World Bank Approves €74.5 Million Loan to Bosnia

The World Bank said its board of directors approved a 74.50 million euro loan to Bosnia for the public finances development policy operation. The program will provide budget support to underpin policy efforts by Bosnian authorities to improve transparency of public finances and lower fiscal pressures over the medium-term, the bank said in a statement.

Bosnia has one of the world’s largest public sectors relative to the size of its economy, with general government expenditures nearly 44% of GDP in 2016, and public enterprises adding even more to the public footprint in the economy. The public finances development policy operation supports measures to reduce public spending by as much as 2.3% of GDP in the medium term and lays the groundwork for further structural reforms for a more effective public sector. It is anchored in the Reform Agenda, a comprehensive structural transformation agenda that is supported by all Bosnian governments and by all development partners, including the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank Group.

“The approved programme recognises the efforts of BiH authorities to make public spending more sustainable in the medium-term,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank director for the Western Balkans.

“Tackling the legacy of an unwieldy and ineffective public sector is one of the most important aspects of the country’s Reform Agenda, which is designed to transform the economy in line with European Union criteria and to accelerate growth and job creation.”

Police Crack Down on Migrant Smugglers

Police in Bosnia and in Croatia launched an operation against migrant smugglers, called “Bosphorus”. Officers searched locations and arrested suspects in a coordinated effort to curb the smuggling of migrants and refugees into Western Europe.

 

The operation targeted persons suspected of organizing and planning the smuggling of migrants from Turkey and Syria over the territory of Bosnia and Croatia. The state Prosecution said that the smugglers were charging migrants thousands of Euros.

Six locations were searched in Bosnia and six people were arrested. They are suspected of being part of an international ring that operated in several countries. Croatian police searched fourteen locations in that country.

The suspects will be transferred to the custody of the Prosecution, which will decide on further steps, the Prosecution said.

Vikic Trial Opens

The wartime police chief in Sarajevo and a former Bosnian interior ministry official went on trial over the killing of eight prisoners of war in 1992. The trial of Dragan Vikic, Jusuf Pusina and two former policemen who are accused of crimes against POWs began at the state court in Sarajevo on Tuesday, reports BIRN.

Prosecutor Vesna Ilic said that on April 22, 1992, eight Yugoslav army fighters who had been placed under the command of the Bosnian Serb Army were captured after their transporter got a flat tire in the Dobrinja district. The indictment alleges that Vikic knew the captives were taken to a Sarajevo park, where they were executed. The prosecution argues that Vikic ordered the transportation of the bodies to the Dariva area, where
they were first dumped in a river and then doused with gas and set on fire the next day.

The defendants pleaded not guilty last month.
“My hands and those of the people whom I commanded are clean,” Vikic said.

Sarajevo School Does Education Right

A school in Sarajevo is using creative methods to advance the education of students. Stairs in the elementary school Vladislav Skarić are decorated with physics formulas, chemical compounds, grammar rules, nursery rhymes and quotes. The messages on stairs promote knowledge, respect, joy, play, hard work and humanistic values.

ap_58cec93aac712

Principal Meho Pirić told Školegijum website on education that the idea was taken from another school, but it was expanded to include formulas, grammar and poems. He said the idea was met with praise.

Bosnian schools in general are more likely to promote ideas that have to do with patriotism, religion, national identity and sometimes nationalism. Education is often used to promote group mentality and conservative values.

Bosnia is likely the only European country with segregated schools. So-called “two schools under one roof” in ethnically mixed communities were meant to be a stepping stone towards integrated schools after the 1992-1995 war. They remain divided as there is no agreement on a single curriculum for the three main ethnic groups.

Plastic Components Maker to Expand Production

An Austrian reinforced plastics components producer is to acquire more land adjacent to its existing facility in Laktaši. The manufacturing expansion planned for the site in Aleksandrovac is expected to commence production in the summer of 2017.

Franz Jaksche, director of Jaksche Technology, which has over 40 years of experience in the production of fiber reinforced plastic components, said: “Due to a number of new larger projects and the fact that the industrial zone in Laktaši is very developed, it is important for us to acquire the land for the future expansion of our company.”

Herceg-Bosna Senior Officials Appeal First-Instance Verdicts

An appeals hearing for former Bosnian Croat leader Jadranko Prlic and five others will begin at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia sentenced the six Bosnian Croats in 2013 to sentences of 10-25 years for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia. The hearing is expected to last seven days.

Prlic (57) was sentenced to 25 years in prison on charges of murdering and deporting Muslims during the war. He was a former president and later also prime minister of the self-declared Bosnian Croat statelet of Herceg-Bosna. Also appealing their sentences are former Defense Minister Bruno Stojic and four senior military officials.

In sentencing the defendants, judges ruled the crimes were committed as part of a joint criminal enterprise with the then-leaders of Croatia, which led to longer sentences. The six deny there was a criminal enterprise and are seeking to have a new trial or have their sentences reduced.

A ruling is expected by November of this year.

French Film Week in Kriterion

The 2017 French Film Week will be held at Kriterion art cinema. Six films will be screened from 20 to 23 March. The admission to all screenings is free.

March 20

19:30h

UN + UNE

France, 2015, 1h53

Director: Claude Lelouch

Cast: Jean Dujardin, Elsa Zylberstein, Christophe Lambert

Genre: Comedy

Language: French subtitled in BCS

French famous film score composer goes to India to compose the score for an Indian adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. There he meets the wife of the French ambassador to India, and a complicated relationship ensues.

 

March 22

17:00h

L’ARBRE ET LA BALANCOIRE

Greece / Serbia, 2014, 1h48

Director: Maria Douza

Cast: Mirto Alikako, Mirjana Karanovic, John Bicknell

Genre: Drama

Language: Greek subtitles in BCS

 

19:00h

JE SUIS MORT MAIS J’AI DES AMIS

Belgium / France, 2015, 1h36

Director: Guillaume et Stéphane Malandrin

Cast: Bouli Lanners, Wim Willaert, Lyes Salem

Genre: Comedie

Language: French subtitled in BCS

Jipé is the leadsinger of a succesful rockband. When his mic crashes he continues to sing, but loses his voice. Therefore he cannot scream when he falls into a ditch and dies.

 

21:00h

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN

Romania / Roumanie, 2007, 2h35

Director: Cristian Nemescu

Cast: Armand Assante, Jamie Elman, Razvan Vasilescu

Genre: Comedie dramatique

Language: Romanian subtitled in French

A railway chief delays a NATO train transporting military equipment during the war in Kosovo in 1999.

 

March 23

17:00h

EXCUSE MY FRENCH

Egypt, 2014, 1h39m

Director: Amr Salama

Cast: Ahmed Dash

A Christian kid is forced to go to a public school after his father dies and because of a misunderstanding everyone thinks that he’s a Muslim.

 

19:30h

L’APPARITION DE LA JOCONDE

France, 2011, 1h21

Director: Francois Lunel

Cast: Serge Riaboukine, Vanessa Glodjo, Grégoire Colin

Genre: Comédie dramatique

Language: French subtitled in BCS

A writer suffering from writer’s block goes to Paris to write a screenplay. While unsuccessfully trying to complete the screenplay, he is visited by a lady that believes she has escaped from Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.