Daily Archives: May 12, 2017

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France 24 : Video: Kosovo, the impossible nation-state

Video: Kosovo, the impossible nation-state

For over a year, Kosovo has been in mired in political crisis, which reached a climax this week when the government collapsed and the president called snap parliamentary elections for June 11. Our reporters returned to this tiny, dysfunctional nation at the heart of Europe.


On 17 February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia, a move immediately denounced by Belgrade and Moscow. Today, the small Balkan country is only recognised by 114 of the 193 UN member states. It remains dysfunctional and divided.

The south, which looks towards Albania, is predominantly Muslim, uses the Latin alphabet and pays in euros. In the north, the Serbian flag floats from buildings, the Cyrillic script is used, Serbian dinars are exchanged, and the population is predominantly Orthodox.

The tensions between the Albanian majority and the Serb community (which makes up just 6% of the population), a product of history fuelled by regional rivalries, eat away at the youngest country in Europe. Kosovo remains under international surveillance: some 4,300 NATO troops are deployed there and a European mission, EULEX, supervises the police, justice and local administrations.

The only glimmer of hope in this bleak landscape is the younger generation, which did not live through the war and could break the vicious circle of hatred between communities. One third of the population is under the age of 15. In order to digest its history and finally look to the future, Kosovo will have to rely on its young people and their energy.

France 24 : Pope to canonise two children at Fatima shrine to the Virgin Mary

Pope to canonise two children at Fatima shrine to the Virgin Mary

Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful await the high-security arrival of Pope Francis in Fatima on Friday as the Portuguese holy site marks 100 years since the Virgin Mary reportedly appeared to child shepherds.


Singing Ave Maria, holding hands in prayer, falling into each other’s arms crying or strolling past shops selling t-shirts with photos of the Argentine pontiff, pilgrims from all over the world have been gathering on and near the sprawling, white Catholicshrine this week.

Among them were Regina and Leonardo Berba, a couple from Manila in the Philippines, celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary with six of their seven children.

“It’s our thanksgiving. We feel that Mama Mary has always been there to guide us,” said Regina, 54, standing near a giant sculpture of a rosary.

Altogether, up to a million pilgrims are expected to descend on Fatimaby foot, car or plane from countries as varied as China, South Korea, Mexico and Venezuela.

‘Miracle’ boy

The Virgin is said to have appeared six times in Fatima, north of Lisbon, between May and October 1917 to three impoverished, barely-literate children—Jacinta, 7, Francisco, 9, and their cousin Lucia, 10.

She apparently shared three major prophesies with the trio at a time marked by the ravages of the First World War and Church persecution in a relatively new Portuguese republic.

These reportedly included a warning of a second war and the rise of communist Russia.

On Saturday—the 100th anniversary of the first reported apparition—Pope Francis will canonise Jacinta and Francisco, who have officially been found responsible for two miracles.

One of these apparently took place in 2013, when a five-year-old Brazilian boy called Lucas recovered at lightning speed after falling more than six metres (20 feet) down to the ground from a window, smashing his skull.

His parents had prayed to the late Jacinta and Francisco for help.

“The doctors, including non-believers, weren’t able to explain this recovery,” his father Joao Batista told reporters in Fatima on Thursday.

Closed airspace

Many pilgrims have trekked for days on foot to the central Portuguese town—some finishing the journey to the small Chapel of the Apparitions on their knees.

Jose Manuel Pinheiro, 42, said he had walked 242 kilometres (150 miles) from northern Portugal in seven days.

“I had promised to come on foot if my wife recovered from an illness diagnosed in 2007,” he said, standing next to the chapel.

“She recovered and since then I come every year.”

This time round, though, will be hugely different as Pope Francis himself participates.

“With Mary, as a pilgrim of hope and peace I travel to Fatima tomorrow,” the Argentine pontiff tweeted Thursday.

He leaves Rome at 2pm local time (1200 GMT) and lands more than two hours later at the Monte Real military base, north of Lisbon.

After a welcome by Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, he will travel to Fatima by helicopter.

There, he will arrive on the giant esplanade that faces the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in a “Popemobile” brought specially from Rome—welcomed by some 400,000 faithful.

Countless others will follow proceedings on giant screens and television sets.

The day’s events—and Saturday’s canonisation—take place under high security.

Some 6,000 members of security and emergency services have been mobilised.

Cars will be banned from the immediate vicinity of the sanctuary, the airspace above will be closed and measures for jamming electronic signals implemented to prevent any flights of drones.

Border controls, meanwhile, have been reinstated in the EU country through the weekend.


BBC News: FBI chief sacking: White House denies Comey loyalty pledge

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

FBI chief sacking: White House denies Comey loyalty pledge – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39901641

BBC News: Massive ransomware infection hits computers in 99 countries

I saw this on the BBC and thought you should see it:

Massive ransomware infection hits computers in 99 countries – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39901382

Watch “STORIA DELL’ARTE Gian Lorenzo Bernini” on YouTube

Watch “Filmato Bernini” on YouTube

Cetatea FĂGĂRAŞULUI perioada interbelică! 

Cetatea FĂGĂRAŞULUI perioada interbelică!