In Bosnia, villagers defend their rivers | AFP

In Bosnia’s Neretvica Valley, villagers are defending their river against a plan to build small hydroelectric power plants. This struggle is gaining momentum in the 260-river Balkan country where some 100 power plants have been built in the past 15 years and several hundred more are planned.

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Albania’s beaches and hotels reopen, slowly but surely | AFP

Tourists from the region trickle back to Albanian beaches, helping soften the blow of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The Balkan state’s land borders and beaches have recently reopened as the tourist industry faces a deeply uncertain future. The country has so far held off an explosive outbreak with only 37 known deaths from the virus and around 1,600 infections.

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Albania’s ‘big fat weddings’ on virus pause | AFP

Albanians yearn for the return of the big, brash weddings that are a cornerstone of social life in the poor Balkan country. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of couples are unable to say their vows with the fanfare they dream of, and the new health restrictions have brought a multi-million euro industry to its knees.

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Curfew culture: Skopje musicians entertain fans from the street | AFP

Musicians in North Macedonia are giving outdoor concerts as part of a city initiative to bring culture to the people, while helping struggling artists who have lost work due to the coronavirus lockdown. The small Balkan country, where some 90 people have died from coronavirus, has issued some of the tightest restrictions in the region to stem the spread of the virus, including several weekend curfews.

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Thousands pray in protest against Montenegro religion law | AFP

Thousands of followers of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro gather for a mass prayer and protest march against a new law that has spiked tensions in the tiny Balkan state. The new law requires religious communities to prove ownership of properties from before 1918 — when Montenegro was absorbed into Serb-dominated Yugoslavia — in order to keep them. The government defends the law as a measure to reclaim what is rightfully Montenegrin property. But the Serbian Orthodox Church accuses the state of trying to steal its hundreds of churches and monasteries dotted across valuable land.

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Frustration mounts as toxic smog shrouds the Balkans | AFP

Winter brings its annual toxic smog to the Balkans, where the pollution is fuelled in large part by the coal and wood fires that many poorer residents rely on for heating. In recent weeks, Balkan capitals including Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje and Pristina have been ranked among the world’s top 10 most polluted major cities, according to the monitoring application AirVisual. There have been a spate of protests in cities around the region as citizens demand clean air and from governments that have been slow to react to the crisis.

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Search for victims of 6.4 magnitude quake continues in Albania | AFP

People and soldiers are searching through the rubble of a collapsed building in the Albanian city of Thumanë, in search of victims. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Albania early on Tuesday, killing at least nine people and injuring hundreds. This is the most powerful earthquake recorded in the Balkan country in several decades. IMAGES

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Earthquakes | AFP Animé

Videographic on earthquakes. Six people died and some 150 were injured in Albania after the strongest earthquake in decades rocked the Balkan country early Tuesday, destroying buildings and burying victims in rubble. VIDEOGRAPHICS

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Debris of collapsed building is being cleared after 6.4 quake hits Albania | AFP

Emergency services and people clear the debris of a collapsed building after an 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Albania. At least six people died and some 150 were injured after the strongest earthquake in decades rocked the Balkan country. IMAGES

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Chinese tourists say ‘I do’ to Serbia | AFP

Far from the capital over in western Serbia, locals in the tiny picturesque holiday village of Gostoljublje have found a way to profit from a huge boom in Chinese tourists to the Balkan state. The resort village offers visitors a chance to get a first-hand experience of a mock Serbian wedding, against a backdrop of rolling hills and farmland.

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Merkel, May and Philippe arrive to Poznan for Summit on future EU membership for Balkan states | AFP

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor arrive to Poznan for Summit on future EU membership for Balkan states. IMAGES of arrival

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Pope Francis visits North Macedonia, home of Mother Teresa

Pope Francis continues his three-day Balkan tour in North Macedonia where he is to attend a commemoration of Mother Teresa, the most famous native of the Macedonian capital Skopje. IMAGES of the welcoming ceremony

Pope Francis arrives in Bulgaria for Balkan visit, meets PM

Pope Francis arrives at the airport in Bulgaria, where he is greeted by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The Pope will meet members of the tiny Catholic community, but the main Orthodox Church has rejected the idea of holding joint prayers with the pontiff. IMAGES of his arrival

Leaders pose for family photo at Balkan summit in Berlin

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pose with Balkan leaders at a summit where they call on Serbia and Kosovo to resume their dialogue before any progress is made on a possible EU membership. IMAGES of the family photo

Merkel welcomes Macron in Berlin for Balkan summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin for a Balkan summit aimed at bringing bitter foes Serbia and Kosovo back to the negotiating table, hoping to reboot a dialogue over one of the Balkans’ thorniest disputes. IMAGES of Emmanuel Macron’s arrival

Serbian students protest outside Belgrade police station demanding the release of a fellow student

Dozens of Serbian high school students staged a sit-down protest demanding the release from detention of a fellow student jailed during weekend anti-government protests in the Balkan country.

Protesters on Saturday burst into the state-TV building in Belgrade, more skirmishes with police took place Sunday when protesters surrounded the Serbian presidency during Vucic’s news conference.

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Crisis looms as Bosnia races to shelter migrants before winter

With winter knocking at the door, Bosnia is racing to avert a humanitarian crisis for thousands of EU-bound migrants crossing its mountainous terrain and sleeping without proper shelter as temperatures drop. The poor Balkan state has become a well-trodden stop on the new route to the European Union for migrants escaping war and poverty in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

More EU-bound migrants reaching dead end in Albania

When he fled Syria with his four daughters, Said Dabash never dreamt of settling down in Albania, a poor country on Europe’s southern edge. But the 45-year-old’s hopes of reaching Germany were overtaken by exhaustion. Now like thousands of other migrants and refugees, he has filed for asylum in a Balkan state overwhelmed by the influx.