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Massive Mammoth on Display in Serbia

While the Balkans nations have long been described as a place where life first emerged in terms of human civilization, paleolithic specimens have played a big role in recent discoveries, as well. A coal pit nearly 100 km south east of the Serbian capital of Belgrade tells the story of a large mammoth that had strayed from its herd and entered marsh like territory where it began to sink into the weak soil. The mammoth, which scientists have confirmed through DNA testing was of the female sex, was aging at the time and did not fight the sinking, instead laying down and passing from life in a peaceful way. The bones she left behind are the latest addition to paleontology. They were discovered near the Danube River, a major water way in south east Europe. So far, scientist have been calling the skeleton by the name of Vika.

The country is eager to utilize Vika to educate its population and the world at large by welcoming in tourists to come and view what are certainly one of the most rare bones to be uncovered recently. According to Zoran Markovic, quite a number of these bones have been uncovered in the nation for a number of years, but such a complete skeleton as Vika exemplifies is a rare sight. Markovic was extremely excited upon first sight and has been able to determine that Vika belong to a species of mammoth that existed before the Ice Ages began. The creature would have weighed 10 tons and lacked the fur that was present on Siberian mammoths, looking far more similar to today’s elephants.

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US Pledges Support to Balkan Nations

Things have begun to look up even more than in recent years for nations in the Balkans as both the United States and many nations in Europe have begun to voice their support towards the integration of the nations in this region not only into the European Union, but also several other organizations. The US has been particular vocal in expressing its support of the Western Balkan nations and encouraging European partners in diplomacy to do the same as they extend their efforts to improve trade in the region. According to the US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, the Obama administration wishes to help the Balkans emerge as a power house of stability and peace in Southern Europe. The advances made by a number of countries in the region have encouraged the US President, Steinburg has stated. By pursuing common goals together, official expressed, the US, the Balkan nations and all of Europe stand to gain quite a lot in terms of trade and other important elements of international prosperity.

Quality of life for citizens of the region has been a top priority for the current US administration, according to the official and he has been impressed during visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia and Slovenia. During a visit to the Slovenian capitol of Ljubljana, Steinberg praised the nation for being a key partner in promoting peace and becoming a NATO ally that has helped in conflicts against terrorist in the Middle East. He further commented that Slovenia has done well in using its success to promote better opportunities for its own people.

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Croatia Working with Canada in Economic Alliance

According to recent announcements made to the press by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Prime Minister of Croatia, Jadranka Kosor, both countries are now entering into a brand new era in which they will strengthen their bilateral relationships with one another. By signing a recent agreement that allows young people from both countries to work and travel between the two nations, the countries are expecting to be able to strengthen their cultural ties. Prime Minister Harper is the first Canadian PM to pay a visit to the nation of Croatia since 1991. The agreement allows Canadian young people between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in Croatia and the same is true in reverse for Croatians who wish to do the same in Canada. This is not a first for Canada, which has more than 25 similar agreements with other nations around the world.

Harper happened to be in the area thanks to his attendance at a summit for the Canada European Union relations which is being held in Brussels. He has visited 4 different European nations during this current trip. During his visit to Croatia, a small welcoming ceremony was held for the Prime Minister in St. Mark’s Square and several Canadian ex patriots showed up sporting jerseys of hockey teams in their home land. Prior to receiving such a warm welcome in Croatia, Harper had been touring Amsterdam where he met with a variety of Dutch leaders of industry and attended a lunch with Queen Beatrix, the nation’s symbolic royal figure.

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Italy to Support Serbia in EU Status

During a recent visit to the Serbian capitol city of Belgrade, the preisdent of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Gianfranco Fini, stated to the local press reporters that Italy will be the first country to ratify the European Union’s Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) that has been extended to Serbia. The press release statement from the Government of Serbia reported that during the state visit, Fini had a meeting with Mirko Cvetkovic, the Prime Minister of Serbia, to discuss the arrangement before making a formal announcement to reporters. The SAA agreement lays out all of the provisions which are part of a nation becoming a member of the EU, as many Balkan countries are looking to do. Each member state formally signs the agreement to offically approve the EU status of all new incoming nations.

Fini has stated that he believes the move by his home nation of Italy signals an important gesture for Serbia, backed by the Italian government which views Serbia as an important new addition to the EU not just due to its contribution to the EU itself, but to the Balkan region, as well. With EU integration, Serbia stands to advance its political status in the global community beyond the EU and may be able to further expand its economic opportunities for both foreign investors and more trade relations around the world. For his part, Cvetkovic expressed thankfulness to the Italian minister for the encouragement from his nation. More discussion between the two men will lead to future economic partnerships between both countries, say political insiders.