Serbia ‘open to solutions’ on Kosovo

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, left, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, right, review the honor guard during an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Bucharest. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Serbia ‘open to solutions’ on Kosovo

BUCHAREST, Romania: Serbia’s president said Thursday that his country won’t recognize Kosovo as an independent nation, but is open to discussing solutions to the contentious issue.
“If we recognize Kosovo ... Albanians will gain everything, and my question is — what will Serbs get?” said President Aleksandar Vucic, who was in Romania for talks with President Klaus Iohannis.
“You’re going to get your monasteries protected, your churches protected. My counter question ... would be — and otherwise you would burn it, or what?” he said in English, echoing the emotions of many Serbs who view Kosovo as Serbia’s historic heartland and refuse to give up claims to it.
He added, however, that Serbia is willing to discuss “all possible solutions,” though part of the issue is “how to sell it to our public and how the Albanians sell it to their public.”
Vucic said if both sides delivered a solution “it will mean that we do care about the future of our people and the future of our nation,” although he acknowledged that failure was a more likely outcome.
Last month, during a visit to Belgrade, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Serbia it had to solve its dispute with Kosovo and implement a series of reforms before it can join the European Union.
Vucic thanked Iohannis, who offered to help on the Kosovo issue. Romania traditionally has good relations with Serbia and supports its bid to join the European Union.
“If the solution is not fair.... and is not supported, it won’t be a solution,” Iohannis cautioned.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognized by 115 countries. Serbia and Romania do not recognize Kosovo.
About 10,000 people were killed during the 1998-99 war in Kosovo which ended when NATO bombed Serbia to end its crackdown against independence-minded ethnic Albanians.


California nuns stole schools funds for Vegas gambling, travel

In this Sunday, April 1, 2018 file photo, nuns are silhouetted in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (AP)
Updated 26 min 55 sec ago
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California nuns stole schools funds for Vegas gambling, travel

  • The nuns allegedly got away with their crime by depositing some checks made out to the school for tuition and other fees into a bank account

LOS ANGELES: Two Catholic school nuns in California have admitted to embezzling about $500,000, and using the funds over the years for travel and gambling in Las Vegas, their order said on Monday.
Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang, who are said to be best friends, took the money from tuition, fees and donations at St. James Catholic School in Torrance, south of Los Angeles.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said the missing money was discovered during a routine audit and it is believed the nuns had stolen the money over at least a decade.
Kreuper was a former principal at the school where she worked for 20 years until her retirement earlier this year. Chang was a teacher for 20 years and she also retired this year, according to local media reports.
“Our community is concerned and saddened by this situation and regret any injury to our long relationship with the families of the school,” the Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the nuns’ order, said in a statement sent to AFP. “The Sisters of St. Joseph both desire and intend to make complete restitution to St. James School.”
Parents were reportedly informed about the nuns’ misdeeds earlier this month.
Though police have been alerted, the Archdiocese has said it does not plan to seek criminal charges against the pair, who spent decades as students’ moral enforcers.
“We do know that they had a pattern of going on trips. We do know they had a pattern of going to casinos, and the reality is, they used the account as their personal account,” the Press-Telegram quoted an attorney telling parents and alumni at a recent meeting.
The nuns allegedly got away with their crime by depositing some checks made out to the school for tuition and other fees into a bank account different than the one used by the school.
“Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana have expressed to me and asked that I convey to you, the deep remorse they each feel for their actions and ask for your forgiveness and prayers,” Michael Meyers, the school’s pastor, said in a letter to parents.
“They and their order pray that you have not lost trust or faith in the educators and administrators of the school. Let us pray for our school families and for Sister Mary Margaret and Sister Lana.”