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Independence Day - F e b 2 7 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 48,442 square kilometres (18,704 sq mi) and an estimated 10 million people. Taínos inhabited what is now the Dominican Republic since the 7th century. Christopher Columbus landed on it in 1492, and it became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, namely Santo Domingo, the country's capital and Spain's first capital in the New World. Santo Domingo can boast of some of the firsts in the Americas, including the one of the oldest universities (the oldest being Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco in Mexico, the first cathedral, and castle, the latter two in the Ciudad Colonial area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After three centuries of Spanish rule, with French and Haitian interludes, the country became independent in 1821 under the rule of a former colonial judge who maintained the system of slavery and limited rights for the mostly mulatto and black population. The ruler, José Núñez de Cáceres, intended that the Dominican Republic be part of the nation of Gran Colombia, but he was quickly removed by the Haitian government and "Dominican" slave revolts. Victorious in theDominican War of Independence in 1844, Dominicans experienced mostly internal strife, and also a brief return to Spanish rule, over the next 72 years. The United States occupation of 1916–1924, and a subsequent, calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez Lajara, were followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina until 1961. The civil war of 1965, the country's last, was ended by a U.S.-led intervention, and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer, 1966–1978. Since then, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy, and has been led by Leonel Fernández for most of the time after 1996. The Dominican Republic has the second largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Though long known for sugar production, the economy is now dominated by services. The country's economic progress is exemplified by its advanced telecommunication system. Nevertheless, unemployment, government corruption, and inconsistent electric service remain major Dominican problems. The country also has "marked income inequality". International migration affects the Dominican Republic greatly, as it receives and sends large flows of migrants. Haitian immigration and the integration of Dominicans of Haitian descent are major issues; the total population of Haitian origin is estimated at 800,000. A large Dominican diaspora exists, most of it in the United States, where it numbers 1.3 million. They aid national development as they send billions of dollars to their families, accounting for one-tenth of the Dominican GDP. The Dominican Republic has become the Caribbean's largest tourist destination; the country's year-round golf courses are among the top attractions. In this mountainous land is located the Caribbean's highest mountain, Pico Duarte, as is Lake Enriquillo, the Caribbean's largest lake and lowest elevation. Quisqueya, as Dominicans often call their country, has an average temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F) and great biological diversity. Music and sport are of the highest importance in Dominican culture, with merengue as the national dance and song and baseball the favorite sport.

History

The Taínos:

The Arawakan-speaking Taínos moved into Hispaniola, displacing earlier inhabitants, c. AD 650. They engaged in farming and fishing, and hunting and gathering. The fierce Caribs drove the Taínos to the northeastern Caribbean during much of the 15th century. The estimates of Hispaniola's population in 1492 vary widely, including one hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, and four hundred thousand to two million. Determining precisely how many people lived on the island in pre-Columbian times is next to impossible, as no accurate records exist. By 1492 the island was divided into five Taíno chiefdoms. The Spanish arrived in 1492. After initially friendly relationships, the Taínos resisted the conquest, led by the female Chief Anacaona of Xaragua and her ex-husband Chief Caonabo of Maguana, as well as Chiefs Guacanagarix, Guamá, Hatuey, and Enriquillo. The latter's successes gained his people an autonomous enclave for a time on the island. Nevertheless, within a few years after 1492 the population of Taínos had Alcázar de Colón, located in Santo declined drastically, due to smallpox and other diseases that ar- Domingo, is the oldest Viceregal resrived with the Europeans, and from other causes discussed below. idence in America. The decline continued, and by 1711 the Taínos numbered just 21,000. The last record of pure Taínos in the country was from 1864. Still, Taíno biological heritage survived to an important extent, due to intermixing. Census records from 1514 reveal that 40% of Spanish men in the colony had Taíno wives, and many present-day Dominicans have Taíno ancestry. Remnants of the Taino culture include their cave paintings, as well as pottery designs which are still used in the small artisan village of Higüerito, Moca.

Spanish rule:

Christopher Columbus arrived on Hispaniola on December 5, 1492, during the first of his four voyages to America. He claimed the island for Spain and named it La Española. In 1496Bartholomew Columbus, Christopher's brother, built the city of Santo Domingo, Europe's first permanent settlement in the "New World". The Spaniards created a plantation economy on the island. The colony was the springboard for the further Spanish conquest of America and for decades the headquarters of Spanish power in the hemisphere. Christopher was buried in Santo Domingo upon his death in 1506. The Taínos nearly disappeared, above all, from European infectious diseases to which they had no immunity. Other causes were abuse, suicide, the breakup of family, starvation, enslavement, forced labor, torture, war with the Spaniards, changes in lifestyle, and miscegenation. Laws passed for the Indians' protection (beginning with the Laws of Burgos, 1512–1513) were never truly enforced. Yet as stated above, the Taínos did survive. Some scholars believe that las Casas exaggerated the Indian population decline in an effort to persuade King Carlos to intervene, and that encomenderos also exaggerated it, in order to receive permission to import more African slaves. Moreover, censuses of the time omitted the Indians who fled into remote communities, where they often joined with runaway Africans (cimarrones), producing Zambos. Also, Mestizos who were culturally Spanish were counted as Spaniards, some Zambos as black, and some Indians as Mulattos. Santo Domingo's population saw a spectacular increase during the 18th century, as it rose from some 6,000 in 1737 to about 125,000 in 1790. Approximately, this was composed of 40,000 white landowners, 25,000 black or mulatto freedmen, and 60,000 slaves. After its conquest of the Aztecs and Incas, Spain neglected its Caribbean holdings. French buccaneers settled in western Hispaniola, and by the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick, Spain ceded the area to France. France created the wealthy colony Saint-Domingue there, with a population 90% slave, and overall four times as populous (500,000 to 125,000) as the Spanish area at the end of the 18th century.

French rule:

France came to own the island in 1795, when by the Peace of Basel Spain ceded Santo Domingo as a consequence of the French Revolutionary Wars. At the time, Saint-Domingue's slaves, led by Toussaint Louverture, were in revolt against France. In 1801 they captured Santo Domingo, thus controlling the entire island; but in 1802 an army sent by Napoleon captured Toussaint Louverture and sent him to France as prisoner. However, Toussaint Louverture's lieutenants, and yellow fever, succeeded in expelling the French again from Saint-Domingue, which in 1804 the rebels made independent as the Republic of Haiti. Eastwards, France continued to rule Spanish Santo Domingo. In 1808, following Napoleon's invasion of Spain, the criollos of Santo Domingo revolted against French rule and, with the aid of Great Britain(Spain's ally) and Haiti, returned Santo Domingo to Spanish control.

Ephemeral independence and Haitian occupation:

After a dozen years of discontent and failed independence plots by various groups, Santo Domingo's former Lieutenant-Governor (top administrator), José Núñez de Cáceres, declared the colony's independence as Spanish Haiti, on November 30, 1821. He requested the new state's admission to Simón Bolívar's republic of Gran Colombia, but Haitian forces, led by Jean-Pierre Boyer, invaded just nine weeks later, in February 1822. As Toussaint Louverture had done two decades earlier, the Haitians abolished slavery. But they also nationalized most private property, including all the property of landowners who had left in the wake of the invasion; much Church property; as well as all property belonging to the former rulers, the Spanish Crown. Boyer also placed more emphasis on cash crops grown on large plantations, reformed the tax system, and allowed foreign trade. The new system was widely opposed by Dominican farmers, although it produced a boom in sugar and coffee production. All levels of education collapsed; the university was shut down, as it was starved both of resources and students, with young Dominican men from 16 to 25 years old being drafted into the Haitian army. Boyer's occupation troops, who were largely Dominicans, were unpaid, and had to "forage and sack" from Dominican civilians. Haiti imposed a "heavy tribute" on the Dominican people. Many whites fled Santo Domingo for Puerto Rico and Cuba (both still under Spanish rule), Venezuela, and elsewhere. In the end the economy faltered and taxation became more onerous. Rebellions occurred even by Dominican freedmen, while Dominicans and Haitians worked together to oust Boyer from power. Anti-Haitian movements of several kinds — pro-independence, pro-Spanish, pro-French, pro-British, pro-United States — gathered force following the overthrow of Boyer in 1843.

Independence:

In 1838 Juan Pablo Duarte founded a secret society called La Trinitaria, which sought the complete independence of Santo Domingo without any foreign intervention. Matías Ramón Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, despite not being among the founding members of La Trinitaria, were decisive in the fight for independence. Duarte, Mella, and Sánchez are considered the three Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic. On February 27, 1844, the Trinitarios (the members of La Trinitaria), declared the independence from Haiti. They were backed by Pedro Santana, a wealthy cattle rancher from El Seibo, who became general of the army of the nascent Republic. The Dominican Republic's first Constitution was adopted on November 6, 1844, and was modeled after the United States Constitution. The decades that followed were filled with tyranny, factionalism, economic difficulties, rapid changes of government, and exile for political opponents. Threatening the nation's independence were renewed Haitian invasions occurring in 1844, 1845–49, 1849–55, and 1855–56. Meanwhile, archrivals Santana and Buenaventura Báez held power most of the time, both ruling arbitrarily. They promoted competing plans to annex the new nation to another power: Santana favored Spain, and Báez the United States.

The voluntary colony and the Restoration republic:

In 1861, after imprisoning, silencing, exiling, and executing many of his opponents and due to political and economic reasons, Santana signed a pact with the Spanish Crown and reverted the Dominican nation to colonial status, the only Latin American country to do so. His ostensible aim was to protect the nation from another Haitian annexation. But opponents launched the War of the Restoration in 1863, led by Santiago Rodríguez, Benito Monción, and Gregorio Luperón, among others. Haiti, fearful of the re-establishment of Spain as colonial power on its border, gave refuge and supplies to the revolutionaries. The United States, then fighting its own Civil War, vigorously protested the Spanish action. After two years of fighting, Spain abandoned the island in 1865. Political strife again prevailed in the following years; warlords ruled, military revolts were extremely common, and the nation amassed debt. It was now Báez's turn to act on his plan of annexing the country to the United States, where two successive presidents were supportive. U.S. President Grant desired a naval base at Samaná and also a place for resettling newly freed Blacks. The treaty, which included U.S. payment of $1.5 million for Dominican debt repayment, was defeated in the United States Senate in 1870 on a vote of 28–28, two-thirds being required. Báez was toppled in 1874, returned, and was toppled for good in 1878. A new generation was thence in charge, with the passing of Santana (he died in 1864) and Báez from the scene. Relative peace came to the country in the 1880s, which saw the coming to power of General Ulises Heureaux. "Lilís", as the new president was nicknamed, enjoyed a period of popularity. He was, however, "a consummate dissembler", who put the nation deep into debt while using much of the proceeds for his personal use and to maintain his police state. Heureaux became rampantly despotic and unpopular. In 1899 he was assassinated. However, the relative calm over which he presided allowed improvement in the Dominican economy. The sugar industry was modernized, and the country attracted foreign workers and immigrants, both from the Old World and the New. From 1902 on, short-lived governments were again the norm, with their power usurped by caudillos in parts of the country. Furthermore, the national government was bankrupt and, unable to pay Heureaux's debts, faced the threat of military intervention by France and other European creditor powers.

U.S. interventions and occupation:

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt sought to prevent European intervention, largely to protect the routes to the future Panama Canal, as the canal was already under construction. He made a small military intervention to ward off the European powers, proclaimed his famous Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, and in 1905 obtained Dominican agreement for U.S. administration of Dominican customs, then the chief source of income for the Dominican government. A 1906 agreement provided for the arrangement to last 50 years. The United States agreed to use part of the customs proceeds to reduce the immense foreign debt of the Dominican Republic, and assumed responsibility for said debt. After six years in power, President Ramón Cáceres (who had himself assassinated Heureaux) was assassinated in 1911. The result was several years of great political instability and civil war. U.S. mediation by the William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson administrations achieved only a short respite each time. A political deadlock in 1914 was broken after an ultimatum by Wilson telling Dominicans to choose a president or see the U.S. impose one. A provisional president was chosen, and later the same year relatively free elections put former president (1899–1902) Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra back in power. To achieve a more broadly supported government, Jimenes named opposition individuals to his Cabinet. But this brought no peace and, with his former Secretary of War Desiderio Arias maneuvering to depose him and despite a U.S. offer of military aid Juan Pablo Duarte is widely considered the architect of against Arias, Jimenes resigned on May 7, 1916. Wilson thus ordered the U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic. U.S. the Dominican Republic and Marines landed on May 16, 1916, and had control of the country two months its independence from Haitlater. The military government established by the U.S., led by Rear Admiral ian rule in 1844. Harry Shepard Knapp, was widely repudiated by Dominicans. U.S. naval officers had to fill some cabinet posts, as Dominicans refused to serve in the administration. Censorship and limits on public speech were imposed. The guerrilla war against the U.S. forces was met with a vigorous, often brutal response. But the occupation regime, which kept most Dominican laws and institutions, largely pacified the country, revived the economy, reduced the Dominican debt, built a road network that at last interconnected all regions of the country, and created a professional National Guard to replace the warring partisan units. Opposition to the occupation continued, however, and after World War I it increased in the U.S. as well. There, President Warren G. Harding(1921–23), Wilson's successor, worked to end the occupation, as he had promised to do during his campaign. U.S. government ended in October 1922, and elections were held in March 1924. The victor was former president (1902–03) Horacio Vásquez Lajara, who had cooperated with the U.S. He was inaugurated on July 13, and the last U.S. forces left in September. Vásquez gave the country six years of good government, in which political and civil rights were respected and the economy grew strongly, in a peaceful atmosphere.

The Trujillo Era:

In February 1930, when Vásquez attempted to win another term, opponents rebelled, in secret alliance with the commander of the National Army (the former National Guard), General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, by which the latter remained 'neutral' in face of the rebellion. Vásquez resigned. Trujillo then stood for election himself, and in May was elected president virtually unopposed, after a violent campaign against his opponents. There was considerable economic growth during Trujillo's long and iron-fisted regime, although a great deal of the wealth was taken by the dictator and other regime elements. There was progress in healthcare, education, and transportation, with the building of hospitals and clinics, schools, and roads and harbors. Trujillo also carried out an important housing construction program and instituted U.S. Marines during the 1916 occua pension plan. He finally negotiated an undisputed border with Haiti in 1935, and achieved the end of the 50-year customs agree- pation ment in 1941, instead of 1956. He made the country debt-free in 1947, a proud achievement for Dominicans for decades to come. This was accompanied by absolute repression and the copious use of murder, torture, and terrorist methods against the opposition. Moreover, Trujillo's megalomania was on display in his renaming after himself the capital city Santo Domingo to "Ciudad Trujillo" (Trujillo City), the nation's—and the Caribbean's—highest mountain Pico Duarte (Duarte Peak) to "Pico Trujillo", and many towns and a province. Some other places he renamed after members of his family. By the end of his first term in 1934 he was the country's wealthiest person, and one of the wealthiest in the world by the early 1950s; near the end of his regime his fortune was an estimated $800 million. In 1937 Trujillo (who was himself one-quarter Haitian), in an event known as the Parsley Massacre or, in the Dominican Republic, as El Corte (The Cutting), ordered the Army to kill Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border. The Army killed an estimated 17,000 to 35,000 Haitians over six days, from the night of October 2, 1937 through October 8, 1937. To avoid leaving evidence of the Army's involvement, the soldiers used machetes rather than bullets. The soldiers of Trujillo were said to have interrogated anyone with dark skin, using the shibboleth perejil (parsley) to tell Haitians from Dominicans when necessary; the 'r' of perejil was of difficult pronunciation for Haitians. As a result of the massacre, the Dominican Republic agreed to pay Haiti US$750,000, later reduced to US$525,000. On November 25, 1960 Trujillo killed three of the four Mirabal sisters, nicknamed Las Mariposas (The Butterflies). The victims were Patria Mercedes Mirabal (born on February 27, 1924), Argentina Minerva Mirabal (born on March 12, 1926), and Antonia María Teresa Mirabal (born on October 15, 1935). Minerva was an aspiring lawyer who was extremely opposed to Trujillo's dictatorship since Trujillo had begun to make rude sexual advances towards her. The sisters have received many honors posthumously, and have many memorials in various cities in the Dominican Republic. Salcedo, their home province, changed its name to Provincia Hermanas Mirabal (Mirabal Sisters Province). The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is observed on the anniversary of their deaths. For a long time, the US and the Dominican elite supported the Trujillo government. This support persisted despite the assassinations of political opposition, the massacre of Haitians, and Trujillo's plots against other countries. The US believed Trujillo was the lesser of two or more evils. The U.S. finally broke with Trujillo in 1960, after Trujillo's agents attempted to assassinate the Venezuelan president, Rómulo Betancourt, a fierce critic of Trujillo. Trujillo was assassinated on May 30, 1961.

Post-Trujillo:

In February 1963, a democratically elected government under leftist Juan Bosch took office but was overthrown in September. In April 1965, after 19 months of military rule, a pro-Bosch revolt broke out. Days later, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, concerned that Communists might take over the revolt and create a "second Cuba", sent the Marines, followed immediately by the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and other elements of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps in Operation Powerpack. "We don't propose to sit here in a rocking chair with our hands folded and let the Communist set up any government in the western hemisphere", Johnson said. The forces were soon joined by comparatively small contingents from the Organization of American States. All these remained in the country for over a year and left after supervising elections in 1966 won by Joaquín Balaguer, who had been Trujillo's last puppet-president. Balaguer remained in power as president for 12 years. His tenure was a period of repression of human rights and civil liberties, ostensibly to keep pro-Castro or pro-communist parties out of power. His rule was further criticized for a growing disparity between rich and poor. It was, however, praised for an ambitious infrastructure program, which included large housing projects, sports complexes, theaters, museums, aqueducts, roads, highways, and the massive Columbus Lighthouse, Rafael Leónidas Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 to completed in a subsequent tenure in 1992.

1978 to present:

1961.

In 1978, Balaguer was succeeded in the presidency by opposition candidate Antonio Guzmán Fernández, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD). Another PRD win in 1982 followed, under Salvador Jorge Blanco. Under the PRD presidents, the Dominican Republic experienced a period of relative freedom and basic human rights. Balaguer regained the presidency in 1986, and was re-elected in 1990 and 1994, this last time just defeating PRD candidate José Francisco Peña Gómez, a former mayor of Santo Domingo. The 1994 elections were flawed, bringing on international pressure, to which Balaguer responded by scheduling another presidential contest in 1996. This time Leonel Fernández achieved the first-ever win for the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), which Bosch founded in 1973 after leaving the PRD (also founded by Bosch). Fernández oversaw a fast-growing economy, with growth averaging 7.7% per year, a drop in unemployment, and stable exchange and inflation rates. In 2000 the PRD's Hipólito Mejía won the election. This was a time of economic troubles, and Mejía was defeated in his re-election effort in 2004 by Fernández, who won re-election in 2008. Fernández and the PLD are credited with initiatives that have moved the country forward technologically, such as the construction of the Metro Railway ("El Metro"). On the other hand, his administrations have also been accused of corruption.

Baba Marta BULGARIA - Mar 01

Baba Marta (Bulgarian: Баба Марта, "Grandmother March") is the name of a mythical figure who brings with her the end of the cold winter and the beginning of the spring. Her holiday of the same name is celebrated in Bulgaria on March 1 with the exchange and wearing of martenitsi.

Baba Marta Baba Marta is seen as an old lady who has very contrasting

moods. This is related to the weather during the month of March, which is traditionally extremely variable in Bulgaria – warm and sunny weather means that Baba Marta is happy; when she is angry, the winter frost returns. The majority of the customs connected to Baba Marta aim to make her happy and so bring about spring all the fickers faster.

Baba Marta Day

All Bulgarians celebrate on March 1 a centuries-old tradition and exchange martenitsi on what is called the day of Baba Marta, which this year dawned with a shy sun, spelling relatively nice weather ahead. Eagerly followed on March 1 every single year, the tradition of giving your friends red-and-white interwoven strings brings health and happiness during the year and is a reminder that spring is near. Celebrated on March 1, Baba Marta (Grandma March) is believed to be a feisty lady who always seems to be grudging at her two brothers, while the sun only comes out when she smiles. As folklore often goes there are different versions of the Baba Marta tale. One says that on that day she does her pre-spring cleaning and shakes her mattress for the last time before the next winter - all the feathers that come out of it pour on Earth like snow - the last snow of the year. The martenitsa tradition is thought to have been inspired by Bulgaria's first Khan Asparuh, who sent a white string to his wife to tell her he survived a battle.

Martenitsi "Martenitsi" are red and white coloured wristbands, or figurines, that symbolise health and happiness. They are given

away to friends and family. People are supposed to take off their martenitsi when they see the first signs that spring has already come - a blooming tree or a stork. When the martenitsa is taken off some tie it to a tree - one that they'd like to be especially fruitful. Others place it under a rock and based on what they find there the next morning guess what kind of a year this one would be. The martenitsa now comes in all shapes and sizes - from Guiness-worth giant building packages to two tiny simple strings gently placed on a newborn's arm. Children usually compete who will get the most and often walk around more ornate than a Christmas tree. However, it always bears the same meaning - a lucky charm against the evil spirits of the world, a token for health and a sign of appreciation. Baba Marta folklore is present in southern and eastern Serbia where it is a usual reference as to the sudden and unexpected freezing weather change after a spring break.

Heroes' Day PARAGUAY - Mar 01

Every year, Paraguay (Officially, Republic of Paraguay), one of the landlocked countries in South America, celebrates Heroes’ Day on the 1st of March. It is also known as the Paraguay’s National Defense Day. The holiday commemorates the bravery of the country’s army and famous leader Marshal Francisco Solano López. Moment before his death as he sees his country is overtaken by insurmountable alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, he said, “I die with my country!”

HISTORY

Just like any other country in South America, Paraguay was one of Spain’s colonies starting on mid 16th century. Asunción, the country’s capital was founded on August 15, 1537 after the arrival of Juan de Salazar y Espinoza’s fleet. The Jesuits also operated in the landlocked nation lasting for more than one and a half century until the arrival of the Spanish Crown in 1767. After waging a fierce battle with Spain, Paraguay obtained its independence on May 14, 1811. Paraguay enjoyed years of independence but is marred by serious political instability and wars with neighbour countries especially Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia. The War of the Triple Alliance, also known as Paraguayan War that happened between 1864 and 1870, caused so much death on the part of Paraguay. Before the war, the country was estimated to have around 500,000 to 525,000 people; when the war ended, the country’s population was reduced to more than 200,000. The cause of the War of Triple Alliance varies from historians to historians and country to country. Also, the relocation of Paraguay’s archive by Brazilian forces to Rio de Janeiro during the war made history (both Colonial and National) learning difficult. Paraguayan’s also waged war against Bolivia in Chaco War between 1932–1935 as part of Paraguay’s quest for expansion and control to natural resources of neighbour countries. Indeed, the history of Paraguay is filled with disputes, conflicts, and inconsistencies as each country and politicians have their own version of history. In the end, Paraguay was defeated by combined forces of the above countries which also led to the death of its leader Solano Lopez on March 1, 1870. The celebration of Heroes’ Day is disputed between the commemoration of Paraguayan forces that fearlessly fought in the battle of wars to which Paraguay started or the death of Solano López who never surrendered but fought the country’s enemies till his death.

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND ACTIVITIES Paraguay’s Heroes’ Day is marked with public celebration such as parade, public speeches, concerts, cultural shows,

among others. Various political groups may also hold demonstrations to remember those who perished in the war. Because it is a national holiday, it is work free and serves as a time for families for get-togethers.

National Day BULGARIA - Mar 03

In Bulgarian historiography, the term Liberation of Bulgaria is used to denote the events of theRusso-Turkish War of 1877-78 that led to the re-establishment of Bulgarian state with the Treaty of San Stefano of 3 March 1878, after the complete conquest of the Second Bulgarian Empire, which finished in 1396. According to this treaty, the Ottoman Empire was deprived of a big part of its territory, which were given to the client state - Bulgaria. In the same year, at Berlin congress, Treaty of Berlin (1878) was adopted, according to which, the territories of the Bulgarian state, created as of San Stefano's treaty were divided into three parts: the first part was the Principality of Bulgaria which functioned independently but nominally within the Ottoman Empire, this was limited to Moesia and neighbouring areas of the capital Sofia; the second part created was to be an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire - Eastern Rumelia; the third and the largest part - Macedonia and Lozengrad were given back to the Ottoman Empire, also some outlands were given to Serbia and Romania. The seized territories from Bulgaria after Berlin congress - most of Macedonia, Thrace, etc. were with an ethnic Bulgarian majority. On September 6, 1885, Eastern Rumelia became part of Princiapality of Bulgaria after a bloodless unification, though still de jure within the Ottoman Empire. The third Bulgarian state gained full sovereignty from the Ottoman Empire on 22 September 1908 when declaring independence. The term is, however, partially inaccurate, as it only refers to the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule, the second liberation of Bulgaria. After the conquest of the First Bulgarian Empire in 1018, the first liberation of Bulgaria, led to the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire, happened in the year 1185 as a consequence of the Uprising of Asen and Peter against the Byzantine Empire.

Texas Independence Day US - Mar 02

The Texas Declaration of Independence was the formal declaration of independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico in the Texas Revolution. It was adopted at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2, 1836, and formally signed the following day after errors were noted in the text.

Background In October 1835, settlers in Mexican Texas

launched the Texas Revolution. However, within Texas, many struggled with understanding what was the ultimate goal of the Revolution. Some believed that the goal should be total independence from Mexico, while others sought the reimplementation of the Mexican Constitution of 1824 (which offered greater freedoms than the centralist government declared in Mexico the prior year). To settle the issue, a convention was called for March 1836. This convention differed from the previous Texas councils of 1832, 1833, and the 1835 Consultation. Many of the delegates to the 1836 convention were young men who had only recently arrived in Texas, although many of them had participated in one of the battles in 1835. Most of the delegates were members of the War Party and were adamant that Texas must declare its independence from Mexico. Forty-one delegates arrived in Washington-on-the-Brazos on February 28.

Independence Movement Day SOUTH KOREA - Mar 01

The March 1st Movement, or Samil Movement, was one of the earliest public displays ofKorean resistance during the occupation of the Korean Empire by Japan. The name refers to an event that occurred on March 1, 1919, hence the movement's name, literally meaning "Three-One Movement" or "March First Movement" in Korean. It is also sometimes referred to as the Manse Demonstrations (만세운동 ;Manse Undong).

Background The Samil Movement came as a result of the repressive na-

ture of colonial occupation under its military rule of the Korean Empire following 1905, and the "Fourteen Points" outlining the right of national "self-determination" proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919. After hearing news of Wilson’s speech, Korean students studying in Tokyo published a statement demanding freedom from colonial rule. Adding to this was the death of former Emperor Gojong on January 21, 1919. There was widespread suspicion that he had been poisoned, credible since previous attempts (the "coffee plot") were well-known.

Martisor ROMANIA - M a r 0 1

Mărțișor (Romanian pronunciation: [mərtsiʃor]) is a traditional celebration of the beginning of spring, on March 1. It is a tradition in Romania, Moldova, and all territories inhabited by Romanians and Aromanians. Almost the same custom can be found in Bulgaria (see Martenitsa), while similar ones exist in Albania, Greece and Italy. The name Mărțișor is the diminutive of marț, the old folk name for March (Martie, in modern Romanian), and thus literally means "little March". It is also the folk name for this month. Mărțișor, marţ and mărțiguș are all names for the red and white string from which a small decoration is tied, and which is offered by people on the 1st day of March. The string can also be black and white, or blue and white) Giving this talisman to people is an old custom, and it is believed that the one who wears the red and white string will be strong and healthy for the year to come. It is also a symbol of the coming spring. Usually, women wear it pinned to their clothes for the first 12 days of the month, until other spring celebrations, or until the bloom of certain fruit-trees. In some regions, a gold or silver coin hangs on the string, which is worn around the neck. After wearing it for a certain period of time, they buy red wine and sweet cheese with the coin, according to a belief that their faces would remain beautiful and white as cheese, and rubicund as the red wine, for the entire year. In modern times, and especially in urban areas, the Mărțișor lost most of its talisman properties and became more of a symbol of friendship or love, appreciation and respect. The black threads were replaced with red, but the delicate wool ropes are still a ‘cottage industry’ among people in the countryside, who comb out the wool, dye the floss, and twist it into thousands of tassels. In some areas the amulets are still made with black and white ropes, for warding off evil.

History Some ethnologists consider Mărţişor to have a Roman origin, while others believe

it to have a Daco-Thracian origin. In ancient Rome, New Year's Eve was celebrated on March 1 - 'Martius', as the month was called in the honour of the god Mars. Mars was not only the god of war but also an agricultural guardian, who ensured nature's rebirth. Therefore, the red and white colours of Mărţişor may be explained as colours of war and peace. The Thracians also used to celebrate the New Year's Eve on the first day of March, a month which took the name of the god Marsyas Silen, the inventor of the pipe (fluier, traditional musical instrument), whose cult was related to the land and vegetation. Thracian spring celebrations, connected to fertility and the rebirth of nature, were consecrated to him. In some areas, Daco-Romanians still celebrate the agrarian New Year in spring, where the first days of March are considered days of a new beginning. Before March 1, women choose one day from the first nine of the month, and judging by the weather on the chosen day, they would know how the new year will go for them. Similarly, in other areas, young men find out what their wives are going to be like. The first 9 days of March are called Baba Dochia's Days, Baba Dochia being an image of the Great Earth Goddess. The tradition says that you must pick a day from 1 to 9 March, and how the weather in that day will be, so it will be for you all year long. A sample generic Mărţişor

Colours

Initially, the Mărțișor string used to be called the Year's Rope (‘’funia anului’’, in Romanian), made by black and white wool threads, representing the 365 days of the year. ‘'The Year's Rope'’ was the link between summer and winter, black and white representing the opposition but also the unity of the contraries: light and dark, warm and cold, life and death. The ‘’Mărțișor’’ is the thread of the days in the year, spun by Baba Dochia, or the thread of one's life, spun at birth by the Fates (Ursitoare). White is the symbol of purity, the sum of all the colours, the light, while Black is the colour of origins, of distinction, of fecundation and fertility, the colour of fertile soil. White is the sky, the Father, while black is the mother of all, Mother Earth. According to ancient Roman tradition, the ides of March was the perfect time to embark on military campaigns. In this context, it is believed that the red string of Mărțișor signifies vitality, while the white one is the symbol of victory. Red is the colour of fire, blood, and a symbol of life, associated with the passion of women. Meanwhile, white is the colour of snow, clouds, and the wisdom of men. In this interpretation, the thread of a Mărțișor represents the union of the feminine and the masculine principles, the vital forces which give birth to the eternal cycle of the nature. Red and white are also complementary colours present in many key traditions of Daco-Romanian folklore. George Coşbuc stated that Mărțișor is a symbol of fire and light, and of the Sun. Not only the colours, but also the traditional silver coin hung from the thread are associated with the sun. White, the colour of silver, is also a symbol of power and strength. The round form of the coin is also reminiscent of the Sun, while silver is associated with the Moon. These are just a few of the reasons why the Mărţişor is a sacred amulet. In Daco-Romanian folklore, seasons are attributed symbolic colours: spring is red, summer is green or yellow, autumn is black, and winter is white. This is why one can also say that the Mărţişor thread, knitted in white and red, is a symbol of passing, from the cold white winter, to the lively spring, associated with fire and life.

Relation to the Bulgarian Martenitsa

Romanian ethnographers consider Mărţişor and Martenitsa to be clearly related, and of Thracian origin. According to one of the several proposed legends about the Martenitsa in Bulgaria, the custom has roots in the late seventh century. This legend, first attested in the 20th century, says that the Bulgar Khan Asparukh wanted to send a message to Bulgars across the Danube. He tied his letter with a white string to the leg of a white pigeon. The Byzantines saw the pigeon flying and shot it with an arrow. The message was delivered but the white string was stained with the red of the pigeon's blood. The Bulgars then started to wear this thread.

St. David's Day UK - M a r 0 1

Effects The March 1st movement resulted in a major change in imperial policy towards Korea. Governor-General

Hasegawa Yoshimichi accepted responsibility for the loss of control (although most of the repressive measures leading to the uprising had been put into place by his predecessors) and was replaced by Saito Makoto. Some of the aspects of Japanese rule considered most objectionable to Koreans were removed. The military police were replaced by a civilian force, and limited press freedom was permitted under what was termed the 'cultural policy'. Many of these lenient policies were reversed during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Women also found new opportunities after the movement to express their views for the first time in Korea. Ideas of female liberation were allowed to be printed after the rebellion. Such journals as the Sin Yoja (New Woman) and Yoja Kye (Women's World) were printed. The March 1 Movement was a catalyst for the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai in April 1919 and also influenced nonviolent resistance in India and many other countries. On May 24, 1949, March 1st was designated a national holiday in South Korea.

International reaction

A delegation of overseas Koreans, from Japan, China, and Hawaii, sought to gain international support for independence at the ongoing Paris Peace Conference. The United States and Imperial Japan blocked the delegation's attempt to address the conference. In April 1919, the State Department told the ambassador to Japan that "the consulate [in Seoul] should be extremely careful not to encourage any belief that the United States will assist the Korean nationalists in carrying out their plans and that it should not do anything which may cause Japanese authorities to suspect [the] American Government sympathizes with the Korean nationalist movement."

Peasants' Day - M a r 0 2 MYANMAR/BURMA

Myanmar, also known as Burma, celebrates Peasants’ Day yearly every 2nd of March. It is incidentally the General Ne Win’s seizure of power in 1962. Ne Win is a military commander and politician of Myanmar. He served two terms as the country’s Prime Minister from 1958 to 1960 and another on 1962 to 1974. He was also the country’s head of state from 1962 to 1981. He also head one of the country’s powerful political party Socialist Programme Party from 1964 until 1988. The party was the only party allowed to exist during Ne Win’s strict military rule until he was ousted as a result of social unrest happened on 1988 known as the 8888 Uprising. During this day, various talks and development programs are laid down, discussed, and revealed for the improvement of the peasant sector which is the country’s flagship economy.

History

The peasant sector occupies around 70 percent of Myanmar’s population and undoubtedly the most productive workforce in the country. Because of this, Myanmar recognizes the powerful role of farmers in driving the country’s economic output. However, it is the farming sector which usually suffers whenever a power struggle happens in the country because rebels usually flew to the jungles of Myanmar to avoid prosecution and seek protection. The country has long been wanting to transform its country into a developed nation with plans of improving the industrial sector of the society, however, inadequate funding, corruption, and political instability halts the region from realizing its truest potential. The entire peasantry before 1965 experienced usury and inappropriate use of agricultural land. Farming lands were rented and many of the farmers cannot keep up with the rising cost of land rent. During this time, laws were passed to protect the farmers against this practice and led to massive land reformation and among them is the passing of protecting farmers against land renting. These acts were all made under the military administration of Ne Win and continue until today. Most of monumental reformation happened during Ne Win’s term and continued until his resignation on 1988 after a popular uprising. Today, Myanmar still focuses on the development of new technologies and laws to protect farmers from unfair land treatment and support their various causes as the whole country’s economy depends heavily on this sector.

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND ACTIVITIES

During the holiday, Myanmar’s local leaders organize talks about reforms in peasantry around the country and present issues that challenges the development of the agricultural field. Since this is a national holiday, public companies are closed while some private companies may remain open. Families and individuals may choose to remain inside home or visit the local parks, pagodas and temples in the area. Also, trade and cultural shows organized around the country showcasing traditional crafts, culture, and arts.

National Unity Day SUDAN - Mar 03

Sudan celebrates Unity Day yearly every 3rd of March. It is a celebration of peace and unity in all regions of Sudan, particularly the North and parts of South which suffered heavy strife during the civil war. Although the Addis Ababa Agreement made in Ethiopia slightly ended the civil war, the signing of the accord was instrumental in the establishment of the present day Unity Day celebration in the country. The two-decade war between North and South Sudan ended in 2005, ultimately forming a unity government. But at present, the United Nation has become wary about the increasing tensions happening between the North and autonomous south after the latter calls for a total independence from the North through a separation referendum happening in 2011. A referendum is underway which will decide on the faith of the two sides and the nation as a whole.

HISTORY

Sudan has long been under the rule of Britain until its formal independence in 1956. The independence is a product of an agreement between Britain and Egypt to give Sudan the opportunity for self-governance and national identity in 1953. The start of the first parliament in 1954 concentrated most of the development and progress in the North while neglecting most parts of the South. This unequal distribution of development interest in the region later formed a lasting cancer dividing Sudan into an Arab-laden north and mainly Christian and ethnic Nilotic people of South. The 17 year long war ended on 1972 (1955-1972) after the South was given autonomy on its internal affairs after the signing of Addis Ababa agreement in Ethiopia. However, another war broke out in 1983 after the two regions once again suffered from another political and military tension. The newly drafted constitution in 2005 temporarily ended the civil war while waiting for final referendum in 2005. Currently, the International Criminal Court (ICC) charged the current president Omar al-Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity and war particularly due to widespread genocide on the Southern region of Sudan. The country has severed international and diplomatic relations with its neighbouring African countries including Chad. Sudan is member to the some international organizations including the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), the Arab League, and Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), among others.

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND ACTIVITIES

Sudan celebrates Unity Day with public cultural shows, parades, and events. Public and private companies including students from various schools participate in cultural shows and parades in the street which commemorates the unity of the entire region and the preservation of peace and fuelling progress. Since Unity Day is a national holiday, government offices do not operate and while some private offices may choose to close.

Hina Matsuri JAPAN - Mar 03

The Japanese Doll Festival (雛祭り Hinamatsuri), or Girls' Day, is held on March 3.Platforms covered with a red carpet are used to display a set of ornamental dolls ( 雛人形hina-ningyō) representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period.

Origin and customs The custom of displaying dolls began dur-

ing the Heian period. Formerly, people believed the dolls possessed the power to contain bad spirits. Hinamatsuri traces its origins to an ancient Japanese custom called hina-nagashi (雛流しlit. "doll floating"), in which straw hina dolls are set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles or bad spirits with them. The Shimogamo Shrine (part of the Kamo Shrine complex in Kyoto) celebrates the Nagashibina by floating these dolls between the Takano and Kamo Rivers to pray for the safety of children. People have stopped doing this now because of fishermen catching the dolls in their nets. They now send them out to sea, and when the spectators are gone they take the boats out of the water and bring them back to the temple and burn them. The customary drink for the festival is shirozake, a sake made from fermented rice. A colored hina-arare, bite-sized crackers flavored with sugar or soy sauce depending on the region, and hishimochi, a diamond-shaped colored rice cake, are served. Chirashizushi (sushi rice flavored with sugar, vinegar, topped with raw fish and a variety of ingredients) is often eaten. Seven-tiered Hina doll set A salt-based soup called ushiojiru containing clams still in the shell is also served. Clam shells in food are deemed the symbol of a united and peaceful couple, because a pair of clam shells fits perfectly, and no pair but the original pair can do so. Families generally start to display the dolls in February and take them down immediately after the festival. Superstition says that leaving the dolls past March 4 will result in a late marriage for the daughter.

Placement

The Kantō region and Kansai region have different placement orders of the dolls from left to right, but the order of dolls per level are the same. The term for the platform in Japanese is hina dan (雛壇). The layer of covering is called dankake (段掛) or simply hi-mōsen (緋 毛氈), a red carpet with rainbow stripes at the bottom.

First platform, the top:

The top tier holds two dolls, known as imperial dolls (内裏雛 (だ いりびな) dairi-bina). These are the Emperor (御内裏様 Odairisama) holding a ritual baton (笏 shaku) and Empress (御雛様 Ohime-sama) holding a fan. The words dairi means "imperial palace", and hime means "girl" or "princess". The dolls are usually placed in front of a gold folding screen byōbu (屏風) and placed beside green Japanese garden trees. Optional are the two lampstands, called bonbori (雪 洞 ), and the paper or silk lanterns that are known as hibukuro (火袋 ), which are usually decorated with cherry or ume blossom patterns. Complete sets would include accessories placed between the two figures, known as sanbō kazari(三方飾), composing of two vases of artificial peach branch kuchibana (口花). The traditional arrangement had the male on the right, while modern arrangements had him on the left (from the viewer's perspective).

Second platform:

The second tier holds three court ladies san-nin kanjo (三人官女). Each holds sake equipment. From the viewer's perspective, the standing lady on the right is the longhandled sake-bearerNagae no chōshi (長 柄の銚子), the standing lady on the left is the backup sake-bearer Kuwae no chōshi (加えの銚子), and the only lady in the middle is the seated sake bearer Sanpō (三方 ). Accessories placed between the ladies are takatsuki (高坏), stands with round tabletops for seasonal sweets, excluding hishimochi.

Third platform:

The third tier holds five male musicians gonin bayashi (五人囃子). Each holds a musical instrument except the singer, who holds a fan. Left to right, from viewer's perspective, they are the: 1. Small drum Taiko (太 鼓 ), Hinamatsuri store display in Los Angeles, Caliseated, fornia featuring all 7 tiers. 2. Large drum Ōtsuzumi (大鼓 ), standing, 3. Hand drum Kotsuzumi (小鼓), standing, 4. Flute Fue (笛), or Yokobue (横笛), seated, 5. Singer Utaikata (謡い方), holding a folding fan sensu (扇子), standing.

Fourth platform:

Two ministers (daijin) may be displayed on the fourth tier: the Minister of the Right (右大臣 Udaijin) and the Minister of the Left (左大臣Sadaijin). The Minister of the Right is depicted as a young person, while the Minister of the Left is much older. Also, because the dolls are placed in positions relative to each other, the Minister of the Right will be on the viewer's left and the Minister of the Left will be on the viewer's right. Both are sometimes equipped with bows and arrows. Between the two figures are covered bowl tables kakebanzen (掛盤膳), also referred to as o-zen (お膳), as well as diamond-shaped standshishidai (菱台) bearing diamond-shaped ricecakes hishimochi (菱餅). Hishidai with feline-shaped legs are known as nekoashigata hishidai(猫足形菱台). Just below the ministers: on the rightmost, a mandarin orange tree Ukon no tachibana (右近の橘), and on the leftmost, a cherry blossom tree Sakon no sakura (左近の桜).

Fifth platform:

The fifth tier, between the plants, holds three helpers or samurai as the protectors of the Emperor and Empress. From left to right (viewer's perspective): 1. Maudlin drinker nakijōgo (泣き上戸), 2. Cantankerous drinker okorijōgo (怒り上戸), and 3. Merry drinker waraijōgo (笑い上戸)

Other platforms:

On the sixth and seventh tiers, a variety of miniature furniture, tools, carriages, etc., are displayed.

Sixth platform:

These are items used within the palatial residence.  tansu (箪笥) : chest of (usually five) drawers, sometimes with swinging outer covering doors.  nagamochi (長持) : long chest for kimono storage.  hasamibako (挟箱) : smaller clothing storage box, placed on top of nagamochi.  kyōdai (鏡台) : literally mirror stand, a smaller chest of drawer with a mirror on top.  haribako (針箱) : sewing kit box.

Elsewhere The Hinamatsuri is also celebrated in Florence (Italy), with the patronage of the Embassy of Japan, the Japanese Institute and the historical Gabinetto Vieusseux.

Song of Hinamatsuri The song is sung as a celebration of the festival. Its lyrics are as follows: Ākyāri o-tsuke māsho bonborini O-hānā o-agemasho momo no hana Gonin-bayashi no fue taiko Kyō wa tano shi hinamatsuri

Collectors

Joseph Alsop, in his pioneering work on the history of art collection provides, the following definition: “To collect is to gather objects belonging to a particular category the collector happens to fancy; and art collecting is a form of collecting in which the category is, broadly speaking, works of art.” (Scott, 2008). Japanese dolls, Hina are broken down into several subcategories. Two of the most prominent are Girl’s Day, hina-ningyo, and the Boy’s Day musha-ningyo, or display dolls, sagu-ningyo, gosho-ningyo, and isho-ningyo (Scott, 2008). Collections can be categorized by the material they are made of such as wood dolls kamo-ningyo and naraningyo and, clay forms such as fushimi-ningyo and Hakata ningyo. In the nineteenth century ningyo were introduced to the West. Doll collecting has since become a popular pastime in the West (Scott, 2008). Famous well known collectors from the West include individuals such as James Tissot (1836–1902), Jules Adeline (1845–1909), Eloise Thomas (1907–1982), and Samuel Pryor (1898–1985). James Tissot was known to be a religious history painter. In 1862, after attending a London Exhibition, he was drawn to Japanese Art. During the 1860s Tissot, was known as one of most important collectors of Japanese art in Paris. His collections included kosode-style kimonos, paintings, bronze, ceramics, screens and a number bijan-nigyo (dolls from late Edo period) (Scott, 2008). Adeline was known as a working artist and he is also known as “Mikika”. Adeline produced many works throughout his career as a working artist. He is best known for his “etchings” and received the Cross of the Legion of Honor for his Vieuex-Roven “Le Parvis Notre-Dame”. Unlike Tissot, Adeline is recognized as a true collector. A majority of Adeline’s collection consisted of ningyo, and only a few prints. During the Meiji Era, three men became pioneers in collecting ningya, Kurihara Sokosut (1851-113), Nishizawa, Senko (1864–1914), and Tsuboi Shogoro (1863–1913). The three men are referred to as “Gangu san Ketsu” (The Three great toy collectors). They introduced a systematic approach to collecting ningyo, in an effort to preserve and document the various forms of ningyo (Scott, 2008). Shimizu Seifu, an artist and calligrapher, put his artistic ability to use by creating an illustrated catalog of his own collection of 440 ningyo dolls. The illustration was published in (1891) under the title “Unai no tomo”. Nishizawa Senko, a banker, gathered a significant collection on hina-ningyo. He was an active researcher, collector of stories, documents, and information relating to the development of hina-ningyo during the Edo period. Senko’s son Tekiho (1889– 1965) inherited his collection but, a great portion of the collection was lost in the Kanto earthquake of 1932. (Scott, 2008). Tsuboi Shogoro, the first appointed Professor of Anthropology at the Tokyo Imperial University (Yamashita, Bosco, & Seymour, 2004), was the most trained of the three, and he brought a scientific element to the collecting of ningyo. Dolls have been a part of Japanese culture for many years; and the phenomenon of collecting them is still practiced. Many collections are preserved in museums including thePeabody Essex Museum, Kyoto National Museum, and the Yodoko Guest House.

Saint David's Day (Welsh: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi) is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint ofWales, and falls on 1 March each year. The date of 1 March was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David. Tradition holds that he died on that day in 589. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century. Cross-party support resulted in the National Assembly for Wales voting unanimously to make St. David's Day a public holiday in 2000, a stance supported by the Wales TUC. A poll conducted for Saint David's Day in 2006 found that 87% of people in Wales wanted it to be a bank holiday, with 65% prepared to sacrifice a different bank holiday to ensure this. A petition in 2007 to make St. David's Day a bank holiday was rejected by office of the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

The significance of St. David's Day

St. David (Welsh: Dewi Sant) was born towards the end of the fifth century. He was a scion of the royal house of Ceredigion, and founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosin (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Sir Benfro, at the spot where St David's Cathedral stands today. David's fame as a teacher and ascetic spread throughout the Celtic world. His foundation at Glyn Rhosin became an important Christian shrine, and the most important centre in Wales. The date of Dewi Sant's death is recorded as 1 March, but the year is uncertain – possibly 588. As his tearful monks prepared for his death St David uttered these words: 'Brothers be ye constant. The yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil'. For centuries the first of March has been a national festival. St David was recognised as a national patron saint at the height of Welsh resistance to the Normans. St David's day was celebrated by the diaspora from an early St David period: the 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys noted how Welsh celebrations in London for St David's day would spark wider counter celebrations amongst their English neighbours: life-sized effigies of Welshmen were symbolically lynched, and by the 18th century the custom had arisen of confectioners producing 'Taffies' –gingerbread figures baked in the shape of a Welshman riding a goat - on St David's Day. In 2003 in the United States, St. David's Day was recognised officially as the national day of the Welsh, and on 1 March the Empire State Building was floodlit in the national colours, red, green and white. It is invariably celebrated by Welsh societies throughout the world with dinners, parties, recitals and concerts. To celebrate this day, people wear a symbol of either a leek, or daffodil. The leek arises from an occasion when a troop of Welsh were able to distinguish each other from a troop of English enemy dressed in similar fashion by wearing leeks. An alternative emblem developed in recent years is the daffodil. In the poem Armes Prydain, composed in the early to mid-tenth century AD, the anonymous author prophesises that the Cymry (the Welsh people) will unite and join an alliance of fellow-Celts to repel the Anglo-Saxons, under the banner of St David: A lluman glân Dewi a ddyrchafant (And they will raise the pure banner of Dewi).

St. David's Day events Cardiff:

Every year parades are held in Wales to commemorate St. David. The largest of these is held in Cardiff. To mark St. David's Day, and their return from a six-month tour of Afghanistan, soldiers from the Royal Welsh Regiment provided The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Cardiff Castle’s south gate on 27 and 28 February 2010. On 1 March 2010, the seventh National St David’s Day Parade took place in Cardiff city centre. Celebrations included concerts, a parade and a food festival. The food festival ran from 26 February with the third annual Really Welsh Food Festival in Queen Street, featuring all Welsh produce. Following the parade, a number of Welsh entertainers performed from a bandstand and in the evening Cardiff Central Library provided free entertainment and food. St David's Hall staged its traditional St David’s Day concert in the evening of 1 March with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC National Chorus of Wales and youth choruses.

Other locations:

Public celebrations of St. David's Day are becoming more commonplace. In many towns an annual parade through the centre of town is now held. Concerts are held in pubs, clubs, and other venues. In the town of Colwyn Bay in north Wales, an annual parade through the centre of town is now held with several hundred citizens and schoolchildren taking part. Other events are centred around the parade. Swansea inaugurated a St David's Week festival in 2009 with a range of musical, sporting and cultural events held throughout the city to mark the national day.

Traditions Children in Wales take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau, with recitation and

singing being the main activities. Formerly, a half-day holiday was afforded to school children. Officially this custom does not continue, although the practice can vary on a school-to-school basis. Many Welsh people wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel to celebrate St. David: the daffodil (a generic Welsh symbol which is in season during March) or the leek (Saint David's personal symbol) on this day. The Water in Swansea Castle Square association between leeks and daffodils is strengthened by the fact that they have Fountain dyed red for St. David's similar names in Welsh, Cenhinen (leek) and Cenhinen Pedr (daffodil, literally day "Peter's leek"). Younger girls sometimes wear traditional Welsh costumes to school. This costume consists of a long woollen skirt, white blouse, woollen shawl and a Welsh hat. The flag of Saint David often plays a central role in the celebrations and can be seen flying throughout Wales. Cawl is frequently prepared and consumed on St. David's Day.

Battle of Adowa ETHIOPIA - M a r 0 2

The Battle of Adwa (usually known as Adowa, or sometimes by the Italian name Adua) was fought on 1 March 1896 between Ethiopia and Italy near the town of Adwa, Ethiopia, in Tigray. It was the climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War, securing Ethiopian sovereignty and ending Italian attempts at its conquest for another three and a half decades.

Background

As the 20th century approached, most of 19th-century Africa had been carved up among the various European powers. The two independent exceptions were the tiny Republic of Liberia on the west coast of the continent and the ancient Ethiopian Empire in the strategic Horn of Africa. The Kingdom of Italy was a relative newcomer to the colonial scramble for Africa. Italy had only two recently-obtained African territories, both located near Ethiopia on the Horn of Africa: Eritrea and Somalia. Both were impoverished. Italy sought to improve its position in Africa by conquering Ethiopia, which would join its two territories. In 1889, the Italians signed the Treaty of Wuchale with Emperor Menelik II. A disputed article of the treaty made the Ethiopian Empire a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy. As a result, Italy and Ethiopia faced off in what was later to be known as the First Italo-Ethiopian War. In late 1895, after advancing deep into Ethiopian territory, a small Italian-led unit was defeated by a much larger Ethiopian group at the Battle of Amba Alagi. The Italians were forced to withdraw to more defensible positions in Tigray, where the two main armies faced each other. By late February 1896, supplies on both sides were running low. General Oreste Baratieri, commander of the Italian forces, knew the Ethiopian forces had been living off the land, and once the supplies of the local peasants were exhausted, EmperorMenelik's army would begin to melt away. However, the Italian government insisted that General Baratieri act. On the evening of 29 February, Baratieri met with hisbrigadiers Matteo Albertone, Giuseppe Arimondi, Vittorio Dabormida, and Giuseppe Ellena, concerning their next steps. He opened the meeting on a negative note, revealing to his brigadiers that provisions would be exhausted in less than five days, and suggested retreating, perhaps as far back as Asmara. His subordinates argued forcefully for an attack, insisting that to retreat at this point would only worsen the poor morale. Dabormida exclaiming, "Italy would prefer the loss of two or three thousand men to a dishonorable retreat." Baratieri delayed making a decision for a few more hours, claiming that he needed to wait for some last-minute intelligence, but in the end announced that the attack would start the next morning at 9:00.His troops began their march to their starting positions shortly after midnight.

The battle

The Italian army comprised four brigades totaling 17,878 troops, with fifty-six artillery pieces. However, it is likely that even fewer men fought in this battle on the Italian side: Harold Marcus notes that "several thousand" soldiers were needed for support and to guard the lines of communication to the rear, so he estimates the Italian army to have consisted of 14,923 effectives. One brigade under General Albertone was made up of Eritrean askari led by Italian officers. The remaining three brigades were Italian units under Brigadiers Dabormida, Ellena and Arimondi. While these included elite Bersaglieri, Alpini and Cacciatori units, a large proportion of the troops were inexperienced conscripts recently drafted from metropolitan regiments in Italy into newly formed "di formazione" battalions for service in Africa. The landscape of Adwa. As Chris Prouty describes: They [the Italians] had inadequate maps, old model guns, poor communication equipment and inferior footgear for the rocky ground. (The newer Carcano Model 91 rifles were not issued because Baratieri, under constraints to be economical, wanted to use up the old cartridges.) Morale was low as the veterans were homesick and the newcomers were too inexperienced to have any esprit de corps. There was a shortage of mules and saddles. Estimates for the Ethiopian forces under Menelik range from a low of 73,000 to a high of 100,000, outnumbering the Italians by an estimated five or six times. The forces were divided among Emperor Menelik, Empress Taytu Betul, Ras Welle Betul, Ras Mengesha Atikem, Ras Mengesha Yohannes, Ras Alula Engida, Ras Mikael of Wollo, Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael,Fitawrari Gebeyyehu, and Negus Tekle Haymanot Tessemma. In addition, the armies were followed by a similar number of traditional peasant followers who supplied the army, as had been done for centuries. Most of the army was composed of riflemen, a significant percentage of which were in Menelik's reserve; however, the army was also composed of a significant number of cavalry and infantry only armed with lances. Also, in the Ethiopian Army there was a small team of Russian advisers and volunteers of the officer the Kuban Cossack army N.S. Leontiev. On the night of 29 February and the early morning of 1 March three Italian brigades advanced separately towards Adwa over narrow mountain tracks, while a fourth remained camped. David Levering Lewisstates that the Italian battle plan called for three columns to march in parallel formation to the crests of three mountains — Dabormida commanding on the right, Albertone on the left, and Arimondi in the center — with a reserve under Ellena following behind Arimondi. The supporting crossfire each column could give the others made the… soldiers as deadly as razored shears. Albertone's brigade was to set the pace for the others. He was to position himself on the summit known as Kidane Meret, which would give the Italians the high ground from which to meet the Ethiopians. However, the three leading Italian brigades had become separated during their overnight march and at dawn were spread across several miles of very difficult terrain. Their sketchy maps caused Albertone to mistake one mountain for Kidane Meret, and when a scout pointed out his mistake, Albertone advanced directly into Ras Alula's position. Unbeknownst to General Baratieri, Emperor Menelik knew his troops had exhausted the ability of the local peasants to support them and had planned to break camp the next day (2 March). The Emperor had risen early to begin prayers for divine guidance when spies from Ras Alula, his chief military advisor, brought him news that the Italians were advancing. The Emperor summoned the separate armies of his nobles and with the Empress Taytu beside him, ordered his forces forward. Negus Tekle Haymanot commanded the right wing, Ras Alula the left, and Rasses Makonnen and Mengesha the center, with Ras Mikael at the head of the Oromo cavalry; the Emperor and his consort remained with the reserve. The Ethiopian forces positioned themselves on the hills overlooking the Adwa valley, in perfect position to receive the Italians, who were exposed and vulnerable to crossfire. Albertone's askari brigade was the first to encounter the onrush of Ethiopians at 6:00, near Kidane Meret, where the Ethiopians had managed to set up their mountain artillery (so Menelik's adviser colonel Leonid Artamonov testifies, it was 42 Russian mountain guns with a team of fifteen advisers, but Britannic historians prefer another version about Hotchiss and Maxim pieces either captured from the Egyptians or purchased from French and other European suppliers). His heavily outnumbered askaris held their position for two hours until Albertone's capture, and under Ethiopian pressure the survivors sought refuge with Arimondi's brigade. Arimondi's brigade beat back the Ethiopians who repeatedly charged the Italian position for three hours with gradually fading strength until Menelik released his reserve of 25,000 Shewans and swamped the Italian defenders. Two companies of Bersaglieri who arrived at the same moment could not help and were cut down. Dabormida's Italian brigade had moved to support Albertone but was unable to reach him in time. Cut off from the remainder of the Italian army, Dabormida began a fighting retreat towards friendly positions. However, he inadvertently marched his command into a narrow valley where the Oromo cavalry under Ras Mikael slaughtered his brigade, while shouting Ebalgume! Ebalgume! ("Reap! Reap!"). Dabormida's remains were never found, although his brother learned from an old woman living in the area that she had given water to a mortally wounded Italian officer, "a chief, a great man with spectacles and a watch, and golden stars". The remaining two brigades under Baratieri himself were outflanked and destroyed piecemeal on the slopes of Mount Belah. Menelik watched as Gojjam forces under the command of Tekle Haymonot made quick work of the last intact Italian brigade. By noon, the survivors of the Italian army were in full retreat and the battle was over. According to UNESCO General History of Africa - VII Africa under Colonial Domination 1880-1935, the battle of Adowa was a remarkable victory for Menelik, King of Shoa and Emperor of Ethiopia: "During the battle, 261 Italian officers, 2918 Italian non-commissioned officers and men, and about 2000 askaris, or local troops, were killed. In addition, 954 Italian soldiers were permanently missing; and 470 Italians and 958 askaris were wounded. Total Italian casualties amounted to over 40 percent of the fighting force, which was almost completely routed and lost all its artillery, besides 11000 rifles. As a result of Menelik's victory, the Italians agreed, on 26 October, to the Peace Treaty of Addis Ababa, which annulled the Treaty of Wuchale and recognized the Ethiopian painting depicting the absolute independence of Ethiopia". battle of Adwa.

Immediate aftermath

The Italians suffered about 7,000 killed and 1,500 wounded in the battle and subsequent retreat back into Eritrea, with 3,000 taken prisoner; Ethiopian losses have been estimated around 4,000–5,000, but with 8,000 wounded. In their flight to Eritrea, the Italians left behind all of their artillery and 11,000 rifles, as well as most of their transport. As Paul B. Henze notes, "Baratieri's army had been completely annihilated while Menelik's was intact as a fighting force and gained thousands of rifles and a great deal of equipment from the fleeing Italians." The 3,000 Italian prisoners, who included General Albertone, appear to have been treated as well as could be expected under difficult circumstances, though about 200 died of their wounds in captivity. However, 800 captured askaris, regarded as traitors by the Ethiopians, had their right hands and left feet amputated. Augustus Wylde records when he visited the battlefield months after the battle, the pile of severed hands and feet was still visible, "a rotting heap of ghastly remnants." Further, many had not survived their punishment, Wylde writing how the neighborhood of Adwa "was full of their freshly dead bodies; they had generally crawled to the banks of the streams to quench their thirst, where many of them lingered unattended and exposed to the elements until death put an end to their sufferings." There does not appear to be any foundation for reports that some Italians were castrated and these may reflect confusion with the atrocious treatment of the askari prisoners. Baratieri was relieved of his command and later charged with preparing an "inexcusable" plan of attack and for abandoning his troops in the field. He was acquitted on these charges but was described by the court martial judges as being "entirely unfitted" for his command. Chris Prouty offers a panoramic overview of the response in Italy to the news: When news of the calamity reached Italy there were street demonstrations in most major cities. In Rome, to prevent these violent protests, the universities and theatres were closed. Police were called out to disperse rock-throwers in front of Prime Minister Crispi's residence. Crispi resigned on 9 March. Troops were called out to quell demonstrations in Naples. In Pavia, crowds built barricades on the railroad tracks to prevent a troop train from leaving the station. The Association of Women of Rome, Turin, Milan and Pavia called for the return of all military forces in Africa. Funeral masses were intoned for the known and unknown dead. Families began sending to the newspapers letters they had received before Adwa in which their menfolk described their poor living conditions and their fears at the size of the army they were going to face. King Umberto declared his birthday (14 March) a day of mourning. Italian communities in St. Petersburg, London, New York, Chicago, Buenos Aires andJerusalem collected money for the families of the dead and for the Italian Red Cross. The Russian support for Ethiopia led to the advent of a Russian Red Cross mission. The Russian mission was a military mission conceived as a medical support for the Ethiopian troops. It arrived in Addis Ababa some three months after Menelik's Adwa victory.

Ethiopian failure to follow up victory

One question much asked – both then and long afterward – is why did Emperor Menelik fail to follow up his victory and drive the routed Italians out of their colony? The victorious Emperor limited his demands to little more than the abrogation of the deceptive Treaty of Wuchale. In the context of the prevailing balance of power, the emperor's crucial goal was to preserve Ethiopian independence. In addition, Ethiopia had just begun to emerge from a long and brutal famine; Harold Marcus reminds us that the army was restive over its long service in the field, short of rations, and the short rains which would bring all travel to a crawl would soon start to fall. At the time, Menelik claimed a shortage of cavalry horses with which to harry the fleeing soldiers. Chris Prouty observes that "a failure of nerve on the part of Menelik has been alleged by both Italian and Ethiopian sources." Lewis believes that it "was his farsighted certainty that total annihilation of Baratieri and a sweep into Eritrea would force the Italian people to turn a bungled colonial war into a national crusade" that stayed his hand. As a direct result of the battle, Italy signed the Treaty of Addis Ababa, recognizing Ethiopia as an independent state. Almost forty years later, on 3 October 1935, after the League of Nations's weak response to the Abyssinia Crisis, the Italians launched a new military campaign endorsed by Benito Mussolini, the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. This time the Italians employed vastly superior military technology such as tanks and aircraft, as well as chemical warfare, the Ethiopian forces were soundly defeated by May 1936. Following the war, Italy occupied Ethiopia for five years (1936–41), before eventually being driven out during World War II by British Empire and Ethiopian patriot forces.

Significance

"The confrontation between Italy and Ethiopia at Adwa was a fundamental turning point in Ethiopian history," writes Henze. "Though apparent to very few historians at the time, these defeats were the beginning of the decline of Europe as the center of world politics." On a similar note, the Ethiopian historian-anglophile Bahru Zewde observed that "few events in the modern period have brought Ethiopia to the attention of the world as has the victory at Adwa;". The Russian Empire enthusiastically paid victory compliments to the Ethiopian army. One of the documents of that time states, "The Victory immediately gained the general sympathy of Russian society and it continued to grow." The unique outlook which polyethnic Russia exhibited to its ally Ethiopia disturbed many supporters of European nationalism during the twentieth century. The Russian Cossack captain Nicholas Leontjev with team of volunteers of participated in the battle as an advisor to Menelik. This defeat of a colonial power and the ensuing recognition of African sovereignty became rallying points for later African nationalists during their struggle for decolonization, as well as activists and leaders of the PanAfrican movement. As the Afrocentric scholar Molefe Asante explains, After the victory over Italy in 1896, Ethiopia acquired a special importance in the eyes of Africans as the only surviving African State. After Adowa, Ethiopia became emblematic of African valour and resistance, the bastion Negus Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam. of prestige and hope to thousands of Africans who were experiencing the full shock of European conquest and were beginning to search for an answer to the myth of African inferiority. On the other hand, many writers have pointed out how this battle was a humiliation for the Italian military. One student of Ethiopia, Donald N. Levine, points out that for the Italians Adwa "became a national trauma which demagogic leaders strove to avenge. It also played no little part in motivating Italy's revanchist adventure in 1935". Levine also noted that the victory "gave encouragement to isolationist and conservative strains that were deeply rooted in Ethiopian culture, strengthening the hand of those who would strive to keep Ethiopia from adopting techniques imported from the modern West - resistances with which both Menelik and Ras Teferi/Haile Selassie would have to contend".


PAKISTAN Independence Day - Mar 01 BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Bosnia and Herzegovina sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Sarajevo. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the 20 kilometres (12 miles) of coastline on the Adriatic Sea surrounding the town of Neum. In the central and southern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, bookended by hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip of the country has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography. The country that is now Bosnia and Herzegovina is a region that traces permanent human Walls of ancient Daorson, Ošanići near Stolac, settlement back to the Neolithic age. Culturally, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3rd century BC. politically and socially, the country has one of the richest histories in the region, having been first settled by the Slavic peoples that populate the area today from the 6th through to the 9th centuries AD. They then established the first independent Banate in the 12th century upon the arrival and convergence of people that would eventually come to call themselves Dobri Bošnjani(literally "Good Bosnians"). This evolved into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, after which it was annexed into the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule it would remain from the mid 15th to the late 18th century. The Ottomans brought Islam to the region, and altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country. This was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until the end of World War I. Following the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the country, like most other in the region, proclaimed independence in 1992, which was followed by a long and bloody civil war, which lasted for more than four years. Today, the country maintains high literacy, life expectancy and education levels and is one of the most frequently-visited countries in the region. Bosnia and Herzegovina is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural beauty and heritage inherited from six historical civilizations that have ruled in the country, its cuisine, winter sports, its eclectic and unique architecture and the Sarajevo Film Festival and Sarajevo Jazz Festivals, both the largest and most prominent of their kind in Southeastern Europe. The country is home to three ethnic groups or, officially, constituent peoples, a term unique for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second and Croats third. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is often identified in English as a Bosnian. The terms Herzegovinian and Bosnian are maintained as a regional rather than ethnic distinction, and the region of Herzegovina has no precisely defined borders of its own. Moreover, the country was simply called "Bosnia" (without Herzegovina) until the Austro-Hungarian occupation at the end of the nineteenth century. Formerly one of the six federal units constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence during the Yugoslav Wars of Tvrtko I of Bosnia ruled in 1353–1366 and again in the 1990s. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a parliamentary republic, which has a bicamerall 1367–1377 as ban and in 1377–1391 as the first egislature and a three-member Presidency King of Bosnia. composed of a member of each major ethnic group. However, the central government's power is highly limited, as the country is largely decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third region, the Brčko District, governed under local government. The country is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan at the summit in Tallinn. Additionally, the country has been a member of the Council of Europe since 24 April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union upon its establishment on 13 July 2008.

Etymology

The first preserved mention of the name "Bosnia" is in De Administrando Imperio, a politico-geographical handbook written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII in the mid-10th century (between 948 and 952) describing the "small country" (χοριον) of "Bosona" (Βοσωνα). The Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja from 1172-1196 of Bar's Roman Catholic Christian Archbishop Grgur names Bosnia, and references an earlier source from the year of 753 - the De Regno Sclavorum (Of the Realm of Slavs). The name "Bosnia" probably comes from the name of theBosna river around which it has been historically based, which was recorded in the Roman era under the name Bossina. More direct roots of the river's names are unknown. Philologist Anton Mayer proposed a connection with the IndoEuropean root *bos or *bogh, meaning "running water". Certain Roman sources similarly mention Bathinus flumen as a name of the Illyrian Bosona, both of which would mean "running water" as well. Other theories involve the rare Latin term Bosina, meaning boundary, and possible Slavic origins. The railway bridge over the Neretva river, was deThe origins of "Herzegovina" can be identified stroyed twice during the battle of the Neretva. with more precision. During the Early Middle Ages the region was known as Hum, from theZachlumoi tribe of southern Slavs which inhabited it. In the 1440s, the region was ruled by the powerful nobleman Stefan Vukčić Kosača. In a document sent to Friedrich III on January 20, 1448, Stefan Vukčić Kosača called himself "Herzog of Saint Sava, Lord of Hum and Primorje, Grand Duke of Bosnia". Herzog is the German for "duke", and so the lands he controlled later became known as Herzegovina ("Dukedom", from the addition of -ovina, "land"). The region was administered by the Ottomans as the sanjak and then pashaluk of Hersek. The name Herzegovina was first included in the official name of the then Ottoman province in the mid-19th century. On initial proclamation of independence in 1992 the country's official name was the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina but following the 1995 Dayton Agreement and the new constitution that came with it the name was officially changed to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

History

Early history:

Bosnia has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic age. The earliest Neolithic population became known in the Antiquity as the Illyrians.Celtic migrations in the 4th century BC were also notable. Concrete historical evidence for this period is scarce, but overall it appears that the region was populated by a number of different peoples speaking distinct languages. Conflict between the Illyrians and Romans started in229 BC, but Rome did not complete its annexation of the region until AD 9. It was precisely in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina that Rome fought one of the most difficult battles in its history since the Punic Wars, as described by the Roman historian Suetonius. This was the Roman campaign against the revolt of indigenous communities from Illyricum, known in history as the Great Illyrian Revolt, and also as the Pannonian revolt, or Bellum Batonianum, the latter named after two leaders of the rebellious Illyrian communities, Bato/Baton of the Daesitiates, and Bato of the Breuci. The Great Illyrian revolt was a rising up of Illyrians against the Romans, more specifically a revolt against Tiberius' attempt to recruit them for his war against the Germans. The Illyrians put up a fierce resistance to the most powerful army on earth at the time (the Roman Army) for four years (AD 6 to AD 9), but they were finally subdued by Rome in AD 9. The last Illyrian stronghold, of which their defence won the admiration of Roman historians, is said to have been Arduba. Bato of Daesiti- Monument commemorating the Battle of Sutjeska ates was captured and taken to Italy. It is alleged that when Tiberius asked Bato and the in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Daesitiates why they had rebelled, Baton was reputed to have answered: "You Romans are to blame for this; for you send as guardians of your flocks, not dogs or shepherds, but wolves." Bato spent the rest of his life in the Italian town of Ravenna. In the Roman period, Latin-speaking settlers from the entire Roman Empire settled among the Illyrians, and Roman soldiers were encouraged to retire in the region. The land was originally part of Illyria up until the Roman occupation. Following the split of the Roman Empire between 337 and 395 AD, Dalmatia and Pannonia became parts of the Western Roman Empire. Some claim that the region was conquered by the Ostrogoths in 455 AD. It subsequently changed hands between the Alans and the Huns. By the 6th century, Emperor Justinian had reconquered the area for the Byzantine Empire. The Illyrians were conquered by the Avars in the 6th century.

Medieval Bosnia:

Modern knowledge of the political situation in the west Balkans during the Early Middle Ages is unclear. Upon their arrival, the Slavs brought with them a tribal social structure which probably fell apart and gave way to Feudalism only with Frankish penetration into the region in the late 9th century. The Slavic tribes also brought their mythology and pagan system of beliefs, the Rodovjerje. In particular, Perun / Перун, the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning is also commonly found in Bosnian toponymy, for instance in the name of Mount Perun (Perunova Gora / Перунова Гора). Along with the Slavic settlers, the native Illyrians were Christianized. Bosnia and Herzegovina, because of its geographic position and terrain, was probably one of the last areas to go through this process, which presumably originated from the urban centers along the Dalmatian coast. Thus, Slavic Bosnian tribes remained pagans for a longer time, and finally converted to the Bogumil Christian faith. The principalities of Serbia and Croatia split control of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 9th and 10th century, but by the High Middle Ages political circumstance led to the area being contested between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Byzantine Empire. Following another shift of power between the two in the early 12th century, Bosnia found itself outside the control of both and emerged as an independent state under the rule of local bans. The first Bosnian monarch was Ban Borić. The second was Ban Kulin whose rule marked the start of a controversy with the Bosnian Church, because he allowed an indigenous Bogomilism sect considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church. In response to Hungarian attempts to use church politics regarding the issue as a way to reclaim sovereignty over Bosnia, Kulin held a council of local church leaders to renounce the heresy and embraced Catholicism in 1203. Despite this, Hungarian ambitions remained unchanged long after Kulin's death in 1204, waning only after an unsuccessful invasion in 1254. Bosnian history from then until the early 14th century was marked by a power struggle between the Šubić and Kotromanić families. This conflict came to an end in 1322, when Stephen II Kotromanićbecame Ban. By the time of his death in 1353, he was successful in annexing territories to the north and west, as well as Zahumlje and parts of Dalmatia. He was succeeded by his nephew Tvrtko who, following a prolonged struggle with nobility and inter-family strife, gained full control of the country in 1367. Tvrtko crowned himself on 26 October 1377 as Stephen Tvrtko I the King of Rascia, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, the Seaside. Based on archaeological evidence, he was crowned in the in Mile near Visoko in the church which was built in the time of Stephen II Kotromanić's reign, where he was also buried alongside his uncle Stjepan II. Following his death in 1391 however, Bosnia fell into The parliament building in the centre of Sarajevo a long period of decline. The Ottoman Empire burns after being hit by tank fire during the siege in had already started its conquest of Europe and posed a major threat to the Balkans through- 1992. out the first half of the 15th century. Finally, after decades of political and social instability, the Kingdom of Bosnia ceased to exist in 1463.

Ottoman Era (1463–1878):

The Ottoman conquest of Bosnia marked a new era in the country's history and introduced drastic changes in the political and cultural landscape. The Ottomans allowed for the preservation of Bosnia's identity by incorporating it as an integral province of the Ottoman Empire with its historical name and territorial integrity — a unique case among subjugated states in the Balkans. Within Bosnia the Ottomans introduced a number of key changes in the territory's socio-political administration; including a new landholding system, a reorganization of administrative units, and a complex system of social differentiation by class and religious affiliation. The three centuries of Ottoman rule also had a drastic impact on Bosnia's population make-up, which changed several times as a result of the empire's conquests, frequent wars with European powers, forced and economic migrations, and epidemics. A native Slavic-speaking Muslim community emerged and eventually became the largest of the ethnoreligious groups due to the restriction imposed by the Ottoman Empire, and conversions-for-gain. The Bosnian Christian communities also experienced major changes. The Bosnian Franciscans (and the Catholic population as a whole) were to a minor extent protected by official imperial decree, while the Bosnian Church disappeared altogether. As the Ottoman Empire continued their rule in the Balkans (Rumelia), Bosnia was somewhat relieved of the pressures of being a frontier province, and experienced a period of general welfare. A number of cities, such as Sarajevo and Mostar, were established and grew into regional centers of trade and urban culture and were then visited by Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi in 1648. Within these cities, various Ottoman Sultans financed the construction of many works of Bosnian architecture such as the country's first library in Sarajevo, madrassas, a school of Sufi philosophy, and a clock tower (Sahat Kula), bridges such as the Stari Most, the Tsar's Mosque and the Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque. Furthermore, some Bosnians played influential roles in the Ottoman Empire's cultural and political history during this time. Bosnian recruits formed a large component of the Ottoman ranks in the battles of Mohács and Krbava field, while numerous other Bosnians rose through the ranks of the Ottoman military to occupy the highest positions of power in the Empire, including admirals such as Matrakçı Nasuh; generals such as Isa-Beg Isaković, Gazi Husrevbeg and Telli Hasan Pasha; administrators such as Ferhat-paša Sokolović and Osman Gradaščević; and Grand Viziers such as the influential Mehmed Paša Sokolović. Some Bosnians emerged as Sufi mystics, scholars such as Ali Džabič; and poets in the Turkish, Albanian, Arabic, and Persian languages. However, by the late 17th century the Empire's military misfortunes caught up with the country, and the conclusion of the Great Turkish War with the treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 once again made Bosnia the Empire's westernmost province. The following century was marked by further military failures, numerous revolts within Bosnia, and several outbursts of plague. The Porte's false efforts at modernizing the Ottoman state were met with distrust growing to hostility in Bosnia, where local aristocrats stood to lose much through the proposed reforms. This, combined with frustrations over political concessions to nascent Christian states in the east, culminated in an unsuccessful revolt byHusein Gradaščević, in 1831 after the Turkish Sultan Mahmud II slaughtered and abolished the Janissary. Related rebellions would be extinguished by 1850, but the situation continued to deteriorate. Later agrarian unrest eventually sparked the Herzegovinian rebellion, a widespread peasant uprising, in 1875. The conflict rapidly spread and came to involve several Balkan states and Great Powers, a situation which eventually led to the Congress of Berlin and the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.

Austro-Hungarian rule (1878–1918):

At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Andrássy obtained the occupation and administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he also obtained the right to station garrisons in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, which remained under Ottoman administration. The Sanjak preserved the separation of Serbia and Montenegro, and the Austro-Hungarian garrisons there would open the way for a dash to Salonika that "would bring the western half of the Balkans under permanent Austrian influence." "High [Austro-Hungarian] military authorities desired [an...] immediate major expedition with Salonika as its objective." On 28 September 1878 the Finance Minister, Koloman von Zell, threatened to resign if the army, backed by the Archduke Albert, were allowed to advance to Salonika. In the session of the Hungarian Parliament of 5 November 1878 the Opposition proposed that the Foreign Minister should be impeached for violating the constitution with his policy during the Near East Crisis and by the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The motion lost 179 to 95. The gravest accusations were raised by the opposition rank and file against Andrassy. Although an Austro-Hungarian side quickly came to an agreement with Bosnians, tensions remained in certain parts of the country (particularly the south) and a mass emigration of predominantly Slavic dissidents occurred. However, a state of relative stability was reached soon enough and Austro-Hungarian authorities were able to embark on a number of social and administrative reforms which intended to make Bosnia and Herzegovina into a "model colony". With the aim of establishing the province as a stable political model that would help dissipate rising South Slav nationalism, Habsburg rule did much to codify laws, to introduce new political practices, and to provide for modernisation. The Austro-Hungarian Empire built the three Roman Catholic churches in Sarajevo and these three churches are among only 20 Catholic churches in the state of Bosnia. Within three years of formal occupation of Bosnia Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary, in 1881, obtained German, and more importantly, Russian, approval for the annexation of these provinces, at a time which suited Vienna. This mandate was formally ratified by the Dreikaiserbund (Three Emperor's Treaty) on June 18 of that year. Upon the accession of Czar Nicholas II, however, the Russians reneged on the agreement, asserting in 1897 the need for special scrutiny of the Bosnian Annexation issue at an unspecified future date. External matters began to affect the Bosnian Protectorate, however, and its relationship with Austria-Hungary. A bloody coup occurred in Serbia, on June 10, 1903, which brought a radical anti-Austrian government into power in Belgrade. Serb attempts to foment agitation followed, advocating a unified South Slavic state, ruled from Belgrade. This gained little support amongst most of the population of Bosnia Herzegovina, and only found fertile ground with disaffected portions of the Orthodox minority. Also, the revolt in the Ottoman Empire in 1908, raised concerns that the Istanbul government might seek the outright return of Bosnia Herzegovina. These factors caused the AustrianHungarian government to seek a permanent resolution of the Bosnian question, sooner, rather than later. On July 2, 1908, in response to the pressing of the Austrian-Hungarian claim, the Russian Imperial Foreign Minister Alexander Izvolsky offered to support the Bosnian Annexation in return for Vienna's support for Russia's bid for naval access through the Dardanelles Straits into the Mediterranean. With the Russians being, at least, provisionally willing to keep their word over Bosnia Herzegovina for the first time in 11 years, Austria-Hungary waited and then published the annexation proclamation on October 6, 1908. The international furor over the annexation announcement caused Izvolsky to drop the Dardanelles Straits question, altogether, in an effort to obtain a European conference over the Bosnian Annexation. This conference never materialized and without British or French support, the Russians and their client state, Serbia, were compelled to accept the Austrian-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia Herzegovina in March 1909. Political tensions culminated on 28 June 1914, when Serb nationalist youth Gavrilo Princip, a member of movement Young Bosnia,assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo – an event that proved to be the spark that set off World War I. Although some Bosnians died serving in the armies of the various warring states, Bosnia and Herzegovina itself managed to escape the conflict relatively unscathed.

Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–1941):

Following the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the South Slav kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (soon renamed Yugoslavia). Political life in Bosnia at this time was marked by two major trends: social and economic unrest over property redistribution, and formation of several political parties that frequently changed coalitions and alliances with parties in other Yugoslav regions. The dominant ideological conflict of the Yugoslav state, between Croatian regionalism and Serbian centralization, was approached differently by Bosnia's major ethnic groups and was dependent on the overall political atmosphere. The political reforms brought about in the newly established Yugoslavian kingdom saw few benefits for the Bosniaks; according to the 1910 final census of land ownership and population according to religious affiliation conducted in Austro-Hungary, Muslims (Bosniaks) owned 91.1%, Orthodox Serbians owned 6.0%, Croatian Catholics owned 2.6% and others, 0.3% of the property. Following the reforms Bosnian Muslims had a total of 1,175,305 hectares of agricultural and forest land taken away from them. Although the initial split of the country into 33 oblasts erased the presence of traditional geographic entities from the map, the efforts of Bosnian politicians such as Mehmed Spaho ensured that the six oblasts carved up from Bosnia and Herzegovina corresponded to the six sanjaks from Ottoman times and, thus, matched the country's traditional boundary as a whole. The establishment of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929, however, brought the redrawing of administrative regions into banates or banovinas that purposely avoided all historical and ethnic lines, removing any trace of a Bosnian entity. Serbo-Croat tensions over the structuring of the Yugoslav state continued, with the concept of a separate Bosnian division receiving little or no consideration. The famous Cvetković-Maček Agreement that created the Croatian banate in 1939 encouraged what was essentially a partition of Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia. However the rising threat of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany forced Yugoslav politicians to shift their attention. Following a period that saw attempts at appeasement, the signing of the Tripartite Treaty, and a coup d'état, Yugoslavia was finally invaded by Germany on 6 April 1941.

World War II (1941–45):

Gravestones at the Srebrenica Genocide memorial.

Once the kingdom of Yugoslavia was conquered by Nazi forces in World War II, all of Bosnia was ceded to the Independent State of Croatia. The Croat leaders embarked on a campaign of extermination of Serbs, Jews, Roma, communists and large numbers of Josip Broz Tito'sPartisans by setting up a number of death camps. Many Serbs themselves took up arms and joined the Chetniks; a Serb nationalist movement that conducted operations coordinated with Nazi forces against the partisans. The Chetniks were also known to persecute and murder nonSerbs and communist sympathizers. They committed many war crimes against Bosnian Muslims in Eastern Bosnia. On October 12, 1941 a group of 108 notable Muslim citizens of Sarajevo signed the Resolution of Sarajevo Muslims by which they condemned the persecution of Serbs organized by Ustaše, made distinction between Muslims who participated in such persecutions and whole Muslim population, presented informations about the persecutions of Muslims by Serbs and requested security for all citizens of the country, regardless of their identity. Starting in 1941, Yugoslav communists under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito organized their own multi-ethnic resistance group, the partisans, who fought against both Axis and Chetnik forces. On 29 November 1943 the AntiFascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia with Tito at its helm held a founding conference in Jajce where Bosnia and Herzegovina was reestablished as a republic within the Yugoslavian federation in its Habsburg borders. Military success eventually prompted the Allies to support the Partisans, but Tito declined their offer to help and relied on his own forces instead. All the major military offensives by the antifascist movement of Yugoslavia against Nazis and their local supporters were conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its peoples bore the brunt of fighting. More than 300,000 people died in Bosnia and Herzegovina in World War II. At the end of the war the establishment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with the constitution of 1946, officially made Bosnia and Herzegovina one of six constituent republics in the new state.

Socialist Yugoslavia (1945–1992):

Because of its central geographic position within the Yugoslavian federation, post-war Bosnia was selected as a base for the development of the military defense industry. This contributed to a large concentration of arms and military personnel in Bosnia; a significant factor in the warthat followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, Bosnia's existence within Yugoslavia, for the large part, was peaceful and prosperous. Though considered a political backwater of the federation for much of the 1950s and 1960s, in the 1970s a strong Bosnian political elite arose, fueled in part by Tito's leadership in the Non-Aligned Movement and Bosnians serving in Yugoslavia's diplomatic corps. While working within the communist system, politicians such as Džemal Bijedić, Branko Mikulić and Hamdija Pozderac reinforced and protected the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina Their efforts proved key during the turbulent period following Tito's death in 1980, and are today considered some of the early steps towards Bosnian independence. However, the republic did not escape the increasingly nationalistic climate of the time. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the start of the break-up of Yugoslavia, the old communist doctrine of tolerance began to lose its potency, creating an opportunity for nationalist elements in the society to spread their influence.

Bosnian War (1992–1995):

On 18 November 1990 the first multi-party parliamentary elections were held (with a 2nd round on 25 November), which resulted in a national assembly dominated by three ethnically based parties, which had formed a loose coalition to oust the communists from power. Croatia and Slovenia's subsequent declarations of independence and the warfare that ensued placed Bosnia and Herzegovina and its three constituent peoples in an awkward position. A significant split soon developed on the issue of whether to stay with the Yugoslav federation(overwhelmingly favored among Serbs) or seek independence (overwhelmingly favored among Bosniaks and Croats). The Serb members of parliament, consisting mainly of the Serb Democratic Party members, abandoned the central parliament in Sarajevo, and formed the Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 24 October 1991, which marked the end of the tri-ethnic coalition that governed after the elections in 1990. This Assembly established the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9 January 1992, which became Republika Srpska in August 1992. On 18 November 1991, the party branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina of the ruling party in the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), proclaimed the existence of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, as a separate "political, cultural, economic and territorial whole", on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Croat Defence Council (HVO) as its military part. The Bosnian government did not recognize it. The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared Herzeg-Bosnia illegal, first on 14 September 1992 and again on 20 January 1994. A declaration of Bosnia and Herzegovina sovereignty on 15 October 1991 was followed by a referendum for independence from Yugoslavia on 29 February and 1 March 1992 boycotted by the great majority of the Serbs. The turnout in the independence referendum was 63.4 per cent and 99.7 per cent of voters voted for independence. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence on 3 March 1992. Following a tense period of escalating tensions the opening shots in the incipient Bosnian conflict were fired when Serb paramilitary forces attacked Bosnian Croat villages around Capljina on 7 March 1992 and around Bosanski Brod and Bosniak town Gorazde on 15 March. These minor attacks were followed by much more serious Serb artillery attacks on Neum on 19 March and on Bosanski Brod on 24 March. The killing of a Bosniak civilian, woman (Suada Dilberović), on 5 April 1992 by a sniper, while she was demonstrating in Sarajevo against the raising of barricades by Bosnian Serbs, is widely regarded as marking the start of warfare between the three major communities. Secret discussions between Franjo Tuđman and Slobodan Milošević on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia were held as early as March 1991 known as Karađorđevo agreement. Following the declaration of independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbs attacked different parts of the country. The state administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina effectively ceased to function having lost control over the entire territory. The Serbs wanted all lands where Serbs had a majority, eastern and western Bosnia. The Croats and their leader Tuđman also aimed at securing parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Croatian. The policies of the Republic of Croatia and its leader Franjo Tuđman towards Bosnia and Herzegovina were never totally transparent and always included Franjo Tuđman's ultimate aim of expanding Croatia's borders. Bosnian Muslims, the only ethnic group loyal to the Bosnian government, were an easy target, because the Bosnian government forces were poorly equipped and unprepared for the war. International recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina increased diplomatic pressure for the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) to withdraw from the republic's territory which they officially did. However, in fact, the Bosnian Serb members of JNA simply changed insignia, formed the Army of Republika Srpska, and continued fighting. Armed and equipped from JNA stockpiles in Bosnia, supported by volunteers and various paramilitary forces from Serbia, and receiving extensive humanitarian, logistical and financial support from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republika Srpska's offensives in 1992 managed to place much of the country under its control. Initially, the Serb forces attacked the non-Serb civilian population in Eastern Bosnia. Once towns and villages were securely in their hands, the Serb forces – military, police, the paramilitaries and, sometimes, even Serb villagers – applied the same pattern: Bosniak houses and apartments were systematically ransacked or burnt down, Bosniak civilians were rounded up or captured, and sometimes beaten or killed in the process. 2.2 million refugees were displaced by the end of the war (of all three nationalities). Men and women were separated, with many of the men detained in the camps. The women and indeed some children, as young as twelve years of age, were kept in various detention centres where they had to live in intolerably unhygienic conditions, where they were mistreated in many ways including being raped repeatedly. Serb soldiers or policemen would come to these detention centres, select one or more women, take them out and rape them. In June 1992 the focus switched to Novi Travnik and Gornji Vakuf where the Croat Defence Council (HVO) efforts to gain control were resisted. On 18 June 1992 the Bosnian Territorial Defence in Novi Travnik received an ultimatum from the HVO which included demands to abolish existing Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions, establish the authority of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia and pledge allegiance to it, subordinate the Territorial Defense to the HVO and expel Muslim refugees, all within 24 hours. The attack was launched on June 19. The elementary school and the Post Office were attacked and damaged. Gornji Vakuf was initially attacked by Croats on 20 June 1992, but the attack failed. The Graz agreement caused deep division inside the Croat community and strengthened the separation group, which led to the conflict with Bosniaks. One of the primary pro-union Croat leaders,Blaž Kraljević (leader of the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) armed group) was killed by HVO soldiers in August 1992, which severely weakened the moderate group who hoped to keep the Bosnian Croat alliance alive. The situation became more serious in October 1992 when Croat forces mattacked the Bosniak population in Prozor. According to Jadranko Prlić indictment, HVO forces cleansed most of the Muslims from the town of Prozor and several surrounding villages. By 1993, when an armed conflict erupted between the predominantly Bosniak government in Sarajevo and the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, about 70% of the country was controlled by Republika Srpska. Ethnic cleansing and civil rights violations against non-Serbs were rampant in these areas. DNA teams have been used to collect evidence of the atrocities committed by Serbian forces during these campaigns. One single most prominent example is the Srebrenica Massacre, ruled genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. An estimated 7,000 Bosnians were killed by the Serbian political authorities. In March 1994, the signing of the Washington Accords between the leaders of the republican government and HerzegBosnia led to the creation of a joint Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which absorbed the territory of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia and that held by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Federation soon liberated the small Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia. A NATO bombing campaign began in August, 1995, against the Army of Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre. Meanwhile, a ground offensive by the allied forces of Croatia and Bosnia, based on the treaty in Split by Tudjman and Izetbegović, pushed the Serbs away from territories held in western Bosnia which paved the way to negotiations. In December 1995, the signing of the Dayton Agreement inDayton, Ohio by the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegović), Croatia (Franjo Tuđman), and Serbia (Slobodan Milošević) brought a halt to the fighting, roughly establishing the basic structure of the present-day state. A NATO-led peacekeeping force was immediately dispatched to Bosnia to enforce the deal. The number of identified victims is currently at 97,207, and the recent research estimates the total number to be less than 110,000 killed (civilians and military), and 1.8 million displaced. This is being addressed by the International Commission on Missing Persons. According to numerous International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judgments the conflict involved Bosnia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro) as well as Croatia. The Bosnian government charged Serbia of complicity in genocide in Bosnia during the war at theInternational Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ ruling of 26 February 2007 effectively determined the war's nature to be international, though exonerating Serbia of direct responsibility for the genocide committed by Serb forces of Republika Srpska. The ICJ concluded, however, that Serbia failed to prevent genocide committed by Serb forces and failed to punish those who carried out the genocide, especially general Ratko Mladić, and bring them to justice. Ratko Mladić was arrested in a village in northern Serbia on 26 May 2011, being accused of directly orchestrating and overseeing the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, amongst other genocide and war crime charges. The judges ruled that the criteria for genocide with the specific intent (dolus specialis) to destroy Bosnian Muslims were met only in Srebrenica or Eastern Bosnia in 1995. The court concluded that the crimes committed during the 1992–1995 war, may amount to crimes against humanity according to the international law, but that these acts did not, in themselves, constitute genocide. The Court further decided that, following Montenegro's declaration of independence in June, 2006, Serbia was the only respondent party in the case, but that "any responsibility for past events involved at the relevant time the composite State of Serbia and Montenegro".

Pakistan urges Afghan Taliban to enter peace talks (Online Feb25, ruary Pak2012) istan urges of leaders the Afghan Ta l i b a n movement to enter direct peace negotiations with Kabul, a possign sible that Islamabad is stepup ping support for reconciliation in neighb o r i n g Afghanistan. Both Afghan and U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of using militant groups as proxies in Afghanistan to counter the influence of rival India, allegations Islamabad denies. Regional power Pakistan is critical to efforts to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table because of its historical ties to the group. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said in a statement that Pakistan was "prepared to do whatever it takes" to help the Afghan reconciliation process succeed. He called on Hizbi-Islami -- one of Afghanistan's most notorious insurgent factions -- and other militant groups to negotiate peace. The United States is attempting to stabilize the country before foreign combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014. The Afghan government has established some contacts with the Taliban, who have made a strong comeback after being toppled by a U.S. invasion in 2001, but there are no signs that full-fledged peace talks

will happen anytime soon. U.S. diplomats have also been seeking to broaden exploratory talks that began clandestinely in Germany in late 2010 after the Taliban offered to open a representative office in the Gulf emirate of Qatar, prompting demands for inclusion from Kabul. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has frequently urged Pakistan to advance the peace process. "IT'S IMPORTANT" Rahimullah Yusufzai, an expert on regional affairs, said Gilani's comments marked a shift in Pakistani policy. "It's important because I am hearing this for the first time, that the Pakistani prime minister or somebody that important is urging the Taliban ... to talk directly to the Afghan government," he said. Afghan officials are holding talks with the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan, the head of a provincial peace council in the insurgency's heartland Kandahar said on Tuesday. Kandahar peace council head Ata Mohammad Ahmadi told Reuters the officials had been meeting for "some

time" with midTaliban level commanders in the southwest Pakistani city of Quetta, where the leadership of militant the group is said to be based. It is unlikely that any meetings between Afghan officials and Taliban commanders could take place in Quetta the without of knowledge Pakistan's perintellivasive gence agencies. Pakistan may have stepped up its cooperation with the Afghan government by allowing the meetings in Quetta. Afghanistan is known to want access to Taliban leaders belonging to the so-called Quetta Shura, or council, named after the city where they are believed to be based. Kabul believes they would be the decision makers in any substantive peace negotiations aimed at ending the war now in its eleventh year. Pakistan has consistently denied giving sanctuary to insurgents and says no Taliban leaders are present in Quetta. between Pakistan and Ties Afghanistan were strained for months after the assassination in September of Afghan peace envoy and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani. Afghan officials blamed Pakistan's intelligence agency, allegations angrily denied by Islamabad. But Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said after a recent trip to Kabul that a lot of the illwill between the neighbors had faded.

Senate elections: ECP rejects papers of 18 candidates (Online February 25, 2012) Sitting over a huge surplus wheat stock and having increased support price to encourage more production and votes, Pakistan has found an opportunity to export one million tons of wheat to Iran, and that too under a barter trade deal. The two sides agreed on Friday during a meeting between Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar and visiting Iranian Deputy Commerce Minister Abbas Ghohadi that Tehran would import not only one million tons of wheat but also 200,000 tons of rice to promote barter trade relations. Tehran is also expected to import sugar from Islamabad. In return, Pakistan will import fertiliser and iron ore for state-run Pakistan Steel Mills, which is suffering from huge financial losses because of extreme shortage of raw material and other problems. Despite rains and floods for two consecutive years, Pakistan’s major crops — wheat, sugarcane and rice — have yielded a bumper output and now supply exceeds demand. Pakistan has been looking for export avenues to offload surplus stocks to reduce maintenance cost and pay off interest to the central bank, but with limited success owing extremely low international prices. The decision came in the wake of the meeting last week between President Asif Ali Zardari and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Islamabad in which the two leaders decided to raise bilateral trade to $10 billion a year through the barter trade. Pakistan had assured the Iranian side that it would also fast track implementation of gas and electricity import projects from Iran.

Mr Naveed Qamar was assisted by the chairman of Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) and the Managing Director of Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (Passco). They were directed to hold separate talks with the Iranian deputy minister and his aides to work out modalities for the export of rice and wheat and import of fertiliser and iron ore. Pakistan has faced a big fertiliser shortage during outgoing crop season and was forced to import more than half of its domestic requirement mainly because of massive gas shortfalls. The Pakistan Steel Mills’s production capacity had also plummeted to less than 20 per cent in recent months mainly because of shortage of iron ore and other raw materials as international prices have increased. Mr Qamar and Mr Abbas Ghohadi also agreed that Passco would present samples of wheat and negotiate the price for its exports. Passco would also be responsible for export of wheat and sugar while TCP would deal with import or fertiliser and iron ore. The two sides expressed the hope that export of wheat would start within two months. According to a press release, Mr Abbas Ghohadi said that Pakistani rice was very popular in Iran and it was used during every festival and on special occasions. He said the delegation wanted to visit the storage facilities of wheat in the country to examine its quality and specifications and assured of facilitating wheat exports through simplified administrative procedures for better trade relations.

Officials said that more than five million tons of wheat was currently lying in official stores and open places mostly in Punjab and with Passco. The recent increase in support price for wheat by about 10 per cent to Rs1050 per ton announced by the federal government to win over farmers ahead of elections was also expected to yield higher output even though Punjab would financially suffer because of huge involvement of subsidy and central bank overdraft. Punjab’s attempts to offload its surplus stock to pay off banking loans had been badly affected due to substantial sales by Russia and Australia at much lower rates as compared with Pakistan prices. Two recent deals by Russia with Egypt and Iran had brought down prices to less than $225 per ton compared with $350 per ton at which Islamabad exported about 1.7 million tons of wheat and 1.3 million tons of wheat products. Over the last three years, Pakistan has become a net wheat exporter after decades of relying on wheat imports, mainly because of increase in support prices from about Rs650 in 2008 to Rs1050 per ton this season. Even though Islamabad’s wheat prices are still higher than those in the international market, both Iran and Pakistan would benefit from the deal through lower transportation cost. The government hopes to harvest more than 25 million tons of wheat this season while domestic consumption stood at 22 million tons. Mainly because of support price, the government was forced last year to inject over Rs400 billion into commodity operations.

Afghanistan Quran protests spread to Pakistan, India (Online February 25, 2012) Hundreds of activists took to the streets on Friday as the protests over desecration of Holy Quran at the Nato military base in Afghanistan spread to Malaysia, Indonesia and India. Holding banners inscribed with several anti-US slogans including ‘Damn You US Army’, and ‘Quran Our Soul, You Burnt Our Soul’, protesters gathered at public places to express their anger at the desecration of Holy Quran at the Bagram military base. Up to 300 people blocked the GT Road in Peshawar, stomped on and set fire to the US flag, and kicked the dummy representing America and beat it with sticks while it was burning.

“The ugly face of America has been revealed with the desecration of Holy Quran,” a banner read. The Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the desecration, stressing that ‘utterly irresponsible and reprehensible things’ do not happen again. “On behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan, we condemn in strongest possible terms the desecration of Holy Quran in Afghanistan,” spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters. In Islamabad, the general secretary of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) told the crowd that the Islamic world should review its relations with the United States. “We will not allow Americans to ridicule our religion and our Holy

Quran,” Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri told the crowd, asking the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to convene a special session to condemn the incident. In Karachi, hundreds of activists of Jamaatud Dawa chanted ‘Death to America’. “There is just one remedy for America — Jihad and only Jihad,” the crowd shouted. “Death to America, death to America’s friends,” echoed slogans. “We do not accept Obama’s apology. The Muslims do not accept his apology, as it is nothing but a farce,” said Naveed Qamar, the head of JuD in Karachi. “The Americans are deliberately provoking us through shameless sins,” he added.

Pakistan MPs call for strengthening of ties with India (Online February 25, 2012) More than diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries, it was dream come true for Gul Mohmmad Khan Jakharani and Ramesh Lal, the members of parliament from Pakistan when they took samadhi darshan at Sai Baba Sansthan here. While paying obeisance at samadhi, the two parliamentarians from across the border minced no words of their wish about further strenthening of cordial ties between two counties. "We had been hearing about Shri Saibaba through various medias, especially the TV serials. Secondly, Baba's message of Sabka Malik ek. categorically indicates towards valu-

ing the relationships, hence this attracted us. Insha allah, our dream of visiting the Sai Baba's Samadhi has come true now", the two parliamentarians said. Conversing in Hindi and English, while interacting with media persons after taking darshan at samadhi mandir, the parliamentarians categorically insisted on more efforts to be made in strengthening the ties between two countries. Ramesh Lal, the MP from Pakistan said, "India is not only a good neighbor but also a good commercial hub so far as business ties are concerned. We look forward towards India as the best place, so far as commercial openings are concerned. And, this shall help both

the neighboring countries in strengthening their economies as well." Meanwhile, referring to following of Shri Sai Baba, the two MPs informed about setting up a special Sai Baba's swaroop in a Shiv mandir of Karachi town where not just Hindus but muslims also visit to pay the obeisence. Accompanied by Dr Yashwantrao Mane, the deputy chief executive officer of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (Shirdi) and officials from sansthan, the two parliamentarians visited Dwarkamayee where they took darshan of Dhuni and museum to see the robes, vessels and beds used by Shri Shirdi Saibaba during his life time.

Lok Sabha speaker prays for India-Pakistan peace (Online February 25, 2012) An Indian delegation led by Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kamar spent a busy day in the provincial metropolis. Talking to the media, she said she was ‘pleasantly shocked’ to see the love of Pakistanis for Indians. The delegation visited the Punjab Assembly and witnessed for some time its proceedings. Ms Kamar also held a meeting with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal who hosted a luncheon in the honour of the visiting team. She later paid a visit to Data Dabar to pay homage to Lahore’s patron saint and also went to Minar-i-Pakistan as

well as the Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Talking to the media at the assembly building and later at the Data Darbar, she said she was ‘pleasantly shocked’ to see the love of Pakistanis for Indians. She prayed for the cordial relations and peace in India and Pakistan. At the luncheon meeting, Speaker Rana Iqbal said interference could not be tolerated in the internal affairs of the country. He called for resolving all issues through dialogue. He said: “We want peace in the world, however, we cannot compromise on integrity and solidarity of the

country.” He said both Pakistan and India should fight poverty and unemployment as these were common problems of the people across the borders. Expressing her good wishes for progress and wellbeing of Pakistan and its people, Ms Kamar said it was a historical occasion for her as she was the first Indian speaker to visit Pakistan. She said parliamentary exchanges would bring the people of both countries closer.

Voting for 10 constituencies continue (Online Feb25, ruary By2012) elections for 10 seats of National and provincial assemblies continued on Saturday across the country. With the exception former of PML-N leader J a v e d Hashmi, most of the seats have been vaby cated members of ruling parties, mainly to join the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf. The election commission has set up 980 polling stations where voters were casting there ballots for six nationals and four provincial seats. Polling would continue till 5pm. Of six seats of the National Assembly, only one fell vacant because of the death of MNA Azeem Daultana, who died in a road accident last month. Azeem Daultana, the grandson of Punjab’s former chief minister Mumtaz Daultana, had won the seat in the 2008 general elections from NA-168 (Vehari) on the PPP ticket, defeating his aunt Tehmeena Daultana of PMLN and Ishaq Khakwani of PML-Q. Due to election alliance between PPP and PML-Q, the odds on this seat are reported to be in favour of Natasha Daultana of PPP whose rival candidate is PML-N’s Bilal Akbar Bhatti. All other five seats fell vacant because of resignation of MNAs belonging to PPP, PML-F, PML-N and ANP, who later joined the PTI. For by-election on NA-149 (Multan– II) seat vacated by Makhdoom Javed

Hashmi, there were 10 candidates, seven of them independents. Sheikh Muhammad Tariq Rashid of PML-N, Malik Liaquat Ali Dogar PPP’s and Sardar Safdar Abbas Khan Baloch of MMA-Pakistan, are prominent among 10 candidates. By-election is also being held for Multan-I (NA-148) seat which fell vacant because of resignation Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi who joined the PTI. Syed Ali Musa Gilani, son of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, of PPP and Malik Abdul Ghaffar doggar of PML-N are among 17 candidates vying for the seat. For NA-195 (Rahim Yar Khan) seat vacated by Jahangir Khan Tareen of PML-F after having joined the PTI, there were 10 candidates. For NA-140 (Kasur-III) by-election, there were 15 candidates and Sardar Muammad Sarwar Dogar of PPP is the only candidate backed by a political party because other 14 contenders in arena will fight elections independently. The seat fell vacant after the resignation of Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali of PPP. Similarly, by-election on NA-9 (Mar-

dan-I) is being held because Nawabzada K h a w a j a Muhammad Khan Hoti quit the ANP and joined PTI. Before joining the ANP, he was a senior member of the PPP and was also the provincial of president PPP. He was general also of secretary PPP during the governPPP ment in 1996. By-election on PP-18 (AttockIV) is being held because of resignation of Malik Kurrum Ali Khan of PPP who later joined the PTI. For PS-57 (Badin-I) seat by-election, besides 16 independent candidates, Hasnain Ali Mirza of PPP, the son of former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza, Ghazi Salehuddin of MQM and Mir Manzoor Ahmed Talpur of PML-N are other candidates. The seat fell vacant after the resignation of Zulfiqar Ali Mirza from the PPP. For PS-53 (Hyderabad-XI) by-election, Mr Waheed of PPP is the only candidate backed by a political party. Ten other candidates are contesting as independent candidates. The seat fell vacant because of the death of Syed Mohsin Shah Bukhari. On PP-44, (Mianwali-II), there were five candidates. Of them two are independents. Mr Adil Abdullah Khan Rokhari of PML-N, Muhammad Sardar Bahadur Baber Khan of PPP and Tahir Javed Khan Salar of PML-F are candidates backed by political parties. The seat fell vacant on the death of Amir Hayat Khan Rokhari of PML-N.

Pasha said military could not ignore memo: Ijaz (Online February 25, 2012) The intelligence chief, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, therefore visited him in London with the consent of Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Ijaz said, while apprising the commission on his meeting with Pasha in London. He was concluding his testimony, via a video link from London, on the third day of hearing before a three-member commission headed by Chief Justice Balochistan High Court (BHC) Justice Qazi Faez Isa. Turn of events Former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani ‘abused’ the whistle-blowing article published in the Financial Times in October 2011, and attempted to persuade Ijaz through ‘common friends’ to keep the memo under wraps, the Pakistani-origin American businessman, Ijaz, told the commission. Haqqani also changed his BlackBerry handsets twice, in an attempt to delete the exchanges between himself and Ijaz stored on the devices, Ijaz alleged. But Haqqani was not aware that I had already transferred the exchanges on my computer, he added. All was not sour between the two at all times, though. After his first article appeared in Newsweek, Haqqani ap-

preciated it, and stayed in touch with him till June 22, Ijaz said. In fact, both were cordial until early September when Haqqani told Ijaz he was going back to Pakistan, and the latter asked him why, given that he had done ‘a good job.’ If you think I’ve done a good job, then inform your contacts in Washington that if they want their problems in Pakistan resolved, I am their man to get that done, Ijaz quoted Haqqani as saying. Meeting Pasha What was the rationale for disclosing the memorandum? The wide condemnation that Admiral Mike Mullen received for his revelation that the ISI was supporting the Haqqani network, which was allegedly behind the attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan, Ijaz said. Ijaz said he wrote the article in reaction to that, and mentioned the existence of the memorandum, sent by a senior Pakistani diplomat with the backing of Islamabad, in the fourth paragraph Within 30 minutes of the article’s publication, Ijaz said, he received a call from Haqqani, asking him if he knew any other Pakistani diplomat so that the blame could be shifted. “I replied that he knows who I knew,

and he then abused my article, and hung up the phone,” Ijaz said. He said he subsequently received a call from a senior staff officer of Gen Pasha on October 13 or 14, requesting for a meeting regarding the memo. The day he was leaving for meeting Gen Pasha, Haqqani called him from an unknown number and expressed fear that the intelligence chief might meet the editor of Financial Times and obtain a copy of the memo. Haqqani did not know that Pasha was coming to meet me, Ijaz added. Earlier, Haqqani’s counsel had objected to the four-page telephone bill provided by Ijaz, saying it was not in his name, and not original. Ijaz said he had provided 4 out of 39 pages of the bill and his name was printed on the first page. He said he cannot provide the entire bill because it contains contacts of family, friends and business associates that he does not wish to make public. He agreed to provide the entire bill to the judges of the commission though, for their verification. Tempers also flared at the hearing after an altercation between Ijaz and Haqqani’s counsel, Zahid Bukhari. The commission adjourned the hearing till March 1.

Pak-US ties: Sherry called back to update Islamabad (Online 25 Feb 2012) Pakistan’s envoy to the United States Sherry Rehman has been called to Islamabad to brief the civilian leadership on bilateral ties as the country prepares for a joint session of parliament to review relations with the US. Rehman is expected to arrive in the capital on Saturday (today), said a government official. This will be her first visit since she was appointed as the country’s ambassador to Washington after her predecessor, Husain Haqqani, was compelled to step down over the Memogate scandal. Another official familiar with the de-

velopment said the ambassador will discuss and update the government about her engagements with US officials, aimed at reviving cooperation between the two fragile allies. Sources say the government is likely to convene a joint session of parliament to review ties with the US following the briefing from Ambassador Rehman. The US is believed to be pushing Pakistan to complete the review process at the earliest. “The US is certainly quite keen to move beyond the [November 26] Nato incident,” said a Pakistani diplomat posted in Washington. The joint session is unlikely to take

place before the Senate elections due on March 2 though. A visiting US Congressional delegation also urged the government to take a decision on the resumption of Nato supplies sooner than later. Speculations were rife that Rehman has been summoned by President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the memo issue but that notion remains unsubstantiated. The president’s spokesperson was not available for comment. “It has nothing to do with the memo issue,” an official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

On the campaign trail: PTI holds Umerkot rally today (Online 25 Feb 2012) The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) heads back to Sindh on Saturday for a rally, and plans to focus on the province’s major political concerns in the months ahead. The party’s February 25 rally in Umerkot is being organised by the Ghousia Jamaat, followers of PTI vice chairperson Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a former Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader who has served as foreign minister. “We are coordinating with them,” PTI Sindh General Secretary Dr Hasan Raza told The Express Tribune. Qureshi chose Ghotki – instead of his base of Multan – to formally announce that he was joining PTI at a November 27 rally that largely comprised Ghousia Jamaat members, who consider Qureshi their spiritual leader.

The PTI’s efforts to build a niche for itself in the province have not yield much yet. Despite the success of its rallies in Ghotki and Karachi, no prominent Sindh-based politicians have jumped ship to the party. Qureshi met several political leaders during his visits to Karachi, including Sindh United Party president Jalal Mehmood Shah, but the nationalists are still wary of the PTI. Qureshi also attended the funeral of Pir Pagaro VII last month. The party believes the Umerkot rally will show “those who hold claim to Sindh” that the Imran Khan-led party has a visible presence in the province. “The people of Sindh have no facilities, there is inflation,” Raza said. “The area that we have chosen for the rally, Tharparkar, is one of the least developed.”

According to the PTI, chairperson Imran Khan will be taking a more active role in promoting the party in the province in the months ahead. Khan told a delegation of journalists from the Sukkur Press Club earlier this week that the party will be travelling across Sindh to persuade people that they need to support the “wave of change”. A press release issued by the party quoted Khan as saying that his “travels through Sindh made him realise that interior Sindh was as backward as Balochistan with feudals and Sardars holding sway” and that “no leader had really done anything for the poor people of these regions.” Qureshi and Khan are scheduled to arrive in Mirpurkhas and will reach Umerkot by 1 pm for the rally.

Balochistan killings: SC asks ISI, MI again to submit reports (Online 25 Feb 2012) The Supreme Court repeated on Friday its earlier directive to the Inter Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence (MI) to submit their reports on ‘senseless and indiscriminate’ killings in Balochistan. The directive to submit reports on the deteriorating law and order in the province was issued after a threejudge bench headed by Justice Mian Shakiurullah Jan decided to consider on March 7 the government’s request to hear premier intelligence agencies on the Balochistan situation in camera. The bench had taken up a petition of former President of Balochistan High Court Bar Association (BHCBA) Hadi Shakeel on the breakdown of law and order, target killings and rampant cases of kidnapping for ransom in the province. On Jan 27, a different bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had also ordered top intelligence agencies to submit reports on the indiscriminate killings in Balochistan.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik had announced on Wednesday the government’s willingness to withdraw cases against Baloch leaders living abroad in exile. The minister said that cases against the founder of the Baloch Republican Party, Brahamdagh Bugti, Balochistan Liberation Army leader Nawabzada Harbayar Marri and other leaders would be quashed in line with the government’s policy of reconciliation. When the Supreme Court resumed the hearing of the case on Friday, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq submitted a written statement on behalf of intelligence agencies, requesting the court for an in-camera hearing on the Balochistan situation similar to the earlier hearing on Karachi killings. The AG said the situation in Balochistan was very complex and, therefore, agencies had been seeking more time to compile a comprehensive report. The AG also told the bench that he had already conveyed the directive of the court to the ISI and MI to submit

their reports, but they were seeking more time due to the sensitivity of the situation in the province. The court rejected a report submitted by Sindh’s additional advocate general on the killings of members of the Domki family, and termed the findings equivalent to “zero”. Meanwhile, the additional advocate general told the court that police had launched a search operation and inspected a 500 Suzuki Alto and a 108 Dahatisu Cuore, which according to witnesses, had been allegedly used in the killing of the members of the Domki family. The court observed that it had ordered the provincial police to carry out investigations with their “eyes wide open”, whereas findings suggested otherwise. “The police have failed to produce tangible results,” the court said. The court summoned Sindh’s IG on March 7 with a direction to inform the court why supervision in the case had not been carried out properly.

Salala air raid: US plans to apologise stymied by protests (Online 25 Feb 2012) The United States planned to move past the deadly airstrike in Pakistan, and re-boot diplomatic relations, but the plan was stymied this week by riots in Afghanistan set off after copies of the Holy Quran were burned at a Nato base on Monday night. Pakistan-US relations plunged to a new low following the November 2011 airstrike on Pakistani border posts in the Salala area of Mohmand Agency that killed two dozen Pakistani border guards. The US refusal to aplogise over the deadly attack further infuriated Pakistanis and threatened their decade-long partnership in the war against terror. Under a carefully coordinated plan, the military had planned for General Martin E Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to make a formal apology via telephone to Pakistan’s Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, on Thursday, NYT reported quoting a Defence Department offi-

cial. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also to have amplified on that apology in her meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, the official added. But the plan was upset by the explosion of violent rioting in Afghanistan. Obama administration officials quickly calculated that too many regrets at once would hand fresh ammunition to Republican presidential candidates, the official added.

A senior Pakistani official said his government also wanted the American apology to be delayed until at least mid-March, when the Pakistani Parliament is due to hold a special sitting to debate the country’s policy toward America.

Memorial Day MARSHALL ISLANDS - Mar 01

Marshall Islands celebrates Memorial Day or Nuclear Victims’ Memorial Day every 1st of March every year. The holiday serves to commemorate those who perished in the nuclear done in Marshall Islands. The holiday was used to be called Decoration Day. The Marshall Islands were named after British navigator John Charles Marshall when he arrived in the Islands in 1788. Several countries managed to invade the Island, from Spain, Germany, Japanese, and later the United States of America after the latter’s invasion on the Island against Japanese Imperial forces in World War II.

HISTORY

From 1946 to 1958, motivated by exploring the potential of nuclear weapons in warfare, the US made Marshall Islands as test site for its various nuclear tests. The US approximately conducted around 67 nuclear tests in the Island which contaminated most of the Island country’s territory. The Bikini Island, known previously as Escholtz Atoll during the Second World War, became a test site for various nuclear tests by the US (Operation Crossroads). The US conducted atomic bomb tests in the area to determine radioactive fallout’s effects on naval vessels. Bikini and Enewetak, two of the country’s major atolls, were sites for this nuclear experiment. The Castle Bravo, the largest atomic bomb test ever made by the US in the island caused so much damage and contamination in the surrounding Islands with health effects lingering until today. Marshall Island and the US are in a dialogue for nuclear claims that had happened in the area during the Nuclear test era.

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND ACTIVITIES

People in the Marshall Islands celebrate Memorial Day by visiting memorials and cemeteries to honor those who died in the nuclear tests in the country. Public speeches are conducted along with parade and cultural events.

Martyr's Day MALAWI - M a r 0 3

Every year, Malawi, formerly known as Nyasaland, a landlocked country in Southeast Africa, celebrates Martyr’s Day every third day of March yearly to commemorate the popular uprising in Malawi protesting British colonial rule. This resistance has caused the lives of more than forty men during the revolution. It is this day when the country mourns those whose lives were perished just to liberate the country from the foreign rule.

History In 1953, Malawi and its neighbour country Nyasaland (pre-

sent day Malawi), formed a confederation called Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, in an effort to halt the discriminatory policy applied against the African population in Rhodesia and for fear that it may also spread and eventually be adopted in Nyasaland. Dr. Hastings Kamuz Banda became one of the prominent figures of the revolt who immediately became the first president of Malawi in 1966, two years after the declaration of Independence of Malawi. The popular revolt started when John Chilembwe, a US trained Malawian soldier, revolted against the British in 1915 when African soldiers were forced to serve the British colonial army. Chilembwe, along with other brave men during that time, began taking offensives against the British colonial government forces during that time. The war ended only when Chilembwe was assassinated along the borders of the Portuguese-controlled African republic Mozambique and the country in the same year. Numerous wars and power struggles happened in the Nyasaland and Rhodesia region after the initial war ensued which led to the then Queen of England in 1959 declaring state of emergency on these African protectorate territories in an effort to finally put an end to the rebellion. The first president installed during that time was sent for exile in Zimbabwe and put behind bars during the rebellion. One of the most momentous incidents during the rebellion is the massacre that happened in northern lakeshore in Nkhatabay where, more or less, 30 people have died. The British colonial army gunned down and killed unarmed African natives who were peacefully demanding negotiations for the eventual independence of the Nyasaland. The rather peaceful negotiation turned out to be a bloody massacre of people who were killed by riffle bullets and some drowned in Lake Malawi. After the dissolution of The Federation (1963), Nyasaland finally gained independence from the government of Britain and was renamed Malawi. The country prospered during Banda’s rule until he was deposed in 1994 after a new president was elected (Bakili Muluzi) under the new multiparty system.

TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND ACTIVITIES

Martyrs’ Day is considered as a national holiday in Malawi. During the celebration, public offices including schools and some private companies are closed. The government conduct ceremonial speeches to commemorate those whose lives were lost during the rebellion leading to the independence of the state. The president and other public officials attend local gatherings remembering the fallen heroes including the laying of wreaths on monuments dedicated to the popular personalities of the liberation.

HUNGARY Parliament supports Hungary’s membership of the EU Fiscal Compact (Online February 22, 2012) On Monday Parliament approved Hung a r y ’ s membership of the new EU Fiscal Compact, by adopting a proposal from Minister of Foreign Affairs J á n o s Martonyi. The content of the Compact was agreed by EU heads of state and government, and the treaty related to it will be signed by leaders of participating Member States at a session of the European Council on 1-2 March. The Compact will come into force on 1 January 2013. A week ago in Parliament, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that all the elements of the Compact are acceptable for Hungary. He stressed that last December the Hungarian government did not automatically agree to the ‘crude, vaguely defined draft,’ but in the meantime the country’s aims had been achieved: common budgetary rules are to be made compulsory for eurozone countries, but for other states only after they have joined the eurozone. Another important achievement he mentioned was that the Compact makes

no reference to tax harmonization, which he said would not be in the country’s interests. The Government submitted the full text of the final treaty with the parliamentary proposal. According to this the signatories (the seventeen eurozone countries and other Member States agreeing to the Compact), must not allow their annual structural deficits to exceed 0.5% of nominal GDP. There will be an automatic correction mechanism, triggered if a country deviates significantly from its medium-term objective or its adjustment path (the treaty only allows this in extraordinary circumstances). A rule related to the above will also be introduced into the legal systems of Member States, at constitutional level or equivalent. All signatories

shall recognise the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in ensuring that the rule is applied, and its power to impose financial penalties for infringements. The Compact obliges Member States subject to excessive deficit procedure to submit an economic partnership programme to the Commission and the Council for approval. Such a programme will detail the structural reforms necessary to ensure an effective and long-lasting correction of such an excessive deficit. The implementation of the programme, and the related annual budgetary plans will be monitored by the Commission and the Council. For better coordination in issuing government securities, signatories will announce in advance to the Council and the Commission their plans to issue them. The Government will ask the Constitutional Court to rule on whether ratification of the new EU Compact requires a two-thirds or a simple majority in Parliament.

Opportunities for social inclusion for those living in deep poverty, and in segregation (Online February 23, 2012) The Hungarian Government is launching a comprehensive 4.7 billion-forint settlement rehabilitation programme using EU funds, for which local governments may submit their applications by 31 March 2012. The sub-measure coded 5.3.6.-11-1 within the Social Renewal Operational Programme (SROP, in Hungarian: TÁMOP) provides opportunities for social inclusion for those living in disadvantaged settlements, in deep poverty, and in segregation. The EU funding allocated for this application is higher than the total budget of all programmes for similar aims over the past six years. This programme, launched by the State Secretariat for Social Inclusion at the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice (KIM), is a new basis for Roma integration policy, and part of the National Social Inclusion Strategy of Hungary (adopted last year). The latter aims, among other things, to involve those concerned, and encourage them to participate in programmes. We can only achieve real results through comprehensive programmes such as this. The EU call for applications launched today contains numerous new elements compared to previous projects with similar aims and topics. In the comprehensive settlement rehabilitation programme, the social inclusion and integration of participants is assisted with comple-

mentary measures: social, communal, educational, healthcare, training and employment interventions. One of the most important new elements of the application is that both during the tendering process and when implementing the project applicants may obtain professional help from the background institute of the State Secretariat: the Türr István Training and Research Institute (Türr István Képző és Kutató Intézet, TKKI). Professional assistance is available from today, at bizalomesmunka@tkki.hu. This service may be provided to those local governments registering at this address by 7 March 2012; consortia may be developed up to 16 March, and the finalization of programme plans must be achieved by 25 March. In previous years there have been similar procedures related to slum clearance, but programme elements aimed at individual and human development were absent or ineffective. This programme aims to give a chance of social inclusion to those people living in inadequate conditions or slums; it also provides employment opportunities and learning − on the basis of personal development plans − and the alteration or creation of community spaces for social services (e.g. nursing care, consultancy, day-care facilities etc.). In many cases services will be available on a local basis − including early childhood development, med-

ical services, administration of official papers, and promoting peaceful co-existence between majority and the minority populations. This will enable more successful inclusion. At the same time, the programme benefits settlements, since positive results from development of run-down neighbourhoods will soon be felt by less deprived areas. Total funding available is 4,679,914,745 forints; the amount which can be requested per applicant ranges from 45 to 150 million. Submissions will take place in two stages: the first stage is a submission period of ten days from the announcement of the application (up to 31 March 2012); in the second stage, submissions may be made from 1 to 31 August 2012. The number of successful applications will probably be between 30 and 50. Contracts with winners may be signed in September 2012; implementation of projects is planned to be between 24 and 36 months. The application launched now is a continuation of the nationally-funded project with the working title “Comprehensive labour market pilot programme linked to housing and training elements for people living in segregation and in extreme poverty.” This had a budget of 410 million forints, and was realized in four locations: Ózd; Tiszaroff and Szolnok; Komló and Vajszló; and Nyíregyháza.

János Martonyi’s visit to Prague (Online February 21, 2012) On 21 February 2012 János Martonyi paid an official visit to the Czech Republic. The Hungarian Foreign Minister participated in discussions with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and was received by President Václav Klaus and Miroslava Nemcová, Chairperson of the Lower House of the Parliament. In the conversation with Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, the parties discussed the most significant EU and international issues.

They devoted special attention to the EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, the advancement of the Eastern Partnership, the noteworthy developments in energy and security policy. In the meetings, the parties pointed out that the Hungarian-Czech relations were excellent, open, and friendly. It is an important interest of the Visegrád countries to further strengthen their cooperation and enforce Central European solidarity on the level of the European Union as

well. After the discussion with his partner, János Martonyi said the economies of the region were not performing poorly even in the current difficult situation. Concerning the criticism of the work of the Hungarian Government, the Czech Foreign Minister emphasised that opinions might differ on the situation in Hungary, but it was groundless to doubt the Hungarian people’s commitment to democracy.

The position of the Government of Hungary on the proposal adopted by the European Commission today (Online February 22, 2012) The European Commission today issued a to proposal suspend in part committhe ments from the Cohesion Fund for Hungary in 2013. Our govreernment gards it as an unfounded and prounfair posal. It is unfathwhy omable the European Commission has ignored the Hunfacts: gary’s budget deficit was, for the first time since we joined the European Union in 2004, below 3% in 2011 and will remain so this year as well, which makes it the country with the eighth lowest deficit in the European Union. In response to the European Commission’s forecast of a 3.25% budget deficit in 2013 we took further steps to reduce next year’s deficit by 0.4% of GDP so that it re-

mains below 3% again. Our Prime Minister duly informed the President of the European Commission about these measures. Consequently, the Hungarian government adopted all the necessary decisions to meet the expectations and requirements of the European Union. The proposal adopted by the European Commission today is also con-

troversial from a legal point of view: it contradicts the spirit of the Treaties since it imposes sancin tions response to a presupposed future event. The facts and f i g u r e s demonstrate that the economic policy of the Hungargovernian has ment our taken country in the right direction - for example, economic growth of 1.7% last year surpassed the growth rate of the EU as a whole and of the euro zone as a whole. At the same time Hungary has been able to decrease its Government debt, which was the legacy of past governments. Nevertheless, the government remains ready for continued consultations with the institutions of the European Union.

János Martonyi’s meeting with the delegation of the Venice Commission (Online February 22, 2012) conversation the parties discussed the legislative intent and background behind the cardinal laws regulating churches and courts, and exchanged views on the legal and professional concerns as well as on the

critical comments concerning these laws. On 20-21 February the delegation of the Venice Commission composed of independent experts on constitutional law participates in discussions in Budapest about the laws on the

legal status and remuneration of judges, on the structure and administration of courts, and on the churches. The Venice Commission is expected to have issued its opinion on the above-mentioned laws by the middle of March.

Hungary welcomes the new Chairperson of the African Union (Online February 22, 2012) At the meeting of its Assembly on 31 January 2012, the African Union elected Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin as its new Chairperson. Boni Yayi has been appointed at a historic moment, when the African

Union faces serious challenges in creating peace and security on the continent, solving crisis situations in Africa, and easing poverty affecting broad layers of society. Boni Yayi’s commitment to democracy has already been acknowledged by the in-

ternational community. We are convinced that the African Union under his leadership gains new impetus in these areas. Hungary assures the African Union and the AU’s new Chairman of its support.

Common European action for the creation of the missing energy infrastructure (Online February 20, 2012) Tamás Iván K o v á c s Deputy State Secretary for European Union and International Affairs outlined Hungary’s position in issues related to European energy infrastructure development and energy efficiency improvement at the European Union’s Transport, Telecommunication and Energy Council meeting held on 14 February, 2012 in Brussels. The Energy Council discussed the draft regulation on trans-European infrastructure at first reading. In his address, Mr Kovács stated that Hungary welcomed support to building the missing infrastructure as a major step on the way towards creating a single internal energy market. The Member States must be given a pivotal role in the selection and control of the projects of common interest and the actions promoting their implementation, Tamás Iván Kovács stressed. The Hungarian Government agrees with the approach that during the selection and implementation of the projects of common interest, primarily those alternatives must be given preference that are also feasible on a market basis. However, when the decisions are made the social and economic impacts should not be disregarded, and the option of using, should the need arise, EU funds must be maintained, Mr Kovács added. The draft regulation determines nine strategic trans-European energy corridors and sets three priority horizontal objectives: the deployment of smart networks, the electricity “highway” and the development of crossborder networks. Hungary is included in four priorities: electricity

interconnections in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe, the north-south gas connections in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe, oil pipelines in Central and Eastern Europe, and the southern gas corridor. The North-South energy corridor regional working team, initiated by the European Commission, has identified numerous projects affecting Hungary. These are unlikely to be established on a purely market basis, but may become projects of common interests pursuant to the regulation. The southern gas corridor is one of the pillars of supply to Hungary and the Central European region. As the affected countries share the interest of importing natural gas from the Caspian region, priority treatment of the related projects is justified. During discussion of the energy efficiency directive, the Hungarian delegation considered it useful to create a uniform, common methodology for monitoring progress in order to make the 20% targeted for 2020 feasible. The largest potential in maintaining the level of primary energy, reducing dependence on imported energy, and the creation of new and stable jobs lies in the improvement of energy saving and enefficiency. A massive ergy programme for improving building

services can help cut heat demand by a volume corresponding to ten percent of the current primary energy demand in Hungary by 2030. Based on Hungarian experts’ estimates, more than 40,000 new jobs can be created in construction industry if the planned level of building services programmes is implemented. Due to the slowdown in investments and the underlying bank lending in the wake of the economic crisis, the achievement of appropriate efficiency improvement is a serious challenge for the industry as well as the agriculture. In the Hungarian representatives’ opinion the successful practical implementation of the directive requires higher stress on the creation of new financial and financing means, Tamás Iván Kovács stated. In summary of the most important conclusions of the informal ministerial meeting held on 10 February 2012 on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Mr Kovács confirmed, on behalf of the Hungarian Government, that the common European energy policy must be build on four closely interconnected pillars: the safety of stocks, consumers’ purchasing power, industrial competitiveness and cutting greenhouse gas emission. The simultaneous achievement of these objectives requires the analysis of the utilisation of all available low-carbon technologies, leaving Member States’ freedom to choose unaffected. The competent leaders and experts of the 16 European countries delegating representatives to the meeting plan to regularly consult and exchange their experiences in this issue.

State Secretary Endre Kardeván holds talks with Saudi Arabian Minister of Agriculture (Online February 19, 2012) The Minister of Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will visit Hungary in the near future – this was one of the agreements concluded between Endre Kardeván and Dr. Fahd Bin Abdulrahman Balghunaimmal during their meeting in Riyadh. At another important meeting, the State Secretary for Food Chain Control Supervision of the Ministry of Rural Development discussed what criteria Hungarian business must meet in order to export their food products to Saudi Arabia. During the course of the official visit, State Secretary for Food Chain Control Supervision of the Ministry of Rural Development Dr. Endre Kardeván met Minister for Agriculture Dr. Fahd Bin Abdulrahman Balghunaim in his Riyadh office on

February 18, 2012. The meeting may be considered a milestone in Hungarian-Saudi relations, as this is the first time that such high-level talks have been organised between the two Ministries. Minister Balghunaim and his entourage listened with great interest to the various presentations on the state of the Hungarian agriculture and its food industry, and on opportunities for investment in Hungary. A delegation of businessmen also accompanies the State Secretary on his three-day official visit to the country. The Minister expressed his recognition of what he has heard and stressed that he had accepted the invitation of Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas and would be visiting Hungary in the near fu-

ture. Both parties at the cordial and friendly meeting agreed that the discussion had laid the foundations for long-term Hungarian-Saudi agricultural cooperation. Dr. Endre Kardeván also held a meeting with his Saudi counterpart, Deputy Director of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority Dr. Ibrahim Bin Saad Al-Mohaizea, on Saturday. This was the first opportunity for the leaders of the Hungarian and Saudi Arabian food safety authorities to discuss and clarify exactly what criteria and regulations Hungarian businesses must comply to in order to begin exporting their foods and food products to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Commemoration of the anniversary of the murders of Roma in Tatárszentgyörgy (Online February 23, 2012) Three years ago, a child died in Hungary – he and his father were killed because they were Roma. This unspeakable crime was later followed by further murderous attacks on men, women and children of Roma origin in other towns. In 2008 and 2009 a series of nine attacks were committed against people of Roma origin; six people were murdered and five were seriously injured. The attack in Tatárszentgyörgy took place on 23 February 2009, when a house in a Roma district was attacked with Molotov cocktails. Róbert Csorba and his five-year-old son Robika were shot as they fled their home. A delegation from the State Secre-

tariat for Social Inclusion laid a wreath at the grave of the two victims, one day prior to the anniversary of the murders. We commemorate the anniversary of the Tatárszentgyörgy murders every year. We shall not forget the victims and we express our firm resolve to stamp out hate crime in Hungary, whoever the victim may be. Lest anyone claim that one human life is more valuable than another, we consider such words to be a justification for hatred, and declare those killed in Tatárszentgyörgy and other settlements to be the victims of such hatred. Those victims were our equals, and they deserve the same justice as all of us. Every human life is equally impor-

tant, and the taking of any life is a crime – whether Roma as in Tatárszentgyörgy or Nagycsécs, or non-Roma as in Olaszliszka. The standard should be the same. Victims of hate must be defended, regardless of their age, their past, their ethnicity or nationality. The guilty must be punished under the law. On 21 August 2009 four men were arrested in connection with the series of attacks, and on 25 March 2011 criminal proceedings were launched. The trial is still ongoing. The shock and public concern resulting from these atrocities is a measure of their unprecedented and exceptional nature in Hungary; all democratic forces in Hungary unequivocally condemned the crimes.

There must be acknowledgement of the past – we remember the victims of communism (Online February 23, 2012) On Saturday 25 February across the country there will be commemoration events for the victims of communism. On this day in 1947 Béla Kovács, the Secretary General of the Independent Smallholders’ Party, was unlawfully arrested and deported to the Soviet Union. Following a decision adopted by the first Orbán government in 2000, all secondary education institutions mark this anniversary. The Government of Hungary’s official commemoration event will take place this Saturday afternoon outside the House of Terror Museum at Andrássy út 60; this institution is ten years old this year. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday the Government welcomes all those who wish to place remembrance candles and lampions outside Andrássy út 60, to honour victims of the communist dictatorship. At 4 p.m. a memorial event will also take

place at this location, in which the following speakers will take part: László Balás-Piri, President of the Board of Trustees of the Public Foundation for the Research of Central and East European History and Society; Gábor Tallai, Programme Director of the House of Terror Museum; Mária Schmidt, Director of the House of Terror Museum; Csaba Hende, Minister of Defence. Singer Eszter Váczi will perform, and the new video by singer-songwriter Ákos will also be shown. The House of Terror Museum, which has had more than four million visitors in the past decade and has become a place of national remembrance, can be visited for free on Remembrance Day for the Victims of Communism. The victims of communist regimes worldwide are estimated at 100 million. In Eastern Europe, the number of those who died in famine, in

labour camps or were executed on political grounds was around one million. The number of those physically and psychologically crippled by the everyday reality of dictatorship was much higher, however. Parliament adopted a resolution on 13 June 2000 which made 25 February Remembrance Day for the Victims of Communism. On this day we remember the tens of thousands of people who were separated from their families and taken to labour camps, our fellow Hungarians who were executed on the basis of trumped-up charges, and resistance heroes who died martyrs’ deaths. On this day we remember all those who became victims of a system of violence, their families and loved ones slandered by the communist regime. We can also look back with pride on the nation's perseverance and unquenchable desire for freedom, which buried the sins of a failed system.

Presidential medal to teachers at MOGYE (PR) President Pál Schmitt presented the Medal of the President of the Republic to Béla Szabó, the deputy dean of the Medical and University in Pharmaceutical Mures Marosvásárhely/Targu (MOGYE), in recognition of his work promoting Hungarian language medical training in Transylvania and the future thereof.

Teachers at the university have been fighting for one year for establishment of a Hungarian language department at the university, in compliance with current law, said Zsuzsanna Répás, Deputy State Secretary for Hungarian communities abroad in her address. As already known, the new Romanian Education Act published in January

2011 recognises the university as a multicultural institution, in addition to the Kolozsvár-based Babes-Bolyai University and the University of Fine Arts in Marosvásárhely. It also directly ordains the setting up of a Hungarian department. The President underlined that the honour also belongs to all those who took part in this outstanding achievement.

PACE condemns any form of enforced population transfer (PR) In a resolution adopted on 27 January on the basis of a report by Lithuanian Egidijus Vareikis (European People’s Party), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expressly condemned any form of enforced population transfer in Europe and elsewhere in the world, a practice which involves moving persons into or out of an area, either within or across an international border, or within, into or out of an occupied territory, without their free consent. The Assembly pointed out that enforced population transfer violates international human rights law and also international criminal law and international humanitarian law, as

well as principles of public international law, and called on the Council of Europe member States to condemn any such practice – including in their international relations with States outside Europe. PACE also asked the member states to promote in international fora the adoption of an international, legally binding instrument consolidating the existing standards set out in different instruments of international law. The Assembly also reminded of the need expressed in 2006 for the establishment of a memorial centre of enforced population transfer and for victims of ethnic cleansing. Ferenc András Kalmár, Hungary’s Christian-Democratic deputy, said

that in 1920, after the Treaty of Trianon, more than 350,000 Hungarians fled from annexed regions to the reduced territory of Hungary. After the Second World War Hungarians were deported in large numbers from Czechoslovakia, said Mr. Kalmár. He referred to the opinion of the Council of Europe related to Slovakia’s application for COE membership. Although the European organisation has taken a stand against the Benes Decrees that sought to justify deportations on the principle of collective guilt, Slovakia has still not revoked them – indeed, their legal status was strengthened in 2007.

Most-Híd members allegedly involved in Gorilla case (PR) The ‘Gorilla case’ seems to be a hard nut to crack in Slovakia today. The wire-tapping scandal code-named ‘Gorilla’ that came to light a few weeks ago indicates extensive links between political parties and the country's largest financial groups (Penta), involving corruption during Mikuláš Dzurinda's second government (2002-2006). Among the parties involved, the Gorilla case features Anna Bubeníková, the former top official at the National Property Fund (FNM), who has been at the centre of corruption allegations related to the transfer of huge commissions from privatisation in 2006. On Sunday Jan Rejda, former head of the special operations department of the Anti- Corruption Office said that copies of surveillance recordings and transcripts from the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) supporting the authenticity of the

Gorilla documents probably exist. Mr. Rejda also confirmed that even before he was appointed , former economy minister Jirko Malcharek made several visits to the flat on Vazovova Street, Bratislava (which was wiretapped), during which he met the Penta financial group's coowner Jaroslav Haščák. Mr. Rejda also stated that former prime minister Mikuláš Dzurinda must have had information concerning the Gorilla operation. ‘All output from SIS goes through the Prime Minister,’ he said. According to the wiretapping transcripts, Béla Bugár, former Hungarian Coalition Party leader, was confident in 2006 that his party would get into the ruling coalition after Smer won in that year’s elections, as ‘They were in the Vazovova Street business’ in the two years prior to the elections, and certain senior members of MKP were responsible for allocating ‘Penta com-

missions’ among coalition parties in the Dzurinda government. The MKP experienced a period of division in 2007, and those mentioned in the Gorilla dossier left the party in 2009 to form Most-Híd under Béla Bugár’s leadership. Mr. Bugár rejected accusations in the Slovakian media, but he admitted that he had been in charge of the privatisation of Transpetrol at that time. Dušan Kováčik is the special prosecutor, who is now supervising the 'Gorilla’ investigation. The politicians’ alleged corrupt practices were condemned by thousands of people at a so-called 'Gorilla' protest in Bratislava last Friday, which expressed dissatisfaction with the current political situation in the country. A second event is expected this Friday in Bratislava, with as many as 10,000 predicted to attend.

Election programme of the MKP (PR) The election programme of the Hungarian Coalition Party (MKP) presented by party leader József Berényi in Komárom/Komarno last Tuesday offers solutions for Slovakia’s social, economic, regional and minority problems. ‘The Hungarian minority in Slovakia does not belong to the winners of the last twenty years: the degree of assimilation and migration is great,’ said Mr. Berényi. He added that South Slovakia, populated mainly by Hungarians, was lagging behind in many

fields, and so the MKP is seeking to boost the region in every way possible. The party chairman rated the programme ‘Talk about it’ during December and January as a greater success than expected. It revealed that people primarily expect job creation from parties, and therefore the MKP has placed economic and social matters to the fore. The eighth point of the MKP’s ten-point programme deals with the assertion of the rights of the nearly half a millionstrong Hungarian community in Slo-

vakia. The party is convinced that there is a need for an ethnic party. In the first place, they aim to legislatively endorse the sustenance and advancement of the Hungarian language, culture and ethnic consciousness. The MKP stands for collective minority rights in the long run. The election programme also touches upon the need for nurturing institutionalized relations among Hungarians living in the Carpathian Basin.

Most-Híd looking to implement long-term minority policy strategy (PR) According to the HungarianSlovakian Most-Híd's election programme, the State’s most important roles towards minorities should be constitutionally codified. Most-Híd also intends to ensure legislative protection and development of minorities’ culture, as well as ensuring that their financing reaches the same level as in other Visegrád 4

countries. In their election programme, Most-Híd vow to support co-operation projects within the fields of culture, art and science, as well as intercultural programmes. These should, according to MostHíd, contribute to bringing nationalities within Slovakia closer to each other. Informal education is another tool that Béla Bugár’s party views as

helpful in improving communication between the majority population and minorities in Slovakia. According to its election programme, the party also wants to more strongly enforce students' rights to education in their mother tongues, including the language of the Roma.

Council of Europe monitors minority issues in Ukraine (PR) The Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe (COE) paid a visit to Ukraine in the last week of January to pursue consultations with authorities and minority stakeholders over the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The meeting with leaders of national minorities took place in Lemberg/Lviv. Gábor Szarvas, leader of the Hungarian Cultural Association in Lemberg, reported on the situation of Hungarians dispersed across the region. Mr. Szarvas called the Committee’s attention to the fact that organisations supporting

the culture and mother tongue of small minority communities receive little or no financial support from state and local government bodies. This often threatens the very existence of these organisations. The local representative also brought this up, as since Ukraine’s independence persons representing minorities – such as Russians, Polish, Jews and Hungarians – have not become members of representative bodies of cities. In the capital, Mihály Tóth, honorary president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Ukraine, briefed the COE delegation on the Hungarian minor-

ity. Mr. Tóth voiced criticism over the failure to fulfil the information commitment laid down in the Convention. Related documents are not only not accessible in minority languages, but not even in Ukrainian. The honorary president was concerned about growing anti-Hungarian sentiment, including contempt for historical names and the use of symbols, and the violation of monuments. He also noted that the state commission dedicated to representing minority policy at governmental level had been abolished.

KMKSZ wants Hungarian constituency in Transcarpathia (PR) The Cultural Association of Hungarians in Transcarpathia (KMKSZ) has approached the Ukrainian Central Election Committee (CVK) with a request to create an individual constituency mainly inhabited by citizens of Hungarian nationality for the parliamentary elections due in October. According to the KMKSZ proposal, the future constituency would embrace the region where Hungarians live in a block, and the electoral

area could be complemented with municipalities of mixed population, said KMKSZ chair Miklós Kovács. The desired constituency would have around 150,000 voters, of which 90,000 would be Hungarians. According to the modified Electoral Act in Ukraine, each of the total 225 individual constituencies would have an average of 160,000 voters. 2002 was the last year when voters could vote for individual candidates, the con-

stituency with a Hungarian majority centred on Beregszász/Berehove being a larger one, with 180,000 constituents. ‘The KMKSZ sees the so-called Hungarian constituency as being in the fundamental interest of Transcarpathian Hungarians. Until now, no other political powers have expressed their views on this question, so KMKSZ had to come forward with its conception,’ said Mr. Kovács.


60 Issue | Zarb-e-Jamhoor e-Newspaper | 26 Feb-03 Mar, 2012