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Global terrorism index does not regard Albania as problematic

The 2018 global terrorism index has considered Albania a country where the threat of terrorism has decreased.

According to this index, Albania is positioned 97th in the world among the 139 countries which are part of this study.

As far as the region is concerned, only Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina have a weaker performance than Albania.

Like the map shows, the Balkan region is one of the least problematic countries in Europe bearing in mind the situation in other countries of Europe, especially in the European Union or Turkey.

So, Albania scores only 1 out of a total of 10 points in the global terrorism index. The highest number of points indicates a higher risk. On a global level, Iraq is considered to be the most problematic country in terms of the level of terrorist threat. /ibna/

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BiH has successful young entrepreneurs

In order to present the positive and successful ideas of young innovators and entrepreneurs across Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU Info Centre launched a Vlog competition “Tell us a story of a successful young BiH entrepreneur”. The creative and innovative potential of young people through entrepreneurship is one of the key ways of achieving the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of any society.

The aim of the competition was to highlight human potential and bring new perspectives and various visions to the key questions of understanding how young people navigate in the labour market, how creative and successful their business ideas have been, and how they can inspire future generations.

During the award ceremony, Richard Masa, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, handed out the awards to the winners and thanked all of the competition’s participants.

“These successful and inspiring stories are not a surprise to me as this country has remarkable young people who work hard and are pushing boundaries. It is important to provide them with opportunities and encourage them to research, create and promote their ideas. It is also important that their stories are heard and shared, in order to inspire and encourage more young people in BiH to pursue their ideas and realise their goals – this is what this competition was all about”, Masa said.

As it was announced in the press release from EU Delegation to BiH, the winners of the competition now have the opportunity to select IT equipment in the amounts of 1,200 BAM for first place, 900 BAM for second place, and 600 BAM for third place. A team of young innovators from Tuzla – Makerspace – received the first place award for their innovation of an SOS bracelet called Trace Brace.

“We will use this award to continue developing our ideas and products. We plan to buy a laptop for one team member – the only one who does not have a laptop – so we can continue working and competing. There are many opportunities for youth, and they need to try to find themselves in any number of industries. The youth are full of energy and they are the ones who should make changes and create a better world – the future belongs to us”, said Tarik Džambić, who received the award on behalf of Makerspace Tuzla.

The second place award went to Nađa Zubčević, a young scientist from Sarajevo who created an antibacterial toilet seat – LooSeat – and plans to start a crowdfunding campaign in the summer.

“If everyone were like Armin” is the title of the third place awarded vlog, submitted by Mirza Hadžić, which tells the story of a 20-year old self-employed mechanic, Armin, from Goražde./IBNA

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Serbia, Russia demand UNSC session over Kosovo army

After the parliament in Pristina adopted laws that pave the way for transforming Kosovo Security Forces (KSB) into an army, Serbia and Russia have signaled that they will demand urgent session of the United Nations Security Council. At the same time, Belgrade media report that president Aleksandar Vucic inspects the units of Serbian military “in unknown locations” in the south of Serbia.

Serbia will demand calling an urgent session of the UN Security Council “over the most flagrant violation of the UNSC 1244 resolution with the creation of the so called Kosovo Army”, said foreign minister Ivica Dacic. “This is the most direct threat to the peace and stability in the region as well as to the security of Serb people who live in the Kosovo and Metohija”, Dacic told Tanjug news agency.

The decision of Pristina has to be discussed in the Security Council, said Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council. “It is highly possible that Pristina prepares itself for war and it’s not likely that these preparations are defensive”, Kosachev said. “I believe that this should be the subject of discussion in the Security Council”, he went on. Kosachev said that “United States are behind this illegal and impudent act”.

However, Germany and United Kingdom have also supported Pristina’s move. “As an sovereign country, Kosovo has the right to create regular armed forces”, said Rainer Breul, spokesman of the German foreign ministry. He added that this process should be “inclusive” and “involve” the Serb minority in Kosovo.

Earlier this week British ambassador in Pristina Ruairí O'Connell said that official London considers that the interim institutions in Pristina have the right to an army.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic, according to the accounts, inspects the units of the Serbian military in the unknown locations in the southern part of the country. It is announced that he will give a statement later today. Prime minister Ana Brnabic said that Pristina’s decision “does not contribute to regional stability”./IBNA

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Positive climate (again) for the Prespes Agreement following the amendments

Calm after the storm. This phrase could describe the climate among the parties in Greece regarding the Prespes Agreement. The content of the amendments adopted by the cabinet in fYROMacedonia has reassured the reactions and intense concern raised by Zoran Zaev's references to "Macedonian ethnicity" and the teaching of "Macedonian language" in Greece.

Thus, following the satisfaction expressed by the Greek Government in keeping with the spirit and the letter of the Agreement, The River confirmed after a meeting of its members the confirmation in their support to the Prespes Agreement, putting as a precondition that the amendments to be voted in fYROMacedonia "will not have the problems that have arisen lately". At the same time, objections have been filed from at least one member of the Democratic Coalition, while some MPs of ANEL have expressed their support for the Agreement, despite their leader's, Panos Kammenos, objections.

Tsipras in Thessaloniki

In the meantime, the Greek prime minister will send a unity message from Thessaloniki. Alexis Tsipras will address a political event in SYRIZA which, among other things, is expected to underline the importance of implementing the Prespes Agreement for the benefit of both countries. He will also reiterate that a prerequisite for this is the compliance of the Government of fYROMacedonia with the obligations deriving from the Agreement.

The presence of the Greek Prime Minister in the largest city of Northern Greece is of particular importance, as this is where there has been the greatest discontent for the Prespes Agreement, and extreme protests have also taken place. For this reason the central slogan of the rally is: "Yes to the Macedonia of Democracy and solidarity. No to hatred and nationalism".

At the same time, rallies are being organized in Thessaloniki against the Prespes Agreement, with SYRIZA speaking of "extreme right-wing counter-rallies", "seeing" an indirect support to them from New Democracy. "We have nothing to do with the counter-rallies of Thessaloniki," Kyriakos Mitsotakis's party stressed, accusing SYRIZA of communication diversion against the main opposition conference that begins today./IBNA

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Venice Commission approves its final opinion on the vetting of politicians in Albania

The Venice Commission has approved its final opinion concerning the process of vetting for politicians in Albania, which was proposed by the opposition.

According to this final report, states are entitled to restrict the right to be elected, adding that depending on the political situation, a restriction which may apply for one state may not apply for another. This argument seems to be enough for the governing majority to overthrow the opposition’s request for vetting of politicians.

A few months ago, opposition in Albania came up with a request to screen politicians in order not to allow people who have connections to the underworld or whose integrity is in doubt to stand for office. /ibna/

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Tsakalotos’ “do it like the Italians” plan to reduce “red” loans

The Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos presented the Asset Protection Scheme (APS) proposal, based on the Italian model, during a speech at the Capital Link conference held in New York over the past few days.

The criteria

Mr. Tsakalotos said the soon there would be announcements and described the three criteria that will determine the final form of the project, which is the speed of implementation, the compatibility with EU law and the absence of risks.

He pointed out that for banks "the challenges are ahead" with regard to "NPLs" although he said have been recapitalised and have been shown to meet the endurance test objectives.

He pointed out that an APS scheme is being considered based on the FSF proposal. "We will announce it when we are ready", he said, adding that this "will happen soon".

Easy scheme

Therefore, the Greek Finance Minister explained, a scheme that is easy and has already been tested is required, and invoked in this context the Italian experience already followed by other states.

In essence, Mr. Tsakalotos submitted for January a proposal for the drastic reduction of non-performing loans, which he has set as dominant, as the Bank of Greece has published a different type of proposal. The ECB and the ESM must also give their approval.

The plan of the FSF provides for the provision of state guarantees for troubled loans that banks will securitize and sell to investors and the proceeds will be put into a special account. Implementation of this plan requires approval by DGComp, due to the fact that guarantees can be considered as State aid./IBNA

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