Friday, June 26, 2009


By Jelena Jovanovic
Belgrade June 26, (SerbiaToday) - Living costs in Serbia are pretty high. This year, in global climate of the economic crisis, things are even worse. The great problem of Serbia today is unemployment, as well as low life standard. Economists agree that standard in Serbia is extremely low although there is certain improvement in relation to the year 2000. Real life costs are much higher than the statistic says.
Most people in Serbia make about $400-450 USD a month. It takes two incomes in a family to pay for apartment rent, food, clothing, etc. To make ends meet is not easy for most of the people. For example, living costs for one young couple, without children, are:
Apartment- 300 Euros ( about $420) - for small apartment, living room/sleeping area, bathroom, small kitchen, wood floors and a small terrace. (Municipality sevices for such apartment are aproximately 2000 dinars)
Food – 10 000 dinars per month (If you cook at home)
Bus Fare – 42 dinars for each trip (2500 din per month if you travel by bus every day)
Bills:Electricity - 1500 dinars per monthCable TV - 300 dinars per monthPhone – 1500 dinars per monthInternet- 1000 dinars per month
From the beginning of 2009, citizens of Serbia were confronted with reduction of salaries (influence of the economic crisis) and with the rise of prices (current, fuel, gas, food …).
Many people are forced to look for second jobs and aditional source of income. Working two to three part-time jobs is not unusual, and there is also a sort of black market, where people do business without reporting their income. People also use advantages of their bank accounts (allowed overdraft), loans etc, and manage to save some money by shopping in bigger and cheaper stores with special discounts or lay-away plans.
Average salary in Serbia, in April this year was 344 euros ( about $500), 6.2% less than in March. Statistic says that food expenses make 40% of one month salary. Living costs, municipal services and heating make another 15%. Other services make 12% , and the rest of monthly income goes to all other needs (clothes, cultural needs)
Health insurance in Serbia is free but there are many expenses that should be paid (some medicals, examination etc). Statistics confirm that minimum of needs for one family with four members is 78 000 din per month ( about $1200).
The fact is also that there are 60% people with a salary less than the average. The latest research of the Centre for Economic Research of the Institute of Social Science has shown that 2-3% of the Serbian population (around 250,000 people altogether) is extremely rich. On the other side there are extremely poor people. Serbia is country in transition process , and the fact is that the prime pre-requisite for democracy is the existence of a stable middle class.

WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY, Serbia Still on Top

Belgrade, June 26 (SerbiaToday) – With total number of 146.000 voluntary blood donors and large score of campaigns for non-profit donation of blood all over the country, Serbia holds 30th position on the world list of blood donating.
At the prize award ceremony on Tuesday for the most successful local organizations of blood donors in 2008, Serbian president Boris Tadic said some 60.000 donors gave blood last year and the number of voluntary blood donors is increasing every year which makes him “very proud“.
Some 244.000 blood units were collected in 2008 through more than 3.000 campaigns, according to Red Cross of Serbia. Representatives of 13 local voluntary blood donor organizations received awards on Tuesday.
Northern city of Novi Sad is the most humane town in Serbia, in its overall population of 260.000 inhabitants, 7 % of them are the voluntary blood donors. Serbia requires 700-800 blood units per day (a unit of whole blood is 450 millilitres).
The World health Organization established June 14 World Blood Donor Day in 2005, the day when Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the ABO blood group system was born. Serbia marks World Blood Donor Day since 2005.
But this is not all about in statistics and figures, more important is competition in humanity and virtue, no one reform would have sense if we do not step up in human values”, Tadic said.
Serbian president stressed he will sign in to became voluntary organ donor. “I think that action is very important, both for our citizens and Serbia’s credibility in the world, the same as culture of blood donating”, said President Tadic.

Belgrade Green Markets Torn Between Past and Future

By Ljilja Cvekic
BELGRADE, June 26 (SerbiaToday) – An ambitious plan to revamp Belgrade’s traditional open-air green markets aims to turn the beloved, gritty downtown spots into gleaming public spaces worthy of a Western metropolis – but experts and citizens worry that the modernisation drive could end up tearing at the heart and soul of Serbia’s capital.
The city authorities approved in May a plan to modernize green markets and turn them into dual-purpose spaces: markets in the morning, and squares for cultural events in the evening. The stands will be removed in the afternoon to special hidey holes or underground, the space cleaned and washed to host social and cultural happenings or just quiet rest by the water fountains.
A poll opened until mid-July asks citizens for their opinions and preferences among several projects prepared jointly by the City Markets authorities and Architects Society for three central downtown markets – Kalenic, Palilula and Bajloni.
“City squares are places where the first markets appeared. People used to come in the morning to sell their products and only leave in the evening,” City Markets director Dragan Pusara told Serbia Today. He said the new concept would really revive the nightlife of the “pijaca” – a word that came into Serbian from the Italian word “piazza” – that are now deserted, dark and dirty in the evening.
“Some of the downtown markets have originally been squares and they would just go back to their initial looks and purpose,” Pusara added. The life of the “piazza” would not disappear, just be enriched with cafes and galleries, exhibitions and art performances, theatre plays and concerts.
The very first market in Belgrade opened during the time of Turkish rule in the early 19th century, after many complaints by farmers that Turkish soldiers were forcefully buying off their food cheap to sell it to the city for much higher prices. In 1824, the Belgrade vizier invited respectable Turks and Serbs for a meeting and proposed setting up a market inside the Kalemegdan citadel where farmers would freely come to sell their products -- and banned reselling and middlemen.
Other, smaller markets gradually opened across the city, with time becoming meeting places where people come to hear the latest news, chat, negotiate deals. Even in the late 20th century one could buy a watermelon or tomato during the night, especially in summer, with farmers staying as long as it took to sell all their products, reducing prices in the evening. During the hyperinflation and international sanctions of the 1990’s, markets became the breeding grounds of the real economy, where ordinary people could eke out a living by selling everything from a needle to a vacuum cleaner, from chicken and eggs to dresses and shoes, for far lower prices than in shops.
Of the surviving Belgrade markets, the modest Palilulska Pijaca, squeezed in a corner bellow Tasmajdan park and the headquarters of national television station RTS, is the oldest in the city. Included into city plans in 1903 as a market, it can be found on Belgrade maps from 1910 as “the Palilula square”.
The Bajloni market, at the end of the popular old bohemian Skadarlija street, got its name from Czech entrepreneur Ignjat Bajloni, who in 1880 built a big, modern brewery close to the square where the market was later located. Both markets serve primarily local residents, who tolerate the fecund smells and night-time mess for the sake of freshness, convenience and low prices.
European cities have long ago introduced markets that vanish in the night, Pusara explains.
“Even Zagreb, where people have similar habits, has a market where just few people manage to remove 600 counters in an hour and clean the space.”
Paris and Rome, Frankfurt and New York have small mobile green markets, usually once or twice a week, where traces of a busy marketplace disappear completely in early evening. And although modern urban life has brought many people to big supermarkets and shopping malls, the trend is now shifting to healthy and organic food, bringing people to the farms on cities’ outskirts to buy fresh greens and fruit rather than to pick them from the store shelves.
“Markets will not lose their purpose. They represent important places of gathering and we shall preserve the traditional role and uniqueness of each of them,” Pusara said. “A market is not a shopping mall. It is the place where old handicrafts should be promoted, the place where globalization has no access.”
However, Belgraders are suspicious and cautious. They fear their beloved markets will lose their warm atmosphere, products will be more expensive and their favourite vendors will leave, not willing to pay high rents.
“Those who need a square should go to the Republic Square. Those who need a ‘piazzetta’ should go to Italy! A market is a necessity. And it’s not true that people shop more at the big retail chains. To renovate markets, clean them and ensure parking space – yes, but we’re not old Romans to sit on the squares,” wrote a visitor of one of many blogs on the issue.
The recent reconstruction of one of Belgrade’s oldest, biggest and cheapest markets, the listed Hungarian-style Zeleni Venac, is seen by most to have been a failure. Having cost the city some 25 million euros, it became a clean but deserted place, with metal bars around the preserved old buildings, high prices and cold atmosphere.
One ambitious initial idea for the renovation of Kalenic, the most lively and colourful of Belgrade’s markets, is to build “a glass shell” over the market, creating a totally enclosed space of wood and glass. According to the new project, food products will be sold in the open until 3 p.m. in winter and 5 p.m. in summer; warehouses and other shops will be at the first underground level, while another two will serve as a garage.
“Why do we need this? We should better think about how to employ people! We are happy with Kalenic as it is. I’ve been coming here all my life, know the vendors and can buy everything that we once had to make on our own, such as home-made tomato juice or sauerkraut. It’s a waste of money,” said 89-year old Erika Bojovic.
City Markets say it is not a big investment, and, unlike with Zeleni Venac, it will be cost- effective. The idea is also to use profits from Kalenic, that was built in 1926 on ground donated to the city by merchant Vlajko Kalenic, to establish a fund for young talents.
“Belgrade is loosing its soul,” sighed Dragana Bovic, 50. “Beautiful old buildings have been destroyed, small unique shops are disappearing in favour of impersonal shopping malls, casinos are taking over old inns and cinemas, and bars that all look alike everywhere in the world are replacing old cafes full of spirit. And now they want to take our old markets away.”

Serbian Dijaspora, Conference on media opened in Belgrade

Belgrade, June 26 (SerbiaToday) – The Conference „Media in Diaspora, media for Diaspora“ gathering representatives of around 50 Serb media, both printed, electronic or Internet, from 15 countries opened in Belgrade on Wednesday. Media owners and editors discussed strengthening ties with Serbia, promoting cooperation with public radio and TV service, private media and journalist organization.
„Media in Diaspora have significant and increasingly important role of informing Serb community living abroad about major events here and promoting national, cultural and language identity thus contributing to better perception of Serbia in the world“, minister for Diaspora Srdjan Sreckovic said in his opening speech.
Some 3 mil of Serbs are estimated to live abroad, third of total population in the country.
Major issues, such as role of Serbian public media service in informing Diaspora, Law on Diaspora and new possibilities in media developing, media in Diaspora and Serbia’ economic recovery were talked about on separate panel discussions.
The Conference was introduction to traditional annually “St. Vitus' Days of Diaspora”, which started on Thursday in capital of Serbia. Some participants told SerbiaToday official Belgrade in couple of last years “really made a significant effort to and improve connections of Serb community abroad with the fatherland”. They also estimate that Government is “apparently” working to establish a “new partnership with Serb abroad”.
Last month Serbian government passed Draft Law on Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, first legal act dealing with the issue. By this document, which is in Parliament’s procedure, the Assembly of Diaspora and Serbs in the region is established as their highest representative body (Article 15). The Assembly consists of 44 delegates of Diaspora and Serbs in the region.

One can argue Draft Law introduces little bit complicated model of institutional relations between Diaspora and the State, but it however seems to be functional, told SerbiaToday Jelena T. Mitrovic, journalist. She used to live in Canada, but moved to Europe six years ago and as a stringer reporting from ex YU countries.

According to officials, Serbian Parliament will debate the Draft in the autumn. Some 20.000 men are employed in small and mid size companies which have been opened by Serbs from abroad in last nine years, investing in these projects 500 mil $, show official statistics.

“In my opinion, home media should offer on regular basis and more frequently it’s TV or radio programmes to Serb media abroad, so Diaspora can really understand current changes in society in Serbia. Reality shows and entrainment programs from Serbia via satellite can’t be the only choice”, said Mitrovic.

Participants praised independent TV productions in Serbia, saying they are more “sensitive” for requirements of Serb abroad. Those small companies have quality low budget programmes and media in Diaspora should try to find “common language” with them, said participants.

Soaring Fuel Prices

Rina Mihajlovic
Novi Sad, June 26, (SerbiaToday) - Serbia is on the verge of becoming the country with the most expensive fuel in Europe. It might even become a record-holder considering the constant increase in the price of fuel.
Now it holds the highest price in the region with EUR 1.02 per liter while in BIH liter is EUR 0.75, EUR 0.89 in FYROM and EUR 0.99 in Croatia. Only Slovenia has a bit higher price but it may change soon due to increase that follows this weekend.
Today the new prices will be formed and there are indications that the price of fuel will go up RSD 3. The price of the fuel is formed based on the global market daily movement of the price of petroleum. Since the price went up in the last two weeks it is eminent that the price will go up here too. From the beginning of the year the price went up 10 times in Serbia.
Even though Turkey, Scandinavian countries and Germany have higher prices, there is a threat the Serbia might take the number one as a country with the most expensive fuel. The irony is that the quality of fuel in Serbia is among the worst ones in Europe and now it may have not only the worst fuel but also the most expensive one.Towering fuel prices are having a big impact on Serbia. People are desperate because the prices are constantly increasing and it is a big expenditure for them considering that many people are unemployed or have the salary below the average. The increase affects businesses and farmers as well, because it is a part of the final price that has to be formed for a certain product or a service they offer. There are suggestions to change the pricing procedure and instead to be based on the price of the petroleum, to be based on the price of its derivate. The problem is that the price of petroleum increases internationally and leads to increase all over the world. Its increase by 8.92 percent on the international market led to high increase in Serbia as well.
It is interesting that the price of the gas also went up due to an increase in petroleum price internationally.
The increase in fuel prices affects everything around us, it also pushes up market prices and makes our grocery cart more expensive. Supermarkets are changing their prices and coffee producers say that the price of the coffee will go up 5 percent by the end of the month. The same goes for the prices of cosmetics, chemical products and even dairy product. It seems that only the price of bread will remain as it is ,while people will continue to endure shocks at the gas stations and supermarkets.

IMF-SERBIA, Different Approaches on Budget Cuts

Belgrade, June 23 (SerbiaToday) – Serbian Minister of Economy Mladjan Dinkic declined Monday possibility that government should reduce budget deficit by cuts in public spending and increasing of VAT tax, estimating it would be a “mistake” like one was made “in Baltic states”.
“Decreasing of salaries (in public sector) and tax increase will be a mistake because it could additionally reduce demands and only speed up the downfall on national economy”, Dinkic said during an investments panel in Belgrade.

Serbia last month agreed a 3 bill € ($4 bill) IMF loan to protect its economy and currency from the effects of the global crisis, obliging it to keep the deficit at 3 % of GDP. But the officials in Belgrade warned deficit will reach more than 4% of GDP.

For Serbia, the ways out of crisis is “to get on to small debt, increase the budget deficit” and reduce administration. According to Dinkic, Serbia should hold low taxes in order to attract world companies which plan to relocate business in countries with low production costs.

Dinkic praised Italian companies for investing in Serbia some 800 mil €. Italian banks hold 25% of banking market in Serbia, while insurance companies from that country took 44% of market in Serbia.

IMF: It is too early to say, but...

Serbian finance minister Mrs. Diana Dragutinovic said last week government will consider further cuts in public spending, since revenues are lower than budget expenses and new budget revision may be an option. The first revision of budget was adopted by Serbian Parliament in late April.
Dragutinovic expressed belief the IMF will approve an increase up to 4.5% because Serbia’s demands are “well grounded”.

But IMF doesn’t share Finance Minister’s opinion. Bogdan Lissovolik, the IMF representative to Serbia, said Monday the International Monetary Fund will not make planned payments unless Belgrade introduce measures to reduce its budget deficit.

“Without corrective measures we cannot proceed with disbursement as planned. The sooner they come out with the plan, the sooner they will be able to implement those measures”, Lissovolik said in Belgrade Chamber of Commerce.

It will not be an easy decision for us because fiscal criteria are the most important in whole IMF-Serbia agreement, stated IMF representative to Serbia.

Asked if the IMF would consider allowing Serbia to raise its deficit above the previously agreed 3 %, Lissovolik answered: 'It is too early to say.'

The next round of IMF-Serbia talks is scheduled for August.

Prof Frederic Jameson in the Belgrade Cultural Centre

By Natasa Tepavcevic
Belgrade, June 22, ( Serbia Today) - On Friday, 19th June and Saturday, 20th June, Frederic Jameson has been the special guest of the One Writer's Festival 2009, dedicated to contemporary reception of the Avant-garde and Modernism in Serbian literature and to the Serbian writer Momčilo Nastasijević.
Fredric R. Jameson (1934, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) is professor of Literature at Duke University. Professor Jameson received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1959 and taught at Harvard, Yale, and the University of California before coming to Duke in 1985. His books include Postmodernism, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991, which won the MLA Lowell Award), Seeds of Time (1994), Brecht and Method (1998), and The Cultural Turn (1998), A Singular Modernity (2002), Archaeologies of the Future (2005) and Jameson on Jameson (2007). His most recent work, Valences of the Dialectic, will appear in the fall of 2009 (Verso Press). He received the Holberg Prize in 2008.
His most frequently taught courses cover modernism, Third World literature and cinema, Marx & Freud, the modern French novel and cinema, and the Frankfurt School. Among Professor Jameson's ongoing concern is the need to analyze literature as an encoding of political and social imperatives, and the interpretation of modernist and postmodernist assumptions through a rethinking of Marxist methodology.
In Belgrade he decided to talk on two issues: -Realism and Affect and - Postmodernism and Globalization
In all his essays, Jameson explores theoretical territory, brings back ideas, explains and criticizes them, and does so both inventively and systematically. The "system" he helps to construct is a set of critical attitudes rather than a stale enclosure of interpretive rules, and those attitudes have changed the shape of American thought about literature and culture, not only in the academy but also in the literate press.
First lecture he has started with explanation of position from where he is talking about realism. At the very beginning, he wanted to underline that we can not discussing realism as the think itself, instead of that we can talk about appearance of realism in 18th and 19th century and disappearance of realism at the end of 19th century. In this sense, he refuses to define realism as the think itself. Continuation of lecture has been dedicated to exploring the “moment of realism” through three literature traditions: French, German and English tradition. As the key terms he use: de-temporality, de-narration and de- chronology. In the potentiality of realism breakdown he found the question of affect important. He explained affect as something opposite than emotion. This distinction he has made in this way: affect is physiological state and emotion is state of mind, but affect always want to have predominance. He keep forward with explanation of forms in which affect can be found through the examples from modernism.
Second lecture entitled “Postmodernism and Globalization” he started with explanation of distinction between postmodernism as artistic style and post-modernity as word/term for whole economic and culture system today. Contemporary art is product of post-modern society. Term contemporary impose end of temporality. Present is just construction. In this sense, Jameson was talking about transformation of our subjectivity. He compares production of art with finance, system of art function as system of economy. But who create art when artist is no longer personality-was one of the questions mentioned by Frederic Jameson. He continues with conclusion: production of art or knowledge production has its socio-political consequences. Globalization has aim to expand culture all over the world. Can we de-link art from culture or is history continuation or channel, were also the questions for debate. In all respects, Jameson said, any talk about future first has to confront globalization. The new freedom, post-modernity associated with new artistic relativism, with the eruption of all kind of local and national expression in historical seen. Economy system dictates canonization of literary texts on a basis what they make available. Art market determines what the work of art is, and what it is not, that is to say, who or what can be an applicant for the work of art. “That’s really sad, still there are many parts of world, as East European countries, West Balkan and so on, they instinctive desirable to be read by the West, translated on English language, to be seen and observed by the particular Other”, said Jameson. This imbalance allows us to move on in materialistic dimension of globalization, which has indeed to do with the fear of universal standardization. Everyone can observe reorganization of everything in terms of money, and there is no possible return. What Jameson wanted to analyze is the question: Is it easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of the capitalism?
He finishes with optimistic statement. Wherever is enthusiasm, there is also the utopia. He suggests that the task of current and future workers in the field of culture is just to step out and to make visible the only present of utopian impulse in all seen post-utopian, even cynical practices and projects. We have to re-open the possibilities of action in the post-modernity stricken of possibilities, said Jameson.

Serbian Pavilion at the 53rd Biennale di Venezia

By Natasa Tepavcevic
Venice, June 22, ( Serbia Today) - The 53rd International Art Exhibition, titled Making Worlds directed by Daniel Birnbaum and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta, is open to the public from June 7th to November 22nd 2009.
The Director of the 53rd Exhibition, Daniel Birnbaum, has been Rector of the Staedelschule Frankfurt/Main and its Kunsthalle Portikus since 2001.
Serbian pavilion at the 53rd Biennale di Venezia is envisioned as a space of dialogue between two art projects, thus far unrelated yet now jointly presented. Although they are artists of different generations, attitudes and philosophies, Zoran Todorović (Belgrade, 1965) and Katarina Zdjelar (Belgrade, 1979), share a common point in arguing that “an artist is a free mediator within the space of social interaction, and that artistic subjectivity emerges only if situated in the frictions of a world constructed from social matter.”
Zoran Todorović “WARMTH”
Todorović initiated systematic stockpiling of up to 2 tons of human hair. The conditions in which this process is carried out in a closed system are thoroughly documented. The blankets are made from human hair and documentation of collecting hair will be shown on exhibition. In order to understand Todorovic’s practice one have to follow the theoretical reference from bio-politic to necro-politic.
Katarina Zdjelar explores forms of regulated systems of communication and learning and affects of shaping the 'speaking body'. Her audiovisual works focus on speech, noise of speech and its performative powers. She works with language and voice as a tool for approaching various subjects, with a particular interest in states of transition, translation, migratory or nomadic being.
Commissioner and Curator of Serbian Pavilion is Branislav Dimitrijević. He is art historian, theoretician and curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade. His research includes the theory of the visual as well as the concept of art. In addition, he has demonstrated his interest, in numerous publications, in the relation between culture and ideology in the former Yugoslavia.
These biographical details of curator of Serbian Pavilion are important to mention in order to understand position of curator in contemporary art world. Contemporary curating is a form of cultural production, immaterial labor based in critique, a practice that increasingly exhibits an ability, and furthermore a desire. Political authority is laid down among an organizer, a curator and consumers. Therefore, we have to keep in mind that culture identity of each pavilion is functionally- social status established as an effect of hierarchical compositions, political proposals, where dominating identity verifying integration represents the politics of globalisation. Non-ideological position of artist, curator or art itself is impossibility.

Dinosaurs of Argentina – Giants of Patagonia in Belgrade

Vesna GlisicBelgrade, June 22, (Serbia Today) -During the next seven months, visitors will have the opportunity to see the beautiful exhibition " Dinosaurs of Argentina – Giants of Patagonia“ in the Impulse hall of the hotel „Continental" in Belgrade.
Exhibition organized by the Natural History Museum of Belgrade in cooperation with Grupo Cultural from Argentina, includes 40 exhibits dinosaur skeleton, and among them visitors can see and Nest, skulls, eggs and foot print of these protozoans. The most attractive exponat, definitely, are the skeletons of 7 dinosaur, including carnivorous Giganotosaurus carolinii, long over 14 meters, and vegetivorous Rebbachisaurus tessonei, long over 17m.
It is interesting that all replicas are authentic. This is chronological exhibition, which includes recapitulation life dinosaur 65 million years ago.
Before Belgrade, the exhibition was in in Washington, and Turin, and was very visited. According to organizers, this is not passive exhibition, but requires the active participation of visitors.
The exhibition is particularly interesting for children, there are workshops for them and competitions in drawing dinosaurs and big puzzle with dinosaur theme.
Also, there are a lot of dinosaur toys that show the period in which they lived.
This is educational exhibition and visitor can learn how dinosaur lived, what they hunted. It is estimated that the dinosaur life, depending on the type, was 20 to even 400 years.
Visitors in Belgrade have a special honor to attend the European Premiere oldest dinosaur Megareptora nine meters long and 70 centimeters in length hand.
During the exhibition, visitors will be able to see the mini-setup "Serbia at the time of dinosaur," in which will be shown to world fossil remains that at the time lived in Serbia.
According to organizers from Natural History Museum of Belgrade scientists in some part of Serbia found only the remains of shellfish, sea snails and sea-urchins. However, they are hoping that there is a chance to be in Serbia found something this spectacular.
Exhibition of fossil dinosaur remains have great national significance, because it has not seen in our region and will be open until

The Abyss on Top of the World” by Marica Josimcevic to be published in US

New York, June 21, ( Serbia Today) - The Abyss on Top of the World, a novel by well known Serbian contemporary author Marica Josimcevic will be released in August by Lux Mundi Press Publishers from New York.
Marica Josimcevic is the author of several novels and collections of short stories published in Serbia: The Scorpio Knew - collection of short stories, 1988; The Lord’s Retreat – novel, 1991; The Abyss On Top Of The World - novel, 1994; The Way Of The Skin - collection of short stories, 1998; Yovanye-The Book on Second Creation, 2003.
She received much recognition and many awards for her literary accomplishments. Among them, certainly the most prestigious is the Award “ISIDORA SEKULIC” for the collection of short stories The Way of the Skin, as the best literary achievement in Serbia in 1998.
Lux Mundi Press, a publishing house from New York has developed a special co-publishing program to help Serbian contemporary writers make a break into American book market.

SERBIA-PORTUGAL, Better cooperation of parliaments

Belgrade, June 22 (Serbia Today) - The Speakers of Parliament of Serbia and Portugal, Mrs. Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic and Jaime Gama, signed an Agreement on Monday which is due to improve cooperation between two legislative bodies on all levels, first such a document Serbia achieved with any EU member country.
The Framework Cooperation Agreement “ensures the cooperation two democratic countries, it is model for strengthening the work of Parliament“, said Gama adding official Lisbon strongly backed Serbia on its way to EU. He also spoke about Serbia’s process of accession to the block, use of EU funds and its commitment to cooperate with ICTY.
Speaking at joint press conference, the two stressed the Agreement “provides opportunity to improve communication“ at all parliamentary levels and manages cooperation of parliaments’ working bodies.
Gama said he believed issue of visa liberalization for citizens of Serbia to travel to EU “shall soon be resolved“. Mrs. Djukic-Dejanovic briefed her counterpart on Serbian parliament activities on adoption the laws on agriculture and regional development as well as harmonisation of Serbian legislation with EU rules.
Speaker of Portugal parliament Jaime Gama also met on Monday Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic.

Roma People Trust Church, Tadic

Belgrade, June 26 (SerbiaToday) – A great majority of Roma population in Serbia, 80 %, see no benefit at all of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, unique European Governments commitment to improve social-economic status of Roma in the countries, showed on Wednesday research conducted by pool agency “Argument” and Roma Democratic Centre (RDC) from Valjevo, 100 km south-west from the capital Belgrade.
Roma expects by the end of Decade issues of their employment and residence would be resolved, want their children finish school, while health is not the priority. Only 4, 7 % of the examined are focused to medical treatment and health insurance, told Tanja Dimitrijevic of RDC reporters.
The Decade focuses on education, employment, health, and housing, and commits governments to take into account the other core issues of poverty, discrimination.
According to Census 2002, some 108.000 Roma live in Serbia and they have status of national minority. Human rights organizations however estimate there are around 640.000 Roma in the country.
So far, 11 Central European countries and Spain take part in the Decade: Serbia, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. Slovenia has observer status.
Roma activist say society is weighted by xenophobia and national stereotypes, which is “perfect fertile soil” for growing violent behaviour against young Roma (9-15 years) and other vulnerable groups.
Ljuan Koka is high ranking official in the Ministry for Human Rights’ Department for Roma national strategy. According to him, lack of money due to global crisis sharply affects projects dealing with Roma issue, but despite negative trends, things are moving forward. “We succeeded from the beginning of Decade that Roma children signing for high school and presently there are 420 Roma students in Serbia”, said Koka, Roma from Prizren, Kosovo, on Wednesday.
Roma community in Serbia has minimum of confidence in private companies, trade unions and political parties, but Serbian Orthodox Church, military and President Boris Tadic enjoy its greatest trust, shows the research.


US Comico Overseas to invest in Serbia
Belgrade, June 21 (SerbiaToday) – American Corporation “Comico Overseas” is interested to build up new oil refinery in city of Smederevo, 50 km east of Serbian capital Belgrade, local press reported Sunday quoting Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy.
“Preparations are under way to produce a legal framework for the project. We are considering all the possibilities in accordance with Serbian energy strategy and Serbia-Russia agreement on cooperation in energy (signed 2008)”, said Petar Skundric according to media reports.

Russian oil monopoly “Gazpromnjeft” is majority owner of “Serbian Oil Industry” (NIS). Control package of NIS shares was sold for 400 mil € ($ 560mil).

Skundric said Serbia was interested for reconstruction of NIS, but also in further development of its oil industry. There is a possibility of meeting NIS and American representatives, said Skundric adding he recommended possibly talks should include two companies’ strategic partnership.

Earlier this year, media reported that Mayor of Smederevo has signed a protocol with American counterpart, and “Comico Oil” (daughter-company of Amsterdam based “Comico Overseas” conglomerate) is ready to invest 250 mil € in the project.
New oil refinery in Smederevo will be able to produce on daily basis 4.000t gasoline, diesel and kerosene, and will employ 300-500 workers, according to media.

Some 9 mil € are expected to be invested in Serbian energetic sector till 2015 – 5 mil € in new and 4 mil € in reconstruction of old capacities, both from home and foreign sources, claimed Minister Skundric.
In Smederevo, US Steel Serbia operates since 2004.

Young Serbs Lack Confidence, Follow False Idols

By Ljilja Cvekic
Belgrade, June 21 (Serbia Today) – Serbia’s youth care more about brand clothes and mobile phones than about books and sports, are prone to binge drinking and depression and feel alienated and powerless. A survey by the Belgrade Institute for Psychology showed that a third of teenagers get drunk on a regular basis and 39 percent do not do any sports at all.
Some 85 percent have a computer at home and use mainly it for games, chats, and downloading films and music, a third never read or only when it is necessary and almost half would never go to theatres or museums.
“All that is offered to them as a role model are those who have money. Young people need positive examples of young talented scientists, artists, writers or sportsmen,” Serbia’s Deputy Youth Minister Snezana Klasnja told Serbia Today in an interview on Friday.
“What we want to do is to bring back a value to knowledge, work, and creativity, to make them understand that they are the ones who should take their lives into their own hands.”
According to the survey, conducted in 2008, teenagers spend the most money on going out, mobile phones and clothes. They shun newspapers in favor of television, but the majority never watches the news or political shows and is not interested in politics. They read mainly teenage publications or gossip and celebrity magazines, and hang out in cafes and discos, going out at around 10 p.m. and coming home between 2 and 3 in the morning.
Sociologists say that the values and dreams of young people have changed drastically in the last twenty years, partly reflecting the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia, a decade of war and a hard landing into winner-takes-all capitalism. Teen values shifted from idealism, friendship, rebellion and rock-and-roll to the pursuit of money, glamour, kitsch and turbo-folk music, personified in stars such as folk singer Svetlana Raznatovic, widow of a notorious warlord and known more for her revealing outfits and plastic surgery than her voice.
“Parents need to be educated, as well as teachers. It is too late to start teaching an adolescent about choices and right values; they have to learn these things in early childhood,” said Jovanka Lazarevic, a math teacher. “In Serbia, it’s not allowed to be different. Maybe young people would succeed much more if the society would encourage differences.”
As four decades of socialist policies unraveled in the early 1990’s, teenagers lost the traditional free-of-charge entertainment options, local clubs where they could organize for themselves dance parties and social events, school yards where they could hang out playing soccer or basketball just for fun. Schools are now renting their gyms and yards to private clubs, in which students have to pay to play sports.
Drinking is another problem widely spread among young people. Almost 70 percent of polled teenagers said they have got drunk first time when they were between 14 and 16 years old and more than 32 percent get drunk on regular basis.
About a third of high school students smoke, a fifth have a sleeping problem, and the same number deals only with difficulty with depression and solitude. The survey showed also that neither teenagers nor their parents are aware of danger the Internet might present and 19 percent of them said they had been sexually propositioned by strangers over the Internet, and three percent responded to such offers.
Trying to tackle the mounting issues, Serbia has unveiled a National Youth Strategy that aims to involve young people and youth organizations across the land “on a scale previously unseen as part of any policy development in recent memory”.
Young people who are now 20 years old, were three years old when the first hostilities broke out on the territory of former Yugoslavia, they were four when sanctions were imposed on the country, seven at the time the Dayton Treaty, ending Bosnia war, was signed, eleven when Serbia was bombed over the Kosovo war and fifteen when the prime minister (Zoran Djindjic) was assassinated, reads the introductory note to the Strategy paper adopted last year.
Funds for youth have been allocated for the first time in the 2009 budget, and 85 local communities in Serbia opened youth centers since the beginning of the year, where young people can meet, play, organize chess tournaments or creative workshops and libraries.
“Young people in Europe are much more active and ready to fight for their rights,” Klasnja said.
“A survey conducted by the Centre for Democracy and Free Elections, CESID, showed that still 70 percent of youth in Serbia have a conservative stance in the sense that they need to have an authority, they need a leader. They have yet to learn to become an active part of society and to initiate themselves changes and activities.”

Serbia Businessmen Resort to Suicide to Avoid Bankruptcy, Poverty

By Ljilja Cvekic
BELGRADE, June 19 (Serbia Today) – Like in 1929, when the Great Depression drove many businessmen to commit suicide after losing fortunes overnight, the current global financial crisis is leading some Serbian entrepreneurs to end their lives to avoid bankruptcy, shame and poverty.
Seven Serbian building contractors have committed suicide since last December after their businesses went bankrupt. Some 72 small businessmen -- owners of restaurants and cafes, computer shops and small handicraft workshops, auto shops and transporter firms -- have killed themselves in the last five years.
“Being an entrepreneur in Serbia is a guerilla war,” Dragoljub Rajic, a spokesman of Serbia’s Association of Employers, told Serbia Today on Friday. “Since socialist times to this moment, the entrepreneur is considered to be a social category that can take all kinds of burdens, and from whom the state can take money any time it needs it.”
Business failure and sudden impoverishment were not traditionally seen in Serbia as such a blow that would warrant one to commit suicide, and sociologists had marveled at the resilience of the Serbs during the 1990s, when the nation soldiered through a million percent inflation, economic sanctions and shortages, followed by a sudden lurch into liberal capitalism, quick privatizations and mass redundancies.
But psychologists say that although a severe crisis in a society might make people stronger and more capable of dealing with problems, it can also have a totally opposite effect long term, especially if there is only a short recovery period -- people might feel that they have had it enough and just cannot take it any more.
While employees can just lose their jobs, employers, who are relying on loans taken with their own property as collateral, face losing all they have if their businesses fail. The situation is even worse for those who turn to loans from local usurers, who might lure clients with lower rates than banks but with the subtext of physical violence in case the debts go unpaid.
Businessmen say the burden in Serbia is disproportional compared to the rest of ex-Yugoslavia. Small and medium enterprises in Serbia are faced in the first year of business with financial obligations, including taxes, pension fund and health insurance contributions that are over five times higher than in neighboring Croatia. Prices of electricity and water, office space and land are twice as high in Belgrade than in Zagreb, and taxes and contributions are the highest in Europe – on 10,000 dinars paid to an employer, 6,825 dinars have to be paid to the state.
Out of 108,000 small and medium enterprises currently registered in Serbia, only 38,500 are financially liquid, while all the others have frozen bank accounts for their debts. The state is the greatest debtor, owing 100 billion dinars ($1.5 billion) to big and medium companies, and privileged big retail chains owe additional 50 billion dinars. The price of those debts is paid by small firms on the bottom of the pyramid, who have the smallest capital turnover.
“Instead of helping the economy, the state is generating crisis by keeping huge administration and public sector wages by 40 percent higher than in economy and increasing taxes and contributions instead of reducing them,” Rajic said. “Enterpreneurs in Serbia are victims of the public sector. Serbia employs one administrative worker on four production workers, while that number in the European Union is one per 36.”
Economists estimate Serbia would need an additional 50,000 small and medium enterprises by 2015 to create jobs, reduce poverty and improve living standards. But last year their number dropped by 2,000.
“It has never been worse than now. If you have a small business and want to do everything by the book, you’re lost. I couldn’t feed my family,” said Petar Zivkovic, who had to close down his small business, a corner store in downtown Belgrade, in March.
“Luckily, I didn’t have any great debts.”


Novi Sad, Serbia, June 19 (SerbiaToday) - The Summit of Central European heads of state entitled "Joint Work on Overcoming the Challenge of the 3 Es - Economy, Energy and European Integration” brought together leaders of 14 European countries.
“I really have no idea what are they doing here, I saw only a lot of police officers in the streets, police cars, lot of security guards. They will probably talk about this and that, but frankly, I don’t know what to expect: improvement in ordinary people’s life or just another high level meeting”, said a middle-age resident of western city of Novi Sad, capital of province of Vojvodina in the dawn of the 16th Summit of Central Europe.
Leaders of 14 European countries gathered to discuss “triple E challenge” – economy, energetic and European integration, problems that strongly affected the region and its transitioning economies. However, heads of states seemed to have fewer dilemmas than the resident mentioned and send message of strong support to Western Balkans countries on their path to EU membership.
Serbian president Boris Tadic said in his opening remarks only ”full integration of the Western Balkans, with Serbia in its center, will bring full stability and security to the European Union".

Slovenia, who was part of former Yugoslavia but now is EU member, stated in favour for swift abolishing EU’s visa regime for Western Balkan countries. EU enlargement and consolidation of the block are two processes which could carry out alongside, said Slovenian President Danilo Türk.

“I wish to stress that Western Balkan states have our full support for their intention to participate in process of European integration”, said Czech President Vaclav Klaus, whose country currently chairs the EU. Enlargement was still on our agenda, he added.
European foreign ministers gave “green light” for suspension of Schengen visa regime for Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia, Monday in Luxemburg. The decision will take effect as of the next year.
Central European leaders also called on for more regional cooperation to combat the world economic crisis and better distribution of energy resources, notably gas supplies.
Most of leaders, including Lech Kaczynski of Poland and Ukrainian leader Viktor Yushchenko, urged better distribution and diversification of energy resources, a reminder of the gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia earlier this year.
European countries should establish a system of common economic support and joint policies on energy security and EU integration, stressed Yushchenko. "We must avoid selfishness and protectionism," he said.
Some leaders underlined the significance of building-out “South Stream” and “Nabucco“ pipelines as well as Pan-European Pipeline from Constanţa (Rumania) via Serbia and Croatia there through Slovenia to Trieste in Italy.

According to Jovan Teokarevic from European Forum, a Belgrade based periodical on European integration, the summit was good opportunity for bilateral talks on disputes emerged after Kosovo self-proclaimed independence in February 2008.

“Summit of itself can’t solve that problems, but gives leaders a chance for direct talks on disputes”, said Teokarevic lokal press.

According to Belgrade media, Albanian President Bamir Topi refused to attend the summit in protest over Serbia’s decision not to invite Kosovo's leader Fatmir Sejdiu. Authorities in Belgrade oppose Kosovo's independence, saying it is part of Serbia.

(16th Summit of Central Europe “Joint Work for Overcoming the Challenges - Economy, Energy and Euro-Integrations”, list of participating countries: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine)

Gender Equality & Protection of Women Against Violence

(June 18 2009, Belgrade)
By Slobodan Andjelkovic
The Serbian Parliament’s Committee for gender equality appealed Wednesday for adoption of “legal framework” for protection of women against violence, stressing that 6% of women-victims consider themselves as main cause of domestic violence. Committee’s Chairperson Mrs. Gordana Paunovic-Milosavljevic recalled that UN has initiated all member countries should adopt a law on gender equality as well as law on women and child protection against violence.
Government of Serbia passed in May 2009 the draft law dealing with gender equality, but the document is still in parliament’s procedure.
Only 12, 9 % of male-suspects for domestic violence in Serbia are ever sentenced, mostly to four years of probation, according to unofficial data released by NGOs. Same sources say not a single court in Serbia ordered protective measures for children that also were victims of the violence.
Members of the Committee agreed to establish a commission, which would in one-month time, together with parliament’s Health and Family Committee, produce a draft Declaration on Elimination Violence against Women and Children and will send it for adoption to the Parliament.
In Serbia domestic violence is not just only an isolated incident, but rather pattern of behaviour and in 91,5% of all cases of violence the committer is a man, according to Autonomous Women’s Canter, Belgrade. Great majority of committers is between 41 to 48 (22, 9%), 25 to 32 (almost 17%), 33 to 40 (15%), 65+ (6, 4%).
Family Law, adopted by Serbian Parliament in February 2005, for the first time mentioned domestic violence (Article 10: “Domestic violence is forbidden”) and in the same article stipulated that “Everyone has, in accordance with a law, the right to protection against domestic violence”).
Independent sources say even 63,5% of victims, mostly women, never asked for help or called police in case they were abused. Vesna Stanojevic from Belgrade NGO Counselling Against Family Violence said more than 1.000 woman and 900 children went through so called “safe houses” all over Serbia. Analysts say every third family in Serbia is facing up with a kind of home violence.
“We have great and significant help of our friends in EU, both from official structures and NGOs. They have “know-how”, they are experienced in handling with such problems, and we appreciate their help“, source involved in “safe house” project told SerbiaToday, declining to reveal any detail regarding the way the project is functioning. “This is confidential matter”, he said.
According to him, readiness to help the victims of home violence was “significantly increased” in local communities in last two or three years and this is “really encouraging”. In last six months we had strong support of local authorities in preventing or even revealing domestic violence. But the greatest help comes from families or relatives of victims, he added.

Ada Ciganlija – Belgrade’s beach

(June 18 2009)
By Vesna Glisic
If you visit Belgrade during Summer, don’t be afraid of the heat: Belgrade has really a great beach on the river Sava, near mouth to the Danube River – Ada Ciganlija. This forest peninsula converted into city park is the most visited sightseeing and watering place during the summertime.
Sava’s river lake is surrounded with 7 km long beaches. The lake is 4,2km long and about 200m wide, with a depth about 4-6 meters. Water is really nice and clean. There are so many ways to have fun during the summer: swimming, paddling, playing football or basketball, riding bicycle or just walk around through a nice forest. There are about 50 different stadiums for sports, like Golf, handball, football, baseball, volley-ball.
For those who like fishing, there is a lake Ada safari, 6 km long with rare types of fish- true challenge for passionate fishermen.
During the summer, there are many cultural events on Ada. Because of its beauty, famous Serbian writer Branislav Nušić called Ada the „Water flower“. During the decades, Ada was interesting for artists and adventurists especially because of its beauty and nature. Along the beach, there are restaurants, caffe-bars and raft restaurants where you can rest and have a nice meal.
If you like to enjoy in a forest, you can rent a bicycle and ride around the lake 8 km (there is a special bike tour around Sava’s Lake) through beautiful oak and elm forest. In case you are really brave and like adrenalin adventures, you can take a bungy jump!
Swimming season starts on June 15th and ends in the middle of September. During the Summertime, about 300.000 visitors visit Ada daily.
Along the beach, there are life-guard teams caring about swimmers (and non-swimmers, too).
For the youngest, there are so many playgrounds. If you want to see the whole peninsula, you can take a sightseeing tour on the little train which runs around lake.
When night comes, restaurants and night clubs on Ada open their doors, offering entertainment till dawn – live gipsy music, country music, classical rock, karaoke parties, disco sounds, good food and drink, people of all ages eager to meet new friends and have fun, there is a litle bit for everyone.
No matter if you like a beach, riding bicycle, walking around through the forest park, or if you just want to feel the atmosphere of Ada’s nights, you must visit Ada Ciganlija when in Belgrade. After that, you will understand why Ada Ciganlija is called „Belgrade’s Sea Shore“.

Real Estate Market in Serbia (part 1)

(June 18 2009)
Real Estate in Novi SadBy Rina MihajlovicThe economic crisis has hit all parts of the world with Serbia being no exception. The government decided to cut wages and raise taxes to fill the deficit gap by borrowing from the IMF and domestic banks. The real estate market has not been affected as drastically .Still, it does show signs of crisis. Sales are decreased and the prices of apartments are falling. The economic crisis, increased morgage and processing fees, difficulty in obtaining housing loans matched with an increase in interest rates on loans along with stressful psychological effects. All influenced a decrease in a demand for real estate.
Analysis of the real estate market in the past years had showed that there was a strong demand and purchasing power and due to that there was a constant growth of prices for real estate. Apartments were being sold long before the buildings were even erected.
Nowadays, the real estate market in Novi Sad is experiencing a fall in both price and demand. The market is flooded with apartments that haven’t been sold.
Zoran Jovanovic from the eminent real estate agency Premier in Novi Sad told for Serbia Today that comparing to last year’s prices a fall of 30-50 percent was experienced this year. The price of per square meter fell to 1350e for new residential developments in secondary zone and to 1000e for old ones. The most desired locations such as Grbavica and around the Court are still holding a slighty higher price around 1650e per square meter. In Telep and Novo Naselje the prices go as low as 1000e and 900e per square meter.
Rental prices didn’t change much ,as you can find a studio for 150e, one bedroom apartment from 200e-250e and two bedroom apartments for approximately 300-400euro. The only period when prices may fall is now in June when school finishes and many students leave, thus creating larger supply than demand. As such, owners decrease the rent not to end up without tenants, leaving themselves with utility bills which increased drastically over the year. On the other hand the prices of houses are still unreasonably high.
Mr. Jovanovic doesn’t think the crisis had effect on real estate market but rather other factors had, such as psychological, political and individual interests. He hopes the market will see more liveliness and that the prices will not fall drastically but enough to come to it's valued price at 1000e per square meter.
Real Estate in Sombor regionBy Ljuljana SamardzicThrough the conversation with “Lider” agency’s spokesman, we tried to find out present state in Sombor’s real estate market. This agency is located in Sombor and covers Sombor and Novi Sad region, as well as Montenegro and Croatia.
Situation in Sombor’s real estate market has changed immensely due to economic crises. According to Mirjana Dragas, the owner and director of “Lider” agency, since economic crises begun, trading decreased 60-70%. Agency claims that the only thing to blame is domestic and foreign bank’s misbehavior. That is to say, banks led potential buyers to credit inability because of insubstantial interests for mortgage loans which rose up to 12.5% from previous maximal 5.20%.
Apartments built 25-30 years ago still cost between 500-600 EUR/m2, which depends on apartment’s condition, location and history. On the other hand, new apartments, no matter if they are under construction or finished and ready for moving in, price stays the same - between 750-850 EUR/m2.
Commercial properties in Sombor area, which implicates town center and Pariska Street, still cost 1000-1500 EUR/m2 .
Regarding the houses, there is constant demand for houses located in IA zone - town’s center ring. Newer houses, up to 20 years old and up to 200m2 with complete infrastructure, in first and second zone may be purchased for very low prices, up to 50.000 euros.
There is absolutely no demands in nearby places such as Apatin, Prigrevica, Stapar and alike. However, old houses with big garden in suburbs located 5km from the town center may be bought for 5000 to 10000 euros.
Constant demand is only and solely for agricultural lands, no matter if they are located in urban region or not. One jutro in building region (1ha=1.7 jutro) is worth up to 5000EUR, and price depends on land’s location and category. On the other hand, land located in industrial zone or beside main roads reaches up to 30 EUR/m2.
The biggest buyers are Italians, Hungarians and Croatians, but lately Russians as well, who are looking for old ranches in Backa County with huge gardens.
Based on all these facts, more agility and more fairness in future bank policy is expected in order to make this market more vivid than it is now. People in Sombor welcome investors in hope that they will set in motion town’s economy.

Animals Are “Emotional Beings”, New Serb Law Says

(June 11 2009)
By Ljilja Cvekic
A new animal protection law passed by Serbia this month marks a legal milestone by recognizing animals as emotional beings capable of both physical and psychological anguish, coding into law their right to be protected by their owners and the state.
Serbia was the second-last country in Europe to adopt such a law, now leaving Albania as the only state without animal protection legislation.
“The law endorses a notion of animal’s needs – physical, psychological and social ones and for the first time in our history considers an animal an emotional being,” Elvir Burazerovic, the head of Serbia’s biggest animal protection society Orca told Serbia Today on Thursday.
“Animals can feel pain, suffering, stress, fear and panic,” says the Law on Wellbeing of Animals, adopted by the Serb parliament last week, forbidding the abuse, desertion and killing of animals, their participation in betting fights and misuse in the film industry or circus performances.
It is no longer deemed enough to provide an animal with food, basic freedom of movement and care, it now also has the right to play and socialize. Under “psychological abuse of an animal” the law understands not only causing fear and suffering, but also “causing a feeling of boredom and insecurity and preventing an animal to make a social links with animals of the same species”.
Serbs will also have to give up clipping their dogs’ tails and ears, and could have their pets taken away if they are found to be mistreated. A national Ethics Council will focus on animals used in experiments and medical research, while animal testing for cosmetics and the breeding of animals purely for the sale of their skin and fur is banned outright.
Nodding to Serbia’s tens of thousands of stray dogs, the law could be used to force local authorities to build shelters and introduce population control measures. According to the only registration ever conducted, some 4,500 strays roam the streets of Belgrade alone. Only five towns have rudimentary shelters.
Measures for reducing their number were already scant in Yugoslav times, but the severe economic crisis of the 90’s added to the problem. Unable to afford food for them, dog owners abandoned their pets en masse, and the state, mired in wars and economic collapse, ignored the problem. Local communities dealt with it haphazardly, sometimes just hunting down and killing the dogs.
“This law will finally create a mechanism to solve the problem of abandoned animals in a human and efficient way,” Burazerovic said. “It insists on prevention and clearly forbids desertion of an animal.”
“However restrictive the law might look like to some people, especially those earning their living by working with animals, they should understand that this opens a door to the European Union market for our food products, making them more competitive.”
Serbia first introduced an act of abuse and cruelty against animals in its criminal code in 2007. Since then there have been a handful of convictions and in one case the court even passed down a prison sentence for the brutal killing of a dog.

Woman’s Eye of the World

(May 27 2009)

“Woman’s Eye of the World “ is the title of the film festival to be held May 29 to May 31 at the Cultural Center “Dom Omladine” in downtown Belgrade. Organizer of this Festival is The Women's Anti Trafficking Center in Belgrade. The visitors will be able to see fifteen feature and documentary films by authors from Serbia, USA, Great Britain, and India.

Festival’s Art Director Carna Manojlovic told journalists that the films do not show women only as victims, but also as creative and strong beings. “The films are made by authors whose voices should be heard and thoughts should be seen on a big screen. They reach various parts of the world mostly unknown to us, or parts close to us, but marked by the authors in their life diaries.” According to Sandra Ljubinkovic, the director of the Anti Traficking Center, the idea of the festival is not dealing with hopelessness: “On the contrary, these are the films about beauty, cheerfulness, strength and value, both artistic and human. For us, the festival ‘Woman’s Eye of the World’ is a support to the creative potential of women.” The program will also include talks with the authors and discussions on the subject of the women’s trafficking. Maya Medic, the participating author from Serbia will present two of her films, which will be followed by the exhibition of her photographs. At the end of the Festival the Jury consisting of film directors Slobodan Sijan, Mirjana Karanovic and Radmila Lazic, will announce the recipient of the Best Film Award..

“I Choose to Recycle”- Belgrade Beer Fest

“The Belgrade Beer Fest”, an annual festival of beer, music, and fun, will be held from August 12 to 16 at the “Usce” riverside beach park in Belgrade, organizers announced it. The President of the newly established Organizing Committee, Mr. Slobodan Milosavljevic said that the goal of the Festival is to become a recognizable Belgrade tourist and cultural brand.
With 600.000 visitors and 44 music bands participating at the last year’s event, Belgrade Beer Fest is already one of the major summer tourist attractions in Belgrade.
The slogan of this year’s fest is “I choose ti recycle” . One of the goals of the festival is to raise the environmental awareness among Belgrade’s youth with the particular attention to recycling. Part of the festival revenues will go for the purchase of recycling bins to be placed near Belgrade schools. Over 30 beer producers will participate in this year’s festival representing some of the best European and Serbian brands like Beck’s, Heineken, Tuborg, Amstel, Carlsberg, Weifert, Jelen Pivo, Grolsch, and others.
The final number of the music performers and DJs is still not available, but some of the well-known bands like Slovenian “Lajbah”, “LMT Connection”, and “Stereo MC” already confirmed their participation.

Summer Nights in Belgrade

Belgrade, June 26 (SerbiaToday) - Belgrade has very interesting night life. In Summer it relocates to the beautiful outdoor spaces, and to the banks of Danube and Sava – to river clubs or floating rafts, in Serbian – splavovi. Floating River Clubs are specialty of Belgrade – those rafts, anchored at the riverbank, have been turned into clubs with unlimited working hours. Various clubs offer music for various tastes– pop, rock, electronic, drum&bass, folk, ethno etc.
Some of the most popular clubs are: Amsterdam, Acapulco, Bleywatch, Savana (Danube key, near hotel Yugoslavia), Sound, Plastic, Freestyler, Exile, Povetarac (near Branko`s Bridge, New Belgrade, Sava Bank), Cruise (New Belgrade, blok 70, Sava Bank).
In summertime, in Belgrade, wide selection of bars, cafes, pubs and clubs can be found on both banks of Ada Ciganlija, popular Belgrade lake. There are few places that are true oasis for having great fun during the night. Very popular are: Sunset, Cafe Petica, People`s, Na kraj sveta... Sunset starts transforming from a relaxed place for daily coffee, into one of the best places for nightlife in the city with live music performances. Other clubs also offer live performances and various music nights, DJ nights, party nights .(tropical party, hawaii party, green party...)
This Summer will certanly be crowded in summer version of popular club Bitef Art Caffe (located in the old Evangelical Church in the old part of Belgrade). Bitef Summer stage is in Kalemegdan and this Summer it will cooperate with Belgrade Summer Festival. Announced concerts are- Sean Kuti & The Egypt 80, from Nigeria, Snowboy & The Latin Section and Ashley Thomas, from Great Britain, Soil & "PIMP" Sessions, from Japan, Mulatu Astatkue & The Heliocentrics, Ethiopia, Larry Vuchkovich, USA, along with many local groups which will perform as warm up bands.
Another great concert is also announced for this summer. Carlos Santana, famous musician and guitar player who pioneered bland of rock, salsa and jazz fusion, will have a concert in Kalemegdan, on July, 11th.
In the second half of the Summer Belgrade is to host world superstar, Madonna. Her Belgrade concert (Ušće, 24. August) will be held as a part of the world "Sticky & Sweet" tour. This tour has already included 58 concerts visited by over 2,3 million spectators. In the continuation of one of the biggest tours of all times, Madonna will give 25 new concerts, which will include this one, her first performance ever in Serbia.
Important Summer manifestation in Belgrade is Belgrade Beer Fest, annual event which always presents various kinds of beer, interesting musicians and bands on several stages, and good atmosphere. This year audience will be able to hear - Stereo MC`s ( English electro, acid jazz, trip hop, , LMT Connection (funk soul trio from Nigeria), Leibach (controversial alternative Slovenian group), Darko Rundek and Cargo Orchestra ( popular Croatian singer- pop, rock, world music).
There are many reasons to look forward to Belgrade Summer. Belgrade night life is famous all over Europe. Belgraders enjoy it every Summer and every year more and more foreign visitors come to experience it themselves.
Jelena Jovanovic