Macedonian Parliament Approves New Name For The Country As Demanded By Greece

Macedonian

Macedonia’s parliament has approved changing the country’s name to North Macedonia, appeasing Greece and bringing the country one step closer to membership in NATO.

The change is the result of a dispute between Macedonia and Greece over history and national identity that has lasted 27 years.

Eighty-one of the 120 lawmakers in Macedonia’s parliament voted on Friday to approve a constitutional amendment to change the country’s name, NPR’s Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens. The remaining opposition lawmakers stayed away in protest, according to the Associated Press reports.

The change won’t be official until the Greek parliament approves it.

Opponents of the deal protested outside of the Macedonian parliament on Friday, responding to the vote with calls of “traitors,” AP reports. Conservative opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski told reporters the vote was “an act of treason.”

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev agreed to rename the country in a compromise with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipr last June. The proposed name change weathered protests from nationalists in both countries — and a referendum in Macedonia that failed to meet the turnout requirement.

Greece and Macedonia have been locked into a dispute over the name that dates back to 1991 during the disintegration of Yugoslavia, when the Republic of Macedonia broke away.

Greece already contained a region called Macedonia, which incorporates most of the territories of the eponymous ancient kingdom that was led centuries ago by Alexander the Great. Both Greece and its northern neighbor consider Alexander, and the name, integral parts of their identity, Kakissis reports.

Previous Greek governments have also claimed that the tiny Republic of Macedonia might use the name to make territorial claims on its province.

The disagreement has sparked protests on both sides of the territorial boundary and produced real consequences: Greece has blocked Macedonia’s entry into both NATO and the European Union. Greece had previously referred to Macedonia as Skopje, after its capital, or Fyrom, an acronym for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

How To Dial 911 From Space

Dial 911

Used to dialing 9 to call out when you’re at work? So are astronauts.

But that pesky, extra digit tripped up Dutch astronaut André Kuipers, when he accidentally called 911 from the International Space Station.

The astronaut was trying to dial an international number, he told Dutch public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, when he erred. Floating inside the space station, he made a mistake many people make in regular gravity — he missed a number.

“First you dial the 9 for an outside line, and then 011 for an international line,” he explained. “I made a mistake, and the next day I received an email message: Did you call 911?”

The 60-year-old astronaut hung up promptly when he realized his error, but the call triggered an alert some 200 miles below at Mission Control, in Houston. NASA security checked the room where the call was patched through. The astronaut, of course, was conspicuously absent.

He shared his slip-up in a conversation with the Dutch broadcaster about Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing, noting that it’s actually quite easy to call Earth from the space station these days — though there’s often a time delay.

Wayne Hale, who served as a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, tells NPR that astronauts in the International Space Station have been able to make calls as they please for more than a decade now. The phone system uses voice over Internet protocol, the same technology that lets Earthbound people place Internet calls over Skype.

Dial 911a

“A capability that was built into the ISS, with the rise of Internet phone calls, is the ability for the astronauts in the space station to just dial up anybody that they might want to,” Hale said. “Many people have gotten calls from space.”

Holly Ridings, chief flight director at NASA, has received plenty of those calls.

“You’re carrying your phone around and it’ll ring and it’ll be the space station,” she told Space Answers in 2013. “It’s really actually kind of cool, it never gets old.”

Misdials from space are nothing new. British astronaut Tim Peake once issued an apology on Twitter for a mistaken call.