Sarajevo Book Fair Opens

Sarajevo’s international book fair opened at the Skenderija center. 150 publishers from Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia, as well as cultural centers and foreign embassies, are exhibiting at the fair. Director of the Skenderija Amer Kapo said that Sarajevo is a culture and literature center at this time of the year and promised a fair that will leave the publishers wanting to come back next year.

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In cooperation with the Foundation Mak Dizdar, 100 years since the birth of Bosnian poet Mak Dizdar will be marked at the fair.

Muris Šehic from Šahinpašić publishing, a partner of the fair, wished the publishers a successful six days at the fair and thanked the Skenerija center for the parthership.

The fair will be open until 24 April, from 10 to 19 hours. Admission is free.

IMF Lowers Bosnia Economic Growth Forecast

The International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecast for Bosnia’s 2017 economic growth to 3.0% from 3.2% predicted in October, according to the latest edition of the World Economic Outlook report. In 2018, Bosnia’s economic growth is expected to pick up to 3.5% before hitting 4.0% in 2022, the IMF said in the April edition of its WEO report. In 2016, Bosnia’s economy expanded by 2.5%, the IMF said.

The IMF upheld the projection from its October WEO report that Bosnia will swing to inflation in 2017 after four consecutive years of deflation. The global lender forecasts end-of-period inflation of 1.9% in 2017 and 2.1% in 2018.

Bosnia’s current account deficit is forecast at 6.3% of GDP in each of 2017 and 2018, before narrowing to 4.3% in 2022. In the October edition of its WEO report the IMF projected 6.0% current account deficit in Bosnia in 2017.

One in Six Thinks Whistleblowers Should Be Punished

The Regional Cooperation Council carried out a public opinion poll in the Western Balkans on the whistleblowing, as one of the highly effective tools to expose corruption, crime and other serious wrongdoings. An analysis of the survey on both the whistleblowing and protection of whistleblowers in South East Europe was published on the RCC’s website. The report examines how citizens in Southeast Europe view whistleblowers and the practice of whistleblowing. The analysis based on a hard data is the result of surveys of 7,000 people from seven SEE economies.

“Corruption and inefficiency in tackling it continue to be a great concern of societies throughout the SEE. However, as this survey proved, these concerns have not yet been translated into strong public support for whistleblowing”, said Radu Cotici, RCC’s Expert on Governance for Growth.

This survey of citizens’ attitudes to whistleblowing in SEE region shows an underlying pattern of relatively weak support for whistleblowers. Only slightly more than half of 7,000 people surveyed region-wide said whistleblowers should be supported, and only about a third said whistleblowing is acceptable in their society. One in six people said whistleblowers should be punished for their actions. Whistleblowing is seen as one of the most efficient tools to fight and expose corruption.

Organizations like the Council of Europe and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have developed international standards in this field, while most of the governments across the SEE region have put in place laws related to protection of whistleblowers, explained Cotici adding that continuous efforts would have to be made to significantly affect the public opinion in favor of the whistleblowing method.

“Much more work is needed to build an understanding in the population about the use and importance of whistleblowing as a corrective tool in a society’s work to expose and reduce corruption. The survey data provides hard evidence of where societies are in their progression toward better understanding of and action about corruption. Explaining the result of this survey to the public is important in the framework of existing awareness-raising efforts. Without adequate public awareness, it is difficult to garner the support and pressure from the citizenry themselves that is needed to effect change.”

Ms. Izetbegović Emerges from a Presidential Car and Journalists Have Questions

The director of Sarajevo’s main hospital who is also the wife of a member in the national Presidency arrived to Tuzla this week in a car bought by the Presidency, which made some journalists investigate the rules of use of the collective head of state’s official vehicles.

According to Zurnal, Sebija Izetbegović, the KCUS director and wife of Bakir Izetbegović, the Bosniak member in the tripartite Presidency, stepped out of a Skoda sedan registered to the office of Presidency member Izetbegović at the start of her visit to Tuzla’s main hospital on Monday. The car is frequently used by her husband. It was reportedly bought last year, but according to the rules, the Presidency’s official fleet can be used only by the collective head of state and the employees of the institution.

Ms. Izetbegović traveled to Tuzla to meet with the management of the city’s main hospital and discuss closer links between KCUS and Tuzla’s Clinical Center.

Lawmakers Will Vote on Legal Provision That Prioritizes Motorcades

The national parliament will vote this week on changing a provision in the road safety law according to which all vehicles, including ambulances and firetrucks, must yield the right of way to police-escorted cars and motorcades. Lawmaker that initiated the legislation change, Damir Arnaut of the SBB, said the provision was “illogical” and “risked the lives and health of citizens”.

“Ambulances and firetrucks (…) save lives, and vehicles under escort that transport government officials should not have the right of way over such vehicles. The proposed amendments to the law correct the illogical (provision),” said Arnaut.

“The excessive use of the privilege outrages the citizens, as well as foreign diplomats. Add to it the fact that this illogical and life-threatening provision gives those privileged persons the right of way over ambulances and firetrucks when they are saving lives, and the amendments are very much,” said Arnaut.
The right to police escort, provided by the national Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies, have members of the national Presidency, the chairperson and members of the Council of Ministers, top members of the parliament houses, the chief state prosecutor, the president of the state court, VIPs protected on orders of the Council of Ministers and VIPs protected on orders of the police coordination directorate, and foreign officials visiting Bosnia.

Easter Service Held at Main Serb Church in Sarajevo

Easter mass and service were held Sunday at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Sarajevo for the Serb Orthodox Church members. The service was led by Archimandrite Lazar Lazarević, rector of the Seminary in Foca.

After the prayer, the Easter letter of Serbian Patriarch Irinej was read by Archpriest Vladimir Stupar. The Patriarch criticized “attempts to call evil good, and good evil, and make sin something modern and acceptable”. He said young people are given idols and antiheroes instead of virtue and integrity, and encouraged to disobey parents and reject authority.

 

The Patriarch also criticized abortion: “Why the ‘human rights advocates’ aren’t defending the weakest, the unborn children in the womb of their mothers,” the letter read.

Civil Aviation Authority Plans Drone Rules

The national civil aviation authority, BHDCA, will regulate the use of remotely controlled aircraft for owners of drones. According to the rules, drone owners will have to have a licence to fly their gadgets.

BHDCA spokesperson Aleksandar Lalović told Klix that the rules should be modeled on the regulations of the neighboring countries and the European Aviation Safety Agency: “The regulation (of drone use) is of great importance. The safety of all participants in air transportation is the jurisdiction of the BHDCA, so we have to keep the airspace safe from the risks involving drones”, said Lalovic.

The use of drones should require approval of the BHDCA, in accordance with the flight rules. However, Lalovic said the authority received only few requests for approval of the use of drones.

“We didn’t receive a lot of requests as there is no specific regulation on the use of drones yet. Approval was mostly requested by people who fly (drones) at high altitudes. Those who use drones for personal use, like weddings and advertising, didn’t contact us,” said Lalovic.

BHDCA, or any other authority, does not keep records on the number of drones in the country. The sale of drones also isn’t regulated.

According to the BHDCA spokesperson, the rules should be finalized this year.