Macedonian Police Fires Tear Gas At Migrants

Macedonian policeMacedonian police have fired tear gas and stun grenades as thousands of people try to enter Macedonia from Greece.

It came up a day after Macedonia declared a state of emergency in two border regions to cope with an influx of migrants, many from the Middle East.

The state of emergency was declared because of the number of people wanting to head north to Europe, leading to desperate scenes of crowds battling to board packed trains.

There were several attempts to charge officers by angry people among a crowd of 3,000 from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

They had spent the night in the open in a no man’s land between the two countries after Macedonia sealed its southern border to migrants and refugees.

At least eight people were injured in the confrontation earlier and one youngster was seen bleeding.

Large numbers spent the night stuck on Macedonia’s southern frontier, and tried to charge police in the morning.

The Balkan nation has become a major transit point for migrants trying to reach northern EU members.

Some 44,000 people have reportedly travelled through Macedonia in the past two months.

An 18-year-old Syrian man told Reuters he was able to cross overnight into Macedonia, but others were caught and drove back.

“I ran fast and escaped,” he said. “They got my brother and most of the others and sent them back to Greece.”

Greece, particularly on the tourist hotspot islands, has been overwhelmed by the influx because some 160,000 had arrived in the country so far this year.

Others have walked to Bulgaria from Turkey before making their way through Macedonia or Serbia before heading north to the EU.

Some 39,000 migrants, mostly Syrians, have been registered as passing through Macedonia in the past month – twice as many as the previous month.

The situation at the border with Greece is not helped by Macedonia’s tense relationship with Athens.

The dispute originates over the Macedonia’s name after it declared independence from the then Yugoslavia in 1991.

Williams to face Azarenka in Brisbane final

Serena Williams will play Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday.

Serena Williams played erratically but still beat Maria Sharapova 6-2 7-6 (9-7) on Friday (January 3) to reach the final of the Brisbane International.

In a match that involved poor serving and high-quality groundstrokes in equal measure, Williams maintained her hold over Sharapova to set up a final showdown with second seed, Victoria Azarenka.

Williams’ semi-final victory over the world number four extended her winning streak against the Russian to 14 consecutive matches. Sharapova failed to take real advantage in a match comprising 10 breaks of serve.

Williams secured the first of the 10 in the fourth game and although Sharapova broke straight back, she lost her serve twice more as the American ran out a comfortable first set winner.

The Russian responded well to hold a 2-1 lead after three consecutive breaks of serve in the second set, then won the ensuing service game, but lost the next one to restore parity.

In the tiebreak, Williams’ groundstrokes gave her the advantage, but Sharapova saved one match point with a smash and the American needed three match points before sealing victory with an ace.

Serena praised her opponent, saying of the tiebreak: “Yes, it definitely could have gone either way, Maria was playing so well. It’s a wonder that she took some time off. But you definitely can’t tell. So, she gave me a really tough tiebreak and a tough match today.”

Azarenka defeated Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic 1-6 6-3 6-4 in the second semi-final, although she, too, played erratically against the world number eight.

World Tennis Championship: Djokovic Beats Tsonga

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will face David Ferrer of Spain in Saturday’s (December 28) final of the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The Serbian defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6, 6-3 in the second semi-final on Friday.

Third-ranked Ferrer had earlier beaten world number one and Spanish compatriot, Rafael Nadal.

Tsonga used his power to good effect throughout Friday’s match, but world number two, Djokovic varied his shots and pace and never seemed to be working flat out.

The Serbian was watched by new head coach, Boris Becker, who seemed unsurprised by the result.

Partizan Belgrade Denies Markovic’s Sale To Chelsea

Reports making the rounds in England is that European Champions Chelsea have landed themselves a news signing, Serbian Lazar Markovic from Partizan Belgrade as Partizan and Stamford Bridge club are close to signing a deal on the youngster from Serbia.

The club’s management openly denied this move, saying the player is not due to leave the club until 2016 as the 18 year old signed professional forms with Partizan Belgrade in 2011 on a five year deal, which has made it impossible for the player to leave the club until July 2016.

Despite being only 18 years old Markovic has already represented his country. He made his debut early this year and became the youngest player ever to represent the Serbian national team. He currently has five caps to his name.

Markovic is represented by LIAN Sports and that’s the same agent group who brought Matija Nastasic and Marko Marin to the Premier League last summer. They also have Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic as clients and both have been rumoured to be a targets for Chelsea several times. Linking the players with moves to Chelsea helps increase their profile and availability and is often followed by interviews in the press from the agency.

The rumours of a deal have been followed by a denial from Partizan and their sporting director Ljubisa Tumbakovic is quoted by Calciomercato.it as saying “I swear on my mother, I know nothing about it. On Saturday I spoke with the president Dragan Djuric and he confirmed that he knew nothing of a transfer of Markovic to Chelsea. Perhaps journalists are better informed than us.”

And right on queue his agent has been quoted by the same outlet as saying a deal won’t happen in January “Markovic has a contract with Partizan. Move in January? I can assure you that [a move] will not start in the next session of the market and then we’ll see.”

LIAN Sports are increasingly seeking out opportunities in England for their players and the reported interest in Markovic coincides with a growing awareness of young talent in Serbian football.

Arsenal has also been linked with both Markovic and Ljajic recently.

John Terry retires from international football

John Terry has announced his retirement from international football.

This was a personal and difficult decision for John to take as playing for and captaining his country was a boyhood dream.

John first represented England in June 2003 against Serbia and Montenegro.

John George Terry plays in a centre back position for the Three Lions also the captain of Chelsea in the Premier League. He was also captain of the England national football team, holding the post from August 2006 to February 2010 and from March 2011 to February 2012.

Terry was named UEFA Club Defender of the Year in 2005, 2008 and 2009. PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2005, and was included in the FIFPro World XI for four consecutive seasons, from 2005 to 2008. He was also named in the all-star squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the only English player to make the team. He wears the number 26 shirt for Chelsea.

Terry is Chelsea’s most successful captain, having led them to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and a UEFA Champions League since 2004. He is one of five players to have made over 500 appearances for Chelsea and is also the club’s all-time highest scoring defender.

In 2007, he became the first captain to lift the FA Cup at the new Wembley Stadium in Chelsea’s 1–0 win over Manchester United, and also the first player to score an international goal there, scoring a header in England’s 1–1 draw with Brazil.

The 31-year-old was named England captain in August 2006 and went on to lead his country 34 times.

John also won nine caps at Under-21 level.

Mladic appeals for delay in his War crimes trial

Former Bosnian Serb Military Commander; Ratko Mladic has appealed for his Yugoslav war crime trial to be delayed for six months.

The 70 year old claimed that the delays by the prosecutors in disclosing evidence can lead to the miscarriage of justice as the motion was filed by Ratko’s lawyers.

He is the last major player from the Bosnian conflict to go on trial at the UN court.

This move is seen as another ploy by Ratko to delay his trial as he requested last week  the presiding judge  who is a duthman be replaced and on that ground requested for  postponement.

His trial will begin on Wednesday as he faces 11 charges alleging that he orchestrated atrocities by Serb fighters in the Bosnian War which lasted from 1992-95.

Mladic has refused to enter pleas but denies wrongdoing. He was arrested last year in Serbia after 15 years as a fugitive.

Iraq, six other nations build embassies in Abuja

Seven countries, Egypt, Iraq, Kenya, Turkey, Benin Republic, Serbia and Cote d’Ivoire, have started building their permanent embassies at the Diplomatic Drive, a street allocated to them in Abuja.


The Iraqi Ambassador to Nigeria, Ali Al-Amery, says the new embassy would be completed by April next year. According to  Al-Amery, a local construction company is n charge of the project which would cost about three million dollars.
On the other hand, the Ambassador of Serbia, Mr Rifat Rondic, says their construction project which would end at 2014 is being handled by Energo company, a Serbian firm.
Some embassies – Ghana, China, the United States, Niger, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia, Cuba and Liberia – are already operating from the Diplomatic Drive.  Others are Palestine, North Korea, Brazil, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, apart from the embassies, the Diplomatic Drive area also houses a government agency, a church and an automobile dealership and this has led to criticisms by security experts.
“If government has designated the area for the embassies, no other agency should be situated there; it is called Diplomatic Drive; I believe the aim is to have a number of the diplomatic offices in one location.
“This is not only for easy access, but also for security reasons,” Mr. Emmanuel Ekpu, a security expert, said.
The UN House, attacked by the Boko Haram sect in August 2011, is also located on the Diplomatic Drive.