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- capital and largest city of Serbia and Montenegro; situated on the Danube
- The capital of Serbia, on the Danube River; pop. 1,168,450
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- (flight) fly in a flock; "flighting wild geese"
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Tennis star Ivan Ljubicic was once a refugee fleeing the violence of disintegrating Yugoslavia.
UNHCR / N. Crvenkovic / February 2006.
ZAGREB, 9 Feb (UNHCR) – It's been a long road from the status of a refugee to joining the elite of the tennis world. But in December, more than 13 years after fleeing the violence of disintegrating Yugoslavia, Ivan Ljubicic led the team in his new home of Croatia to victory in the Davis Cup, the international team tennis championship.
The 26-year-old Ljubicic, currently ranked fifth in the world, had a remarkable 2005. Apart from securing the Davis Cup for his young nation of only 4.5 million people, Ljubicic crowned his individual season by participating in the Masters Cup that grouped the world's best eight players. But it's his history as a refugee makes him unique among the stars of tennis.
"It wasn't easy during all those years in my childhood."' he told the UN refugee agency. "I guess it'll have effect on me for the rest of my live. I didn't have many choices when deciding what I wanted to do in life. My refugee experience had taught me that you simply have to carry on."
Ljubicic was born on March 19, 1979 in Banja Luka in what was then Yugoslavia. Inspired by the performances of his idol, former Swedish tennis star Stefan Edberg, Ivan began to practice at the age of nine. By 12 he won his first junior tournament. But the start of Ljubicic's rise coincided with the beginning of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, a federation of republics with various ethnic groups and religions.
In 1992 war hit the republic where he lived, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian Serb forces, backed by the Yugoslav army and paramilitary forces, began "ethnic cleansing" of the republic's other constituent peoples, Moslems (Bosniaks) and Croats. The Ljubicic family decided to leave. With his father Marko not allowed to go, 13-year-old Ivan, his mother and his three-year-older brother Vladan found themselves alone.
"The bus drove only women and children to the airport, where we took the plane for Belgrade," Ljubicic said. "My mum cried knowing that we were leaving for good. The trip to the airport was depressing with several stops on the checkpoints. The airplane landed in Belgrade around 10 a.m. We had to wait on the bus station the whole day waiting for another bus.
"My brother and I did what our father told us and stayed by our mother the whole time. Finally, at midnight, we departed for Slovenia, through Hungary. But, as the bus couldn't enter Slovenia because of the Yugoslav license plates, we crossed the border on foot, entered a second bus and drove towards Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
"We stayed there for a week until accommodation was arranged for us in the Adriatic town of Rijeka, in Croatia. After staying in Rijeka for a month, we finally ended up in the town of Opatija, in a hotel, which had been adapted to accommodate many other refugees who found shelter there. I didn't complain; I was only missing my dad," Ljubicic said.
After six months of separation, with little news of Marko, the family was finally reunited in November 1992 and settled in Rijeka.
"Being a kid at that time, I don't have particularly negative memories, or traumas, when I think of those days," Ljubicic said. But I know that it was very hard for my parents, to start from nothing – the mere fact that all their lives they were trying to build something, and then, over night, had to abandon everything. Those are moments in life when you have to find all the strength that is in you, to start completely from scratch. I know that it sounds simple, but the less you think about the past, the easier it is to face the future. "
Still, one can't forget the past entirely: "I am surprised at how often I dream of Banja Luka, our house there, my school, my friends."
In April 1993, Ljubicic and seven other talented refugee tennis players from Bosnia and Herzegovina were invited to study tennis in Italy. He spent almost three years there. In 1995, he won the Croatian championship for players under 16 years of age and in 1996 Ljubicic reached the finals of the junior Wimbledon. But it took "Ljubo", as he is known in Croatia, almost 10 more years of victories and defeats to become a star.
Ljubicic says he cannot understand the ignorance and negative stereotypes facing refugees.
"The biggest problem is the way mass media presents refugees, showing them mostly as convoys of people without anything, because it is their interest to show only misery and plight. And this creates fear of them, because they have nothing," he said. "But, refugees are also educated people, people who, like everybody else, want to make something of their lives.
"My life taught me never to judge people by their looks, or where they come from, but to try to see only the best in every person.&quo
July 22nd in History -- In 2005, British police gun down innocent and unarmed Brazilian plumber Jean Charles de Menezes on the subway
259 - Dionysius elected as bishop of Rome, succeeding Sixtus II
260 - St Dionysius begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1099 - First Crusade: Godfrey of Bouillon is elected the first Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of The Kingdom of Jerusalem.
1298 - English defeat Scots at Battle of Falkirk
1306 - King Phillip the Fair, orders expulsion of Jews out of France
1456 - Battle at Nandorfehervar (Belgrade): Hungarian army under Janos Hunyadi beats sultan Murad II
1484 - Battle of Lochmaben Fair - a 500-man raiding party led by Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany and James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas are defeated by Scots forces loyal to Albany's brother James III of Scotland; Douglas is captured.
1489 - "Tractate Niddah" a talmudic edition, 1st printed
1489 - Treaty of Frankfurt
1515 - Anna of Bohemia (12) marries Karel van Ferdinand of Austria
1515 - Louis of Hungary (9) marries Maria of Bohemia & succession to Hungarian throne
1515 - Congress of Vienna settles issues between Poland & Holy Roman Empire
1535 - Christians captured in Tunis in uprising against Adm Barbarossa
1582 - Willem van Orange moves from Antwerp to Delft
1587 - 2nd English colony forms on Roanoke Island off NC
1627 - English fleet under George Villiers lands on the Rhe [OS=June 12]
1632 - Foundation laid in Madrid for Buen Retiro-palace for king Philip IV
1648 - 10,000 Jews of Polannoe murdered in Chmielnick massacre
1686 - City of Albany, NY chartered
1691 - Battle at Aghrim: English/Dutch army beats France
1729 - Diamonds found in Minas Geras Brazil
1731 - Spain signs Treaty of Vienna
1739 - Turks defeats Holy Roman Emp at Crocyka Yugoslavia & threaten Belgrade
1775 - George Washington takes command of US troops
1793 - Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada.
1796 - Cleveland, Ohio, founded by Gen Moses Cleveland
1812 - Duke of Wellington defeats French at Battle of Salamanca, Spain
1859 - V E Walker takes 10-74 in an innings for England v Surrey
1864 - Battle of Atlanta-Hood attacks Sherman, 8449 conf, 3641 US die
1865 - V E Walker takes 10-104 in an innings for Middlesex v Lancs
1893 - Katharine Lee Bates writes "America the Beautiful," in Colorado
1898 - Belgica crew see 1st sunrise in 1600 hrs-1st to endure Antarctic winter
1901 - Serbia reactivates diplomatic relations with Montenegro
1905 - Phila Athletic's Weldon Henley no-hits St Louis Browns, 6-0
1912 - 5th Olympic games in Stockholm, Sweden closes
1916 - A bomb went off during a Preparedness Day parade in SF killing 10
1917 - Alexander Kerensky becomes Russian PM
1917 - British bomb German lines at Ypres, 4,250,000 grenades
1918 - Lightning kills 504 sheep in Utah's Wasatch National Park
1919 - De Falla & Massine's "Three-cornered Hat," premieres in London
1921 - 25th US Golf Open: Jim Barnes shoots a 289 at Columbia CC in MD
1922 - Cards enter 1st place, marks 1st time both St Louis teams are on top
1923 - Walter Johnson becomes 1st to strikeout 3,000 (en route to 3,508)
1925 - Yankees purchase infielder Leo Durocher
1926 - 105°F (41°C), Waterbury, Connecticut (state record)
1926 - 108°F (42°C), Troy, NY (state record)
1926 - Cin Red Curt Walker ties record of 2 triples in an inning
1933 - 1st solo flight round the world 7d 19hrs (Wiley Post)
1933 - Caterina Jarboro sings "Aida," NYC-1st negro prima donna in US
1933 - Wiley Post completes 1st round-the-world solo flight
1934 - Outside Chicago's Biograph Theatre, "Public Enemy No. 1" John Dillinger is mortally wounded by FBI agents.
1935 - Lester Walton appointed minister to Liberia
1936 - Phillies John Moore hits 3 consecutive HRs
1937 - Irish premier Eamon de Valera wins elections
1937 - Senate rejects FDR proposal to enlarge Supreme Court
1939 - 1st black woman judge (Jane Matilda Bolin-NYC)
1940 - Dutch prime minister De Geer meets Hitler seeking peace talks
1940 - Jacqueline Kennedy's parents divorce
1942 - 4th Russian Pantser army forms with 80 tanks
1942 - Gasoline rationing using coupons begins
1942 - Warsaw Ghetto Jews (300,000) are sent to Treblinka extermination Camp
1943 - US forces led by Gen George Patton liberate Palermo Sicily
1944 - Soviets set up Polish Committee of National Liberation
1946 - Estelle Bennett, rocker (Ronettes)
1946 - Menachen Begin's opposition group surprise attack on King David hotel
1947 - -8°F (-13°C), Charlotte Pass, NSW (Australian record)
1950 - Frank Worrell completes 261 v England at Trent Bridge
1950 - King Leopold, after 6 years in exile, returns to Belgium
1951 - Gen Francisco Craveiro Lopes appointed pres of Portugal
1952 - Poland adopts Communist-imposed Constitution
1954 - Virgin Islands (US) adopts constitution (Revised Organic Act)
1954 - WTHI TV channel 10 in Terre Haute, IN (CBS) begins broadcasting
1955 - 1st VP to preside over cabinet meeting-R Nixon
1955 - Phillies longest win streak since 1892 hits 11
1958 - US performs atmos
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