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US, EU call on Albania’s opposition to restrain from violence

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The U.S. Embassy in Tirana called on opposition leaders in Albania to ensure that all future public protests are orderly and peaceful, urging them to engage in a constructive dialogue aimed at bringing an end to the political impasse.

A U.S. Embassy statement in Tirana Monday called on opposition leaders to condemn violence and “ensure that all future public protests are orderly and peaceful.”

“Violent demonstrations are damaging Albania’s democratic reform efforts and the country’s prospects for moving forward on the EU path,” the embassy statement said. It also urged the protesters “to engage in a constructive dialogue aimed at bringing an end to the political impasse.”

European parliamentarians also called on Albanians to restrain from violence in their anti-government protests.

The European Union lawmakers called on Albania’s center-right opposition parties “to restrain from all forms of violence”, noting that the recent violence “could give the wrong impression that Albania is not ready for the opening of the accession negotiations in June this year.”

Albania expects to hear in June whether the EU will grant its request to launch membership negotiations.

Protests over the weekend turned violent with opposition supporters showering police officers with Molotov cocktails while police responded with tear gas. Injuries were reported on both sides.

The protesters are demanding a transitional government and an early election.

The opposition has been holding protests since mid-February, accusing government officials of corruption and of stealing votes in the parliamentary election two years ago. They are demanding a transitory government and an early election.

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Slovenia set to erect 40-km fence along border with Croatia to control migrant flow

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Slovenia will erect another 40-kilomter-long fence along parts of its border with Croatia, saying it wanted better control over a tide of migrants flowing through the country en route to other areas of Europe.

“Temporary technical barriers enable effective protection. Putting up the fence is in line with already-endorsed plan, details of which cannot be disclosed since it is classified. We could only say that fence will be erected wherever necessary to stop refugees from entering the country using informal border crossings. Currently there are 179-km-long temporary technical barriers in place,” Public Administration Ministry official Vesna Mitric said.

Slovenia says the move was prompted by increasing number of migrants crossing the border illegally. Migrant flow is on the rise in the past few months.

Belgrade-seated company LEGI SGS won the bid to construct the fence. The awarded contract amount is EUR 4.8 million.

The border between Slovenia and Croatia is 671 kilometer long. In 2015, Slovenia erected barbed wire fences at 50 sites along the border with Croatia to stop Middle-East refugees from illegally entering the country using informal border crossings and divert the refugees to regular border crossings. It spent 6.6 million euros.

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Death toll of Halkidiki ferocious storms climbs to seven

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The death toll of ferocious storms that ripped through a tourist hotspot in northern Greece Wednesday night has climbed to seven.

Seven people, among them six tourists, have been killed in a violent storm that swept across Halkidiki peninsula. A Czech couple died when their caravan was blown away, and two Romanians and two Russians also died. A man and a young boy, both Russians, also died when a tree fell near their hotel. A seventh body was later found in the sea.

Local news reports say at least 120 others were injured, with 23 people hospitalized.

Images and videos posted on social media show trees toppled, cars overturned and buildings damaged by gale-force winds, heavy rain and hailstorms.

Two children are among seven people to have died after the severe storm that unleashed gale-force winds, rain and hailstorms. Two elderly tourists from the Czech Republic were killed when strong winds and water hit their travel traile.

Crews were working to restore power on Thursday after it was knocked out for 80 per cent of the area. A state of emergency has been declared, with scores of rescue workers dispatched to help.

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Greece: Six dead, dozens injured as hailstorms batter Halkidiki

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Ferocious storms ripped through a tourist region in Greece last night, killing six holidaymakers including a toddler and an eight-year-old boy.

At least 100 others were reportedly injured after gale-force winds, rain and freak hail storms struck the Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece.

Six tourists have been killed and at least 30 other people injured in a violent storm that swept across a region of northern Greece late on Wednesday.

A Czech couple died when their caravan was blown away, and two Romanians and two Russians were also killed.

A state of emergency was declared and more than 100 rescue workers deployed to cope with what the local authorities have described as an ‘unprecedented phenomenon’.

The storm followed a spell of very hot weather in Greece with temperatures climbing to 37C over the past few days.

Images and video posted on social media show trees toppled, cars overturned and buildings damaged.

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