Amid tensions, Bosnian Serbs celebrate outlawed holiday
Under growing international pressure over their leader's secessionist aspirations, Bosnian Serbs have celebrated an outlawed holiday with a provocative parade showcasing armored vehicles, police helicopters and law enforcement officers with rifles, marching in lockstep and singing a nationalist song.
Vietnamese workers at Chinese factory in Serbia cry for help
Vietnamese workers helping construct the first Chinese car tire factory in Europe say they're shivering in barracks without heat, going hungry and stuck in a plainland in Serbia because their passports have been taken by their Chinese employer.
Much of Europe tightens anti-pandemic rules as virus surges
A plastic tape prevents people from sitting at a coffee table in downtown Rome, Monday, March 15, 2021. As is the case elsewhere in Europe, virus variants are suspected of fueling increases in serious cases in France. AdAs they received first vaccines on Wednesday, doctors in Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, warned that the virus has exploded in the past several days. The country of 7 million has vaccinated more than 1.5 million people, which is among the highest rates in Europe. It was emerging Monday from a two-month pandemic lockdown, with the country gradually reopening over the next seven weeks, barring setbacks.
Western Balkan countries to tighten virus rules amid surge
Vaccinations started from a batch of 10,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines donated by neighboring Serbia. Doctors in Bosnia’s capital of Sarajevo warned that infections have “exploded” in recent days and urged people to comply with pandemic regulations. On a positive note, the first AstraZeneca vaccine doses donated by neighboring Serbia, were administered in Sarajevo on Wednesday. Experts have blamed the recent surge on flouting of the rules, and the fact that ski resorts remained open throughout the winter season. Authorities in the Balkan country of 2.1 million recorded last week a 60% increase in infections over the previous week.
Czech PM views Serbia's mass vaccination campaign
Czech leader Andrej Babis has been seeking vaccines outside the EU’s common program after deliveries from EU-approved Western drug companies have been delayed. With a team of experts, Babis last week also visited Hungary, which has been the first EU country to give a green light to the Russian vaccine. Thanks to the Chinese and Russian vaccines, Serbia is currently second in Europe after Britain in the rate of the vaccination rollout per capita. “We should abandon politics and talk about people's health, because the (virus) situation in the Czech Republic is not good.”The Czech Republic, a country of 10 million, has recorded over 1 million infections and seen more than 17,600 confirmed virus deaths. Brnabic said the country's experience with all three vaccines has been “excellent.”Babis's visit included a tour of a mass inoculation center in Belgrade.
Balkans feel abandoned as vaccinations kick off in Europe
North Macedonian epidemiologist Dragan Danilovski compared the current vaccine situation in the Western Balkans to the inequalities seen during the 1911 sinking of the Titanic. Serbia is the only Western Balkan nation to receive vaccine shots so far, getting deliveries from Pfizer-BioNTech and the Russian-developed Sputnik V vaccine. However, Serbia does not have enough doses to begin mass vaccinations, as only 25,000 shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 2,400 of the Russian vaccine have arrived. “Throughout the pandemic, the EU has shown that we treat the Western Balkans as privileged partners,” said EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi. “I trust (the Russian vaccine), I don’t trust the commercial narratives that are coming from the West,” Milorad Dodik, Bosnian Serb's leader, declared before he was hospitalized with coronavirus.
The Latest: China tests millions in port over virus cluster
(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)BEIJING — Authorities in China’s northeastern port city of Dalian are testing millions of residents after seven new coronavirus cases were reported there in the last 24 hours. It has a deal to secure up to 100 million doses of the potential vaccine produced by AstraZeneca. Koca said the first shipment of three million doses of CoronaVac would be shipped to Turkey on Sunday and arrive Monday. He said Turkey could get 4.5 million doses until the end of March and would have the option buy up to 30 million doses. Indonesia has reported nearly 700,000 COVID-19 cases, the largest caseload in Southeast Asia and second in Asia only to India’s 10.1 million confirmed cases.
The Latest: Conn. extends pandemic jobless benefit to 38,000
State health officials decline to identify which hospitals have expressed interest, but say there is need statewide. Hospitalizations have not yet reached their summer heights in Georgia, but beds are filling rapidly with COVID-19 cases. ___HARRISBURG, Pa. — States faced a deadline on Friday to place orders for the coronavirus vaccine as many reported record infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Ukraine, which is facing a rapid rise in coronavirus cases, tightened weekend restrictions last month but lifted them this week. ___ATLANTA — Vice President Mike Pence is trying to boost Americans’ confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines that are awaiting regulatory approval and distribution.
Serbia president: Prime minister to remain in office
In this photo taken Friday, July 26, 2019, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia. Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic has proposed that current Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stay in office for another four years, paving the way for the formation of a new government more than three months after a parliamentary election. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)BELGRADE – Serbia’s president on Monday proposed that current Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stay in office, paving the way for the formation of a new government more than three months after a parliamentary election. “I hold Ana Brnabic in very high regard,” he said. Brnabic became Serbia's first female and openly gay prime minister in 2017, after Vucic resigned the post in order to take part in a presidential election.
Serbia denies meddling in tense Montenegro election
BELGRADE Serbian officials have denied that Serbia and its president have interfered in Montenegros parliamentary election that was narrowly won by pro-Belgrade and pro-Russian political groupings. President Vucic and the current state politics in Serbia have shown two very problematic intentions, Djukanovic told Nova.rs television late Tuesday. Vucic, who once served as information minister in Milosevics government, has repeatedly denied meddling in Montenegros affairs and the election. There is no way that Montenegro is in any form threatened by Serbia, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said. Djukanovic defied Russia in 2017 to lead his country into NATO after gaining independence from much larger Serbia in 2006.
Serbia surprisingly joins EU in condemnation of Belarus vote
In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, centre, reviews the honor guard with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic upon his arrival at the Serbia Palace in Belgrade, Serbia. Belgrade has had close relations with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who last visited the Balkan country in December. Serbias acceptance of the EU criticism of the Belarus leader was first revealed Wednesday in tweets by the EU and US ambassadors to Belgrade who hailed the move. I welcome Serbia for joining EU Declaration on Presidential Elections in Belarus, EU Ambassador Sam Fabrizi wrote on Twitter. Although formally seeking EU membership, Serbia has been strengthening political, economic and military ties with Russia and China.
Serbs storm parliament after lockdown measures reintroduced
Police officers use pepper spray on demonstrators in front of the Serbian parliament in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Thousands of people protested the Serbian president's announcement that a lockdown will be reintroduced after the Balkan country reported its highest single-day death toll from the coronavirus Tuesday. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)BELGRADE Thousands of protesters fought running battles with police and tried to storm the parliament building in Belgrade on Tuesday after the Serbian president announced that a coronavirus lockdown will be reintroduced in the Balkan country. Some of the protesters briefly managed to enter the parliament by force, but were pushed back by riot police. Many blame the autocratic Serbian president for lifting the previous lockdown measures just so he would cement his grip on power after parliamentary elections.