Friday, August 29, 2008

HM King Carl XVI Gustaf handed Polar Music Prize

American soprano Renee Fleming and Pink Floyd band members Nick Mason and Roger Waters have received this year's Swedish Polar Music Prize.

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf handed the prizes to the winners at a ceremony in the Stockholm Concert Hall on Tuesday. The British rock legends and the opera star were given standing ovations when they arrived to receive the awards, each worth 106,700 euros.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Music honoured Fleming „in recognition of her sublime unparalleled voice and unique stylistic versatility.“

„Connoisseurs and the general public alike have been dazzled by the beauty of her soft and natural voice, which is equally supple in every register and exudes sensitivity in every tone,“ it said.

Nick Mason and Roger Waters accepted the award on behalf of Pink Floyd, selected „for their monumental contribution over the decades to the fusion of art and music in the development of popular culture.“

„Through extensive sonic experimentation, they captured the mood and spirit of a whole generation in their reflections and attitudes,“ the academy said.

The Polar prize is Sweden's biggest music award and was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, the publisher, lyricist and manager of iconic Swedish pop group ABBA. It is usually split between pop artists and classical musicians.

Among the previous winners are Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Elton John, Keith Jarrett, B.B. King, British rock legends Led Zeppelin and American superstars Bruce Springsteen, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan.

Last year the prize was shared by US composer Steve Reich and jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


DORMITION OF THE THEOTOKOS (MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD) is celebrated on August 28 each year. The Feast commemorates the repose or „falling-asleep“ of the Mother of Jesus Christ. The Feast also commemorates the translation or assumption into heaven of the body of the Theotokos.

The Bible tells us that when Christ was dying on the Cross, he saw his mother and his disciple John and said to Mary, „Woman, behold your son!“ and to John, „Behold your mother!“ (John 19:25-27). From that hour, the apostle took care of the Theotokos in his own home.

On one occasion, Archangel Gabriel appeared to her and revealed to her that within three days she will find repose. At the time of her death, the disciples of Christ who were preaching throughout the world returned to Jerusalem to see the Holy Mother. Except for the Apostle Thomas, all of them including the Apostle Paul were gathered together at her bedside. At the moment of her death, Jesus Christ himself descended and carried her soul into heaven.

Following her repose, the body of the Mother of God was taken in procession and laid in a tomb near the Garden of Gethsemane. On the third day after the burial, when the Apostles were eating together, and raised up the artos (bread) in Jesus' Name, as was their custom, the Theotokos appeared in the air, saying „Rejoice“ to them. From this they learned concerning the bodily translation of the Mother of God into the Heavens.

203rd anniversary of the Ruling Council of Serbia

Anniversary of the foundation of the Ruling Council of Serbia was celebrated today in the memorial complex in Veliki Borak, in Belgrade’s municipality of Barajevo. The hosts of marking the 203rd anniversary were Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Ministry of Defense and the Municipality of Barajevo. Their representatives, together with the representatives of the City of Belgrade and NGOs laid wreaths at the monument to Sima Marković, one of the leaders of the First Serbian Uprising, in whose house the Council was founded. The Ruling Council of Serbia, the first form of executive branch of government in Serbia during the Uprising, was founded on August 27, 1805, and its establishment was one of the most significant moves of the Uprising leaders, headed by Supreme Leader Karadjordje. The Council had existed for a few years and its functioning as the first permanent governing body, had paved the way of restoration of Serbian state after centuries long Ottoman rule.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

European princes in Mongolia

Prince in Monaco, King in Mongolia

„His Majesty Albert II, the King of Monaco, launched his first official visit to Mongolia on Friday at the invitation of the country's President Nambaryn Enkhbayar.“ That is how the Mongolian State News Agency Montsame announced the arrival of Prince Albert of Monaco in Ulaanbaatar last Friday.

No doubt a welcome upgrading for Prince Albert, who has been extremely active diplomatically, with within the last two years official and semi-official visits to the Asian giants China and Japan, to Thailand and Russia, and now Mongolia. Albert arrived from Beijing, where he attended the Olympic Games. The prince is member of the International Olympic Committee.

President Enkhbayar, who earlier in the week welcomed Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, held talks with Albert in Government House. Later Friday the prince also met with the Speaker of Parliament and the Mongolian Prime Minister.

Albert said he was happy with his warm welcome and added that his country would cooperate with Mongolia in environmental matters. „The Albert II Foundation is ready to help Mongolia with cooperation against desertification and disafforestation. A project of Monegasque and Mongolian joint archeological research is being implemented since 2006. I took this project under my auspices in 2007“.

In addition, the ‘King’ congratulated the Mongolian athletes with their success at Beijing-2008 Olympic Games. Albert also visited the museum of the Archeological Institute at the Sciences Academy. There he was awarded with an honorary doctor title of the Academy, just as Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark received a honorary degree one day earlier from the Mongolian State University for Education.

Diplomatic relations between Monaco and Mongolia were only established May 22, 2008. The Monegasque government selected Mongolia in 2008 as the partner country in Asia for its development cooperation and presented a non-refundable aid for USD 20.000 for an archeological project the Prince visited on Saturday.

On the second and last day of his official visit to Mongolia, Prince Albert visited Arkhangai aimag (province). He toured historic and cultural places and acquainted himself with the nomadic life style. In Arkhangai the prince went to see the Museums of Ethnography and History.

A Mongolian-Monacan joint archeological research project is carried out on the boundary of the aimag Battsengel and Ikhtamir soums. Albert witnessed some activities of the experts who are studying the Deer Stones of the Turkish period in the Tsatsin denj area, the Mongolian State News Agency reported.

Albert visited the „Taikhar chuluu“ tourist camp and watched a mini festival of three manly sports games. In Ikhtamir soum, the prince visited a herding family, just as Danish Crown Prince Frederik had done a few days earlier.

'Marksman' Frederik applauded in Mongoli

The Mongolian State University of Education has a new Honorary Doctor: Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The University’s rector B.Jadamba said the award was in recognition of Denmark’s significant support to Mongolia's educational sector.

The honour bestowed was meant for Denmark as a whole, and not as a reward for outstanding academic endeavours by the Crown Prince. Nevertheless Frederik in his acceptance speech stressed his willingness to intensify more a cooperation between the two countries in education and culture.

Various Danish non-governmental organisations are involveld in programmes and projects to support Mongolia’s educational sector and to improve the education of marginal and vulnarable groups in Mongolia’ society, the State News Agency reported.

Frederik earlier in the day showed his prowess in the ancient Mongolian sport of archery. It was a nice chance for the 40-year old heir to the Danish throne to take part in sport, after ten days of being a spectator at the Beijing Olympics in neighbouring China.

On the last leg of his three day official visit to Mongolia Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark went to the Press Institute in the capital Ulaanbaatar.

The Institute was founded in 1996 with financial help from the „Press and Information Monitoring“ project, and carried out by the Danida international aid organization of Denmark. The Institute runs activities to develop independent journalism in Mongolia and provides media people with knowledge about contemporary journalism and arranges training sessions.

The Mongolians thanked Denmark for its invaluable help in getting a free press off the ground in their impoverished and former communist rules country. Frederik in turn said to be satisfied with the success of the project and he congratulated the Press Institute's administrative council for making a valuable contribution to developing free journalism in Mongolia.

The official visit coincides with the 40th anniversary of Mongolian-Danish diplomatic relations. The Prince met with the President of Mongolia, Nambaryn Enkhbayar and Prime Minister Sanjaagiin Bayar.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Georgia may renew itself by restoring its monarchy

Gerald Warner, Scottish author, broadcaster, columnist and polemical commentator who writes about politics, religion, history, culture and society in general.

As war-torn Georgia struggles to assert its sovereignty and redefine its identity, there is now a growing possibility that the country may have recourse to an option that has been simmering on the political agenda for the past 18 years by restoring its ancient monarchy and recalling the head of the Bagration dynasty to the throne.

Even before the Russian invasion this proposal was being canvassed within the past year. The Bagration dynasty is more than a thousand years old and was forcibly removed from the Georgian throne by Russia in 1801. The Georgian people never consented to the abolition of either their monarchy or their national sovereignty.

When the Soviet Union collapsed and Georgia declared independence, one of the earliest proposals for a constitutional settlement was the restoration of the monarchy. In 1991 the Georgian government and parliament officially recognized Prince George Bagration-Moukhranski as head of the royal house. The fact that they took the trouble to do so demonstrates that the monarchy was a substantive political issue.

During the civil war and general turbulence that ensued, the monarchic question was sidelined, though it never completely disappeared. Opinion polls showed wildly fluctuating public opinion on a restoration, varying from 2 per cent support to 45 per cent (with only 29 per cent opposed). A succession of authoritarian presidents - Gamsakhurdia, Shevardnadze and Saakashvili - provoked a backlash against the power of the presidency. Lately the opposition parties have adopted the slogan „Georgia without a President.“

Democrats have been talking about monarchy on the British model and citing the example of King Juan Carlos in Spain to prove the practicability of a restoration. What brought things back to the boil, however, was a sermon preached by the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Illia II, on October 7 last year, in which he publicly called for the restoration of the monarchy as the „desirable dream of the Georgian people“. That led to the question being debated in parliament.

Now the situation has been radically transformed. Mikheil Saakashvili is badly discredited. The nation may, for the moment, be rallying around him as a symbol of national identity, but that effect will not last long. His was the only political party in
Georgia unambiguously opposed to a restoration, but it has little credibility now. In a time of defeat and suffering people are turning to the church, which is royalist.

Georgia has no military options against Russia, its economy has been devastated, it lacks diplomatic leverage. Yet there is one politico-cultural gesture it could make to renew itself, to reassert its national identity, to unite around a non-partisan symbol, and that is to restore its monarchy. The fact that it was originally abolished by Russia would give added meaning to this act of constitutional renewal.

The acknowledged head of the royal house, the de jure King George XIV, died earlier this year; but his 32-year-old son Prince David could be called to the throne of his ancestors as David XIII. This could be the holistic reinvention of itself this unfortunate nation needs.

Monday, August 25, 2008


PRESS daily newspaper, Belgrade, 24.08.2008

INTERVIEW: Dragomir Acović, member of the Privy Council


- I believe that Serbia can restore its monarchy if there is consensus in our political environment. I refer to those moderate and high end factions of all political parties that are yet to be exposed. And I leave no party out of it. If I hadn’t believed that, I would have given up long time ago – says Acović.

- Why has the interest of the Serbs for monarchy declined?

- It all depends how one names it. In the time when majority of citizens saw regime as everybody’s enemy, the Crown was a symbolic counterbalance. Today, the country is split into two groups who see each other as enemies... The people are terribly disappointed.

-In whom?

- In everybody and everything. In the government, in the military... It seems to me we have fallen into an emotional lethargy. And on the other hand, into a state of uncontrollable discontent, bitterness that simply pours out from most of the people, it bursts out in totally unexpected situations, without any direct motivation or reason.

Everybody swears by international integrations and democracy. And everybody swears by better future, but we can’t reach it as long as the other half of the people bothers us. And we shall have that future as soon as we eliminate that other half, by force if necessary. And that is the only message in our political market. In a situation like that, it is very difficult to be someone who is supposed to be a reconciler. And as a rule, the Crown has the function of a reconciler.

-You mention reconciliation, haven’t Mr. Dačić and Mr. Tadić reconciled and said...

- Do you think those are the two warring halves of the people?

-Let’s say they took on themselves the...

- You can take on yourself whatever you want. I can take on myself to speak for all the kangaroos outside Australia, but that doesn’t mean anything. Who has reconciled? The parties’ leaderships? What have they reconciled over? What was the quarrel up to now? When did it happen that what has been dividing them until now, began to unite them? But monarchy, by definition, represents the center. That is why today there is a great deficiency of what used to be in excess, and that is monarchist parties. For almost all monarchist parties used to have ideas how actually the monarch should carry their banners in the election campaign rallies. Which has nothing to do with monarchy... The last time we surveyed the public opinion, through an agency, anonymously, more than 30 per cent of the questioned were pro monarchy.

-When was the survey taken?

- A year ago. However, what was true on Monday, does not have to be true on Tuesday at all. And so we have a problem. Things can’t be put in a logical or practical manner. So now we are in a totally impossible situation. The question is what the message is and what monarchy offers. If the present situation suits you, you don’t need monarchy. But monarchy is everything what the present situation isn’t. And if you see the way out in dialog, in exchanging of arguments instead of slaps, if you realize that it doesn’t matter how brilliant and intelligent you are, that still doesn’t mean that you can be the leader of a nation.

-If Serbia is polarized, if you have the results of the polls, doesn’t the Crown see its chance? Why has it withdrawn from the public life?

- It hasn’t, the media have withdrawn from the Crown.


- My guess is that the media are also a part of the general division. There is almost no media that can’t be recognized from a distance in terms of which half it represents and which half is the enemy. It is completely clear then why the Crown is not there, for it is a center, it is neither left nor right. The Crown can’t just show up and say: „I am the alternative“. The Crown is not an alternative to democracy, it is an essential part of it.

-What would the citizens gain in monarchy, in particular?

- The existence of a center, which doesn’t curry favors for being elected after lying how the pensions will be raised. The existence of someone whose views of the country’s future are far broader, far more direct and far more powerful than of any political party. Because a monarch has no competition. The king does not have a party machinery. The king is not above the constitution and law, but is a part of them. He can’t have and shouldn’t have the executive power, which is an important difference in relation to the present situation. Also, monarchy creates prerequisites for discussion on the country’s direction, without having the other half of the people as the enemy.


-Would an average citizen live better in monarchy? Would food and gas be cheaper to him, could he buy a new car?

- I can put the question the other way round: if things stay the way the are, do you think you’ll live better, food and gas will be cheaper, you’ll be able to buy a new car? You won’t. So, what are you really asking? You’re asking to make a choice between the two things, and for one of them you know how it works. And you’re not happy with it. And there’s the other thing, for which you don’t know how it works, but you don’t even want to try it because you’re afraid it might be worse than the one you’re not happy with. I’m not quite sure it’s a good way of thinking.

Đ. Tomić

Saturday, August 23, 2008

National mourning in Spain

Queen Sofia cut short her stay at the Beijing Olympics, after a Spanair plane crashed near the Madrid airport Barajas on Wednesday. She arrived Thursday morning in Madrid; her husband King Juan Carlos had returned from his holiday home Marivent on the island of Mallorca.

The king and queen later visited the impromptu morgue where relatives waited to claim the remains of their loved ones. Many of the 153 bodies are burned beyond recognizition and the identification process could take days, a Spanish Minister said Thursday.

The morgue has been set up at Madrid's main convention center - the same facility used for relatives to identify bodies after the March 11, 2004, terror attacks that killed 191 people on Madrid commuter trains.

As the shock of the tragedy began to sink in, Spain began three days of mourning Thursday. Flags in Madrid flew at half-staff and silent vigils were held at noon around the country.

„All Spaniards feel this disaster. Spain is really mourning and it is very difficult for all.“ Prince Felipe summed up the shock caused by the plane crash at Madrid's Barajas airport after visiting the wounded and their families in hospitals around the Spanish capital.

The Prince of Asturias toured hospitals, conveyed the wounded his support. „We wanted today to be with the relatives and the injured. We wanted to be in the hospitals where they are suffering and fighting for their lives“, he said.

Princess Letizia, who went with him, said that they had been particularly impressed by the courage of a mother who has lost a son in the accident, while the other was wounded and now struggled for recovery with an „incredible force“.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two princesses at the Beijing Olympics

Princess Nathalie of Sayn - Wittgenstein - Berleburg (born May 2, 1975) is the daughter of Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte of Denmark, younger sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and His Serene Highness Prince Richard of Sayn - Wittgenstein - Berleburg. She is a member of the Team Denmark dressage team in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
(born March 5, 1980) is the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktroum, the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, and the ruler of Dubai. She participates at the 2008 Summer Olympics in taekwondo in the 67kgs category for women.

Several royals are members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC): Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Anne, Princess Royal, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Princess Nora of Liechtenstein, Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar and
Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tongan king crowned

Tonga has celebrated its first coronation in 41 years. Following an ancient ceremony, King George Tupou V was formally installed as the 23rd ruler of the South Pacific's only monarchy, unique among Pacific nations because it never completely lost its indigenous governance.

Cannons were fired and church bells rang out as the King of Tonga was crowned monarch of the tiny South Pacific nation on August 1 2008 in a ceremony attended by royalty and political leaders from around the world.

Dressed in crimson robes trimmed with white ermine, King George Tupou V sat on a gilt throne in the Free Wesleyan church in the capital of Nuku'alofa while a 300-strong choir performed Handel's coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest.

Speaking in Tongan, the 60-year-old sovereign took the oath of office before the Archbishop of Polynesia, Jabez Bryce, anointed the sovereign's head and hands with holy oil and entreated him to rule „wisely, justly and truly“.

A crown was placed on the king's head and he was handed a ring and a red and gold sceptre.

The western-style coronation for Polynesia's only monarch had been preceded earlier in the week by a traditional Tongan coronation ceremony in which he drank kava, a mildly narcotic beverage, and was presented with gifts of food from his people.

Among the guests were Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, Thailand's Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and the prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, as well as nobility and royalty from most of the nations in the region. Britain was represented by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

The day had been declared a national holiday and outside crowds of Tongans waved flags in the country's colours of red and white in celebration. There were marching bands and the city centre had been decorated in flags, bunting and ceremonial arches made of palm fronds and banana leaves.

The elderly sovereign arrived at the church in a vintage Humber Super Snipe coupe, a British-made car once owned by his grandmother, Queen Salote, who endeared herself to the British public during the Queen's coronation in 1953 by riding in an open carriage in the rain.

At the end of the hour-long ceremony, the king was escorted by naval officers and courtiers down steps that had been covered in traditional mats. He was driven through the streets of Nuku'alofa as thousands of schoolchildren lined the route and cheered.

The king took the title two years ago after the death of his father, who had ruled for 41 years. The coronation was originally scheduled for last year but was postponed after pro-democracy riots left eight people dead and the centre of the capital looted and burned.

In the run-up to the coronation, the king announced that he was dismantling the country's semi-feudal political system in favour of a more democratically elected parliament. He has also divested himself of his business interests and made it clear that he will have more of a figurehead role in the future.

Among those who attended the coronation was pro-democracy campaigner Akilisi Pohiva, who has twice been jailed. He described the ceremony as „beautiful“ and said that the sense of uncertainty among Tongans about the future had been erased. „We are very proud of His Majesty. He was under pressure to change and he has,“ he said. „In fact, he has done more than we could have hoped for.“

Later there was a lunch at the Royal Palace for more than 1,000 guests, who had dressed in top hats, tails and full length gowns despite the tropical heat. In the evening there was a musical concert and a fireworks display. The festivities continued the next day with a military parade.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Restoration of monarchy in Serbia (2)

Dragomir Acović, member of the Privy Council

If the citizens of Serbia were asked about it, I believe the majority would support the coronation of the king.
Regrettably, it depends on those who consider themselves to be the political elite of Serbia. Year after year our initiative to proclaim the Crown Prince a king has been clashing with stupid platitudes purporting how that would not be in accordance with the laws of democracy. These efforts fail not because they lack initiative or practicality, but because they are faced with the captive minds.

Listening to the rhetoric of our most vociferous champions of republicanism one can only conclude that monarchy is by definition backward and anachronic compared to republic, thus the supporters of „this“ and opponents of „that“ cannot accept the possibility of „this“ taking as a model something from „that“. There is still a terrible ideological charge in our society, and, to make it worse, a good proportion of the population is totally unaware of it. Those attitudes have become axiomatic and as such are never questioned, nor given a second thought.

One of the key differences between monarchy and republic is that, unlike a president who is often chairman of a political party and who is temporarily promoted to the post by a portion of the electorate, because it is larger or for any other reason, against the will of another portion of the electorate, and thus accordingly must have certain preferences towards his party and those who elected him, a monarch simply excludes such possibility, or there is no monarchy. Otherwise he is a lifelong president, or, in an extreme situation such as in Haiti or North Korea, a lifelong hereditary president of republic. That is the last thing on Earth that would come to mind to the Crown Prince or to any of his advisors.

It is only natural that the expense of maintaining the Royal Compound in Dedinje is financed from the state’s budget, for whether one likes it or not, the state is its owner. The owner has always and under all regimes been responsible for covering the expenses of his property. Before the Crown Prince moved into it, all the operating expenses had been covered by the state. It had been like that when Josip Broz lived there, and in Milošević’s time, too. The expenses are almost the same regardless of whether somebody lives there or not, because the Compound has to be maintained. But if one says that something is expensive, one should first ask oneself how much what one already has cost: how much the presidential elections cost, how much the changing presidential administrations cost, how much the consequences of what one has cost, and only then should one ask for the estimate of how much the alternative to all of that would cost. Surprisingly, not one of those who now keep asking how much the monarchy would cost has raised his or her voice to ask how much the republic had cost. Who do you think had paid for the famous inventory of Mr. Broz, that was made after his death and that included 42 or 43 residencies?

Allegations that the issue of monarchy is dividing the people in Serbia are an unscrupulous hogwash. I often ask myself if those who make them are trying to say that the people are divided today because we have had monarchy since 1945? Who’s crazy here? Excuse me, but this country has experienced secession during the hardcore republican ideological and political system. It was rejected as a homeland even by the ethnic minorities that were promoted by the very republican system.

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Zealand against republic!

The abolition of the Monarchy and the creation of a Republic is a matter for New Zealand as a whole to decide, not for politicians to attempt to impose upon us.

The future of the New Zealand monarchy has been recently called into question by a few individuals who have attracted considerable publicity for their ill thought out republican proposals. Criticism of the monarchy has been expressed through an unprecedented press campaign and through an unwarranted intrusion into the privacy of individual members of the Royal Family.

Read the full article

The Monarchist League of New Zealand, Inc.