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The Extent of NATO’s Destruction in Yugoslavia

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The article originally appeared at Tanjug. Translated for RI by Mihajlo Doknic


16 years ago, without a UN Security Resolution, NATO started an illegal attack on Yugoslavia. Today commemorative ceremonies will take place all over the country. Tanjug presents the figures that show the massive destruction of the country and loss of life.

<figcaption>Mission accomplished: Country destroyed, people killed</figcaption>
Mission accomplished: Country destroyed, people killed

On the 24th of March in 1999, without a Security Council Resolution, NATO started the military attack on Yugoslavia [Serbia and Montenegro].

Yugoslavia, allegedly responsible for the ‘humanitarian catastrophy’ in Kosovo and Metohija, was attacked after the so-called Rambouillet negotiations about the future status of Kosovo failed. The Rambouillet agreement foresaw the deployment of NATO forces on the territory of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav party didn’t want NATO forces on its territory and suggested UN troops should be deployed instead, to oversee the implementation of the Rambouillet agreement, which was also confirmed by the Yugoslavian parliament.

Unsatisfied, NATO unleashed a massive military onslaught on the small country and its people, which led to massive destruction and loss of lives. General Wesley Clark, who led the campaign, admitted in his book ‘Modern Warfare’ that the planning and preparations for the war were already underway in summer 1998 and finalized in August 1998. Which actually implies that Rambouillet never really had a chance of succeeding.

Today “Tanjug” listed some figures that were released by the Serbian Government, that show the devastating results and the destruction of the country by the NATO led attack:

  • Over 2.500 people killed, of which more than 1.500 civilians
  • 12.500 people wounded
  • One third of electricity and energy capacity of the country destroyed
  • Total cost of destruction over 100bn dollars

There isn’t a city in Serbia that wasn’t targeted by NATO. The extent of structural damage was:

  • 25.000 houses and flats
  • 470km of roads
  • 595km of railway tracks
  • 14 airports
  • 39 hospitals and medical centers
  • 69 schools
  • 19 kinder gardens
  • 176 cultural objects
  • 82 bridges

NATO’s massive military attack on the small country involved:

  • 1.150 Airplanes
  • 2.300 attacks [sorties] by airplanes
  • 1.300 Cruise Middles launched
  • 37.000 [prohibited] cluster bombs
  • Some 22.000 tons of bombs and other ammunition
  • Ammunition with depleted uranium

After diplomatic efforts, the bombing and the aggression stopped with the signing of the Military Technical Agreement of Kumanovo [Macedonia] on the 9th of June, which foresaw the withdrawal of the Yugoslav Army from Kosovo within three days.

On that day that the UN Security Council adopted the resolution, 1244 and some 37 000 soldiers as part of the KFOR [NATO led Kosovo peace keeping force] were sent to Kosovo, with a mandate to secure peace and stability and enable the return of refugees, until a broad autonomy status has been negotiated for Kosovo.

With the support of US, NATO and the majority of EU States Kosovo declared its independence in 2008…!

The same countries that vociferously oppose the self-determination of Crimea or other parts of Ukraine…!



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Social media: Why vaccines, paella and ‘tortilla’ trend on Spanish Twitter | Opinion

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The content that gets shared the most on social media is not always an indignant message or an ingenious insult. Sometimes, it can even be pleasant to be on Twitter. This past weekend, the German television network Deutsche Welle published an English-language video special about Spain’s successful Covid-19 vaccination campaign. This video has been shared by Twitter users more than a thousand times in messages that expressed pride and included the hashtag #marcaEspaña (or, Brand Spain).

The Deutsche Welle video compared the 78% rate of fully vaccinated people in Spain at the time the report was made (the figure is now closer to 80%) to the 69% in Italy, 68% in France and 65% in Germany. Some of the reasons put forward to explain this success, despite a slow start, include widespread faith in the country’s public health system, the media’s scant coverage of vaccine conspiracy theories, and also “the devastating first wave of the pandemic.”

Positive messages about Spain from a foreign source are usually popular on social media. But at the same time it seems that if a Spaniard mentions that the country is doing something reasonably well, such as the vaccination campaign for instance, their fellow countrymen have trouble believing it. The impression (not always off base) is that the speaker has an axe to grind or may be trying to sell us a story (or even worse, a flag). But if a foreign media outlet says the same thing – well, we may not be fully convinced, but at least we enjoy hearing it.

And it’s not just with crucial subject matter such as vaccines. It also happens with other less critically important issues, such as Spain’s famous potato omelet, or tortilla de patatas. When a reporter from The New York Times extolled celebrity chef Ferrán Adriá’s version, made with potato chips from a bag rather than freshly sliced potatoes, it prompted nothing but satisfied tweets. But messages about the same recipe shared before the article came out showed a marked difference of opinions, to put it mildly.

It also works the other way around: when our dear old Spain comes under attack, we view it as an affront requiring revenge. There are still Twitter users out there who have not forgiven British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver for making a paella with chorizo in 2016 (at the time, some people compared his creation with the notorious botched restoration of a Christ figure in 2012).

And let’s not forget what happened to an Italian citizen who tweeted this summer that Spain was like Italy, but a bit worse. I will refrain from mentioning his name because he has already put up with enough grief. “Hey guys,” he amusingly tweeted afterwards. “Just checking, does ‘me cago en tu puta madre’ mean ‘I respectfully disagree’?”

I don’t think that Twitter turns us into patriots, fortunately enough for everyone. There’s no doubt that a lot of different elements are at play here: it’s easier to praise the Deutsche Welle video if you are a supporter of public healthcare (or even of the government). As for the food disputes, there is a lot of joking and pretending going on there. There is also an element of surprise: while we find it normal for there to be talk in Spain about the US, the UK or Germany, we are surprised every time Spain is mentioned abroad, and that’s because we tend to view ourselves as rather insignificant (which is understandable). And I’m also not ruling out the view held by some that focusing so much on what the foreign media says is, in itself, quite provincial.

But it’s also true that we should all find some joy in the fact that, once in a while, we can work together to do something well. And perhaps even celebrate with a good tortilla de patatas. I won’t go into whether it should have onion in it or not, because I don’t want to ruin the moment with another argument.



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Misconceptions about meaning of antigen results widespread, report finds

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Widespread misconceptions exist about Covid-19 antigen testing, according to a new report, with almost half of us thinking a person with symptoms doesn’t have to self-isolate if there is a negative result.

Twelve per cent say they do not know how to interpret a negative antigen test and another 4 per cent say it is fine to socialise, even with symptoms.

This baseline level of public understanding presents a “clear set of communications challenges,” according to the interim report of the rapid testing expert advisory group.

The Government earlier this week gave the go-ahead for the use of antigen testing for asymptomatic close contacts, and their wide use for large events. Up to now, the National Public Health Emergency Team has resisted the wider use of antigen testing, arguing it was inferior to the system of PCR testing already in place.

The report says rapid antigen tests (RADT) are an additional tool and not a substitute for existing public health measures. PCR testing remains the “gold standard” for diagnosing Covid-19 infections.

But antigen tests can reliably detect those most likely to be infectious and the speed with which the result is obtained enables “rapid intervention” to prevent onward transmission of the virus. Although they do not identify all cases, they are cheap and can be deployed at scale.

The results of antigen tests are available within minutes, whereas it takes about a day for the result of more expensive PCR testing to be provided.

Less than half of the population knew an antigen test was “less good” at detecting the virus than a PCR test, according to a survey carried out for the report.

Some 39 per cent of people though that where a person with symptoms took a rapid test and got a negative result, s/he had no need to self-isolate.

“Overall, the results suggest widespread misconceptions in Ireland about the sensitivity of RADT, how they are of benefit, and the implications of test results.”

“In a landscape of continual change as demonstrated by the unpredictability of this pandemic, it is possible rapid antigen testing may play an important part of future testing programmes.”

Antigen testing may have a role within specific settings as a complementary public health intervention to existing infection prevention and control measures, the report states.

There may be benefits to deploying it in specific settings “depending on the incidence of Covid-19 in the country”.

“It is important that the benefits and limitations of all tests are communicated to the public. It should be noted that rapid antigen detection tests should not be used to support behavioural changes that are contrary to public health recommendations.”

The expert advisory group, chaired by Prof Mary Horgan, was appointed by the Minister for Health last July.

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Travel disruption as storm wreaks havoc across Germany

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The German Weather Service (DWD) issued an orange (level 2) storm warning for most of Germany – and a more serious red (level 3) warning in some areas in a central strip across the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany braces for severe storm and high winds

Early on Thursday morning, the low pressure system – dubbed “Ignatz” by meteorologists – began to move over Germany bringing with it strong gusts, thunderstorms and rain. During the course of the day, the DWD expects heavy winds and hurricane-like gusts of over 100 km per hour.

Damage and travel chaos 

The storm has already caused major damage and impacted travel.

A goods train collided with a fallen branch in the Bonn district of Bad Godesberg on Thursday night, and long-distance traffic between Cologne and Koblenz was affected in the morning. According to a Deutsche Bahn (DB) spokesman, the branch had fallen onto the track on the left bank of the Rhine due to the storm.

“We have to divert to the right bank of the Rhine and are working flat out to repair the damage,” a DB spokesperson said.

The Tweet below by the German Weather Service shows wind speeds recorded in parts of Germany on Thursday morning. On Mountains the maximum wind speed reached 166 km/h. 

Long-distance trains between Cologne and Koblenz were diverted in the early hours, with delays of between 20 and 90 minutes. The stops at Andernach, Remagen and Bonn central station were cancelled. Long-distance trains between Würzburg and Nuremberg were also being diverted due to storm damage. 

A tree fell on an overhead line between Neumünster and Rendsburg. This caused disruption to train services between Hamburg and Kiel, and Flensburg. A Deutsche Bahn spokeswoman said that the report was received at around 7.30am. 

The rail operator warned there could be more disruption and cancellations throughout the day. People can check the DB site for current issues in their area.

In the state of Hesse, police and emergency services received several reports of fallen trees – and even a trampoline that was lifted and hurled across streets. There was some minor damage to property. According to the police, there were no reports of injuries. However, it remains to be seen how the storm will develop in Hesse over the course of the day.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, there were several traffic accidents due to branches, trees or bins blown onto the roads. The Rhine bridge near Speyer, which is part of Autobahn 61, was closed due to a truck overturning. The police believe gusts of wind caught the trailer of the lorry and caused it to overturn.

An overturned truck on Autobahn 61.
An overturned truck on Autobahn 61. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Pr-Video | Rene Priebe

In Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg, trees were uprooted. In Delmenhorst, Lower Saxony, a man was hit by a falling branch on Wednesday evening but luckily he was not injured seriously, police said.

DWD has warned that there will be several rain storms across the country. 

In the northern half of Germany, the weather service warned of eastward-moving storms with gale-force winds of up to 105 kilometres per hour. Forecasters said it would also be particularly stormy on the Baltic Sea coast. 

The DWD warned of falling branches and roof tiles, and recommended that people try and stay indoors, particularly in badly-affected areas.

Forecasters say the wind will decrease from the west over the course of the afternoon. It is set to get cooler overall. Temperatures on Thursday will be between 15 and 18C, in the west and north between 12 and 15C.

Vocabulary

Storm – (der) Sturm 

Thunderstorm or storm – (das) Gewitter

Gale-force winds – (die) Orkanböen

Diverted – umgeleitet

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.



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