30 January 2012

Berovo - Strumica road closed

Berovo - Strumica road Friday is fully closed for traffic for all motor vehicles due to strong winds creating snow drift up to 2 to 3 meters high. Teams of public enterprise "Makedonija Pat" are cleaning the road, Auto-Moto Association of Macedonia (AMSM) informs.
Smrdliva voda-Gevgelija road is passable and the rest of the road to Kozuf ski centre is still being cleaned.
The flow of the traffic on the road network is slow for all types of motor vehicles on wet roads.
Drivers are reminded to adjust their speed and driving actions to the conditions especially on higher places and lanes where landslide is possible.
The intensity of the traffic is moderate outside the urban areas, and the same condition is taking place on the border crossings where there aren't any longer delays needed for accomplishing all the customs formalities.
Winter equipment in vehicles is mandatory until Mar. 15, 2012.
Sunny with moderate cloudiness with low northwest winds across the entire country. The morning temperatures will range from -13C to -1C and daily from -5C to 4C.Similar weather in Skopje with temperatures up to 1C.

Largest Belgian bus manufacturer to invest in Macedonia

Belgium's largest bus manufacturer Van Hool will invest in Macedonia, Daim Iljazi, advisor at the Macedonian Embassy in Belgium, told MIA.Van Hool's decision to build a bus factory near Skopje comes as a result of the year-long embassy activities for attraction of foreign investments.
The embassy has confirmed that the company will start to build the factory in 2-3 months, with an annual capacity of 300 buses intended for the United States market.Van Hool was established in 1947, currently employing about 4,500 people worldwide.

Macedonian investment team presents before Turkish businessmen

Istanbul, Kayseri, Konya, Gaziantep Izmir and Bursa are the cities on the agenda of the Government's team, where Macedonia will be presented January 29-February 3 as an attractive investment destination.
The Turkey road show begins in Istanbul, where the team, led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, is set to hold a working dinner with investors, including the attendance of 60 company CEOs.
According to PM Gruevski, this is the longest presentation before foreign investors, which demonstrates there is great potential, but also interest for Turkish investments in Macedonia.
Turkey has been one of Macedonia's most significant partners, both in the political support with regards to Macedonia's NATO and EU integration process and all international institutions, but also in the economic field.
There has been a trend of cooperation increase and improvement of trading relations, as well as volume of investments.
Turkey has been identified as one of the target states, where investments can be expected in the production of automotive components, ICT, agriculture and food processing, business services and outsourcing, pharmaceutical industry and medical devices, energy and renewable energy sources, tourism, building and infrastructure.
In the course of the visit, the Directorate for Technological-Industrial Developments Zones (DTIDZ) and Turkeys Directorate of Organized Industrial Zones will sign a cooperation protocol.
Gruevski will also meet Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with Macedonian emigrants in Bursa.
PM Gruevski is accompanied by Vice Premiers Zoran Stavreski and Vladimir Pesevski, Economy Minister Valon Saraqini, Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy Ljupco Dimovski, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning Abdilaqim Ademi, Ministers for Foreign Investments Vele Samak and Bill Pavleski, Minister without Portfolio Hadi Nezir, as well as DTIDZ director Viktor Mizo and Agency for Foreign Investments and Export Promotion head Visar Fida.

28 January 2012

Snowfalls Limit movement of Traffic in Macedonia

Snowfalls throughout the country have slowed down road traffic, but there are no major problems in the inter-city, railway and airline traffic.
Flow of traffic on the road network is slow, on snowy and wet roads.
Heavy vehicles are banned at road sections Jazince village-border crossing Jazince and Berovo-Strumica.
Gevgelija-Smrdliva Voda road section is passable and the rest of the road to Kozuf ski centre is still being cleaned.
The Auto-Moto Association of Macedonia recommends caution while driving due to slippery and icy roads, especially at road sections Mavrovo-Debar-Struga, Katlanovo-Veles, and Demir Kapija-Udovo, where landslides are possible.
Skopje bus station said traffic is normal, without any major delays in departures and arrivals. The situation is similar at the Skopje-based railway station and airport "Alexander the Great".
According to the Hydrometeorological Administration, weather will be moderately cloudy and cold with occasional snowfalls and north winds across the entire country.
Morning temperatures will range from -6C to 0C and daily from -5C to 1C.Similar weather in Skopje with temperatures up to -1C.

25 January 2012

NATO to pay $11.1M for Bridge upgrades in Macedonia

Bridges and roads across Macedonia will be reconstructed in the upcoming period under a NATO donation of EUR 8,6 million ($11.1m), Minister of Transport and Communications said after a session of the Government's Economic Council.
The Council is meeting once a week to address the economy related developments and set measures for bolstering Macedonia's growth.
Today, Janakievski said, the session reviewed the last year's conclusions and their realization, as well as the macroeconomic indicators.Commenting the European Commission analysis, which puts Macedonia as the second best among EU candidate and aspirant states regarding the 2011 GDP growth, Janakieski said it was a confirmation of the country's sound economic policies and an impetus for the relevant ministers to keep on with their activities in order to boost the economic growth.
Macedonia's GDP growth is one of the results of this Economic Council, Janakieski said, pointing out that the body will keep applying concrete measures to preserve this and reach the growth, projected by the Government for 2012.

Czech Airlines suspending Prague-Skopje flights

The Czech airline CSA will suspend its direct flights between Skopje and Prague and vice versa by the end of the 2011/2012 winter season i.e. on March 24, MIA reported from the Czech capital.
"Prague-Skopje direct flights are unfortunately not profitable. Moreover, the direct flights are not incorporated into the main model used by Czech Airlines, its spokesperson Hana Hejskova told local media.
The Skopje-Prague-Skopje direct flight was introduced on 17 May 2005. Prague was promoted as one of the most popular European destinations connecting passengers with several cities worldwide.
The Czech national airline ended 2011 with a decrease in the number of passengers by 7.5%, which is a result of company's efforts to cut down air-crafts and flights as a way to tackle the current crisis.

Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra in Oman tour

The Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra tours in Oman on January 23-26. A concert in the spectacular Royal Opera House, which opened last year, will be held in capital Muscat on Wednesday.
"The inaugural season of the new opera house also includes the tours of the Vienna Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as renowned soloists Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Yo-Yo Ma etc", said the Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Orchestra will perform pieces by famous Egyptian composer and instrumentalist Ammar El-Sherei, under the baton of Egyptian conductor Hisham Gabr and oud soloist Salim Al-Maqrashi.
Moreover, the program also includes "Teskoto" by Gligor Smokvarski, a piece which reflects the Macedonian folklore idiom in music for a symphonic orchestra.

23 January 2012

Macedonian Business Association of Canada formed

Macedonian businessmen in Canada in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Republic of Macedonia to Canada have formed Macedonian Business Association of Canada, one of its kind in Canada integrating small and medium-sized companies from different businesses.
The association although formed by Macedonian businessmen is open for other interested entities in this country.
The main goal of this association will be promotion of common business interests among the members, mutual relations, connection with Canadian companies, exchange of experiences etc. In the future the association is foreseen to be connected with similar Macedonian and Canadian association aimed at creating opportunities for new mutual business relations, reads the press release from the association.
The members of the foundation board of the Macedonian Business Association of Canada are Vasko Pastenarov, Antoni Bozinovski, Vesna Anastasova, Zoran Ivanovski, Vase Georgievska, Vlatko Cokov and Filip Spasov. The association has recently launched its website http://www.m-bac.com/register.asp.

"His Arias" - Tose Proeski memorial concert in MOB

The 4. memorial concert honoring Tose Proeski's birthday (January 25) will be held in the Macedonian Opera and Ballet (MOB) on Saturday evening. The concert will differ from the previous three, since Tose's songs will be suited for the opera.
The concert is titled "His Arias", under the baton of Sasa Nikolovski-Gjumar, including the performances by opera soloists from Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria, accompanied by choir "Pro Ars", the MOB Orchestra and Tose's band.
"This is something different, but against suiting Tose, since opera was his great love. Tose had many fans, some of them opera lovers, so this event is an excellent opportunity for them", said Andrej Nikolovski, president of Tose Proeski Foundation, at Friday's press conference.
Culture Minister Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska stressed the concert would unveil another segment of Tose's artistic work, his first love - classical music."The concert includes his songs in new arrangements, adaptations, as well as his interpretations of famous arias, through which we will again be reminded on the power of his vocals and charisma. I believe the concert will be a true enjoyment for all fans and lovers of Tose's music, but also an emotional event", added Kanceska-Milevska.
The first memorial concert was held at Skopje's City Stadium on 5 October 2008, the day when Tose held his final concert a year earlier. The next two were held on his birthday in sports center "Boris Trajkovski".
Tose Proeski was killed in a car crash near Nova Gradiska, Croatia, on 16 October 2007.

Macedonia signs 90m euros Power Plant deal with Bilfinger Berger

Bilfinger Berger is expanding its presence in the promising markets of Southeastern Europe with a major order in power plant service: the Group will modernize all three boilers in the lignite-burning power plant “TPP Bitola” which is part of JSC Macedonian Power Plants, the largest electricity generation company in Macedonia.
The order has a volume of about €90 million and additionally covers the long-term repair and maintenance of the facility. “TPP Bitola” is the most important power plant in the country and provides more than three quarters of Macedonia's electricity needs.
With the modernization, Bilfinger Berger is making a decisive contribution to the reduction of emissions at the power plant and to ensuring that it meets modern environmental standards.In the countries of Eastern Europe, great efforts are being undertaken to fulfill established climate protection requirements. In the next five years, up to 30 conventional power plants in Eastern European countries are to be modernized.
Macedonia is the first country to be follow through with its modernization plans.

20 January 2012

Orthodox believers celebrate Epiphany

Orthodox believers Thursday celebrate the great Christian holiday - Epiphany.
The holiday marks two events in Jesus Christ’s life, according to the Christian Bible. The first event was when the three wise men, or kings, visited infant Jesus. The second event was when St. John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
Epiphany liturgy will begin Thursday morning in “St. Dimitrija” church in Skopje. The Head of Macedonian Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia HH Stefan will perform the Great Theophany Blessing of Water, dipping the Holy Cross and blessing the water of the river Vardar after that 127 believers will jump into the river and will try to catch the Holy Cross. It is considered that the one who catches the cross will enjoy happiness, health and welfare all year long.
The traditional ceremony of throwing the Holy Cross will be held throughout Macedonia, with the largest event in Ohrid.
Nova Makedonija daily is the organiser of the event and this year’s godfather is Sasko Staninov.
The traditional ceremony of throwing the Holy Cross is also held throughout Macedonia, with the largest event in Ohrid.

According to the Law on Holidays, Epiphany is non-working for Orthodox believers.
The holiday marks two events in Jesus Christ’s life, according to the Christian Bible. The first event was when the three wise men, or kings, visited infant Jesus. The second event was when St. John the Baptist baptized Jesus. According to the Law on Holidays, Epiphany is non-working for Orthodox believers.

Daniel Doncevski catches the Holy Cross during Epiphany celebration in Skopje
Twenty-two year old Daniel Doncevski from Kratovo caught the Holy Cross that the Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church HH Stefan threw in the waters of river Vardar on occasion of Epiphany in Skopje. He was the luckiest among the 127 believers that jumped into the waters of river Vardar. He caught the cross also in 2007.
It is considered that the one who catches the cross will enjoy happiness, health and welfare all year long.
Doncevski was given laptop from PM Nikola Gruevski, an icon from Centre municipality and golden coin from Skopje City.
The Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church HH Stefan sent traditional Epiphany message. Many believers attended the event as well as PM Nikola Gruevski.
Epiphany liturgy began Thursday morning in “St. Dimitrija” church in Skopje. The Head of Macedonian Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia HH Stefan performed the Great Theophany Blessing of Water, dipping the Holy Cross and blessing the water of the river Vardar.

Trailer for Mak Movie "Third Half Time"

Macedonian - Dutch Chamber of Commerce Formed

Nearly 50 Macedonian and about 30 Dutch firms founded Wednesday a common chamber of commerce to work on establishing new and strengthening existing business ties and on boosting investments. The new Dutch-Macedonian chamber of commerce announces promotion of Macedonia's economy in the Netherlands and instruments of the Dutch government to develop the private sector in Macedonia in cooperation with the embassies.
"We'll work together to promote Macedonian products better on the Dutch market, to promote Macedonia's economy in the Netherlands and to provide more investments," the chamber's executive director Bob Smith stated.The Dutch way of running a business, he added, is different than in Macedonia. Being Dutch, we complain of seals, signatures, but this may change in the future. But if you get used to these administrative procedures, working in Macedonia is wonderful. Most of the Dutch citizens that come to Macedonia will stay here to start a business," Smith said.
Dutch Ambassador Marriët Schuurman said that despite the economic crisis there was enormous interest in joint projects and businesses between Macedonian and Dutch companies and in investing in Macedonia. The number of companies interested in cooperation through the common chamber in her opinion confirm the firm relations between countries' economies. "We are convinced that the chamber of commerce will assist Macedonian and Dutch companies to examine the vast potential for cooperation between the two countries in an attempt to heighten ties in trade, investments and economy," Ambassador Schuurman noted.
16.5% of the total investments in Macedonia in 2010 were Dutch and they increased by 40% in the first three quarters of 2011 standing at 110 million euros.
"Investments have been significantly increased. Hopefully, this trend will continue taking into consideration the bilateral favourable political and economic relations. I am convinced that many companies from Macedonia export in the Netherlands and I encourage them despite the crisis to be more innovative and to conquer the Dutch market," Economy Minister Valon Saracini said.
He called Dutch companies to consider Macedonia a friendly country and to invest here having in mind all of the benefits offered by the Macedonian government to foreign investments.
Saracini voiced expectation that both countries would resume their cooperation in tourism. 10,000 Dutch tourists visited Macedonia in 2011.
The new chamber of commerce will also focus on organising business trips and conferences on companies from Macedonia and the Netherlands and on providing information about investment opportunities.

17 January 2012

Bitola at -22 C, River Dragor Freezes

Yesterday night and today, Bitola is under freez warning with the temperature plummeting -22 degrees.
Bitola has turned into a ghost town, with only a few indiduals brave enough to go outside mostly because they need to take care of daily chores. The rest are tucked in their homes.
For the first time, the Dragor river is frozen, all of it.
Several dozen families have no water because of bursting of their plumbing pipes. A great number of car batteries went bad, and drivers have not been able to start their cars.

6 Meters of Snow on Kozuf!

Most of the inhabitted areas on Kozuf mountain have around 2.5 meters of snow and are inaccessible by normal vehicles.
However, in numerous locations on Kozuf the snowbanks have reached 6 meters!

Vevcani Carnival 2012 in full Swing

The event unofficially began on January 12 with a concert that will include performances by rock bands from Macedonia and Croatia.The main parade will take place on January 13, where the old new year will be welcomed outdoors in the center of Vevcani. The next day, masks will be set on fire as a ritual.
The Vevcani carnival is supported by the Ministry of Culture and sponsored by Macedonian Telecom.In 1993, the Vevcani carnival, or more precisely, the municipality of Vevcani, joined FECC - the Federation of European Carnival Cities.
The traditional masks of groom, bride and August the Fool will parade in Vevcani on January 13 and 14 at the carnival celebrating the passing of the old year and the coming of the new one according to the old calendar. Culture Minister Elizabeta Kanceska - Milevska will address the official opening.
The carnival honoring Saint Basil the Great is known for its archaic spirit and unique masks mixing pagan rituals and modern celebrations. The carnival takes place in the village of Vevcani, which is magically transformed into a theatre in its own right, free of borders, where every house and every street is a stage for those behind the masks to perform their roles and play their games as true actors.
It's easy to say, no one mocks politicians, celebrities, countries ... better than the Vevcani carnival.

Vevcani carnival is a pearl of Macedonia's tradition, says Kanceska-Milevska
A group mask created by the inhabitants of Vevcani reflecting Macedonian-Greek relations was the most talked about mask among visitors of this year's Vevcani Carnival.
Other masks included US president Barack Obama, a "Flying to Europe" mask, the hand of VMRO-DPMNE, etc. Scenes from cowboy movies were re-enacted and Tito's Pioneers, Muslim priests, dead people paraded through the village of Vevcani. This year, Macedonian politicians were spared, there were no masks making fun of any local politician.
Opening the carnival, Culture Minister Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska said all well-intentioned visitors with a carnival spirit were part of an unique satire reminding us of events and persons who had marked 2011.
"The Vevcani Carnival offers a game without protocol. It is a valuable pearl in the Macedonian tradition and a brand which makes Macedonia famous in the world. This carnival is being celebrated with a sense of preserving a valuable sample of the Macedonian tradition that amazes with its originality," Milevska said.
She vowed that the Ministry of Culture would keep on supporting the traditional carnival in Vevcani.
At midnight, the old new year (Vasilica) was welcomed at the Vevcani Springs.
The carnival ends on Saturday after all of the masks will be set on fire.

10 January 2012

Budget Vacation Guide 2012: Macedonia

Since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Macedonia has hidden beneath the radar. While Croatia and Montenegro receive sustained coverage for their coastlines and Slovenia pops up here and there as a budget-friendly alternative to pricey Switzerland, landlocked Macedonia has received short shrift.
The country remains shut out of major Europe-wide organizations over its very name, which the Greek government contests as a stealthy move toward an eventual invasion of the northern Greek region of Macedonia. It's a ludicrous proposition, and it has kept Macedonia far more isolated than it should be.
Macedonia's reputation as a tourist destination has slowly grown over the last few years, and with good reason. The country offers amazingly good value for money. Transportation, accommodation, food, and tourist attractions are all inexpensive. The country's chief draws are Lake Ohrid, which Macedonia shares with Albania, and its scattered monasteries. Lake Ohrid is starkly beautiful, great for swimming and water sports. It's anchored by the city of Ohrid, itself spilling over with churches, fortresses, and other objects of historical interest.
Monasteries abound in Macedonia. One of these, Treskavec, is located near the town of Prilep in the south. There are marked hiking trails winding up hills to the monastery. At the top, you'll find accommodation for the cost of a small donation. A simple dinner is even included in the deal.
If Macedonian tourism taps into its treasures the right way, this country should see its current trickle of tourists become a modest stream.

09 January 2012

4 Meters of Snow on Kozuf Mountain

Kozuf covered with snow.
Heavy snow and cold weather has gripped Macedonia, making roads slippery and causing traffic problems across the country,  local media reported.
Motorists traveling through mountain passes and high mountain areas are advised to be very careful.
The roads leading to about ten villages in the Kožuf mountains are not passable. Kožuf has registered an incredible 4m of snow! Snow clearing machinery is operating.
The snow is up to 2m deep in the southern village of Konopiste and other nearby villages. Dozens of vehicles got stranded on the roads in the Kožuf mountains on Saturday.
Due to freezing temperatures and black ice, trucks are banned from traveling on the road between Berovo and Strumica in Eastern Macedonia.
Motorists are advised to drive at a low speed and greater distance and be prepared for winter driving.
The adverse weather conditions left capital Skopje, Bitola and the mountainous regions of Tetovo, Gostivar and Kumanovo without electricity on Christmas day. Technicians have restored power everywhere, though warn if the snow continues, more problems may reappear.

Macedonians celebrate Christmas

Christmas celebration in a church.

Orthodox faithful in Macedonia are celebrating Christmas today. Christmas liturgies are underway in all churches across the country.
The central event will take place Saturday at Skopje church 'St. Clement of Ohrid', where the Head of Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC), HH Stefan, will serve Christmas liturgy.
The Christmas celebration in Macedonia begins in the evening of January 5th, which is known as kolede. Children go from door to door singing Christmas carols, heralding the birth of Jesus, and receiving fruits, nuts and candy from the people. Later in the evening, the elderly people from the neighbourhood gather around a bonfire outside, and engage in a conversation about the past year and the year to come.
The following evening is the Christmas Eve, when a traditional oak log (badnik) is brought to the home. This log is cut by the father of the household and his older son, while the table is being set for the Christmas Eve supper (Posna Vechera). The dinner cannot have anything derived from animals, and it cannot be cooked using cooking oil or other types of fat. The traditional dinner usually consists of baked fish. The dinner is the last day of a traditional 40-day Orthodox Lent, which is done in a way to honor the Virgin Mary for carrying baby Jesus.
The oak log is cut into three pieces, representing the Holy Trinity, and each piece is brought into the house by the father. A member of the family receives a piece and places it on the fire. As this is done, the son and the father exchange a greeting: "Good evening and happy Christmas Eve" (Dobra Vecher i Vesel Badnik). While the log is being placed on the fire, the mother and the grandmother gather the children together into the room where the dinner is to be served. Each person carries a bundle of straw from outside, and together with the mother they spread the straw on the floor. The spreading of the straw on the house floor is meant to make the atmosphere more like that when the night Jesus was born. The house is decorated further decorated with oak and pine branches, representing the wish of the family for long and healthy life, "with health strong as oak, and with a life long as that of the oak."
Then the Christmas dinner is served on the same table that the Christmas candle is burning. As part of the dinner, homemade bread (pogacha) with a coin hidden in it (usually placed inside before it was baked) is served. The traditional belief is that whoever gets the coin in his/her piece, will have a particularly successful year to look forward to.
The Christmas candle is then lit, and everyone sings a Christmas hymn. Very early Christmas day, people attend the first morning church service. After the family returns from church, the first guests arrive. This is usually someone who is a dear friend of the family, and is especially honored during the celebration. The guests are met by the hosts, who kiss the guest three times on the cheeks and give him/her the Christmas greeting "Christ is born" (Hristos se rodi), and the guest replies "Indeed he is" (Voistinu Se Rodi).
These greetings are exchanged throughout the three days or Christmas. After the exchange or the greetings, the guest shakes the burning oak log and when the sparks fly up, he/she expresses his/her best wishes for the family. This is usually done in some form of rhyme, mentioning the Special desires of the family.

Macedonians Celebrate Badnik

Badnik - a pagan tradition still remaining.
Orthodox Christians in Macedonia are celebrating Friday the Christmas Eve (Badnik) - the day prior to great holiday the Birth of Jesus Christ – Christmas.
Badnik is traditionally celebrated before "St. Clement of Ohrid" church in Skopje where this year's Badnik godfather will be given the last year's Badnik Cup.The event starts by hoisting Badnik flag and the Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC), the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia HH Stefan, will address the believers and give the last year’s Badnik Cup to the new godfather.
In Macedonia, celebrations began on 5 January, the evening known as "kolede", in which neighbourhoods gather together to light a bonfire, listen to traditional music and share food and drink.
Badnik table dinner.
This morning children visit their neighbourhood, knock at the doors and sing Kolede songs. The home-owners give the children candies, sweets, fruit and coins.
The family dinner on Badnik is the only holiday when you can find rich and poor gathered on one place. In the evening on Badnik, the closest family is gathering around the Badnik dinner.
The main event at this dinner is the cutting of the Christmas bread on pieces for each member of the family, one for the home and one for Jesus Christ. Inside the Christmas Bread there is a coin. There is a belief that who ever finds the coin in his/her piece of the bread will have luck the whole year. The coin is put in a glass of wine and the lucky person should drink from the wine.
The house is decorated with oak branches with their leaves on, representing the wish of the family for long and healthy life.
More about religion in Macedonia.

04 January 2012

Arch "Macedonia" to open first in 2012

Arch "Macedonia" is the first structure to be promoted by the Ministry of Culture in 2012, reportedly in January.
Motifs from Macedonian history and tradition are included in the facade of the arch, designed by Valentina Stevanovska - the same artist who designed the monument "Warrior on a Horseback" at the Macedonian square.
The arch is part of the Ministry's project of erecting 35 sculptures in Skopje's downtown. The three willows in river Vardar will be unveiled by February, thus encircling the entire project.
The Old Skopje Theatre is expected to open in the second half of the year. Construction operations will develop depending on the winter's severity. There are intensive activities in all stages of the theatre's construction.
The Veles Theatre and the Macedonian Philharmonic concert hall are expected to be opened in 2013.

Macedonia's airports welcome 6.000 passengers during New Year Holidays

During the New Year weekend Macedonia's airports welcomed 6.101 passengers, or 8 percent more in comparison to the same period last year, the Ministry of Transport and Communications said Tuesday in a press release.

The frequency of passengers reached its peak on the New Year's first day, when Skopje and Ohrid Airports handled 2,268 and 345 passengers respectively.

"Renovated airports in Skopje and Ohrid were opened last year. Skopje's Alexander the Great airport got a new passenger terminal, thus increasing its capacity to serving 4 million passengers per year," the press release reads.

Around €650 million will be spent for energy in 2012

Macedonia will provide 54% of total needs for energy from home sources and 46% of import in 2012 for which it will spend around €650 million.

Total consumption of energy in 2012 compared to 2011 will be higher by 4%. The electricity will be spent by 2.2%, natural gas by 10.1% and oil derivatives by 4.8%.
According to energy balance, the electricity will be dominant sources of energy with participation of over 40%.

The production of electricity from home sources is foreseen to amount 6.000 GWh and the rest to be purchased from import.
The consumption of oil and oil derivatives in 2012 will rise by 6.6%, i.e. 743.000 tonnes.
Starting from Jan. 1, 2012, electricity price will rise by 6.95%. The heating price in Skopje will also increase.

Top 10 Moments for Macedonia in 2011

Although Macedonians witnessed many great things in 2011 both home and outside, here are the Top 10 memorable moments for 2011.

10. ICJ Win over Greece
-The ICJ win was expected, therefore it is placed at #10. One doesn't need to be an international scholar to figure out Greece functioned outside the legal norms and international laws. The nice thing of the ICJ win for Macedonia is that it echoed world wide! This certainly explains the undiplomatic language and nervousness displayed by Greek politicians the last few weeks.

9. New Bus Fleet for Skopje
- Perflectly timed, while Skopje is undergoing architectural modernization, the new bus fleet of single and double deck busses was the icing on the cake.

8. New Investments = More Jobs
- Macedonia saw more investments in 2011, than in the last 30 years combined! Numerous foreign companies (US, British, German, Russian, Italian, Turkish...) opened shops in the capital and other cities across the country. Some of the companies are Johnson Controls, Johnson Matthey, Kromberg and Schubert, Kemet Electronics, Prodis etc.

7. New Streets
-The city of Skopje invested millions of Euros to improve the infrastructure in the capital which was famous for its small streets and massive traffic jams. Thanks to the new investments, the streets have at least doubled in width, many are expanded, new boulevards and roads added to the infrastructure. Skopje's road infrastructure had not been previously upgraded for decades.

6. 20th Anniversary
-On September 8th, Macedonia celebrated its 20th anniversary. What a spectacle at a time when Macedonia started their run on the European championship in basketball in Lithuania.

5. Tose Proeski Memorial House #1 Architectural design in the world
-Tose Proeski's memorial building in Krusevo was voted #1 architectural design in the world.

4. New Airports
- Finally, Skopje's old airport became history and was replaced with a state of the art Airport, ten times bigger than the previous. With the new airport, numerous foreign airlines signed up which brought down airfares significantly! Now, Macedonians can enjoy a weekend in Venice for less than 100 euros. Ohrid's airport was also upgraded.

3. Alexander the Great Monument
- The Alexander the Great statue is a spectacular monument placed in downtown Skopje which has become the tourist attraction in the capital city. Today the location of this monument is utilized for Macedonians to celebrate holidays, sport wins etc.

2. European Champs in Karate
-Natasa Ilievska and Dejan Nedev both were crowned European champions in karate for 2011.

1. Macedonian Basketball Team
Went into the European championship hoping they will get to the second round, ended up playing for a medal.
Each game they played their hearts out, provided a true example of how one should play for the national team.