News archive of September 2018

'No' vote and abstention in FYROM referendum

It is becoming increasingly evident that the big challenge for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev is not only to clinch a "yes" vote in Sunday's referendum for the name deal with Greece, but also to see a turnout that would confirm the legitimacy of the process and ensure that a potential victory is not undercut by low voter numbers.

A referendum for two countries

If the voters of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia approve of the Prespes agreement in Sunday's referendum, then the political tension that now grips our neighbor will immediately move to Greece. If the enemies of the agreement hold sway, and the majority either votes it down or enough voters stay away, then the Greeks will be absolved of responsibility for what happens next.

Boat capsizes off Turkey's Aegean coast, 5 migrants killed

Turkey's state-run news agency says a boat carrying migrants has capsized off Turkey's northern Aegean coast, killing at least five people.

The capsizing occurred as a rare and powerful Mediterranean storm is causing torrential rains in parts of Greece and Turkey.

Three people missing as cyclone brings flash floods in Greece

Three people were reported missing in Greece on Sunday after swirling winds and torrential rain brought flash floods in several parts of the country.

A rare type of tropical storm known as a Medicane began on Saturday and has so far mostly affected areas on the island of Evia, east of mainland Greece, and the southern Peloponnese peninsula.

What comes next after the referendum

On Sunday, voters in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are expected to endorse the agreement signed with Greece last June. Although participation in the referendum might come to less than half of the registered voters, the government of Zoran Zaev will press ahead with the necessary constitutional amendment mandated by the agreement.

Rival Rallies as Erdogan Opens Mega Mosque in Cologne

Cologne (Germany) (AFP) - Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Cologne Saturday as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened one of Europe's largest mosques at the end of his visit to Germany, with police out in force to manage rival rallies.

Facebook Turmoil Continues with Hack Affecting 50 Million Users

Facebook's recent string of management disasters continued with the social networking giant reporting a major hack on Friday that affected up to 50 million people.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a call with reporters the company "patched the issue last night and are taking precautionary measures" to avoid any further damage.

Huge Heroin Bust in Bulgaria

Bulgarian customs officials have seized 712kg of heroin from inside two Iranian trucks entering Bulgaria from Turkey.

Officials on Friday valued the record heroin haul at NZ million.

The drugs were found in two Iran-registered trucks at the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint on the Turkish border.

They were carrying construction materials and were bound for Austria.

Romanian Halep forfeits first-round match at China Open 2018

Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, world number one, on Sunday forfeited her first-round singles match at the 8,285,274-USD WTA China Open 2018 tournament in Beijing after her opponent Ons Jabeur of Tunisia won the first set 6-1.

Plagued by her back pains of late, Halep, 27, forfeited after 32 minutes.