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An unexpected tech boom in Serbia
21 March 2020 - The digital revolution is at last arriving for Serbs. ...Tech accounts for at least 6 percent of Serbia's GDP [gross domestic product]. It employs some 45,000 people. Last year's tech exports are expected to have reached $1.5 billion, an increase of 55 percent on 2017. (more)

Afghan boy known as 'Little Picasso' shows works in Serbia
9 August 2017 - A 10-year-old migrant from Afghanistan, who has been nicknamed 'Little Picasso,' is using his first ever exhibition to help another boy in need. Farhad Nouri's drawings and photographs were put on display Wednesday (9 August) in what was also his charity event to raise money for a Serbian boy recovering from surgery. 'Thank you all for coming here!' Nouri told dozens of visitors as he opened the exhibition organized with the help of aid groups and supported by Serbia's government. (more)

Serbia: Pianists in the spotlight at Belgrade's classical festival
20 October 2016 - Now in its 48th year, the Belgrade Music Festival, BEMUS, will again showcase some of the best classical musicians, including works by young Serbian talents as well as the great composers. All the great masters will be covered, including performances of pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, Stravinsky, Debussy, and many more. (more)

Serbia: A grain market worth watching
14 June 2016 - It may be worth keeping a closer eye on the Serbian grain market, but the reasons may not be immediately obvious. When it comes to planting decisions, cash and futures prices may cause Serbian farmers to devote a bit of extra area to one particular crop, but rotations usually win out. Above all, crop rotation practices help farmers achieve the best potential for their crops, which is why they rarely veer from this procedure. It is rare to find a farmer in Serbia who does not grow multiple types of crops, as land diversification is one of the most important risk-management strategies. The 'black earth' soil found across most of this region is about the most desirable soil type in the world, comparable with soils in the central parts of the United States and Ukraine. Serbian corn has an advantage over the competition because of the country's strict laws against genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. European countries largely produce non-GMO crops but most of them do not outlaw the practice outright, as Serbia does. Therefore customers of Serbian corn are guaranteed a GMO-free product, which not only raises demand but has also created a somewhat niche market for the grain. (more)

Belgrade: Resilient capital finds new energy to rebuild once again
17 December 2014 - In the heart of Belgrade, the vibrant and resilient capital of Serbia, a slow and colourful transformation is taking place. Once ugly and industrial, the historic neighbourhood of Savamala is now blossoming back to life. Belgrade has been destroyed and rebuilt around 40 times. Today Belgrade is stepping up its efforts to rebuild once again. (more)

Flights between Serb and Croat capitals to resume
11 December 2014 - Air Serbia says it will resume flights between Belgrade and Zagreb on Friday after a 23-year break. Flights between the Serbian and Croatian capitals were discontinued in 1991 because of the war between the two former Yugoslav republics. (more)

Serbia's organic farming land increased by 16 per cent
1 May 2014 - The area under organic farming in Serbia increased by 16 per cent last year compared to 2012, reaching 7,200 hectares, indicate the latest preliminary data released by the association Serbia Organica. This refers to farms that already gained full organic status and to areas in conversion. (more)

Serbia wants visa regime simplification with Azerbaijan
14 February 2014 - Serbia is interested in simplifying the visa regime with Azerbaijan, Serbian Ambassador to Azerbaijan said on 14 February. The two countries have already simplified the visa regime for individuals with diplomatic and service passports. Serbia and Azerbaijan signed various bilateral documents, including a joint declaration on friendship and strategic partnership. The legal basis of Azerbaijani-Serbian relations currently includes 26 international agreements. (more)

Serbian study: Why music is good for the heart
13 September 2013 - The idea that there's a vital connection between music and the heart is as old as the hills. Sometimes a piece of research comes along which proves folk-wisdom to be correct. In a paper given at the European Society of Cardiology Annual Conference in Amsterdam, Professor Deljanin and her colleagues in Belgrade discovered a 19 per cent improvement in a vital bit of heart tissue in patients with coronary artery disease, when they listened to their favourite music. (more)

EU agrees to open membership talks with Serbia
28 June 2013 - European Union leaders on Friday agreed to open membership talks with Serbia by January at the latest, in recognition of its efforts to improve relations with breakaway Kosovo. The Friday move is seen as a step of the EU toward embracing once-troubled countries in the Balkans. For both Serbia and Kosovo, the vital breakthrough came 19 April, when the neighbours reached a historic agreement to normalize relations and end years of acrimony. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Serbia: 3rd International Symposium on Mind/Body Medicine in Ayurveda - Aromatherapy and Ayurveda: Conference report
5 July 2018 - Dr Branko Cicic, President of the Serbian Association for AyurVeda, reported on the recent 3rd International Symposium on Mind/Body Medicine in Ayurveda: Aromatherapy and Ayurveda. The Symposium, held in Belgrade, Serbia, was titled 'Living in a Fragrant World'. Experts gave presentations on the Fundamentals of Ayurveda, Aromatherapy, and Applied Aromatherapy - including 'AyurVeda: The Complete Science of Life' and 'Aromatherapy in AyurVeda: A Consciousness-Based Approach to Aromatherapy'. The Symposium was honoured by the presence of H.E. Mrs. Narinder Chauhan, Ambassador of India to the Republic of Serbia (more)

Serbia: Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture lecture draws 'standing room only' interest
23 April 2014 - Recently large audiences in Serbia were eager to hear about Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, in lectures given by Dr Peter Swan, an expert in this field. Dr Swan visited Serbia at the invitation of Branko Cicic, national director of the Transcendental Meditation programme, who has also been a driving force in expanding the cultivation of organic products in the country. At an agricultural college, Dr Swan gave an introduction to the course he developed on Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture and has taught around the world. Keen interest among the standing-room-only audience led to questions and discussion for over an hour afterwards. (more)

Serbia: Organic farming spreads across the land, new interest in Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture
23 April 2014 - Interest in organic farming in Serbia is spreading rapidly--due in large part to the energy and dedicated efforts of Branko Cicic, director of the Transcendental Meditation programme in Serbia, who has become an energetic organic farmer. Dr Cicic has established an organic agriculture association (Organska Srbija) to bring farmers together in his country; sells organic produce in a stall in the Belgrade green market; produces a weekly television show on organic farming; and has opened a health shop near the green market. When Dr Peter Swan, an expert in the field, recently visited Belgrade to promote Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, he was greatly impressed with the interest and progress in growing pure food. (more)

'Organic Serbia' show airing weekly on 15 television stations throughout the country
26 February 2014 - A weekly Serbian television show called 'Organic Serbia' (Organska Srbija), created by Branko Cicic, president of the Serbian Organic Foundation, is dedicated to promoting organic agriculture and living a healthy lifestyle. Each week's new episode is divided into several sections, and covers topics of interest to organic farmers and consumers. The most recent addition is a section on Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture. Now shown throughout Serbia on 15 stations, the show recently was approached by satellite stations in Australia and New Zealand who also want to broadcast it. (more)

Organic farming takes root in Serbia
26 February 2014 - Seven or eight years ago when Branko Cicic, director of the Transcendental Meditation programme in Serbia, became interested in organic agriculture, he and his wife knew nothing about the topic. They were inspired by the knowledge of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, brought to light from the ancient Vedic literature by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and set out to encourage widespread cultivation of organic products in Serbia to improve the health of the population. They started educating themselves by reading books on agricultural methods and practices. They also began visiting organic producers, to see the process and understand key issues first-hand. Their efforts have contributed greatly to the expansion of organic agriculture in Serbia, with thousands of hectares of farmland now converted from conventional farming methods to organic and sustainable. (more)

Serbia: For fifth year, BioBalkan Expo brings organic farmers and businesses together
26 February 2014 - The BioBalkan Expo is an annual fair held in Belgrade, Serbia, that attracts businesspeople who produce organic products or services throughout the Balkan Peninsula. It was founded in 2009 by Branko Cicic, a leading proponent of organic agriculture in the Balkans who is also director of the Transcendental Meditation programme in Serbia. International guests have included representatives from Italy, Germany, France, and India. The event serves as a venue for producers of organic products to exchange products and ideas. Although it is primarily a business event it also attracts educational groups interested in learning more about organic products and principles. (more)

Serbia: First International Symposium on 'Mind/Body Medicine in Ayurveda' held in Belgrade
25 May 2013 - The First International Symposium on Mind/Body Medicine in Ayurveda was held in Belgrade, Serbia, on 15-16 May. The event was organized by the Serbian Association for Ayurveda - Maharishi College for Perfect Health, Serbia; and Vanoushadi Vidhyapeet, India. Speakers included expert physicians, researchers, and administrators of Maharishi Ayurveda health care from India, Europe, and the USA; the programme also featured addresses by distinguished Indian Vaidyas (Ayurvedic physicians). The symposium was accredited by the Health Council of Serbia, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia. (more)

Organic Serbia group starts its own television show, promotes healthy living
3 November 2012 - Branko Cicic, a proponent of organics in Serbia, wanted to ensure media coverage that promotes healthy living year round. To this end he created a television show called Organic Serbia (Organska Srbija). The show aims to encourage Serbians to choose organics, whether in food, clothing, or personal care, and also to look into Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture and Maharishi Ayur-Veda natural health care as means of creating and maintaining good health. (more)

Serbia: Bio Balkan Expo highlights growing interest in organics, health
3 November 2012 - Branko Cicic, a pioneering Transcendental Meditation teacher in former Yugoslavia who lives and works in Serbia, has been busy with the third annual Bio Balkan organic fair in Belgrade. The Bio Balkan Expo was created three years ago by the Serbian Organic Foundation (Organska Srbija), of which Mr Cicic is president, and is now the largest fair of its kind in southeast Europe. 'We had extremely good attendance during this year's fair and so many good businesses were contracted there,' said Mr Cicic. (more)

Serbia: International congress on Ayurveda health care planned
3 November 2012 - This year the third annual Bio Balkan Expo in Belgrade, Serbia, a fair devoted to a healthy and organic lifestyle, again featured an exhibit on Maharishi Ayurveda natural health care. The founder of the Expo, Branko Cicic, a longtime teacher of Transcendental Meditation, is committed to improving the quality of life in the region; one area of recent focus is to make Maharishi Ayurveda health products available to the public. Mr Cicic is also in process of organizing an international congress on Ayurveda in Belgrade next May, in which many medical doctors are expected to participate. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Serbia's beekeepers struggle as insecticide poisoning hits honey bees
25 April 2019 - Early April in Serbia was sunny, orchards were in full bloom and honey bees from most of the country's 1.2 million beehives were busy collecting nectar and pollen. Within a week, however, bees suddenly started dying at several locations across the country. The pollen they were eating was poisonous because trees had been heavily oversprayed with insecticides. (more)

Trash mountain, toxic canal highlight Serbia's EU waste challenge
1 March 2019 - Workers handling rat-infested garbage on the outskirts of Belgrade face a double health hazard: from the trash itself and a nearby stream of raw sewage gushing into a canal on its way to the river Danube. The dump, that covers around 2 square kilometers (500 acres) outside the capital city, symbolizes the challenge Serbia faces to bring its environmental procedures and greenhouse gas emissions to the standards required if it is to join the European Union, a task estimated to cost around 15 billion euros ($17 billion). (more)

All work and no pay for thousands in the Balkans
10 July 2014 - After working for no pay for months, employees of the Serbian farming company ran out of patience. Using chains and padlocks, they locked every door and gate they could find on company property. Then they blocked a main road leading to the border with Romania for two hours. Such scenes are surprisingly common in the Balkans, where wages are often the first expense companies freeze when times are tough. Legal loopholes, inefficient courts, and poor financial supervision allow struggling firms to skip paying wages, sometimes for months on end. Since jobs are scarce, thousands of workers in the countries spawned by Yugoslavia's bloody breakup in the 1990s regularly work for nothing -- in the hope that employers will eventually pay up. The phenomenon is growing in some places and contributing to social unrest in the region. Earlier this year protesters in Bosnia torched government buildings up and down the country. Protests in Croatia and Serbia have also become common, though not violent. Most former Yugoslav republics, including European Union members Slovenia and Croatia, have yet to overcome problems born of the business practices they inherited in the 1990s. (more)

Hard trail for Syria refugees desperate to reach Europe
1 September 2013 - As Washington weighs a military strike against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, the human fallout of two and a half years of conflict that has sent millions to flight is no longer contained to the Middle East. It's on Europe's doorstep. Last year brought a fourfold increase in the number of Syrians trying to enter the Western Balkans from Greece, one leg of a route from Turkey to the prosperous West in search of asylum. While Greece is in the EU, it is geographically cut off from the rest of the borderless Schengen zone and immigrants are increasingly unwelcome as Greeks wrestle with an unprecedented economic crisis. Illegal migrants head north to Macedonia or Bulgaria, some through Serbia, trying to reach Hungary and on through open borders to Western Europe. In Bulgaria, on Turkey's western border and the poorest member of the European Union, the number of Syrians seeking asylum has shot up from 85 in 2011 to 449 in 2012 and 855 in the first seven months of this year alone. Twice as many are estimated to have made the illegal crossing. Romania has reported an 80 per cent rise in the first half of this year from the same period of 2012, to a total of some 640. Refugee centres in Bulgaria are full to the brim, putting a strain on meagre budgets and a creaking bureaucracy. Due to lack of capacity at Bulgaria's three refugee centres, many Syrians are sent to stricter detention centres which they are not allowed to leave, kept for months behind walls topped with razor-wire and windows with bars. (more)

Reports of toxic milk trigger scare in Balkans
19 February 2013 - Some milk in the Balkans has been contaminated by a naturally occurring cancer-causing toxin and consumers are accusing officials of hiding the real truth of how serious the problem is. Most health officials state that the milk is safe and that even higher levels of aflatoxins -- a fungus linked to mildewed cattle feed -- are not harmful in small amounts. But a warning by a regional official on his personal website has fuelled doubts about the official line, suspicions fed by the region's widespread corruption and the cozy ties between politicians and industry. Some Serbs fear that the authorities are hiding the real contamination levels in order to save the milk industry from collapse. Officials have said the milk is safe without revealing specific figures or how widespread the contamination is. Bosnian veterinary officials said that concentrations of aflatoxin above the limit had been found in imported milk from Hungary, Slovenia, and Germany and that a shipment from Serbia is also suspected. Recently, Bosnia's border controls have found the toxin in milk imported from Croatia. (more)

Mass anti-government rally held in Serbia
5 February 2011 - Tens of thousands of nationalist supporters rallied against Serbia's pro-Western government on Saturday, demanding early elections amid the Balkan country's deepening economic crisis. About 10,000 police officers gathered near the rally in front of the State Parliament in downtown Belgrade to prevent it from turning violent, as similar protests by right-wing protesters have in the past. Opposition leaders addressing the crowd -- estimated by police at about 55,000 -- threatened to blockade the capital if their demands to move parliamentary elections forward from 2012 are not met within the next two months. 'This is the start of a counterrevolution,' said Milos Joksimovic, a 35-year-old mechanical engineer who took part in the anti-Milosevic demonstrations at the same spot in the capital in October 2000. He spoke as he watched Saturday's rally from a distance. 'They are becoming very strong, and it's scary,' he said. (more)

Serbia grapples with surge in far-right violence
14 October 2010 - Thousands of black-clad young men rampage through downtown Belgrade, hurling Molotov cocktails and stun grenades at police. Soccer fans throw flares and fireworks onto the pitch during a championship qualifier match, forcing its cancellation. A recent surge in attacks by right-wing extremists is pitting Serbia's pro-Western government against a movement that publicly aims to destabilize the administration and derail its hopes of joining the European Union. The movement is a blend of violent soccer fan clubs and officially registered far-right 'patriotic' organizations with long-standing ties to nationalist politicians and organized crime. Using unemployed, angry youths as foot soldiers, the groups espouse hatred of minorities and anger at the West. (more)

UN accuses Serbs of encouraging violence
19 March 2008 - The United Nations accused Serbian officials of complicity in the violence in northern Kosovo that left a U.N. policeman from Ukraine dead and dozens of people hurt. (more)

UN and NATO troops battle Serbs in Kosovo
18 March 2008 - Serbs fired guns and threw grenades at UN police and NATO troops in Kosovo on Monday in the worst violence since Albanian leaders declared Kosovo's independence from Serbia a month ago. The clashes highlighted the risk of Kosovo's partition along ethnic lines following the independence declaration on 17 February. (more)

Serbia faces months of instability and stark choice
10 March 2008 - Serbia faces renewed uncertainty under a caretaker government which will lead the country into its most important election since voters ended the era of the late autocrat Slobodan Milosevic. A deep division over the importance of Kosovo versus future European Union membership killed off the 10-month-old coalition of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on Saturday. Kostunica dissolved the government after tacitly accusing his liberal coalition partners of giving up on Kosovo, the 90 per cent Albanian majority province which seceded on 17 February, with Western backing. (more)


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