Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mountain Tourism – Dukat, the Forgotten Mountain in South-Eastern Serbia

By: Miodrag Stosic
Dukat Mountain, Aug. 3 ( Serbia Today) - Summer is a season when most people chose seaside as their touristic destination. Seaside dominates in commercials, marketing and tourist prospects, and it supresses mountains, even in Serbia, which is not a maritime country. After the beginning of the action ’’Serbia – tree times love’’, several years ago, Serbia started to exploit its rich potentials. Numerous touristic destinations inside of the country are being developed (Stara Planina as the best example), but many of them are still neglected. One of them is Dukat mountain, at the farthest southeast of Serbia, near the borders with Macedonia and Bulgaria.
To explore the possibilities for tourism on this mountain, we undertook an expedition to its highest peak – Crnook (1881m). Our route started near Crnoštica, which is an almost abandoned village on Bosilegrad – Trgovište road, at approximately 1300m above sea level. Our path to Crnook led through forests and villages in the hills, until we reached the final ridge, covered exlusively with grass, from where we climbed to the TV station at the summit.
The one who travels this path must get an impression that Dukat is an extraordinary beautiful mountain, full of possible resting places surrounded by an untouched nature, but its potential for tourism is poorly exploited. There we could find villagers, their homes and animals, as high as 1600m above sea level. Survival of these people on that altitude can be explained by richness that Dukat mountain has in water. We could see mountain springs even slightly below the summit itself. Another good circumstance is that the path we walked to the final ridge is wide enough to support vehicles, so that one could reach the highest village by car. We assume that these conditions could be very positive for the development of touristic facilities, if there were more investments by state, as well as by private entrepreneurs. It could mean a lot, not only to possible future tourists, but also to the poor people of this mountain.
Villagers of Bulgarian and Serbian ethnicity who live here together, are surprised to see people from big cities coming to their neighborhood, and they ask us the same question – why is this beautiful mountain forgotten? It seems as if they would like us to influence governmental decisions about the development in rural mountain areas. They seem not to be much worried about the life they lead. Asked about climatic conditions there during the winter, they say that snow is rarely too unbearable to them. We conclude that it also wouldn’t be for us, if we could come here again this winter. Of course, we should find a place to stay first.
If Serbia was Switzerland, touristic potential of Dukat and many similar mountains would have been developed long ago. There are many nature-loving people all over the world, who would like to visit such places. We hope that forgotten mountains of Serbia, and Dukat among them, could soon be new Serbian economic (and ecological) brand.

Romanian Forklore Festival

By Milen Vesovic

Zrenjanin, August 27 ,2009 (Serbia Today) -The Romanian Folklore Festival in Vojvodina was held in Ečka, close to Zrenjanin, from August 20 - 23. Todor Petrovici, President of the Executive Committee of the Festival, said that this festival, which is this year held for the 49th time, promotes cultural values, traditions and language of Romanians in Vojvodina and Serbia. “A Festival of Folklore is the most important manifestation of Romanians in the region, and in addition to promoting the culture of the minorities, it has a goal to establish the cooperation with Romanians from other countries” - said Petrovici. Roman Bugar, President of the Art Festival Commission, says that the Festival was attended by 1300 participants from Serbia and around 400 from abroad. In addition to 20 dance ensembles, 51 vocal soloists and 9 choirs appeared at the Festival. Exhibitions of local artists and contemporary art were organized as well. The first Festival of Romanian Folklore in Vojvodina was held 40 years ago in Uzdin, and the last time it was held in Ečka was 20 years ago.

Culture of Cyrillic

By Jelica Tapuskovic

Belgrade, Aug. 27,2009 (Serbia Today) - The exhibition “Culture of Cyrillic” was held in the Library of the City of Belgrade from August 7 to 21. This group exhibition represents calligraphic, typographic and design work of most eminent Serbian artists, who were inspired by Cyrillic alphabet. Exhibition showed the beauty of Cyrillic and its technologic implementation in modern media and informatics technology. Everyone who visited this exhibition could see about 50 articles of typographic alphabet, verse and text citations, letters, books, tools and bijou decorated with this alphabet. In addition, visitors could see paper and gadgets used earlier for writing.
The First old Slavic alphabet showed on Balkan at the end of 9th century. It developed from the need to exchange Greek alphabet with language and letter of orthodox old Slaves. At that time, the liturgy was held in Greek, Latin and German languages, and because of that it was very hard to understand Christianity. At that time, two brothers showed up, Christian monks and missionaries Cirilo and Metodije who made some changes. To spread Christianity, they had to translate some religious books, so they made up a new alphabet – precursor of Cyrillic. They made up new signs for some letters. Almost ten centuries after that, at the beginning of the 19th century Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic made a reform of that alphabet. He made it more simple by using a principle “Write as you are saying it, read as it is written”. He thought that alphabet of Cirilo and Metodije had many needless signs, and that each sign needed only one letter. So he made new signs which are using now. Cyrillic alphabet is not characteristic only for Serbia. Seven Slavic nations are using it, like Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Macedonians, Bulgarians, and also some nations from former USSR, Asia and eastern Europe.
Because of all those facts, this exhibition was very interesting. Visitors could see works of eminent Serbian artists like Miodrag Vartabedijan, Aleksandra Dodig, Stjepan Fileki, Darko Novaković, LJudmila Stratimirović, Duško Trifunović, Olja Ivanović, Ivan Apostolski, etc.
Besides, there were also exhibited works of students, and new “Publicum calendar”, made by American designer Paula Sher who was inspired by Cyrillic.
On the exhibition it is possible to see parallel table of Letter of Vinca and contemporary Cyrillic.
During the exhibition, a “Workroom of Cyrillic” was oganized, dedicated to children who were practicing to prepare writing tools, to draw letter signs. They were practicing calligraphy, etc.
Organizer of this exhibition, which has an aim to show beauty of typography and calligraphy of Cyrillic alphabet, is a communal society “Culture of Cyrillic”, made by University professors, students and freelance artists.

Belgrade Boat Carnival

By Jelena Jovanovic

Belgrade, Aug. 2 ( Serbia Today) - `Because I love Sava and Danube` is slogan of this year’s Belgrade Boat Carnival, an annual manifestation which takes place in Belgrade (on the Sava and the Danube and near Branko`s bridge in its final) every August. This year, on August 29th, from 4 pm until midnight, the Carnival will present carnival boats of all sizes and shapes and Serbian and foreign carnival groups, as well as the accompanying program.
Dejan Veselinov, PR manager from Belgrade Tourist Organization told Serbia Today that Belgrade Boat Carnival had been organized for the first time in 2004. At the time students and professors from the Association Public Art for Public Space got an idea to organize manifestation with an aim to invite residents of Belgrade on their rivers and remind them of their beauty and significance. Belgrade Tourist Organization was a co-organizer of the Carnival in the first year, and the main organizer since 2005. The popular Summer manifestation has been growing ever since - last year there were 1000 participants.
Veselinov stressed that this carnival differed from the others because it was organized on the water. The part of the manifestation is organized on the land, on the Sava bank, from Branko`s bridge to the mouth of the Sava river into the Danube. This year visitors will be able to watch Children carnival, with more than 300 children dressed in carnival costumes and a program with various dance groups.
In the afternoon, before the main part of the program, sports review with yachtsman, rowers, kayakers, canoeists, and water-skiers will be organized. In the main part of the program, in the evening hours more than 50 decorated boats with carnival groups will make long carnival queue, together with popular Belgrade Tourist boats, with the crew and travelers. (Boats and their owners who want to participate in the Carnival can apply via TOB web site, until August 10th)
At the end of the manifestation, from 8 pm until midnight , a big party will take place on the Sava bank.
The impressive view of boats and Belgrade Rivers (especially in the evening) and cheerful atmosphere make this event unique and very popular. Viewers of the Carnival who always have a good time are Belgrade residents of all ages, children, foreign guests…
Dejan Veselinov from Belgrade Tourist organization explained that the slogan of the Belgrade Boat Carnival 09- Because I love Sava and Danube was the logical choice after the main slogan that Belgrade Tourist Organization promoted this year - Because I love Belgrade.
He also said that TOB, by organizing this manifestation, wanted to remind people of all potentials that Belgrade rivers have. Sava and Danube are very important for tourism and Belgrade citizens - with all boats, marinas. restaurants, clubs, even private houses on the river that can be rented during the summer. Belgrade Boat Carnival has an aim to establish Belgrade as a city that lies on the banks of two rivers, and to contribute developing of nautical tourism. The goal is also enriching the list of summer events in Belgrade and stressing the significance of ecology and taking care about environment.
“We want to pay special attention on the ecology this year. It is very important to keep our rivers, clean them and make them less polluted. We will have several points where people will be able to inform about current ecological actions. It will be the innovation of this year’s Carnival. Sava and Danube are the wealth of our city and very important part of Belgrade tourist offer.” Veselinov added.

Miss Zlatibor Summer Pageant

By:Bojana Jankovic

Uzice, August 2 (Serbia Today) - A Pageant for the most beautiful woman in Zlatibor Region was held in the evening July 29th, , as a part of the manifestation “Zlatibor’s Summer 2009”. The event was organized by a Tourist Organization “Zlatibor” and Music business center “Melos marketing” from Belgrade.
The competition was tough, and choice to find the most beautiful woman was difficult. The title of Miss of Zlatibor’s Summer 2009 went to 21 year old from Uzice, Nevena Simsic. “It is a very good feeling getting the title of the most beautiful girl! I still can not realize that has really happened to me. I did not expect it to happen, as there were many beautiful girls in this pageant, and I came hear for camaraderie. This is my second time to participate in a pageant. Before this one, I have won the title of “miss charm” of Zlatibor’s district. If the opportunity presents itself, I would like to participate in bigger pageant events. I love doing this.” Mrs. Simsic told Serbia Today.
The second place went to Ivana Joksic from Belgrade, and third to Andjela Pantelic from Uzice. “Miss Charm” title went to Marijana Jevtic from Uzice, and “Miss Photogenic” to Svetlana Cancarevic from Pancevo.
The jury consisted of the following: Zeljko Vasiljevic(state secretary), Milomir Nastic (director of Zlatibor vode), Slobodan Jovicic (representative of Zlatiborac), Petar Djuric(director of a Discography house of Serbia), Darko Djurovic(representative of Touristic organization Zlatibor), Milovan Zilovic(director of Agro bank in Cajetina), and Bojana Bozanic (president’s assistant of the Cajetina municipality).
The event was completed by the concert of a pop group “Luna”.

The Eighth International Art Camp

By: Bojana Jankovic
Kosjeric, Aug.27 ,2009, (Serbia Today) - The International Art Camp, as a part of the Summer cultural manifestation in Kosjeric, took place from August 4-17, 2009.
The Art Camp was sponsored by the K-Town group (the citizens of Kosjeric), and under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Young Researchers of Serbia, of the Municipal Assembly Kosjeric, the National Library of Kosjeric, Tourist organization Kosjeric, gallery O3one and Radio Kosjeric.
The First Art Camp took place in 2002, and until today over 180 young people from 35 countries, have visited Kosjeric. Together with the young people of Serbia, through the volunteering workshops they exchange experiences, create and show artistic projects, in hope to create through the interaction with the residents, the biggest possible benefit for the community.
The participants had free accommodations in the houses of residents of Kosjeric.
This year camp included 30 young people from 12 countries:
Music Workshop: Natalia Romanova (Russia), Caramel Farnier (France), Gregor Hamann (Germany), Moravkova Lenka (Czech Republic), Wolfgang Knierzinger (Austria), Marco Di Noia ( Italy), Anton Osrtoukhov (Russia); Workshop visual art (Artburg Hill) Mirja Brueckner (Germany), Samuel Moselle (France), Paulina Targalska (Poland), Smiljana Dragicevic (Serbia), Alex O'shea (England), Myriam Bartolucci (Italy), Sara Mariani (Italy), March Krawcyk (Poland); Theater Workshop: Katarzyna Klimowicz, Lesia Iovkhymenko (Ukraine). Agnes Curel (France), Catherine Madden (Canada), Scisci Fabrizio (Italy), Patrick Hafner (Germany), Christiano old (Italy); Mural and graffiti Workshop Maria Kotlyachkova (Russia), Anna Schmidth (Germany), Maria Mironova ( Russia), Josselin Lartaud (France), Jan Monclus (Spain).
The participants of the Mural and graffiti Workshop with their interventions decorated the open space of Kosjeric. Those from the Visual Art Workshop presented the gradation/degradation of human soul through human life. Those from Theater Workshop researched different possibilities of theater arrangements through everyday life situations (on a bench in park, in a restaurant). Those from Music Workshop composed music and performed it in combination with video materials. They improvised with the participants of the Theater Workshop, made music inspired by the murals and graffiti, and performed it in different outdoor locations.
On August 11th, all the participants of the Art Camp, presented their own countries, with traditional foods, costumes, dances, music. During this “International Night”, they presented the characteristics of their countries.
Natalija Simovic, PR of the International Art Camp told Serbia Today; “The main goal of this camp is that young people around the world through the voluntary creative workshops create and display various art projects, and thus through different activities have interaction with the local population. Participants throughout the day created their various art works, and during the evening they had fun-educational activities. Participants particularly found interesting a trip to Divcibare, and see where is located a place for an ecological camp for children. In addition, they met with natural beauty, and worked a variety of creative things. Jam session, which took place Kosjeric on August 13th , was also very interesting because the music school students played spontaneously, without previous exercise, but they improvised in their own way, in a spur of a moment.”
All the works of these young people will stay in place, until the next year’s Art Camp.
The final program transferred to Belgrade, on August 17, where in the Association of Rock musicians the Eighth International Art Camp was closed.

Re-registration of political parties in Serbia goes slower than expected!

By Milen Vesovic
Belgrade, Sept. 07 2009 (Serbia Today) - Although the re-registration of parties under the new Law on political parties started on 23 July, only three parties have registered so far. Some think that those Parties which have been registered already rushed to do so and collect required number of signatures, before the adoption of the new Law on Information, which apparently greatly reduced their popularity among citizens.
Number of political analysts and sociologists say that many citizens of Serbia are distancing themselves from political parties that failed their expectations. They point to the fact that the only three parties so far registered are the ones, which belong to the present ruling coalition, Democratic Party of Boris Tadic, G17+ of Mladjan Dinkic and the Sandzak Democratic Party of Rasim Ljajic.
Right now there is over 600 political parties registered in Serbia under the old law. The major requirement under the new Law is that in order for party to re-register, it has to submit signatures of 10.000 members ( or thousand signatures if the Party is representative of the ethnic minority group). Deadline for the re-registration is January 23rd.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Don't Drink and Drive

By Jelena Jovanovic

Apatin, Aug. 31 2009 (Serbia Today) - The statistics of the Serbian Road Safety Committee shows that more than 900 people are killed in traffic accidents in Serbia every year. Comparing with other European countries safety in traffic in Serbia is very low.
The statistics showed stagnation in 2008, but the number of killed and injured people in traffic accidents this year is extremely high - there are on average185 traffic accidents each day, three persons per day are killed and more than 60 are injured.
On the list of the most often causes of deaths in traffic accidents are speed driving, avoiding of using safety belt and drunk- driving. Drunk-driving caused 2200 traffic accidents in 2008.
Considering this horrible black statistics, with an aim to make people to think more about themselves and the other participants in the traffic, Apatin Brewery started, in 2008, very important social campaign Don`t drink and drive. Brewery from Apatin , small town in Vojvodina (Northern Serbia) is manufacturer with long tradition, producer of some of the most popular beer brands in Serbia. Jelena Brajovic, Corporate Affairs Manager, told that Apatine Brewery , on the basis of the communication with its consumers, concluded that slogan Don`t drink and drive, had found its way to many people and motivated them to behave more responsibly in the traffic.
Apatin brewery started the campaign Don`t drink and drive last year in Beck`s Experience Music Festival, held in Belgrade Fair. As a supporter of the event, AB delivered badges with the slogan of the campaign and established cooperation with Lux Taxi, Belgrade Taxi Association. It enabled visitors of the Festival driving back home with the significant discount. The cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, followed, and Apatine Brewery donated devices for measuring the percentage of alcohol in blood. The campaign Don`t drink and drive was quite visible in the public thanks to the 50 billboards placed all over Belgrade and forcible TV campaign on the TV B 92.
This year Apatin Brewery continued cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Another 5 devices for measuring the percentage of alcohol in blood were donated and representatives of traffic police and Apatine Brewery had joint press conference and announced stronger traffic control and more cautious before Guca Trumpet Festival (and during the Festival). The campaign was promoted in Guca, as well as at the Belgrade Beer Fest, several weeks later. People were able to check level of alcohol in the blood and see if they were able to drive safely.
The presence of the campaign in such big Festivals means information and warning., and the main aim of the slogan that could be seen everywhere was to make people think about extreme danger of drunk-driving and convince them not to drive after drinking. People were able to remind themselves that alcohol ,even when it is in blood in very small percentage, influences all drivers – no matter how skilful or experienced they were. Alcohol consuming always has , as a result, bad observing, bad estimation and slow reactions. Many drivers, especially young, are not quite aware of those facts. And black statistics in Serbia show, very clearly, how fatal results of drunk-driving are. Therefore, significance of this, and other campaigns in Serbia is very big. Their main goal is to make traffic in Serbia more safe and people more aware of their role in the traffic and consequences of their risky behavior.
Jelena Brajovic from Apatin Brewery announced that campaign Don`t drink and Drive would be promoted in Student Cultural Center, at Jelen Pivo Live Festival, on September 18th and 19th. Jelen pivo Festival is a very popular annual event which presents popular foreign and domestic rock groups.
„We want to educate young people and therefore the whole space of Student Cultural Center would be branded by our slogan. Our TV and billboard campaign will also continue. Our goal is to keep reminding people about the importance of conscience behavior in the traffic.
“Plans for the future, Jelena Brajovic added, were to spread the campaign on the national level and to establish cooperation with other State institutions. And cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs will certainly continue.

Portrait of Nemanja Bogunovic

By: Una Zabunov
Belgrade, Aug.15 ,2009, Nemanja Bogunović is a classical guitarist, composer and arranger from Belgrade. He writes his own music and makes arrangements for guitar, and his melodies represent a great combination of virtuosity, colorful expression and delicate sound just as his composition “Lullaby” is.
Nemanja plays the type of music which is suitable for the guitar. That is mostly music from the Romantic era. “I like music of Augustin Barrios and other composers from Latin America, as well as the music of Spanish composers. Also, the music I write is very romantic”, Nemanja told Serbia Today.
This very talented young man started playing the guitar at the age of seven, and gave his first public performance at the age of ten. Many experts have said that he was a wonder child. It came easy to him, but, as he said, he has never played video games . Being an artist is a beautiful thing, but it also carries a big portion of sadness with it. It doesn’t matter how much he achieves, he always thinks it can be better, so Nemanja is never satisfied. That’s a problem sometimes.
He graduated from the Conservatory of Music in Belgrade. Nemanja had the opportunity to study with the Royal Family of classical guitar (Los Romeros) in San Diego, and he attended master classes of many famous guitarists, such as Rolan Dyens.
“Serbian gentleman with a guitar”, as he is called, gave recitals throughout the United States and Europe, and also appeared as a soloist with several chamber and symphonic orchestras in USA and Serbia. His works have been performed by various artists in Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, United States and Venezuela. He has published a “Book of Romantic Melodies” (transcribed works by Chopin, Debussy, Dvorak, Schubert and Schumann). He also published a CD "Ballad for a princess", named after his piece dedicated to HRH Princess Elizabeth Karageorgevich of Serbia.
” It is a great honor to be a family friend of our Royal family. They are royalty, but above all they are very nice people in general, and my relationship with many members of the family may be described as close friendship, which is very precious to me”, Nemanja said.
Many celebrities such as Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn, Mel Gibson etc. were fascinated with Nemanja’s playing. Most of the celebrities he met are very modest and down to earth people. Nemanja has performed everywhere in the world but he has the biggest stage fright in Belgrade. “Partially because it’s always the hardest to play in front of people who know you so well, and partially because the audience in Belgrade is very demanding”.

George Benson's Concert

By: Natasa Tepavcevic

Belgrade, July 25, (Serbia Today) - On July 23, Sava Center Concert Hall and Belgrade’s jazz lovers had a great honor to host one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history-George Benson. The concert started at 9 PM and lasted more than two hours. Benson showed charismatic and explosive energy, so audience followed him with long applauses and calls for more and more.
The entire hall was dancing with Benson’s well-known hits. It was so amazing to share that energy with different people, and see them so excited and happy. Old jazz experts, old fans of “real” jazz, and young jazz lovers were clapping hands all the time during the concert. Fusion of energy was something that everyone will remember. Reflection of Benson’s bend on audience looked like real live happening, which is possible just with an honest audience like the one in Belgrade.
Benson officially opened the concert, as well as the hearts of the audience, with greeting words to Belgrade and its lovely people. He expressed honest happiness about his visit to Belgrade. Bass guitarist from his band invited people to stand up and human and music connection started just like that, in one explosion of verves from both sides.
George Benson is simply one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history, but he is also an amazingly versatile musician, and that frustrates to no end critics who would paint him into a narrow bop box. He can play in just about any style -- from swing to bop to R&B to pop -- with supreme taste, a beautiful rounded tone, terrific speed, a marvelous sense of logic in building solos, and, always, an unquenchable urge to swing. His inspirations may have been Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery -- and he can do dead-on impressions of both -- but his style is completely his own.

Home for abandoned and orphaned children in Sombor greeted Europe

By Ljiljana Samardzic
Sombor, Aug. 30, , 2009 (Serbia Today) - On the outskirts of Sombor, placed aside the main road, far away from the clear sight, Home for abandoned and orphaned children “Miroslav Mika Antic” is located. Many people, even from Sombor, are not aware of its existence. It’s history is even more sad. Although this type of institution for social protection in Serbia has a long tradition, homes for abandoned and orphaned children are not really popular and it is kind of taboo subject for many. The very first location of “Mika Antic” was in a center of the town and, gradually, it had been moved to peripheral part of Sombor. No matter how advanced and open-minded the society is, being child from home for abandoned children is still considered a shameful thing.
Behind the fence of “Mika Antic”, which is, as the matter of speaking, open to anyone interested, children of different ages are fighting through life, trying to make it more beautiful despite a cruel reality. Manager of “Mika Antic”, Mrs. Vesna Vorkapic and the rest of the staff are doing their best to help these children out to seize the world, to accept themselves in best possible way, to preoccupy their minds with creativity.
But, personnel are not the only one willing to help. Many foreigners visited “Mika Antic” over the years. Every August, a group of Italian scouts from association AGESCI (Associazione Guide E Scouts Cattolici Italiani) is traveling just to see their old friends and to spend some time with them playing, learning and having fun. Beside them, at the same time, there were guests from Smederevo, members from nongovernmental organization “Without borders”.
“Our organization Without borders has begun with its work in 1999 in Smederevo. Later on, UNHCR started to sponsor us. We are working on many theater shows and among the participators are refugee’s children. This is the 7th year that we are visiting and cooperating with “Mika Antic” on different drama and dancing sections”, says Mr. Gabor Melegi, the establisher of NVO “Without borders”.
“This brings good to all - to the children from Foster’s home and children from refugee camp. They have developed friendships with Italians since we came together for many years now. Contacts made here are kept for very long time and I think that even one, solely case of success in these children’s lives is very important”, finished Mr. Melegi.
On this same occasion, the reporter of „Serbia Today“ also spoke with Mr. Marco Mateazzi, one of the AGESCI members. Regarding motivation for coming to “Mika Antic”, he said that “by deciding to become scouts they accepted these kinds of activities - volunteering, learning about other cultures and helping other people. As time goes by, interest is arousing and we grow as philanthropists.”
According to Mr. Mateazzi, “one of the main goals of this association is to gather children from all over the world, to educate them and teach to be self aware, so they could fit in any society, no matter where they are.”
“Similar projects and activities exist in other countries as well, but only in “Mika Antic” it has its continuity. Besides activities in home for abandoned children, there is a kind of subproject which consists of Italian language course for Sombor citizens kept in town’s Gymnasium”, Mr. Mateazzi told “Serbia Today”.
The connection between Italians and “Mika Antic” begun eight years ago, when Mr. Carlo Seraglio met Mrs. Vesna Vorkapic. He came up to the idea that senior scouts could make visits right here, in future. Since then, every August they come to “Mika Antic” foster home.
Mrs. Vorkapic added that “Italians are coming every Christmas and Easter. On that occasion we talk about problems that need to be solved, so we can make plans in advance for August. By their return, Italian group leaders discuss with youngsters, who should make August visit, in order to form activity programs. But, that is not everything. AGESCI donates us every year and due to their help we brought life in our home to higher level and succeeded to supply our another house in village with two kitchens. This year we got a van for easier transport.”
Help on local basis comes rare. Tonight, two musicians from Apatin decided to give their best to these children - their own music. Accustomed on imaginary world and creativity, children wanted to give their own contribution to this event. Girls aged 12-13 made a dance show. They were really good prepared and they were cheerful like they had no worries in this world. Some of them, who are talented in another way, sang. Main attractions were professional musicians Ilija Ilic and Rajko Vlahovic.
“I made contact with “Mika Antic” spontaneously. That is to say, my younger brother came here with his high school friends to give away some clothes to these children and after that experience he suggested that I should play to them. So, I came here to meet these people and we are occasionally having fun together”, told Mr. Ilic for “Serbia Today”.
Mr Ilic informed few media houses, including local ones. The reporter of “Serbia Today” was the only one who showed up. Was it the lack of time, prejudices or something else?

Sound of Art: "Sculptures for Sound"

By: Natasa Tepavcevic

Belgrade, Aug. 13 ,2009, (Serbia Today )- The Exhibition entitled "Sculptures for Sound" was opened on Tuesday, August 11th in the Gallery of Cultural Center Dom Omladine and it will be opened till August 16th, 2009.
Sound of art is a diverse group of art practices that consider wide notions of sound, listening and hearing as its predominant focus. Sculptures for Sound have the visual and aural domains of art. The sounds are programmed and reproduced on electronic devices that the author otherwise uses for composing music. Sound sculpture (related to sound art and sound installation) is an inter-media and time based art form in which sculptures/art objects produce sound, or the reverse (in the sense that sound is manipulated in such a way as to create a sculptural as opposed to temporal form or mass).
We can say that sculptures made by Ivan Bon are hybrid forms, explorations of the human body, sculpture and an ever-expanding set of subjects that are part of the current discourse of contemporary art.
Along the whole space in a gallery, small sound sculptures made of different materials (bronze, polyester, wood, plaster ...) are lying on pedestals, spreading different tones. Each of them contains a small speaker, and all of them are created in order to visually and with its intonation increase the emissive character of the produced sound.
A sharp eye of art lovers or art experts can enjoy twofold of the exhibition setting composition: visual one (arrangement of sculpture in gallery space) and music composition produced by sculptures (sound installation). The difference between a regular art installation and a sound installation is that the later one has the time element, which gives the visiting public the possibility to stay a longer time due to possible curiosity over the development of sound. This temporal factor also gives the audience the excuse to explore the space thoroughly due to the dispositions of the different sounds in space.
Hearing is another form of seeing. What is interesting indeed in this exhibition is the connection between sound and image. The impressions are always a personal thing. In this case it is difficult to find a clue: does an image produce a sound or inversely? A sound which comes from sculptures has a meaning only when its connection with the “image” of particular sculpture is understood. What we can say for sure, the conjunction of sound and image insists on the engagement of the viewer, forcing participation in real space and concrete, responsive thought rather than illusionary space and thought.
Sound of Art-"Sculptures for Sound" by Ivan Bon shows up the bonds between music and visual arts. The titles of sculptures are a proof of that: “tuuu”, “uou”, “sculpture for desultory sour sound”, “breathing”.
Ivan Bon is a young visual artist. He finished the University for Fine Arts in 2002, but he is also a founder and member of music band “Mistakemistake”. He is a conceptual artist who works in broad field of engagements: composition and programming electronic music, animation movies, sculpture.

Belgrade Foam Fest

By Li Novak

Belgrade, July 21 ( Serbia Today) - Every year, our capital becomes more and more recognizable as a city of significant summer festivals. Definitely, one of the most interesting and remarkable is Belgrade Foam Festival, in Belgrade arena, which starts on August 29th, 8 p.m. The main music courses on this event are house, progressive house and minimal techno.
There are three stages: Main stage, Sky flash stage and SH stage. This is not just an ordinary music festival; it is special, because of the lot of - foam. There’ll be foam everywhere, all over the crowd and performers in Arena. The party organizers have provided 8 foam cannons and 4 foam falls from the ceiling. The Foam is absolutely safe and can not lead to any kind of explosion, because it is based on the concentrate of certain materials which is mixed with water.
If you decide to be part of this musical event, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to famous international and regional clubbing stars. On the main stage you can listen to: Sandy Rivera, David Morales, Benny Benassi, Marko Nastić and Marko Milosavljević; on Sky flash stage you can enjoy in the music of: Tom Pooks, Tsuyoshi Suzuki, Ian F, Andrew Technique, F. Sonik, Tomy DeClerque, and on SH stage you may attend the competition of regional DJ-s.
The ticket price depends on date of buying. If you provide a ticket from the July 1st till August 1st, it will cost you 1990 RSD. After August 1st till the beginning of the festival, ticket price will be 2190 RSD. The main organizer of the event is a company Free management. Tickets will be available on those sales points: Belgrade Arena ticket sale, Billet servis, Mamut stores and online on
As the introduction to the festival, fans of clubbing all over the country will be able to visit promo Foam Fest parties. These parties will be organized in Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Novi Sad, Inđija, Trstenik, Šabac, Smederevo, Niš, and in the other Serbian bigger cities. The first party was held on popular Belgrade’s raft – Freestyler.
The beginning of the Belgrade Foam Festival is at 8 p.m. on August 29th , and it is planned to last for 12 hours, till 8 a.m. on August 30th. The perfect weather occasions to refresh your body in all that foam. Dress code is not relevant, but don’t forget your dancing shoes!
Prepare yourself for 12 hours of good music and lots of good and positive vibes, come and dance in a foam!

Decrease in Computer Sales

By Rina Mihajlovic

Novi Sad, August 25 (Serbia Today) - In the first trimester of this year 73,900 computers were sold in Serbia which is 24 percent less than last year. After very successful year 2008, global economic crisis hit all large hardware and computer components distributors.
The data announced by the Provincial Bureau of Statistics says that the number of homes that possess computers has been increasing annually by 5 percent. At this pace of growth, Serbia is on a good road to reach the level of used information gear that existed in the countries that are candidates for association with the EU.
The survey was conducted by analytic agency IDC Adriatic in Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia and found out that sales decreased in Croatia as well, by 25 percent and in Slovenia the market experienced an increase of 8 percent. In total, in these three countries all together 177,000 computers were sold which is 18,7 percent less that during the same period of time last year.
The main reason for decrease in sales of computers is general increase in living expenses, decrease in consumer spending and increase of unemployment.
The statistics showed that in June most computers were delivered by Com Trade, followed by Toshiba and HP.
In the second trimester of this year, the PC delivery was decreased by 21.5 percent comparing to last year. Delivery of laptops fell by 16.9 percent while delivery of desktop computers fell by 23.1 percent. Desktop computers take 70.7 percent of the market share, laptops 27.9 percent and servers 1.3 percent of the total market share.
Last month survey showed little change in data, having HP back on top, based on amount of computers delivered and computers’ value. Com Trade fell to second place but remained the biggest deliverer of locally made computers.
Eight biggest leaders in computer industry delivered 42.2% computers while the rest 57.8% is composed of 350 smaller local companies that assemble computers.
In desktop computer market the three leaders are HP, Lenovo and Dell creating 80.4 percent of the total market share.
In the laptop market Toshiba takes first place with 17.8 percent of the market share while HP takes second place with 17.5% and MSI with 16.5% of the market share.
Economic situation of the local IT companies is a little critical not only because of decrease in sales but also because of no liquidity of partners and because of 12 percent fall in prices that led to decreased income. Analysis of these effects in the past 6 months has shown a lasting and significant decrease of the sales of approximately 30 percent on the average and in some areas even up to 60 percent. Even application of information technology in our country experiences a fall.
Currently Serbia with 19 percent of homes that possess computers is not only lagging behind the developed countries (USA 75 percent and EU 50 percent) and the countries candidates for EU (35 percent), but also behind its neighboring countries (Croatia 50%).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monuments in Serbia

By: Una Zabunov
Belgrade, Aug.28 ,2009 (Serbia Today)- The Serbian people have a long and turbulent history. Many patriots have shed their blood and lost their lives for their homeland. For example, the Kingdom of Serbia lost 450,000 soldiers and 650,000 citizens in the Second World War. A large number of monuments were erected in Belgrade to commemorate the historic events, and fallen heroes. However, the Government has forgotten them. Some of the monuments are in very bad condition and falling apart.
The Cemetery of the Liberators of Belgrade from 1944, which is located in Mija Kovačević street, across the New Cemetery, is not maintained. In it are buried 2944 fighters of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia and 961 Soldiers of Soviet Red Army. This historical monument is covered in wild grass.
The names of the monuments are faded. The boards are broken. Young people use this cemetery as a park. They sit on the benches, walk their pets and often don’t clean after them. The flowers are destroyed, and the wild grass is growing. Protective fence of the cemetery is broken.
A sign on the Monument erected to the victims of the camp “ Sajmište” is stolen, so tourists who walk down on the Sava’s river bank can see this monument, but can not know why it was built. In the camp “Sajmište” more than forty thousand people were tortured and died, and this monument is the only reminder of these black days. Yet, for the past three years, the memorial plate does not exist any more. It is obvious that it doesn’t bother anyone.
After the First World War, local residents found a large number of Serbian graves of soldiers killed in the war, including the tomb of an Unknown Serbian soldiers. At the top of the mountain Avala, there is a monument to the Unknown Hero. At first sight, this monument of granite looks preserved. However, the truth is a little different. Lighting on the way to the monument is broken. This work by Ivan Mestrovic is damaged on all sides and some parts of the granite monument fell to the ground. In the vicinity of the monument, there is an open coal-pit.
Many tourist places in the world are made in an artificial way, because of the poor history of that country. If some tourist wishes to visit all the historic sights of Belgrade, he will be very tired because we have a large number of historic monuments. However, these markings are not representative. It is obvious that they are not taken care of, and something needs to be done fast.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Decentralization of Serbian Authorities

By Miodrag Stosic

Belgrade, Sept. 02 2009 ( Serbia Today ) Despite the fact that a matter of decentralization has been intensified since October 5th, 2000, this topic is constantly present in Serbian political life. During the 20th century, Serbia passed through several types of government. Nevertheless, a matter of decentralization has always been overshadowed by global changes of political system. Today, when Serbia is an independent Republic, various political actors try to solve the problem of a relation between central and local, as well as province governments in an appropriate way. An essence of decentralization process is to make an authority closer to local government, in order to enable it to solve local problems in a better way. All political forces in Serbia support this kind of determining decentralization. However, there are significant differences over the extent of the authorities that is to be transfered - a question whether decentralization should be limited on municipalities, or bigger autonomuous units, such as regions.
Milan Marković, Minister of state administration and local government says that decentralization is a necessary process with a purpose of effective performing of tasks. By his words, key problem of local government today is a lack of property, a problem which would be solved by a new Law on public property.
Certain political elites think of a decentralization process as an attack on Serbian teritorial integrity, recalling near history, when some autonomuous units expressed their will to become independent states. These days, this argument is frequently used to criticize an attempt to redefine status of Autonomuous Province of Vojvodina by a new Statute, as well as to express concern about Sandžak area.
Serbian President Boris Tadić says that decentralization strategy is pointed towards citizens, with an aim to ease their lives, not to make feuds that would jeopardize state’s integrity. „Regionalization is not a division of the country, but a division of resources and a creation of possibilities of even development for underdeveloped parts of the country“, adds Tadić. The President at the end concludes that decentralization is necessary because it is the most effective form of government, because local politicians know local problems better than those who stay as Reprsentatives in Belgrade.
Zoran Ostojić from LDP says there is a need to transfer much more central authorities to local level. As an example, he mentiones managing touristic resources by local governments, which is not yet the case.
In April, 2009, Council for decentralization was established. Its President was Nenad Čanak, the leader of League of Socialdemocrates in Vojvodina. This Council thinks, different than President Tadić, that a matter of decentralization can not be connected to a regionalization, but that changes in Constitution are also needed. Director of enterprise „Protekt“ from Niš, Mladen Jovanović, thinks that the goal shouldn’t be a decentralization itself, but that citizens should be actively included in a decision-making process about the matters that affect them the most. He says that the key purpose of decentralization is to break the political parties monopoly.
On its way to decentralization, Serbia could use successfull experiences of Switzerland, Italy, or Spain, but only if it pays attention to its own distinctive features. There is to be seen whether Serbia will manage to provide even development for all its regions.

33rd Film Screenplay Festival

By:Valentina Radulovic

Vrnjacka Banja, Aug.11,2009, (Serbia Today)- Film Screenplay Festival in Vrnjacka Banja is one of the oldest and most respectable film events in the region, a place where the annual national film productions are being evaluated, with special focus on the screenplays. The organizer of the festival is Center of Culture, Vrnjacka Banja”
This year’s Festival started on August 8th, and ends on August 12th . There will be 10 films of national production participating in the competition. On the opening night the film ‘Wait for me, it’s sure I won’t come’ by screenwriter and director Miroslav Momcilovic was shown, and on the closing night the audience will have a chance to see the film ‘Djavolja varos’ by director Vladimir Paskljevic.
There are three awards for best screenplays. The audience will see the premiere of the film ‘The heart of wise is in the house of sorrow’ by Marin Malesevic. In the competition program will be shown ‘Somebody is still waiting for me’ by Marko Novakovic, ‘There and here’ by Darko Lungulov, ‘Belgrade’s Phantom’ by Jovan Todorovic and others.
In the category ‘Young lions’ there will be shown ten short students’ films, in Vuk Pavlovic’s selection. This program is also competitive for the past two years.
On this festival, 14th time in a row, will be organized the ‘Summer School of Film Dramaturgy – Slobodan Stojanovic’. It will be attended by ten students from Belgrade film schools, Academy of Art from Novi Sad and University of Drama from Cetinje.
Besides the gala screenings in the 2000 seats open-air amphitheater, and in cinemas; besides press conferences, exhibitions and presentations of new books on film – two of the unique features of this festival are the ‘Symposium on Film and Screenwriting’ and the ‘Film Screenplay Workshop’. This year, the subject of the Symposium is ‘Stiv Tesic – America is far away’. About this Oscar winner from Serbia, some eminent film workers will talk and the program will include special retrospective of his work.
Even today, it is still the only Film Festival in Europe of its kind.

Bodrog Fetival

By Ljiljana Samardzic

Backi Monostor, Aug 11, 2009, (Serbia Today) - It is very rare to find a village in Serbia that has not been abandoned by young people. Young people in Backi Monostor are not only firm about living in their birthplace - they have strong will to make it vivid. “Bodrog fest” is their initial idea about tending tradition, which grew out in famous, traditional festival visited by many foreigners from Austria, Germany, Holland, Hungary and other European countries. Festival was held on August 7th and 8th with quality program.
The name of this event originates from a small place located near Backi Monostor. This place, called Bodrog, vanished mysteriously. In order to prevent vanishing of its history as well, the festival was called after this small village. “The initial idea was to preserve all beautiful things related to tradition of people who live here and nature as well. As visitors could see, most of items produced here are made from natural materials from our surroundings. So, the idea to show all our wealth through this festival which has traditional, natural and ecological character was born”, Zdenka Mitic, one of the organizers, told Serbia Today.
Ms. Mitic also said that “this is a beautiful event where everyone can find something interesting.” There were activities for all ages provided. On the second day, early in the morning, an interactive puppet show entertained children, but at the same time was a photo exhibition. The official opening was at noon when equestrians welcomed all visitors. Right after that, a carriage and horse parade followed.
On this very day the Info Center opened. This center will be of great importance for the village, people who live there, but also for visitors. It is the place where you could get all needed information about the village, its surroundings, tourist attractions, and accommodations. The Center is placed in an old house adapted for this purpose. Women societies will be placed here as well, which is highly important in these times when women from small surroundings are fighting for their rights. For that reason, Ms. Vesna Sijacki from Institute for gender equality was present.
Later that day a cultural program was organized, which offered variety of choirs and soloists’ performances. After that, many cultural artistic societies in traditional clothes showed their folklore talent and knowledge. All day long tables with old crafts such as wooden boat building, wooden shoes making, sweets making by old recipes and alike were settled along the streets. There were also exhibited collections of dolls in national costumes, and women handcrafts.
Traditional fish and meat food was served all day for very low prices. One could enjoy local specialties in restaurants along the promenade.
“Bodrog by night” was the closing show where many local bends played, such as Neozbiljni pesimisti, Line out, and Wicked coffee shoppers. This was a great opportunity for them to promote themselves in such a well visited festival.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Holland Artist Machiel van Soest in Belgrade

By Jelica Tapuskovic

Belgrade, Aug. 9 2009 (Serbia Today) - During last weekend, the Holland artist who lives in Belgrade Machiel Van Soest organized a solo exhibition in Soba, Belgrade. Artist known by his exhibitions on unusual places, like offices, churches, bathrooms, private apartments, this time surprised public here with his work. Besides characteristic paintings – skins, visitors had a chance to see newest paintings inspired by his life in Belgrade, like photos and installations – bottles filled with different materials like bones, butter, honey and milk .
Van Soest came to Serbia for the first time in 2005, and in 2006 he came back to take part in artistic project Redakcija, organized in Bigz building in Belgrade. This project lasted for two months, and during that time Van Soest had a chance to meet with the Art scene of Belgrade. He fell in love in Belgrade, so he decided to stay and work here on more regular basis.
Van Soest studied in Holland, where he finished his postgraduate studies, and after that he studied in England.
In his work, when he paints and makes installations, he likes to conduct experiments with different materials and techniques.
„I like the flow of being busy with a work, I want to stay in that moment, it is visual thinking about humanity, religion, ideology and the world as it appears to us and I react to that via my work. In the same time I am aware of other artists doing the same, I am part of a tradition. In that way I feel related to other artists and sometimes I feel like I work for them. That can explain the difference in my work at the first sight. I don’t believe in inspiration, I just work“, said Van Soest for Serbia Today.
However, he is well known in Holland and in Western Europe by his skin paintings and conceptual works.
„I started as a painter, I wanted to paint the ideal painting and that idea resulted in monochrome human skin paintings. Skin color contains all colors, it reflects the world. It is a border. It is the ultimate image, most close to human flesh. Close to our selves, safe as mother’s breast, sexual as a skin of your lover but also violent because it can be stretched the way I show it, like the lamps made of human skin in WO2“, underlined Van Soest.
For his work, he won the Royal Subsidy for Painting in Holland, handed out by Queen Beatrix. Also, he is teaching as a guest-teacher on art academies in Holland and promoting the idea of showing art out of galleries, because he thinks that art should be seen everywhere , with fully functioning and being part of daily life. He had that reputation in Holland, and he does it here, too. For the last 2 years, he had about 28 solo exhibitions in Holland and in Serbia.
After this solo exhibition, he is thinking about making a show in one empty, abandoned six level garage on New Belgrade, but he still didn’t ’t find a way to convince the owners to borrow him the space for a month or longer.

Fascinating Geometry

By; Natasa Tepavcevic

Belgrade, Aug.9 2009 (Serbia Today) - Group exhibition "Fascinating geometry" opened on 29th July in gallery “Magacin” in Kraljevica Marka street in Belgrade. From drawings and paintings, photography, sculpture to installation and design, through different media artist tries to answer: How is geometry today inspirational for the artists?
According to the concept of the curator Vesna Lakićević Pavićević, Mirjana Radojcic, Marijana Milosavljevic and Miroslav Karic, the exhibition "Fascinating geometry” includes following well-known artist: Era Milivojevic, Koloman Novak, Dragomir Ugren, Milija Belic, Slavimir Stojanović, Marko Markovic, Branislav Nikolic, Vladimir Veljašević, Peter Goljović Kras, Mihailo Juric, Veljko Vujacic, Irena Kelečević, Tijana Knezevic, Nina Todorovic, Branka Kuzmanovic, Vera Večanski, Milica Crnobrnja Vukadinović and Ana Knezevic.
Some of them use Geometry in the content of their art work, and others, as a clean form or as a reflection of personal issue, feeling, narrative, and universal meaning.
The basic postulates of the exhibition setting are Clear thinking, geometric principles of composing painting, sculpture and design. Geometry as a topic is a world-wide popular theme. One of the most esteemed museums, “Momuk” in Vienna, organized last year an exhibition entitled "Precise and otherwise”- the art of mathematics from Direr to Sol Le Vita. The concept of these two exhibitions is similar and we can find so many same issued exhibitions all over the world. Simply, this topic is always actual, and it is always interesting to study through different art works devoted to Geometry, and see how the inspiration influences the artist.
Mathematical phenomena and forms permeate since ancient times to the visual arts of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. Geometry initiated many directions of modern and postmodern art and become a paradigm of abstract art.
Geometric abstraction is a form of abstract art, based on the use of geometric forms sometimes, though not always, placed in a non-illusionist space and combined into non-objective (non-representational) compositions. Throughout 20th century art history discourses, critics and artists working within the reductive or pure strains of abstraction have often suggested that geometric abstraction represents the height of a non-objective art practice, which necessarily stresses or calls attention to the root plasticity and two-dimensionality of painting as an artistic medium.
Geometric abstraction influenced artist to think about the visual phenomena trough/in cyber space. Cybernetic Art and Design are the best examples where “clear thinking” and geometric principles are basis of whether production (artist/producer) or interaction (consumer/audience). Post-geometric tendencies are represented in the minimalist and post-minimalists works, as well as in works of post-modern artist in wide sense (from cyber to socio-politic sphere/space) .

Knowledge for Tomorrow - Open Heart Action

By: Valentina Radulovic

Belgrade, Aug.27,2009, (Serbia Today) - Diplomatic “Open-Heart Action” stands for the external action “Humanitarian Initiative through Knowledge into Tomorrow” which was launched under the general patronage of the President of the Republic of Serbia and with patronages from Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy of the Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and many other institutions.
The program of this humanitarian action is to provide to the disadvantaged categories of the population in Serbia free education, which includes basic computer and Internet trainings. Knowledge and experience obtained through this program have an aim to provide each student with an easier employment opportunity, as well as faster and better integration into the society, regardless what they will do in the future.
The President of the Republic of Serbia Mr. Boris Tadic said in his letter of support, that this action represents a significant contribution in involving the disadvantaged citizens to the world of modern technologies, which will help them to find jobs. He invited all who have the possibility, to help this humanitarian action. In that way, it will help gather much more users.
The Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Policy also supported the action. He said that the action “Knowledge for tomorrow” has the meaning to the society in general.
The users of this program are mainly children without parents, refugees, and internally displaced people with disabilities and other social groups.
For past five years of humanitarian action “Knowledge for tomorrow,” 933 members of socially vulnerable categories trained to work on the computer. The Director of Academy Forum, the organizer and creator of this action, said that they are close to the initial number of 1000 people, and that they hope to accomplish it until December.
The authorities cope to realize this program in spite of current economic crises. So far, the results of the Coordinator-sponsors of this action states that 73 generation of students finished classes for the middle level of business with the implementation of the Internet, and 160 of them found employment. Tatjana Pasic, the President of the National Office, also confirmed those numbers. She said that more than 1000 people are still waiting for the training and invited donors to be involved in the action.
Academy of action plans to expand to the West Serbia, Raska, regions of Zlatibor and Morava, as they are undeveloped and neglected. The program in those areas is expected to start in February next year.

Homophobic Supporters Grafitti

By Li Novak

Belgrade, August 27 2009 ( Serbia Today) - For several weeks on some walls in Belgrade we may see the grafitti with messages of hate. They are signed by various football supporters’ groups. Messages speak against homosexual population. There are more of them every day, because of the upcoming Gay Pride parade, which will be held on 20th September. It seems that some aggressive groups are very afraid of that event, and they must express their fear by writing offensive grafitti. The question is: how to react and which person or institution is obligate to react?
Gay Lesbian Info Center (GLIC) asked from public communal service to remove the graffiti, but the service’s answer was that it is not their jurisdiction. After that, activists from GLIC have sent appeals to football clubs Red Star and Partizan. The reason to contact them are the signatures under the graffiti, that belong to these clubs supporter’s groups, for example South Gate or South Front. GLIC asked from the clubs to reprove the graffiti.
First reactions from football club’s representatives were reserved and neutral. Marko Nikolovski, the Red Star spokesperson, said: „Red Star reproves any act of hate and intolerance on every part of planet, of course in Belgrade, too.“ General secretary from football club Partizan said: „Supporter is a supporter, as long as he is on a stadium to support his club. It is not our duty to react on something that is happening outside the stadium.“
Then, organisation GLIC sent appeals to world football organisations FIFA and UEFA. It is well known that this sport’s organisations firmly convict every form of hate and discrimination.
Two weaks after accepted appeals, directors of our two bigest football clubs reacted, in a proper way. They dissociated from offensive graffiti. According to Predrag Azdejkovic, director of GLIC – that has happened after the pressure from abroad. Anyway, in this organisation is satisfied by club’s reactions. Adzejkovic would like to hear unequivocal reaction: „I think that football clubs should tell their supporters to ignore the Gay Pride. Literally to tell them: Ignore!“
But, on the supporter’s forums on the internet, situation is opposite from ignoring. On those pages, one could see the obsession by upcoming Gay Pride and read some of these messages: “Supporters of Rad, leave the kiosks and beat the fags!”, “The only day when you can stamp someone, without police interfering!” or “The only day when supporters of Red Star, Partizan, Rad and Obilic are united, against the fags!”
The situation is complicated and people who mean to attend the gay Pride are not feeling safe. The only solution to this kind of problem is clear and unequivocal reaction, from not only the clubs, but from all the other influential institutions.

Serbia @ EXPO 2010

By Jelena Jovanovic

Belgrade, July 28, ( Serbia Today) - Exhibition in Belgrade gallery O3one, presents Serbia`s projects which will be presented at the World Expo exhibition to be held in Shangai, in 2010. Until June, 29th audience will be able to see the concept of EXPO Exhibition and Serbia`s future presentation.
Various photos and video works show unique and recognizable world brands, as well as things that Serbia is known for (or might become known).
The main goal of the exhibition is to motivate young and talented authors to join the action of making Serbian souvenirs more contemporary. Therefore, as a part of the exhibition, last week a panel discussion was organized, and it was announced that the official souvenir of Serbia on the world exhibition EXPO 2010 in Shanghai would be selected in the competition, organized by SIEPA (Serbian Investment and Export promotion Agency). The competition will last from August 1st to September 15th and all citizens and companies will be able to sign up and offer their suggestions.
Participants of the discussion about Serbian souvenirs in O3one Gallery were Milica Zatezalo from SIEPA, Ana Jovanovic from the portal Souvenirs of Serbia and representatives from Tourist organization of Serbia and Belgrade Tourist Organization.
In EXPO 2010, Serbia will present itself for the first time as an independent country. The appearance in Shanghai will be a great opportunity for Serbia to present itself in the best way, build international image, show economic potentials...
- At this time, Serbia has a limited range of adequate souvenirs that could be offered at this great world exhibition. There is a need for the creation of new souvenirs and a need for redesigning souvenirs that Serbia already have, in order to create official Serbian souvenirs for EXPO 2010. - said the representative of SIEPA Milica Zatezalo.
Participants in the discussion tried to give some guidelines and support to designers (and all with ideas) to create new souvenirs and participate in the competition.
Ana Jovanovic, editor of the portal said that Serbia had a need for contemporary designed souvenirs dedicated to a particular city, building or event. She also added that it was necessary that souvenirs were serial products, cheap and accessible.
Gordana Cvetkoviic from the Tourist organization of Serbia stressed that a souvenir should represent a country, nation, culture and tradition, and that development and promotion of souvenir products in Serbia had very important role in tourism.
Serbian designer Marko Sojanovic who works and lives in Italy said that his opinion was that new Serbian souvenirs should differ from the existing ones.
- Whenever we talk about souvenirs in Serbia we talk about ethno souvenirs or those which are handmade and present handcraft works. I have nothing against it - we need to have such souvenirs. But, I think that we should go further and offer something different. I think that the souvenir for EXPO should have a certain message. We will communicate with the world audience and I think that we should make something contemporary with universal values and recognizable signals, but also with local and authentic note.
Universal Exposition or Expo ( also known as World Fair) is the name given to various large public exhibitions held since 19th century. ( The first Expo had been held in London, in 1851).
Expo is the third largest event in the world in terms of economic and cultural impact. The main attractions at World's Fairs are the national pavilions, created by participating countries.
Expo 2010 will be held in Shanghai, China from May 1st –October 31st , 2010. The theme of the exposition - "Better City – Better Life" will signify Shanghai's new status in the 21st century as a major economic and cultural center. It is expected that that exhibition would generate the largest number of visitors in the history of EXPO.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wind Generators in the Municipality of Cajetina

By Bojana Jankovic

Cajetina, July 25 (Serbia Today)- According to preliminary research, the mountain Zlatibor area is extremely rich in wind flow, and there is a possibility to use it as an alternative energy source.
Renewable energy sources are the future of Serbia. The Representatives of the Austrian company “Ventureal”, which deals with the construction of wind-parks and setting wind generators, visited the municipality of Cajetina.
The considered location has to have the minimum annual wind speed range from 4.9-5.8 m / sec, and Zlatibor, according to the official data, has more than that.
During the visit, the Guests presented the dynamics of their program works, and transmitted to the Mayor of Cajetina, the results of the talks they have had with State Secretary in the Ministry of Energy RS, Nikola Rajaković, about the possibilities of production of electricity using wind in Serbia.
The Municipal Services provided all the necessary data on wind conditions and potentials of the Kriva Breza and the Gradina, and an Electro distribution company of Cajetina gave the information about the possibilities of using this system.
The preliminary researches are completed, the necessary permits will be issued soon, and the first wind generators in the municipality of Cajetina will be placed.
The Investors announced the arrival of colleagues from the same consortium, interested in the construction of mini hydro power plants in certain locations drafted by the Area Plan of the Municipality of Čajetina.

Young People Without Jobs, Employers without Employees

By: Li Novak

Smederevska Palanka, Aug.7, 2009 ,(Serbia Today) - Smederevska Palanka is a small town, similar to other small towns in Serbia, with similar problems: unemployment, lack of opportunities for young people and a large number of bankrupt, state-run companies.
While many educated young people are unemployed, the adds "Worker needed" could often be seen posted on billboards along the main street.
Radomir Ivanovic is the director of the company "Mega Market“. He told Serbia Today about his experiences with the employment of workers, from the employer's point of view: "Our company has 55 employees, mostly salesmen and butchers. We are a successful company, and salaries are on the level of average or above it. However, it is not easy to find good employees."
In Ivanovic’s opinion, young people, through their education, are not well trained for the future profession and the usual working conditions. In few cases, the apprentice dropped out, after working for less than a month. On the other hand, there are workers who accept a job without asking any questions and they agree to all conditions, because they do not have any other source of income. Some complain about working conditions, says Ivanovic.
Certain number of workers are subsidized by the National Employment Service, but that is not enough to solve the problem, because some business profiles are insufficient. For example, in the records of National Employment Service there are not enough sales trainees for the city needs.
Both, employers and young people seeking jobs are unsatisfied. For some professions, for example psychology or philosophy, there are almost no business opportunities.
It seems that the biggest problem of all is low average wage. In most boutiques, kiosks and shops, one can earn only 10,000 RSD, which is not enough to stimulate a young man to work.
Jelena R. is a graduate psychologist. After graduation, she soon realized that in her hometown, Smederevska Palanka, there were no jobs in her line of work, so she found a job in another district. She travels more than a few miles to her work, every day. Milos M. lives in Smederevska Palanka, but works in Belgrade. He claims that there are not many young people who really want to work and that the problem is lack of effort. They are not motivated by existing working conditions, so they often remain at home, allowing parents to financially support them.
However, there are positive examples of young educated people who have successfully started their own businesses. If we want more of such examples, it is necessary to encourage and support the processing of good ideas.

Problems with Renting An Apartment in Belgrade

By: Li Novak

Belgrade, Aug.13 ,2009 (Serbia Today)- There are about 100 000 people subleasing apartments in Belgrade, most of them, students. When looking for a place to rent, one can experience number of inconveniences and technical difficulties.
The best and the easiest way to find an apartment is through friends or some kind of recommendation. Otherwise, those seeking an apartment are left with ads in local newspapers or agencies that charge brokers’ fees for their services. These agencies are usually behind 85 % of all ads. If one chooses a cheaper way, ignores the agencies and looks for a place alone, a lot of time will be lost on the telephone, since the ads do not specify if the offer is private, and a direct contact with a landlord can prove itself to be more than difficult.
Attractive advertisements like a 2 bedrooms apartment in the center of the city for only 150 EU, are often not true, and serve only to connect a client to the agency, looking for a provision. In reality, a one bedroom apartment in the center can not be found under 250 EU while for a 2 bedrooms, 400 EU is a minimal price. If one decides to look away from the center, like in a New Belgrade, finding a small apartment is impossible since there are almost none, so 250 EU is the price.
Most landlords also demand a deposit, usually as high as one month’s rent. All together with a provision taken by the agency, the price reaches well above the average income in Serbia. Most agencies, take their provision with a job done; however some take money in advance even though they often fail finding the appropriate apartment that the client was expecting, in which case he/she is repeatedly offered apartments they don’t desire until they find themselves giving up.
“Finding a place to live is very hard”, says a student from Cacak who has already changed 4 apartments. “It’s unbelievable what people are offering and charging for, these days. Broken furniture, windows that don’t work properly, or a landlord, living in the same accommodation with no doors between rooms.” she says. Because of that, she is very frustrated and often, for this reason, has difficulty concentrating on her studies.
The married couple from Velika Plana with a 3 year old daughter, complain that having a kid is a serious handicap when looking for a place to rent. Some landlords simply refuse to rent an apartment when there are kids involved. Kids mean trouble, they say, they are loud, brake things and are often spoiled. This family lived like this for almost 10 years. Not easy with a kid, they say.
The student of Philological University of Belgrade says that, with her parents having very low income, she can only afford a room with a landlord present, which causes her number of inconveniences. “They often behave as if I am not paying, as if they are doing me a favor”, she says. “They count how many times I take a shower, decide if I can have a friend over or comment what time I came back last night. Once, I was even asked to leave straight away, without prior notice.”
The best solution is having a rental agreement; which can also be difficult, because landlords want to avoid paying taxes on their capital income. Students usually join together and rent apartments with roommates. That way they can have a place to themselves and split all the bills. Altogether, buying your own place can prove to be the best idea, even with today’s high loan prices.

Spa and Wellness Centers in Belgrade

By: Lola Tapuskovic

Belgrade, Aug.25 , 2009,(Serbia Today) - The need to take care of one owns body and health, culminated in the 20th century with the appearance of beauty salons and fitness centers.
The first Spa centers were opened in Belgrade few years ago. They took an example by other European cities health resorts. The Spa centers were supposed to be places in which everyone could relax and find relief from every day’s stress, while taking care of their bodies. All programs in it are adapted to trends of western and eastern culture.
Spa centers are open seven days a week, and they are based on very high standards. Spa offer contains different cosmetic and body treatments with healthy Dead Sea mud, sea weeds, aloe, herbal Botox, essential oils, etc. The most wanted offers are hydro massage, steam bathroom, spa massage, spa treatment, body and face peeling, Air brushing (Danish method for making skin darker, made of aloe, vitamin B and herbal essentials) , electro stimulants and standard cosmetic offers like pedicure, manicure and depilation. The steam bathroom is a good way to relax and detoxify the organism. In Spa centers is very popular to use some eucalyptus, mint and lavender oils during this treatment like aroma therapy. Of all Spa treatments, the most popular are: a king massage, massage with volcano rocks, massage with hot chocolate, face massage with crystals, and face massage with caviar. Few months ago started a Cleopatra treatment, which is a milk bath.
In contrast to Spa centers, which are devoted to relax the body and organism, Wellness centers give chance to everyone to shape their bodies as they like. Common thing for those two kinds of centers is individual work, recommendation of healthy nutrition and drinking of lot of water.
Wellness centers are different because of different body care – they recommend recreation, relaxation and revitalization of organism. There are programs for shaping the body, slimming programs and programs for getting in good shape. Most of wellness centers have modern accessories for trainings, rooms for aerobics, biking, Pilates (which is very popular in Serbia), Finnish sauna, swimming pools, etc. Everything is under control of a fitness trainer, aerobics instructor, physiotherapist, doctor and nutritionist who can advise you how to change your nutrition.
In most cases, Wellness and Spa centers are connected, and depending on your mood or need, you can choose what kind of relaxation you want. The membership fee is paid for one year, six or one month. That means that number of members is selected in those centers.
Last few years it is really hard to reserve a treatment in some of those centers, famous by its quality, in spite of the fact that the number of centers is growing. That only shows that they are necessary for citizens of Belgrade.

Law on Data Secrecy - Democratic Control, Yes or No?

By: Miodrag Stosic

Belgrade, Aug.25 ,2009 (Serbia Today) - The word Democracy literally means : an order in which the people rule. However, since societies started to grow in their complexity, the meaning of democracy has changed into a rule of representatives. They rule by the decisions of majority, and people monitor their work and control them. For the last several weeks, in Serbia, it is being worked on a Law on data secrecy, which should establish necessary public monitoring over secret services’ work.
However, even before the Government sent its proposition to the Assembly, there had been tumultuous reactions. Representatives of "Yukom" and "Belgrade Center for Human Rights" resigned from the working group that made law proposition, protesting because the standards this law brings are unacceptable for organizations that are into human rights matter. Milan Antonijević from Yukom says that this law is in contradiction with some previously adopted laws : Law on free access to information of public importance and Law on personal data protection. By Antonijević, in this new law proposition, there is a controversial article 40, which limits ombudsman’s permanent insight into public services’ data.
Two years ago, the “Coalition for access to information“ was established, and made its own law proposition. Antonijević, a member of this coalition, says that its proposition is different from the Government’s, for the Government’s proposition limits democratic control of security sector and introduced 4 new types of limitation: state secret, highly classified, classified and internal. This determines that the secrecy is under authority of Presidents of the Assembly, Government and Republic, and directors of public authority organizations.
Rodoljub Šabić, information trustee, claims that a new law in this field is necessary, but existent proposition is below any level. It’s because this law would degrade ombudsman’s position, by limiting his access to information. This matter is especially important, for ombudsman up to date had an absolute insight to information of public importance. Moreover, that matter is arranged the same way in neighboring countries. Šabić says that it is obvious what sort of data do trustee and ombudsmen need to perform their duties. A new law would equal their authorities with those of public prosecutors and other organizations that need special licenses to get insight to data.
Slobodan Homen, Secretary of the State Ministry of Justice, says that law proposition isn’t perfect, but because of that there will be a debate in the Assembly during which all the amendments will be discussed. He adds that author’s idea is to establish absolute secrecy of some data, to the extent that even President of the Republic shouldn’t know about them.
Data publicity is a topic that should be regulated in accordance with European and world standards, especially in fields of security and public purchases. Besides this law, Serbia has a problem with Law on information. These two laws regulate the same matter, that is called - Democratic Control of Government. It should be provided, because without it, there is neither open Society, nor Democracy.

New Law on Political Parties - Merging Serbian Political Scene

By: Miodrag Stosic

Belgrade, Aug 25 ,2009, (Serbia Today) - This year Serbia celebrates 20th anniversary of its pluralistic Democracy and multi-party political system. Law on elections proclaimed at that time, ceased 45 years long single-party system, and was so liberal to enable anyone to get into a political life. Only 100 signatures were needed to register a political party, and it led to a phenomenon called proliferation of Parties.
Also, the majority principle for distribution of votes, that had been used in the beginning, was replaced later by a proportional system. Ever Party passing a census gets into parliament with a number of representatives proportional to a number of votes it achieves in elections. By the time, this kind of political system created a situation in which several bigger parties were dominant. However, their relations were such that no one of them could easily form a stable parliamentary majority. That is why small parties, although of a minor significance independently, became key players in final formation of Governments. Therefore, ruling coalitions are a normal condition of Serbian political life. On one hand, they are one-step ahead in the development of Democracy, but on the other, they are an image of an unstable Government, what can be seen at making important decisions.
A situation became drastic during a few recent years, when there were many contradictions in statements that government officials, from different ruling parties used to give in media. There were disagreements on many important questions. Free riders were also present. For all mentioned reasons, in the beginning of this year, the state started working on a law that would simplify an image of a confusing Serbian political scene. In May, Assembly adopted Law on political organizations, with a minimum majority of 127 representatives.
By this Law, 10 thousand signatures, instead of 100, are needed to register a political party. Also, Law envisions severe penalties for those who try to act politically through an unregistered organization - from 5 to 500 thousand dinars. When national minority parties are concerned, Law is more liberal for them, allowing them to be registered with only 1000 signatures. These parties now can be entirely registered on their national languages.
For the mentioned reasons, a renewed registration of political parties in Serbia is ongoing. Leaders of bigger political parties in Serbia greet adoption of a new law, expressing the faith that they would easily gather 10 thousand signatures. Dragan Marković Palma, president of United Serbia, stated that his party would gather required number of signatures in a record term. Tomislav Nikolić, leader of Serbian Progressive Party, greets the law, but says that census should be even bigger to clean the situation, because by this law, after 6 months, 100 parties will remain, of which 90 percent won’t belong to a serious politics. Žarko Korać, from Liberal Democratic Party, says that this law is non-democratic, because there is no law with such a big census in the whole Europe.
The fact is that the new Law will disable activities of those Parties whose ideas do not have mass character. We should agree with a remark that a political scene in Serbia will become more serious. At least in the sense that there won’t be such parties like Yogi Flyers Party, or Rock ’n’ Roll Party in a National Register of Associations.

The Young Mothers' Issues

By: Li Novak

Belgrade,Aug.25 ,2009, (Serbia Today) - In difficult times, it is not easy to accomplish even the most natural assignments like the parenthood is. Young mothers talk for Serbia Today about situations they are falling into, after their baby’s birth.
When a young couple takes their baby from the childbirth center, they have to calculate necessary costs, and provide all the important things for the Maternity leave, provided by the state (about 24000 RSD for the first child) is not enough for all the needs. For example, only diapers cost 3000 RSD monthly.
Masa, mother of a 7 months old, says for Serbia Today: “A baby, younger than 12 months old, “costs” from 100 to 200 EU, if you don’t count the big expenses (cradle, baby carriage and similar, which you have already bought). And if you don’t count the baby sitter's salary, which is around 300 EU.” Mila Sebic, another mother of an infant, claims that the biggest expenses are in the first month, around 700 EU. If we know that the average Serbian salary is around 350 EU, it means that having a baby is a real bravery.
Ivana from Belgrade gave birth in hospital Narodni front. She is satisfied with a program “baby friendly” which is obligatory here. It means that the mother and baby are joined together from the infant’s birth. However, she is not satisfied with a hospital staff’s treatment and behavior. She says: “The third day, when I had a problem with breasts because of the milk, I was disappointed with the program's efficiency. I found out that many mothers of infants had the same problem, because the medical nurses did not provide the necessary help on time. I asked for help several times and the hospital staff kept promising to send someone, but nobody came. In general, they were unkind and didn’t have the right humane attitude towards the women who are in special physical and emotional state, because they had just given birth.”
Young mothers often have problems related with maternity leave reimbursements. Masa from Belgrade tells us about her struggle with administration, which lasted 4 months. After that, she finally got her maternity payment. She says: “I experienced much offensiveness from a clerk in the Tirsova Street, which is municipality of Vozdovac. She was sending me home, many times, for more and more “necessary” documents. A real nightmare! I even complained to her boss, but nothing had changed.” Also, there are some dishonest employers, who hold the state money for a while, instead of paying the mothers. And then, maternity reimbursements are late.
Mothers say that non of the childbirth centers have really good conditions. They complain about quality of food and especially about the medical staff's behavior. Few days after the baby’s birth, during a hormonally tumultuous period, mothers are in specific condition, emotionally and physically tired. Most of the medical nurses don’t treat young mothers with respect and humanity they deserve, don’t answer all the questions and aren’t helping enough. Because of that, a group of women spontaneously started an initiative called “Mother Courage” on the website and that finally drew attention of the Ministry of Health.

Mamma Park

By: Jelena Jovanovic

Belgrade, Aug.25 ,2009 (Serbia Today) - A part of the green space on Ada Ciganlija, one of the favorite summer spots in Belgrade, became at the beginning of this Summer, a Day Camp for small children. Mamma Park offers workshops, small schools, games and ideas for children and their parents how to spend time with other kids in beautiful surrounding.
Vesna Stanimirović,coordinator of the park and journalist of Belgrade magazine Mamma, explained that this magazine, established 12 years ago with an aim to help young parents and make things easier for them, got an idea to step out from the magazine pages and offer some outdoor contents – places where children can spend their time, entertain, associate and educate and where parents can be relaxed more than usual and be certain of their children’s safety.
Ada Ciganlija was a logical choice. It is a favorite city resort, with 300 000 visitors per day in the peak of the season, with many playgrounds and thematic parks. So, magazine Mamma , in cooperation with Public Company Ada Ciganlija, adjusted one part of Ada’s green space and made Mamma Park. Opened at the beginning of the summer, the Park has become very popular. It will be closed at the end of summer, on August 30th.
Mamma Park offers various programs, realized by experts in children education who have already cooperated with magazine Mamma. Children can attend English language school Helen Doron and read stories in English, attend small school of proper speeches, sports workshop Hercules, small dance school, creative fine arts workshop... Parents can get advices from pediatricians, nutritionists, dentists, psychologists, ophthalmologists. Yoga and fitness programs are also part of the program, as well as ecological education program, where basics about environment and its preserving are taught. In the beginning, the programs were addressed to the youngest- small and preschool children. But, older children also started to enjoy here. All programs are free and all children can participate- there is no age limits.
Vesna Stanimirovic says that in Mamma Park everyone can learn something new and have fun.
“I think that that age variety is a special allure of Mamma park. Sometimes only three children are involved in certain activity and sometimes we have more than 25 children. Children and their parents come here regularly and parents are very satisfied- they can exchange experiences with other parents and get answers and free advices from various experts”. Ljiljana Jocic, Secretary for Children Protection in the City of Belgrade, suggested a continuation of this action during winter period and relocation of Mamma park indoors, in some of Belgrade kindergartens. This idea might be realized, and the certain thing is that Mamma park will be part of Ada Ciganlija next summer and that joint project of magazine Mamma and Ada Ciganlija will be continued.