Friday, October 3, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 3,2008) -Local elections will take place this weekend according to plan despite concerns of some irregularities, the Bosnian Central Election Commission said and urged all Bosnian citizens to take part in the ballot.

“Sunday, October 5, is the day when you make decisions, so come out and give your vote,” the commission’s president Suad Arnautovic told a press conference today.

He stressed that elections will proceed as scheduled despite growing concerns, expressed by some media and political parties, that at least two separate cases may seriously hamper election results in eastern and northern parts of the country.

Bosnian citizens are to cast ballots on Sunday, in the forth post-war local elections.Some three million voters are eligible to elect municipal councils in 149 towns and cities and 140 mayors, after a campaign marked by widespread nationalistic rhetoric and an almost absolute neglect for the issues of local interest.

"Hardline parties use nationalistic rhetoric, since it’s a card that always wins," Sanel Huskic of the Sarajevo-based think tank said.

"They know that people here still vote by their hearts not by their heads.They talked about the country’s constitution, census or European integration," Huskic said.

Politicians offered concrete programs on how to improve life in local community in only two percent of public statements, he noted.

"Nationalist rhetoric is a perfect excuse for not having any vision or strategy for the prosperity of this country," said political analyst Tanja Topic.

Topic and other analysts fear low turnout as a result of growing apathy among voters.

Turnouts for Bosnia’s post-war elections have been declining constantly. Less than 50 percent of voters cast ballots in the last general elections in Bosnia two years ago.

"By staying at home on election day, voters send a clear message that they are very dissatisfied with all existing political options," Topic said, adding that the turnout could be the lowest ever.

The Bosnian Central Election Commission has guaranteed the regularity of the elections, saying once it receives official information and names of any irregular potential voters, it will undertake “all actions prescribed by the law.”

The Bosnian Central Election Commission also said that local election commissions and the central commission have so far received 130 official complaints regarding the regularity of the pre-election campaigns.


BERLIN, Germany (October 3,2008) - As part of the European Film Awards, the European Film Academy (EFA) annually presents the EUROPEAN DISCOVERY AWARD to a young and upcoming director for a first full-length feature film.

This year’s nominations were determined by a committee comprised of film journalists Dana Linssen (the Netherlands), Julia Teichmann (Germany) and Rui Tendinha (Portugal) – all of them members of FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) - and EFA Board members Pierre-Henri Deleau (France) and Stefan Laudyn (Poland), stated the Academy release.

The nominees are: “Hunger”, UK, directed by Steve McQueen, written by Enda Walsh & Steve McQueen, "Snijeg" (Snow), Bosnia / Germany / France / Iran, directed by Aida Begic, written by Aida Begic and Elma Tataragic, "Tatil Kitabi", (Summer Book), Turkey, written and directed by Seyfi Teoman, “Tulip”, Germany / Switzerland / Kazakhstan / Russia / Poland, directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy, written by Sergey Dvortsevoy and Gennady Ostrovskiy, stated the EFA release.

HUNGER is an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, led by Bobby Sands. The film provides a timely exploration of what happens when body and mind are pushed to the uttermost limit and won the Camera d’Or Prize in Cannes.

SNIJEG follows the survivors in the war-torn Bosnian village of Slavno. Living in an isolated world of their own, the first snow brings with it a risk for life in the village. The film received the Grand Prix at Cannes’ Semaine de la Critique and was the opening film of this year’s Sarajevo Film Festival.

In TATIL KITABI, each member of a family in a provincial town tries to solve his/her personal crises as their daily lives flow by at their own slow pace throughout one long summer. The film was presented in the Berlinale Forum section, and received the award Best Turkish Film of the Year at the Istanbul International Film Festival.

In TULPAN, young Asa travels back to the Kazakh steppe after completing his naval service. To start his new life, he must get married and his only hope is Tulpan, the daughter of another shepherd family. The film received the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

The nominated films will now be made available to all 1,800 members of the European Film Academy. They will vote for the winner who will be announced at the 21st European Film Awards on 6 December in Copenhagen.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 3,2008) - Several foreign companies have expressed their interest in oil exploration in Bosnia, after an invitation was issued a month ago, according to the Bosnian main energy company Energoinvest’s Assistance General Director Ibrahim Bosto.

He declined to name them, but said the companies are based in the United States, Canada, Croatia and some Arabic countries. It is not an exaggeration to say that there is considerable interest to explore for oil and gas in Bosnia, according to the same source.An international tender should be announced in three weeks.

All interested companies will need to submit bank guarantees, Bosto said, adding that in the century-old history of looking for oil in Bosnia, this is the most concrete step in that direction so far. Still, it will be years before the exploitation actually starts, he said.


SOFIA, Bulgaria (October 3,2008) - The heads of the central banks of eight southeastern European states agreed today that the region would be affected slightly by the global financial crisis.

The central bank directors from Bosnia,Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia held their regular meeting in the Bulgarian capital Sofia today.

The Director of the Bulgarian National Bank Ivan Iskrov explained there were no banks in the southeastern Europe, which owned securities of the type that caused problems in the United States.

He did point out, however, that the crisis was going to an indirect impact on the region by raising the credit interest rates by an average of 1,5%.

Another potential indirect effect could ensue in case the global crisis leads to a recession some of the western European states, which are primary export partners of the southeastern European states, because this would reduce their exports, and would stifle the economic growth.

The next meeting should take place in Romania in September, 2009.