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Quick Reads + Serbia

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + Serbia

Online Magazine Publishes Leaked Emails of Serbian Government Agency

Online magazine Balkanist was among several media to receive over 300 leaked emails from the Investment and Export Promotion Agency of the Republic of Serbia (SIEPA) that allegedly reveal corruption, nepotism, misappropriation of Agency funds and several other malpractices of the government agency's top officials and employees. SIEPA Director Božidar Laganin warned that these emails were obtained illegally and could have been manipulated, claiming that SIEPA servers had been hacked, thus anyone considering publishing or distributing them further should be aware of possible legal consequences if they did so. Mr. Laganin handed in his official resignation as Director of SIEPA shortly after making this statement.

Balkanist staff decided to publish an analysis of a portion of the emails [sr], as well as publish screenshots of some of them. As the author of the article and co-founder of Balkanist magazine, Srećko Šekeljić, explains:

Na adresu Balkanista je u ponedeljak 11. novembra prosleđeno preko 300 mejlova visokih funkcionera Agencije za promociju izvoza i stranih ulaganja Vlade Srbije (SIEPA) koji, u slučaju da se dokaže njihova autentičnost, sadrže naznake postojanja korupcije i nesavesnog postupanja u rukovođenju ovom agencijom.

U Agenciji za borbu protiv korupcije nam je potvrđeno da “iz sadržine dopisa primljenih elektronskom poštom, proizlazi sumnja da su izvršena krivična dela za koja se goni po službenoj dužnosti”. Na pitanje Balkanista šta će Agencija preduzeti u vezi sa informacijama koje su na naše adrese “procurele” iz SIEPA-e, rečeno nam je da su primljeni materijal “prosledili Apelacionom javnom tužilaštvu u Beogradu na dalju nadležnost i postupanje”.

Over 300 emails from highly positioned employees of the Investment and Export Promotion Agency of the government of Serbia (SIEPA) were forwarded to the address of Balkanist on Monday, November 11, which, if proven to be authentic, contain evidence of the existence of corruption and irresponsible acts in managing this agency.

The Anti-corruption Agency has confirmed that “from the content of the correspondence received by email, there is reason to suspect that criminal acts have been committed that will be prosecuted by legal obligation”. When asked by Balkanist what the [Anti-corruption] Agency will do with the information that was “leaked” from SIEPA, we were told that the received materials “have been forwarded to Public Prosecutor's office of the Appeals Court in Belgrade for further jurisdiction and action”.

Serbia Questions Whether Church Should be Exempt from Taxes

InSerbia reports and adds details to a poll carried out by Serbian daily Blic on whether the Serbian Orthodox Church, whose clergymen have recently been in the media often due to reports of visible overspending, should begin paying taxes. The Serbian Orthodox Church and all other religious institutions are exempt from taxes in Serbia and state tax authorities have never inspected the finances of any registered religious community in the country. These benefits, however, only apply to products and services that serve for religious activities, while the Serbian Orthodox Church is known to have a variety of the most expensive vehicles in the ownership of the Church, used by its officials and employees. In the public poll conducted by Blic in early November 2013, 83% of the respondents said the Serbian Orthodox Church should pay taxes.

Rough estimates, derived from the statements of church dignitaries, indicates that only from VAT on the sale of books and other goods in church stores, as well as profit tax, the Republic budget could be richer for about 10 billion dinars (6.4 million euros/8.5 million dollars).

Hungary Criticized for Lenient Naturalization Policy

With unemployment and economic concern growing in the European Union, Hungary is among some of the EU member states being criticized by its Union neighbors for more lenient laws passed in 2011 for attaining Hungarian citizenship. Charles Richardson explains why on Crikey's blogs:

Hungary has been giving some grief to its neighbors with a new law that allows people to claim Hungarian citizenship if they have (a) a direct ancestor who was a Hungarian citizen and (b) a basic knowledge of the Hungarian language. Apparently the latter requirement is being leniently interpreted.[...]

Two things make this more controversial than it might sound. One is that substantial chunks of Hungary’s neighbors were, at times in the last century, Hungarian territory. That means that a lot of Serbs, Slovaks, Romanians and Ukrainians are potential claimants, and it may make some of those neighbors worry about whether Hungary’s leaders have really given up the dream of recreating the “Great Hungary” that existed prior to 1920.[...]

The BBC reports that more than half a million people have taken advantage of the new law since it came into effect at the beginning of 2011, with about 100,000 from Serbia alone.

Former Croatian President Mesic Says Tudjman and Milosevic Set Out to Divide Bosnia

Former Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, who was in this office as Croatia's second President from 2000 to 2010, recently gave an interview for Serbian weekly NIN, in which he claims to have found maps of a divided Bosnia in the presidential safe of Franjo Tudjman. BalkanInside.com quotes a portion of that interview:

“Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman had been communicating with each other during the war 1991-1995. They wanted to divide Bosnia. Tudjman even thought that the greatest world powers want to divide Bosnia as well“, said Mesic.

UNESCO Patron of First SEE Science Promotion Conference in Serbia

The Center for the Promotion of Science (CPN), under UNESCO patronage, is hosting the First Regional Science Promotion Conference with the aim of gathering science promotion professionals, practitioners and enthusiasts from Southeast Europe. The conference program will discuss science from a scientific, but also from an educational and economic point of view.

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Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia and Brazil on Winning Streak at Girls’ U18 Volleyball World Championship

As the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) blog reports, the Serbian, Turkish, Slovenian and Brazilian under-18 girls’ national volleyball teams showed outstanding results on the weekend of July 27-28, some with a perfect win-loss ratio. Full stats and results are available and regularly updated on the Federation's website.

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Serbia's First Startup Weekend

http://belgrade.startupweekend.org/files/2013/02/logo-new.png

Startup Weekend in Belgrade, March 22, 2013.
Logo by official website

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