Presidency Member Explains Giving Official Car to Wife, Twitter Doesn’t Buy It

A member of the Bosnian tripartite Presidency explained letting his wife drive a Presidency’s car with security concerns, but Twitter mocked his reasons. Bakir Izetbegović, the Bosniak member of the collective head of state, said he had received numerous threats while in office.

“Explosives were found on one person that (sent) threats; a sniper shooter was near my home. I didn’t speak about those things in public so far, and I wouldn’t have if you didn’t ask me. Not only I am at risk, there is also my family,” Izetbegović told reporters in Sarajevo.

However, his statement was met with irony and criticism on Twitter.

“Elsewhere in the world, ‘safe houses’ are used to protect women, but here we prefer ‘safe cars'”

“When a man loves a woman, he send a Skoda to save her”

“Can somebody explain how he protects the wife with a car bought with our money”

“If Bakir received 30 serious threats, he shouldn’t have given his wife an official car to protect her, but an armored vehicle”

Organization Compiles List of Stolen Artwork

A Tuzla-based organization against art smuggling made available a database of stolen Bosnian artworks after two years of working on it. The online database is available on the website of the Center against Trafficking in Works of Art. The organization’s head Dženan Jusufović told Oslobođenje that compiling the database was a painstaking job because of Bosnia’s complicated administration arrangement and the lack of a professional team working on the issue of art smuggling.
Jusufović said that the 109 works of art in the database were reported missing by two institutions and one private collection – the international gallery of portraits in Tuzla, the National Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the private collection of the Mulabdić family.

The database was developed in cooperation with the French Embassy in Bosnia, which is a partner of the project. It contains basic information about the missing artworks – the name of the author, the title, the dimensions, the materials and techniques used, the year of creation, the ownership rights, the time of disappearance and the date of filing the criminal report.
Of the 109 works in the database, 44 belong to the National Art Gallery and 61 to the Tuzla gallery of portraits.

Bosnian Serb Leader Spurns American Ambassador at Death Camp Memorial

President of Republika Srpska entity Milorad Dodik refused to shake hands with the American Ambassador to Bosnia, Maureen Cormack, at a ceremony marking the liberation of a WWII death camp in north-western Bosnia.

The ceremony at Donja Gradina memorial, the execution grounds of Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia, was attended by numerous local and international officials. RS leader Dodik shook hands with the guests, but skipped Ambassador Cormack.

The entity president and leader of SNSD was blacklisted last year by the US State Department for his actions that violated the provisions of 1995 Dayton peace agreement. Dodik identified Ambassador Cormack as the person responsible for the American financial sanctions against him.


Religious Leaders Set to Honor War Victims Together

Members of Bosnia’s interfaith council will visit sites were atrocities were committed during Bosnian war on Monday, April 24, said the council’s current head, Bishop Grigorije of the Serb Orthodox Church. The council officials will convene at Sarajevo’s Jewish Municipality and head out to pray at Kazani, Križančevo Selo, Kruščica and Korićanske stijene. Prayers for the victims at those sites will be led by Bishop of Grigorije, Cardinal Vinko Puljić of the Catholic Church, Boris Kožemjakin of the Jewish community and Husein Smajić of the Islamic Community.

Bishop Grigorije said it was a very important and difficult step, but they wanted to send a message that they bow before every victim and condemn every crime: “It is time that we all sincerely feel ashamed of what has happened between us.”

Fire Reduces Mostar Supermarket to Ashes

A supermarket in Mostar burned to the ground, according to the eyewitnesses. However, there were no casualties reported as the customers and employees were evacuated. Firefighters were still trying to put out the fire Saturday evening as the local roads were cleared for traffic.

Employees of the Bingo supermarket just outside Mostar were reported rushing to fight the flames that broke out in the cargo area. They were soon joined by Mostar firefighters, but the fire spread quickly to the entire supermarket. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

Ambassador Wigemark Opens 2017 Bike Expo

Marking the Earth Day, traditionally celebrated on 22 April worldwide, Head of EU Delegation and EU Special Representative Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark opened the 2017 Bike Expo in the National Museum in Sarajevo. The Bike Expo is an all day event promoting cycling as a healthy lifestyle and one of the key ways of protecting the environment. It includes activities such as the exhibition dedicated to the 130th anniversary of the Sarajevo’s first cycling club, films about cycling and exhibition of bicycles – modern and classical ones.

“Earth Day is an important date that reminds us of how we can all contribute to a better environment. Cycling is indeed a great way to protect the Earth”, said Ambassador Wigemark.

“I would like to thank the National Museum and all other organizers for making this event happen and for shedding light on the longstanding tradition of cycling in Sarajevo.”

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Ambassador Wigemark also highlighted that cycling was an important factor in tourism promotion and that an enabling cycling environment in any city was a precondition for sustained interest in that regard.

“I hope Bike Expo will as of now be a recurring event, and that the EU would be in position to support it”, he said.

EU Envoy Urges Lawmakers Not to Waste “a One Billion Euro Opportunity”

The European Union’s envoy to Bosnia criticized the lawmakers in national parliament for refusing to vote on a set of tax laws that would unlock an International Monetary Fund loan in urgent procedure. Commenting on the Thursday vote in the House of Representatives of the Bosnian Parliament on the set of laws on excise duties, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of EU Delegation and EU Special Representative, said: “Yesterday’s voting makes it harder to improve the country’s infrastructure, attract foreign investment, and create more and better jobs.  At a time of economic uncertainty across BiH and the region, this is a one billion euro opportunity that should not be so easily thrown away.  I would urge all political actors not to slam the door shut on much needed investments and reforms. BiH cannot once again be left behind and lose time on its path to the EU, while the rest of the region is moving forward.”

Parliamentarians rejected urgent procedure for the disputed set of laws which would raise excise taxes for fuel and pave the way toward another installment of a much-needed IMF loan. The package is among the last unfulfilled requirements and contains draft laws on amendments to laws on excise duties, on payments to a single account and allocation of revenue, on the indirect taxation system and on deposit insurance banks. It forms a significant part of the Reform Agenda 2015-18, which aims to bring the country closer towards European Union membership.

However, for citizens, it means increasing the price of a liter of fuel by 0.15 KM, which will pose an unwelcome additional burden on farmers.

The money raised that way should be used to finance road construction.