Showing posts from October, 2016

Poverty rate in Macedonia in 2015 was 21.5%: statistics

The State Statistical Office in 2016, based on the Survey on Income and Living Conditions, which is carried out in accordance with European Union recommendations, calculated Laeken poverty indicators for 2015. The source for poverty calculations is incomes, and the poverty threshold is defined at 60% of median equivalised income.
According to the data, the at-risk-of-poverty rate in the Republic of Macedonia in 2015 was 21.5%.
Analysed by household types, the at-risk-of-poverty rate in households of two adults with two dependent children in 2015 was 22.8%. According to the most frequent activity status, the at-risk-of-poverty rate for employed persons was 9.0%, while for pensioners it was 7.2%. The Gini coefficient (measure of income distribution inequality) was 33.8%.


Wizz Air to launch Skopje-Hanover flight

Skopje-Hanover is the new route set to start operating from Alexander the Great Airport in Skopje from Oct. 31. Tickets, starting from MKD 899 in one direction, can be already booked, TAV and Wizz Air said Friday.

The low-cost airline will operate the service twice a week during the 2016-2017 winter season. Planes will depart from Skopje every Monday and Friday and will take off from Hanover on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
“Hanover in Germany is the 23rd destination to which Wizz Air will be operating from the Skopje Airport, i.e. the ninth destination from Skopje, and from Macedonia in general, to Germany. We expect the flight to become successful and to connect our passengers with Germany for business and educational purposes or for vacation and leisure. At the same time, it is expected to attract German tourists and businessmen to visit Macedonia,” TAV Macedonia CEO Zoran Krstevski said.
In addition to Hanover, the airport in Skopje is connected to eight other cities in Germany, namely…

Macedonian U-­17 Football Team Draws with Italy

The Macedonian U-­17 football team played a goal-­less tie against Italy in Forli, in the second leg of their European Championship qualifier.

The result keeps alive the hope of winning the second place in Group 4 that would allow the team to advance. Serbia leads the group with 6 points, ahead of Italy with 4, and Macedonia with 1 point. Albania has no points so far. Macedonia needs a win against Albania, but also to see Serbia beat Italy in the last leg. Both games are scheduled on October 31.

Macedonian Wunderkind Kristijan Vodenski Conquers Wrestling Arenas

The little Kristijan Vodenski on Saturday in Prague will represent Macedonia at the European Championships in grappling in the category up to 30 kg. He is part of an elite class of fighters in his age so he will be an opportunity for great battles against Alexander Zaytsev from Russia and Martin Korinek from the Czech Republic.

For Vodenski this is just another competition on which he will perform under the flag of Macedonia, so he continues with the performances on the championships, and so far has 40 trophies in several categories.
At the grappling championships he is expected to continue in the form he is in. It's about a discipline that is a mix of several different martial arts such as wrestling, judo, and there are actions that can be seen in MMA fighting, but strikes are not allowed. Given that Vodenski has a great knowledge of all those martial arts, he is expected to be up to the task.
Competition in Prague will have no lots or each will have the opportunity to show his …

Pic of the Day - The Lion of Skopje

More pictures with the Lions of Skopje you can find on our Tourism Blog HERE

Macedonian TV Revenues Drop

The Macedonian Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services reported that all commercial and public broadcasters generated total revenues of 3,102,260,000 MKD (around 50 million EUR) in 2015, which is a drop of 2.3% compared to 2014. The advertising revenue in the TV broadcast sector earned 27,466,970 EUR.
Almost all television stations that broadcast via satellite ended last year with a loss, according to a market analysis of audio and audiovisual media services for 2015, which the country`s Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services released this month.
Only five of the country’s 63 TV broadcasters generated a positive financial result last year, mainly from advertisements. In terms of revenue growth, the leader was TV Alfa, whose revenues soared 21.14%, reaching 3,204,878 EUR, followed by Alsat TV  (an increase of 1.1%, to 2,700,162 EUR). On the commercial side, TV Sitel had the highest overall revenues with 8,809,756 EUR, an increase of 0.65% over 2014.
The public broadca…

Seventh Hungarian border police contingent leaves for Macedonia

The police unit was seen off by riot police commander Janos Balogh, who told officers that every border under control is another barrier against illegal migration.

The commander noted that on Wednesday alone 108 migrants attempted to cross the Serbia-Hungary border illegally. “Modern-day mass migration is not over and borders must be protected,” he said, adding however, that “it is important we do not sacrifice law, integrity, or humanity on the altar of efficiency”.

Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chair John Podesta Refers to Macedonia as “FYROM” in Latest WikiLeaks Release

In the latest WikiLeaks release of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta is caught referring to Macedonia using the derogatory term “FYROM” – responding with “I still call it FYROM” when asked about inviting the Prime Minister of Macedonia to an event in July of 2015.
John Podesta is of Greek descent from his mother’s side and Italian descent from his father’s side.  His use of the derogatory term “FYROM” and his closeness to the Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton makes me, as a Macedonian, feel uneasy.

Some note on Podesta:
CLINTON'S GREEK DREAM TEAM - Bill Clinton Administration (1993-2001)

"My campaign and my administration have gained much from the talents of Greek Americans, including my close assistant and Director of Communications, George Stephanopoulos, who came up here a moment ago, who has become the heartthrob of the teen set of America. (Laughter and Applause.)

"George's parents are in the audience today, and the…

MHRMI Condemns Greece’s Blacklisting Of Macedonians

Slavko Mangovski, MHRMI International Coordinator and a dual-citizen of the US and Macedonia, was denied entry into Greece on October 24, 2016 at the Medzitlija/Niki (Negochani) border crossing. He was told by border officials that he is on the “list of undesirables”, Greece’s blacklist of Macedonian human rights activists, despite being previously removed from it due to pressure from local human rights organizations. He was placed on Greece’s blacklist again after being a guest at a gala banquet held by Macedonian Human Rights Movement International on June 1, 2013 in Toronto.
Representatives from the US Embassy in Athens were told by the border officials that they had “no record of the incident”, despite border documents being issued (see MHRMI immediately followed up with the US State Department to investigate the continued abuse by Greek officials against Macedonians and its large Macedonian minority.
Furthermore, the documents refer to “…

MoFA: No injured Macedonian nationals in Italy earthquakes

Based on available information, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said Thursday there are no injured Macedonian nationals in the series of earthquakes that hit central Italy yesterday.

The ministry says that the Macedonian Embassy to Rome is available for any questions related to the safety of the Macedonian nationals currently staying in Italy.
Contact points:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Silvana Ivanovska
mob. +38972 239 052
Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia to Rome:
Emilija Nikolovska
mob. 00393889050310
Semra Ramadani Alimi
mob. 00393485273136
Address: Via Bruxelles 73/75, 00198 Rоme

Authentic Living: Interview with Niko Srbinovski

Authentic Living: Skopje, Macedonia Interviews with locals from your favorite travel destinations Niko Srbinovski
This past August I fulfilled an old promise and finally visited my good friend Niko, who lives in Skopje— Macedonia’s capital city. It is unlike anyplace I have ever been before, with a vibe that mixes the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, Near Eastern, and Balkan regions with a hint of Disneyland. But what is life like for locals? I asked Niko to find out.
So you’re originally from Skopje, yes?
Correct. I was born and raised here, but I just recently returned after six years of living in Florence, Italy where I was getting my masters degree in cultural heritage.
What was it like moving back to Skopje after living in abroad for so long?
Haha, I’ve been a tourist my own town for a year and a half. It has taken me awhile to get used to the way things are here. Beyond the obvious cultural differences, living in Florence is like living in an art museum—everything, from str…

Ethnic and demographic changes in Skopje during the 1950s

A glimpse at the censuses after the Balkan Wars until 2002 will give you an insight of the fast demographic development of Skopje during this period and the ethnic and religious diversity, which has been a centuries­old constant. The population of Skopje has risen from 47.384 (51.364 including its vicinity) in 1914 to 506.926 in 2002. Given that there have been no censuses since 2002 it is safe to assume that there are even more people living in Skopje right now.

According to the census from 1921, Skopje had a population of 40.666 (22.135 Orthodox, 937 Catholics, 15.609 Muslims, 1.868 Jews, 86 Protestants and 31 Greek Catholics). The majority of the people were Macedonians, while Turkish people represented a significant minority.
“There were 17.396 applications submitted in 1954 alone, which was ten times the amount from 1951 to 1953. In 1954 and 1955, 14.216 applications for release from citizenship were submitted in Skopje and the vicinity, 11.881 of which were from the city itself…

MMA fighter Alex 'The Hulk' Volkanovski aiming for world title

Alex Volkanovski is considered one the best mixed martial arts fighters in Australia and he's determined to make his mark on the world stage.

The New South Welshman's fighting profile is growing in his home country, but the man known as 'The hulk' is already an established identity in Macedonia - the country of his father's birth.
"I've been on magazines in Macedonia and all things like that," he told SBS.
"One of my biggest fan bases is probably Macedonians, they always get behind me.
"They’re always hitting me up on Facebook speaking Macedonian to me which I don't understand, so I get my dad to translate it for me."
The winner of 13 professional fights will get the opportunity to mix with the world's best when he makes his debut in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on November 27 in Melbourne.
Millions of people are expected to tune in to watch him take on Japanese fighter Yusuke Kasuya in the Octagon - the steel cage …

Lonely Planet Names Ohrid among 10 Best Cities to Visit

Ohrid has been named among the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2017 by the internationally­renowned travel company Lonely Planet.

Ranked fifth on the list of cities to visit, Ohrid is featured in the 2017 Best in Travel edition, released annually by Lonely Planet, the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism said Tuesday.
“The renowned edition, considered the strongest brand in the industry, is printed every year to point out the top destinations of the year to come. In a bid to boost its credibility, every year an international Lonely Planet team, comprised of travel experts, authors and editors, is recommending top ten countries, top ten cities and top ten regions to visit,” the Agency said.
Other cities featured on the list include France’s Bordeaux (number 1) South Africa’s Cape Town (2), the US city of Los Angeles (3), Mérida in Mexico (4) Italy’s Pistoia (6), Seoul in South Korea (7), Lisbon in Portugal (8) the Russian capital Moscow (9) and the US city of Portland (…

WB Doing Business: Macedonia Ranking among Top 10 Economies

Macedonia is among top 10 economies in the world according to the World Bank Doing Business 2017 report. In its global country rankings of business efficiency, Doing Business 2017 awarded its coveted top spot to New Zealand, Singapore ranks second, followed by Denmark; Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Norway; United Kingdom; United States; Sweden; and Macedonia.

A record 137 economies around the world have adopted key reforms that make it easier to start and operate small and medium­sized businesses, says Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, the World Bank Group’s annual report on the ease of doing business.
Economies of the Europe and Central Asia region place among the top improvers in the report. The top ranked economy in the region is Macedonia, with a global ranking of 10. Thanks to past reforms it now takes an entrepreneur in Macedonia only two days to start a business, which is significantly less than the regional average of 10 days, the report reads.
Doing …

State Electoral Commission registers 540 voters overseas so far

The State Electoral Commission informed on Monday that a total of 540 Maceodnian citizens have so far registered to vote at the general elections, at which up to three members of Parliament will be elected to represent the diaspora.
Out of the applications, 19 have so far been refused, 217 are accepted and 304 are being processed. Citizens can register to vote online, at the web site
A day ahead of the elections, they will vote in Macedonia's diplomat missions across the world.

Forbes interviews Gruevski on overcoming the political and migrant crises while maintaining economic growth

Forbes published an interview with VMRO-DPMNE President Nikola Gruevski, whom the magazine announces as the most likely winner of the upcoming general elections in Macedonia, that should bring an end to the period of political uncertainty. The leading economics magazine says that Macedonia was able to weather the twin migrant and political crises, all the while bringing in investors from the United States and other countries and reducing its unemployment rate.
December elections are next. Yes, we went through a bad crisis. It is not entirely over. But we did not give up working with the business community. Our economy still grew. We didn’t lose our credit rating and we are going to protect that rating. We convinced several new companies to start a business plan and to invest in Macedonia. It’s not going to be perfect, but I think the country is heading in a better direction now.  Let’s see what voters say”, Gruevski tells Forbes in the interview.
The magazine says that Macedonia’s t…

Time Travel: Skopje Antique Shops Are Full of Objects that Have Long Been Forgotten

Musical instruments, folklore costumes, uniforms, jewelry and various items and sundries which date back more than 100 years are arranged on the shelves in antique shops in the Old Bazaar, which are some kind of time machines that will take you on a journey in the 19th century through the days of the former Yugoslavia, until the independence of Macedonia.

Antique shops in the Skopje Bazaar, despite for collectors of antiquities, are as well very attractive for tourists who mostly buy traditional Macedonian costumes. But part of the owners of antiques complained that people come in their shop just to take a look at the objects and they joke that they will earn more if they collect money for the entrance.
We visited the antique shop "Pella Antik" which took us back decades ago. On the walls hang military uniforms from the First and Second World War, the time of Yugoslavia, coins, Macedonian costumes ... The shelves are full of traditional Macedonian jewelry, the first Macedon…

Spiritual serenity of “Saint George” monastery near Skopje

Delved into the lush greenery of the nicely decorated yard surrounded by stone walls, just several kilometers above the village of Kuchkovo, near Skopje, is the “Saint George” monastery. Centrally located and yet hidden from plain sight is the eponymous church, filled by the joyous baby sounds of little Sara, who had just been baptized.

This church, which has been a Christian sanctuary for the people of the western part of the Skopje valley since the XIV century, is a realm of piece and serenity. The monastery is open every day, but attracts the most people on 6th May, St. George’s Day, the monastery’s holiday.
Built before the arrival of the Ottomans The first record of the monastery dates back to 1885 in a local Constantinople newspaper, when Jordan Hadji Konstantinov – Djinot wrote that “the church is beautiful and holds many manuscripts”. There is an inscription above the entrance stating that it was built in 1346. There was also a plate to confirm that, which had been removed for…

Macedonia in Vogue: Every meal is made with passion and love

No matter where you go, every meal is made with passion and love—whether it’s at a hole­in­the­wall in the middle of Skopje or the living room of a farmer in a local village. Not only that, the focus is entirely on quality—which means everything is made from scratch without the additives and preservatives we’re so accustomed to in Western food.

This is only part of the story about Macedonia published in Friday’s edition of world's most famous fashion magazine, Vogue. Under the headline ‘Why Macedonia Is Becoming a Foodie Destination’ Vogue describes the country which is heartbreaking, considering the landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, the people are some of the world’s most welcoming, and the food is some of Europe’s most comforting. Macedonia is a mostly mountainous country influenced by different climates, from the valleys of the south to the peaks of the southwest region, or the lakeside area of Ohrid and Prespa. This alone is one of the main reasons why the country can …

Handball: Vardar roll over Leipzig

Vardar with new coaching trio, led by owner Sergei Samsonenko reached a decisive victory in the match of the Champions League against the German Leipzig, dominating with 41:24.
From the very beginning, our champion demonstrates the strength and thanks to the excellent Amandine L. in the first 10 minutes we received only one goal in the offensive scored seven times. Popular Dudu had an amazing 12 defenses, and Vardar led with 19:14.
In the last part of the competition, the winner was already known. Final 41:24 for first win in Group B, with which at least for a moment Vardar climbs on the first position. The most efficient person was Jovanka Radicevic with six goals.
GERMAN translation HERE

NBRM: Monetary gold quantity increased

The National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia (NBRM) has increased the quantity of monetary gold in the foreign currency reserves through melting of collector coins and confiscated gold items into monetary gold.
The quantity of monetary gold has increased by 2,288 ounces (ca. 65kg) to 221,163 ounces (ca. 6270kg), NBRM said in a press release on Friday. The central bank acquired six plates of monetary gold with a market value of about EUR 2,6 million, fully meeting quality standards of the precious metals market in London.
The procedure is carried out in line with the Government’s decision to turn collector coins into monetary gold, and the amendments to the Law on management of seized property, property gains and objects seized in criminal and misdemeanor procedure, according to which the National Bank was assigned with confiscated items by the Agency for Management of Confiscated Property”, reads the press release.

Dan Clark Signs with MZT Skopje

Dan Clark has signed with Macedonian side KK MZT Skopje and will play in the EuroCup this season, as reported by Sportando.
The GB Senior forward has spent most of his professional career in Spain and played for Andorra in the ACB last year.
Clark helped GB qualify for EuroBasket 2017 this summer and finished the campaign with averages of 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
The 28-year-old played 36 games in the Spanish top-flight last year and averaged 7.0 points per outing whilst shooting just under 50% from the floor.
Skopje are the defending Prva Liga champions and are currently 0-1 in Group A after losing to Lithuanian side Lietkabelis Panevezys in their opener.

Pic of the Day: Ohrid AirCam


4th Giffoni Macedonia Youth Film Festival

Fifteen films (five each in three categories) have been picked for the official selection of the 4th Giffoni Macedonia Youth Film Festival, set to take place on Oct. 21-26 in Skopje.

The film festival is supported by the Film Agency of Macedonia and the Giffoni Film Festival in Italy.
The Cinematheque of Macedonia will host activities of the junior selections (children aged 10 to 13), while cadets (ages 14 to 16) and seniors (16-18) will attend events organized at the Youth Cultural Center.
The Giffoni Macedonia festival opens on Friday at the Millennium Theater with a screening of Matteo Rovere’s Italian Race – Fast Like The Wind, and closes on Oct. 26 with an awards ceremony.
This year the festival offers a ‘solid’ programme including mainly films that have been admitted by some of the biggest and most influential film festivals in the world as well as youth film festivals, according to Darko Basevski, executive director of Giffoni Macedonia and official representative of the Giffo…

Tender for construction of new clinical center published

The European Union Official Journal has published the tender for the construction of the new University Clinical Center “Mother Teresa” in Skopje, said Health Minister Nikola Todorov on Thursday.
“The clinical center is the largest healthcare complex in Macedonia, comprised of 32 independent entities and 3,400 employees”, said Todorov.
According to him, the bids’ opening is scheduled for December 5. The entire procedure is carried out in compliance with the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the World Bank.
“The evaluation criterion is the lowest justified price that meets the minimum of the most significant post-qualification conditions, as well as specific construction experience as primary contractor in the field in EU member-states over the past decade in a cumulative value of EUR 100 million”, said Todorov.
He said construction works are expected to begin in March 2017 and completed by the end of 2021.
“The new facilities will get new medical and non-medical equipment,…

World Bank praises Macedonia's efforts to improve business climate

The government of Macedonia has followed good economic policies and has made important efforts to improve the business climate in the country, World Bank executive director Frank Heemskerk told interim Macedonian Prime Minister Emil Dimitriev on Wednesday.

During the meeting in Skopje, Dimitriev stated the World Bank, as well as other international financial institutions and organizations, had acknowledged and positively assessed such measures taken by the Macedonian government in providing better and more favorable conditions to the investors.
Further on, they talked about the relations between Macedonia and the World Bank, the implementation of projects and reforms towards Macedonia's economic development and ways to meet Macedonians' needs and interests, the prime minister's press office said in its press release.
The Macedonian Prime Minister expressed his gratitude for the World Bank's support to Macedonia in the implementation of reforms and projects.
According …

FIFA Rankings: Worst ranking in history for Macedonia

The 155th place is another negative record as it is now the worst ranking in the history of the Macedonian national football team.
The home defeats by Israel and Italy in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers forced Macedonia to fall yet again, reaching the lowest position in its history. If the September's 146th place was the worst since April's 141st, now November will be recorded as the new negative record. Ranked around the likes of Grenada, Myanmar, barbados, Mauritius, Lesotho etc, Macedonia is also one of the worst European teams placed just eight places above the bottom.
But before the next rankings to be released, Macedonia risks another historic downfall as must face Spain away in another World Cup qualifier. In the World Cup qualifying group which also includes team Macedonia the best ranked team is Spain (10). Italy is in 13th position, Albania (47), Israel is placed 79th moving up 19 position, while Lichtenstein is in 183rd place.
Five years ago, more precisely in J…

Legalisation of Medicinal Cannabis in Macedonia

In February 2016, Macedonia legalised medicinal cannabis but the law is far from ideal. Drugreporter's Macedonian partner, Healthy Options Project Skopje – HOPS – carried out an analysis of the law. Read their key remarks and recommendations presented by Vlatko Dekov.
Yes, it’s true – in February 2016, Macedonia legalised medicinal cannabis. The law covers the production of cannabis by legal entities which then supply it to companies producing cannabis-based medicines in Macedonia. It was a surprise to everyone, considering the intolerance exhibited by our right-wing government towards illicit substances and marginalised communities. Still, the act confirmed the suspicion that literally anything can be expected from a government such as ours, regarding drug policies. As an example, just a few years ago, at the time of Bolivia’s request to the UN for the legalisation of coca leaves, Macedonia was one of four countries which withdrew objections to the proposal.
It should be said fr…


Cannabis oil available in pharmacies across Macedonia without prescription

Nine Vinica Fortress terracotta icons to be exhibited at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum

Time Travel: Skopje Antique Shops Are Full of Objects that Have Long Been Forgotten

Macedonian Government to ban protests with new law on public gatherings

Greek jets mount NATO practice flights over Macedonia