watch this vid about the team below. For more info on Jelena and her team scroll a bit down on our page.


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    Macedonian national team has arranged second friendly match for May, this year. Besides Bulgaria, Macedonia will play against Azerbaijan on 29th of May.

    Against Bulgaria on 20th of May, against Azerbaijan on 29th of May. The friendly match against the team led by the German coach Berti Vogts will take place in Austria since the Azeri team will have a training camp there.

    Macedonia and Azerbaijan have 3 mutual matches and Macedonia are more successful. A win in a friendly match in 2000 with 1-2, victory in Skopje with 3-0 in the WC 2002 qualifications tournament and a 1-1 draw in Baku in the second match of the same tournament.

    For a brief period before Vogts, the Azeri team was led by Macedonia's Gjoko Hadzievski.


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    Thursday, March 18, 2010



    The Red Cross reflects our trust in humanity - old, universal ideal of the civilization, President Gjorge Ivanov said late Wednesday at a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the Macedonian RC.

    Since its establishment right after the WWII, the Red Cross has been helping people in trouble, for which in addition to numerous awards, has been enjoying the gratitude of all of those that rely on the assistance of this institution, Ivanov said.

    Ivanov, who is a patron of the RC 65 jubilee, underlined the need of nourishing the spirit of solidarity.

    Macedonian Red Cross has joined the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in November of 1995.


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    The European Union had last year approved 14 million euros of their funds to the Greek Government for building a museum dedicated to Alexander the Great. The museum is built in Pela, Aegean Macedonia.

    Macedonian archeologists followed the news by shrugging their shoulders - "that's the EU for you" said one archeologist working at the Skopje Kale, adding "you'd think they (Greece) use the money to finance their problems".

    Head of the Macedonian Cultural Heritage Pasko Kuzman explained the situation in Macedonia and Greece.

    You don't expect Greece to have any issues for their attention to antiquities, museums... The EU doesn't scold them for 'antiquization' which is a term coined by some of our media. We don't need the EU to scold us for using our own money, we have people in Macedonia who are paid to gauge our eyes out for even thinking of putting monuments - says Pasko Kuzman.

    Greece has worked for decades on usurping Balkans' history. The "Macedonian" chapter started in the late 1980's.

    Where was the European Union when Greece suddenly named Northern Greece into "Macedonia". Where was the EU when the Airport in Solun abruptly was changed into "Macedonia". No comment from the EU when a monument of Phillip was erected in Solun in the 1990's, or when Greece set up Macedonian symbols at all their borders.

    Now compare this to the bizarre messages coming from the EU when Macedonia was investing money in our culture. The EU scolded every Macedonian archeological find, every monument, even though it was funded with our money and on our land - concluded Pasko Kuzman.


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    Wednesday, March 17, 2010



    Meet Jelena Antic, she is a Macedonian basketball player from Skopje. She plays college basketball with the Liberty University Flames from Lynchburg, Virginia in the USA. The liberty Flames compete in the Big South conference of the NCAA.

    Jelena played three years of high school basketball at Liberty Christian Academy before admitting to Liberty University. There she led the Bulldogs to their first ever VIS Division I state runner up finish, as a senior. She was named the VIS Division I State Player of the year as a senior, as she posted 20.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 5.0 apg from the point guard position. She also played with the Macedonian national team under 19.

    Last weekend Jelena and her team managed to win the Big South conference championship. Brown led Liberty with 24 points and Jelena Antic and Beecher adding 9 points each. Liberty topped Gardner-Webb, 68-66 and thus receiving the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament which will begin for them next Saturday. The Liberty Flames as the no.13 seed have drawn no.4 seed Kentucky. The game against Kentucky will be played in Venerable Freedom Hall in Louisville at 2.30 PM ET (19:30 CET). The game will be televised on ESPN2.

    MD: Congratulations to Jelena Antic and her team! Good luck in the NCAA tournament.


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    The Macedonian national waterpolo team just completed their match against Greece’s national team as part of the world league.

    7-6 was the final score despite Macedonia leading 6-3 at the start of the 4th period.

    The Macedonians relaxed in the final period which could have cost them the match as Greece fought back to reduce the lead by 1 goal.

    But at the end, the score of 7-6 remained followed by objections from the Greek coach that the match be extended until Greece ties the score. Someone did not take their medication before the match.

    Macedonian fans created fantastic atmosphere throughout the match. There was no roughness in the pool, both teams played professionally despite the political colors surrounding this match up.


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    Tuesday, March 16, 2010



    Last weekend the national snowboard championship and the FIS cup were held in Mavrovo snowpark. Organized by snowboard club Polar and the Macedonian ski federation.

    50 contestants from 6 Balkan countries, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, BiH, Slovenia and Macedonia participated in the free-style snowboard cup in Mavrovo. In the same time, Macedonian snowboarders participated in the national championship.

    The young Andrea Ugrinovska from Macedonia won in the Sloap-style discipline. The motivation of the 17 year old was very high who said that she has no reason to stop snowboarding until she realizes her dream, to compete in the olympics. Because the winter season is almost over, Andrea plans to get success in summer extreme sports also.

    Second places in this discipline was Maja Radisic from Croatia and third place went to Stanimira Karadoceva from Bulgaria. In the men's competition, Mario Benio from Bulgaria took the gold medal while his fellow Bulgarian Locio Dimitrov was second and Nikola Vrhovec from Croatia took the bronze medal.

    In the men's Big Air discipline, the Bulgarian team got the hattrick. Mario Benio first, second Locio Dmitrov and third place to Angel Harizanov. In the women's Big Air, Maja Radisic from Croatia took the gold, Macedonian Andrea Ugrinovska second and Stanimira Karadoceva from Bulgaria third.

    The Macedonian national championship was also held in this discipline in which Predrag Popovic and Andrea Ugrinovska triumphed.

    MD: Nice! This event provided some nice pictures.


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    The water-level of the Ohrid Lake has dropped 1 cm, compared to Sunday, government's panel that coordinates flood relief operations said.

    In the statement they said that the water levels of rivers have registered a drop.
    A normal flow of traffic resumed on roads and highways across much of the country, the government’s panel said in a statement.

    Forecasters predict sunny skies with scattered clouds in north and north-east parts of the country. Moderate west winds are expected to blow.


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    Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki and Kosovo colleague Skender Hyseni opened Monday the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia to Pristina, MIA reports.

    According to FM Milososki, the embassy's opening and raising of the country's flag opened an important page in bilateral relations.

    "This is a good opportunity to demonstrate cooperation focusing on regional peace, stability and economic development", he stressed.

    Milososki stated that Kosovo's international success is also Macedonia's achievement, increasing potentials for joint cooperation.


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    Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski launched Monday the construction of four tennis courts in Ilinden municipality near Skopje, which is part of Youth and Sports Agency's project "100 Tennis Courts".

    "The Government's strategy for development of sport in Macedonia gathers pace. Besides construction of halls and football pitches, as well as the stands at Skopje's stadium, the Government has launched the project of 100 tennis courts, built in line with global standards", said PM Gruevski.

    The four Ilinden tennis courts are to be completed in 5-6 months.


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    Saturday, March 13, 2010



    The Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted Friday in Paris a Resolution on Protection of Minority Rights, which calls on Greece to sign the Convention for Protection of the National Minorities and recognize the Macedonian minority.

    The document, which uses the term 'Macedonian', also urges the country to open its borders for political expatriates and respect their property rights, as well as to give rights to its citizens of non-Greek origin.

    Furthermore, the Resolution once again calls on Athens to respect and act in line with decisions of the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights that refer to the Macedonian and Turkish minorities in Greece.


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    Thursday, March 11, 2010



    The Ohrid Mayor Aleksandar Petreski's trip to Australia is an inadmissible mistake, his party chief Branko Crvenkovski said on Thursday, when asked to tell if it's the right time for trip abroad amid flood threat.

    He added that the SDSM has urged Petreski to cut short the Australia trip and return to Ohrid as soon as possible.

    Asked if the party would urge the Ohrid mayor to resign, SDSM leader said no such move is necessary for the time being.

    Ohrid's mayor had made hysterical calls to the "World" just few days ago, claiming the Government has left Ohrid (UNESCO heritage site) to be flooded even though it was official Skopje who sent 200 soldiers which placed 13,000 sandbags along the lakeline shore.

    Aleksandar Petreski's calls for help were quickly replaced with a joyful announcement he is leaving for Vacation which was condemned by Ohrid residents as well as Government officials.

    MD: Although in our opinion the 'flooding' danger is a bit exaggerated (It seems to be more like hysteria instead of real danger) It was probably not the best time for him to go on holiday.


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    Australia's national TV sports medium Fox Sports has publicly apologized for the error regarding the nationality of Macedonian football player Goran Pandev, said Macedonia's Embassy to Australia.

    "On Tuesday 2 March, during the Fox Sports FC program, we showed a table listing the national teams represented in the squad of Italian Serie A side Inter Milan.

    Unfortunately, the table contained an error as it incorrectly indicated Goran Pandev as a member of the Bulgarian national team.

    As many of you have pointed out, Goran Pandev is in fact a member of the Republic of Macedonia's national football squad. We apologise for the inadvertent error and sincerely regret any offence caused", says Fox Sports in a statement posted at their website."


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    Wednesday, March 10, 2010



    The Macedonian Jewish Community marks Wednesday 67 years from the deportation of Macedonian Jews to Nazi camp Treblinka.

    The anniversary from the tragic event will be marked in Stip and Bitola, where Jewish Community delegations will lay flowers at the monuments of deported Jews and fallen World War II fighters, along with signing of cooperation memorandums with the two municipalities.

    The Skopje events will be held on Thursday with laying of flowers before the monument of Macedonian Jews and visit of Butel cemetery. Commemorative program will be held at the Drama Theatre in the evening, addressed by Macedonian Jewish Community president Bjanka Subotic and Israel's ambassador David Cohen, followed by theatre play "Railroad for the Icy Spring" by Tomislav Osmanli, directed by Nela Vitosevic.

    In the framework of the Holocaust observance, book "Jews from Monastir, Macedonia" by Schlomo Albocher was promoted in gallery Daut Pasin Amam on Tuesday evening.

    Moreover, the Macedonian Holocaust Fund signed memorandums of cooperation with the City of Skopje and several institutions and organizations, aimed at providing assistance for the completion and structuring of the Skopje-based Holocaust Memorial Center.

    Upon a decree by the Bulgarian government, almost all Jews, i.e. 98 percent of the Jewish population in Macedonia, were arrested on the night between March 10 and 11. They were taken to the place of the current Tobacco Company, which was then a temporary concentration camp. Majority of Jews came from Bitola, Skopje and Stip. After being stripped of their property, along with confiscation of jewelry and money, they were loaded into trains and transported to death camp Treblinka in occupied Poland, where they were immediately executed. According to estimates, about 900,000 people were killed in the camp during World War II.


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    The Macedonian Holocaust Fund signed Tuesday memorandums of cooperation with the City of Skopje and several institutions and organizations, aimed at providing assistance for the completion and structuring of the Skopje-based Holocaust Memorial Center.

    The Fund signed memos with the Cultural Heritage Protection Office, Cadastre Office, State Archives, Statistical Office, Museum of Macedonia, museums and bureaus for monument protection from Skopje, Bitola and Stip, National and University Library "St. Kliment Ohridski", Faculties of Philosophy, Philology and Dramatic Arts within University "Ss.Cyril and Methodius", as well as University for Audio-Visual Arts.

    "The Center will focus on development, research, science, education and archiving, which requires support from these institutions. That is why we have signed these cooperation memorandums", said Holocaust Fund president Liljana Mizrahi.

    According to her, since the Center's construction was nearing completion, its function and content were mulled, whereas realization required institutional support.

    The Macedonian Jewish Community will launch activities marking the 67th anniversary from the deportation of Macedonian Jews to Nazi camp Treblinka in Poland with promotion of book "Jews from Monastir, Macedonia" by Schlomo Albocher, in gallery Daut Pasin Amam on Tuesday evening.

    A number of activities regarding the 1943 tragic event are to be held throughout Macedonia on Wednesday.


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    Belgium does not give political asylum to economic refugees, Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme said in Skopje after meeting his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Gruevski, Macedonian Vecer daily writes.

    The reason for Leterme’s visit to Skopje was the wave of refugees from Macedonia to Belgium. 409 Macedonian citizens have applied for political asylum. Gruevski notified Leterme about the measures the government had taken to reduce the trend.

    The Macedonian and Belgian authorities will cooperate in the next weeks to settle the problem, the newspaper writes.


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    A new, 2,5-year long MATRA project on technical cooperation between the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration and Macedonia's Customs Administration (CA) was promoted at Tuesday's ceremony regarding the successful completion of the five-year bilateral project on technical cooperation between the two institutions.

    The Dutch-funded project, worth EUR 300,000, will focus on building communication and management capabilities in the Customs Administration.

    "Investment in human resources is one of the most important aspects of every institution, especially in the customs administration. The new project will refer to transfer of human management systems from the Netherlands to Macedonia, especially in the managerial part", said Customs Administration director Vanco Kargov.

    According to Kargov, the previous five-year MATRA project, worth EUR 420,000, focused on transfer of Dutch experiences in capacity building of Macedonia's CA in coping with falsified goods. The project also contributed to the development of line 197 for prevention of corruption in customs, as well as development of capabilities for control of commercial companies, promotion of simplified customs procedures among economic operators, development of customs capabilities in management of procedures yielding economic effects.

    He stressed the incoming MATRA program would complement the prior one, along with enhancement of CA's capacity development in control of excise, enhancement of the customs laboratory, as well as strengthening of communication and managerial capabilities in the institution.

    Dutch ambassador to Macedonia Simone Filippini stressed that Macedonia developed into a regional leader regarding the quality of its institutions.

    "The Customs Administration is one of the institutions that work well. The next step we will undertake in transferring Dutch experiences in customs operations is quite innovative, since customs management is a very serious issue. This is maybe one of the most important fields in meeting EU accession criteria", said ambassador Filippini.

    Cooperation between the countries' customs was launched in 2003 and has since contributed to the improvement of customs procedures, facilitation of trade, improvement of the business climate and tax collection.


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    Monday, March 08, 2010



    New snowfalls have surprised Macedonia, early on Monday morning which caused traffic irregularities on several roads in the country. Just when last week spring showed it's first signs.

    Snowfall is reported in cities across Macedonia and the most snow was recorded in Mavrovo at 35 cm.

    In Bitola 11 cm, in Debar 10 cm, in Prilep 5 cm and Skopje, Stip and Strumica 4 cm.

    National weather service anounced that the weather for today will be cloudy with rain and snow showers.

    In the southern part of the country, the snowfall will increase whereas on tuesday, the snowfall will increase in the western part of the country.


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    The Macedonian books' collection in the U.S. Congress library is the largest beyond Macedonia's borders.

    "Macedonian books and magazines are obtained in two ways - through purchase of titles and library exchange with Macedonia's renowned institutions", senior librarian Predrag Pajic, who has worked in the European reading room and the South-Slavic collection for 20 years, told Voice of America in Macedonian Language.

    The library annually purchases 1,000 titles, with the same amount acquired from exchange with the Skopje-based National and University Library.

    The Congress library digitizes the fund, thus making it accessible for computer use. The e-books are at least 75 years old, meaning they do not possess copyrights and can be used freely.

    The institution is part of the UNESCO project World Digital Library (, which presents collections of seven countries, including the most important libraries in the world.

    The U.S. Congress established the library in 1800. Soon, retired President Thomas Jefferson donated his rich collection from the entire globe to the library, thus promoting the concept of universality and laying the cornerstone of the institution as the global temple of knowledge.

    The library possesses 130 million copies in 460 languages. It also has the largest collection of law materials, films, maps and audio-visual materials.


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    February 27 2010:


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