Prirodno bilje (Natural Herbs) is the first company in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) allowed to produce and export industrial hemp, the state-owned Federal News Agency (FENA) reported on Friday.
The company, based in Banja Luka, some 190 kilometers northwest of the capital Sarajevo, has received the exporting license from the Ministry of Agriculture of Republika Srpska (RS), one of BiH’s two entities.
The company’s owner, Nedeljko Kusturic, said he had already secured a deal with a company in Germany, which is ready to buy their future crops.
Prirodno bilje produces about 150 tons of various medical herbs and aromatic spices, mostly for the domestic market.
Marijuana and hemp are varieties of cannabis, developed due to selective breeding — marijuana for its narcotic components and hemp for its fiber. All varieties of cannabis have been banned throughout the world since the 1960s as it was listed as dangerous drug by the United Nations (UN).
Over the past decades, several nations have recognized the industrial and medical values of hemp. To date, over 20 countries have legalized or decriminalized cannabis.
“More than 200 products are made from industrial hemp. Its seed is used in the food industry. Hemp is also used in construction as an insulation material. Pellets and briquettes for heating are also produced from it as it has more calories than wood,” Kusturic explained.
BiH has recently taken the first steps towards legalizing cannabis for industrial and medical use. The decision comes as more than 27,000 jobs have been lost in the country since the COVID-19 lockdown started in mid-March.
FBiH state of emergency lapses on Sunday
The government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), decided to end the state of emergency when it expires Sunday, a press release said on Friday.
The state of emergency meant that all public services were obliged to follow the orders of the Federal Civil Protection Administration (FUCZ) and make all their resources available to be used according to predetermined protection and rescue plans.
The FUCZ will continue to oversee and assess the epidemiological situation in FBiH and impose measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government of FBiH said.
In Republika Srpska (RS), BiH‘s other entity, the state of emergency was declared March 28 and was ended May 21.
To date, BiH has reported 2,489 COVID-19 cases and 153 deaths.
BiH’s Celik Zenica football club resumes training
Celik Zenica, a famous Bosnia and Herzegovina‘s (BiH) football club resumed training on Friday to begin preparations for the possible continuation of the country’s Premier League.
All the club’s footballers got permission to start the training process Friday afternoon, confirmed fitness coach Almir Seferovic.
“All the findings on the coronavirus tests were negative and we decided to start working,” Seferovic said.
The BiH Premier League may reopen on the weekend of June 6, or no later than June 13, the Football Association of BiH (FSBiH) announced on Wednesday.
Celik Zenica is one of the most prominent and successful football teams in BiH, being one of only two Bosnian clubs to win the national championship three times in a row – from 1994 to 1997.
BiH opens borders with neighbouring countries
The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) decided to immediately and unconditionally open the borders with neighbouring countries, namely Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, the state-owned Federal news agency FENA reported on Thursday.
BiH‘s Ministry of Security had proposed the border reopening upon its assessment that the epidemiological situation has significantly improved in BiH as well as in all three neighbouring countries.
This means that the citizens of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro will be allowed to enter BiH unconditionally. Until further notice, citizens of other countries will be allowed to enter only for business purposes and after presenting a negative coronavirus test not older than 24 hours and the invitation letter from the inviting company.
The Council of Ministers of BiH also decided that all three international airports, in Sarajevo, Banjaluka and Tuzla, will reopen on June 1. BiH closed its borders on March 22 and its international airports on March 30 due to the pandemic.
So far, BiH has reported 2,462 cases of COVID-19 and 153 deaths.
COVID-19 will not affect BiH highway construction
The COVID-19 will not affect the construction of the highway on Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Vojin Mitrovic, minister of communications and transport, said Wednesday.
Pan-European Corridor Vc, also known as European route E73, is a 702-kilometer route connecting Hungary and eastern Croatia to BiH and the Adriatic Sea, situated in the vicinity of the port of Ploce.
BiH is building on seven sites north and south of its capital Sarajevo, with all sections reaching over 38.5 km in length, Mitrovic said.
According to European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Corridor Vc is to be built by 2030 at a cost of approximately 4 billion euros (4.4 billion U.S. dollars).
Two Chinese companies, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited and Power Construction Corporation of China, are currently building one of the highway’s sections between Pocitelj and Zvirovici, some 150 km south of Sarajevo.
Medical aid from UAE delivered to BiH
A plane from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrying medical devices and equipment has landed at the International Airport in Sarajevo, the state-owned media FENA reported on Wednesday.
The shipment consists of 40 medical ventilators and more than 500,000 pieces of various protective medical gears including protective suits, gloves, masks, visors, eyeglasses, according to the report.
Bisera Turkovic, BiH’s minister of foreign affairs, has welcomed and received the shipment at the airport.
Expressing her gratitude for the help, Turkovic said the Council of Ministers of BiH will decide on how to distribute the aid to the medical facilities.
To date, BiH has reported 2,439 cases of COVID-19 infection with 146 deaths.
Chinese, BiH medical professionals share experiences on COVID-19
Medical professionals and experts from China and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have held a video conference, sharing their experiences in combating COVID-19, the Chinese Embassy in BiH said Monday in a statement.
During the conference, Chinese experts shared their experiences on diagnostic and treatment methods, plasma therapy for critically-ill patients, ECMO therapy, monitoring asymptomatic patients, protecting medical staff and preventing imported cases, according to the statement.
Experts from the two sides also interacted with the audience online, offering advice on protection, boosting immunity and maintaining physical and mental health.
“The COVID-19 has been well controlled in BiH, and social order is gradually restored. However, some severe patients are still hospitalized,” said Prof. Ranko Skrlbic, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Banja Luka, adding that China‘s achievements in the prevention and control of COVID-19 have also strengthened BiH’s confidence in overcoming the epidemic.
So far, BiH has reported 2,406 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 146 deaths.
COVID-19 raises borrowing costs on domestic market for BiH’s two entities
The government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), one of the two political entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), has auctioned treasury bills worth 60 million convertible marks KM (33.6 million U.S. dollars), the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE) reported on Tuesday.
This was the second treasury bill auction in 2020, and the FBiH plans to borrow a total of 280 million KM on the domestic market by the end of this year.
Republika Srpska (RS), the other BiH entity, has already held six treasury bill auctions in 2020, borrowing a total of 296 million KM on the domestic market at Banja Luka Stock Exchange (BLSE). The last two auctions, held in April, were partially unsuccessful as RS offered bills worth 300 million KM, but failed to sell all and raised only 178 million KM.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the country’s economy hard, especially its tourism sector, whose direct contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) is around 350 million euros (382.5 million U.S. dollars) or 2.3 percent of the GDP.
To date, BiH has reported 2.321 COVID-19 cases and 134 deaths.
Chinese language competition held in BiH online amid pandemic
The winner of this year’s competition is Mian Palikuca, a student from the Department of Sinology of University of East Sarajevo.
“Chinese is a language of great literary wealth and it offers many opportunities for career advancement,” Palikuca told Xinhua.
Two students of the Confucius Institute in Banja Luka, the second-largest city in BiH, won the second and third place.
Doroteja Klacar, who teaches Chinese at the University of East Sarajevo, said that many people have been looking forward to the annual contest.
As a judge at the competition, she was particularly impressed that despite the pandemic, students were well-prepared and teachers did their best to coach contestants.
NIMR to partner Mobihealth on Teleconsultation COVID-19 home swab test
Prof. Babtunde Salako, the Director General of NIMR made the announcement on his verified Twitter account.
“The dates for commencement of the exercise will be made known to the public soon.
“This will be a privately funded initiative with dedicated resources.”
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)
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