Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Kosovo Shelter for Stray Dogs

It has come to my attention, courtesy of an email from two vets (Petra & Toni-Maree, who volunteer locally, taking time away from their work in the UK) that there is now a functioning animal shelter in Kosovo.  It has been awhile since I've heard any news about an organized animal shelter.  One might recall that there was a shelter a few years ago established in the village of Lapje Selo but due to lack of funding and interest, the population was put to sleep and the shelter was closed.  However, the Kosovo Shelter for Stray Dogs is open and running near Sllatine with two vets from New Zealand and two local animal advocates volunteering their time and efforts to combating the stray problem in Kosovo.  Veterinary services are only available when a traveling vet is present however. 
The shelter relies on donations from quiz nights at the Phoenix Bar and private donations from the community in addition to the donations of parts of the salaries of those working at the shelter.  The shelter is working on re-homing and sterilizing the stray dog population in Kosovo along with providing care and sterilization for privately owned dogs of the local and international community.  Information about how to donate can be found on the shelter's website.

The Kosovo Shelter for Stray Dogs can be contacted via email or by telephone at +377 44 126 439 or +377 44 199 061.  The shelter can be found by driving a bit past the old airport road and is called "Qendra Kosovare per Strehim dhe Trajnimin e Qeneve Endacak" in Albanian.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Convicted KLA War Crimes Suspect Released to Attend Funeral

Haradin Bala was released Friday to attend the funeral of his daughter in Kosovo.  ICTY announced that it would release Bala for three days to attend the funeral.  Bala is currently serving a 13-year sentence for his November 2005 conviction of murder and torture at the KLA prisoner camp in Lapushnik (eastern Kosovo).  Bala's conviction was greatly overshadowed by Fatmir Limaj's acquittal on 30 November.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spring Arrives

Ah, finally!  It looks like spring is here. The trees are starting to bud and the road outside the house is getting progressively worse :o)  Driving through the entrance of Gracanica is like driving through an obstacle course to avoid the potholes that are continually expanding.  Cars are zigzagging all over the road, sometimes into oncoming traffic just to avoid the enormous potholes!
Pretty much everything is quiet now.  The biggest news about Kosovo is the status talks and how the international community wants the Serbs to start taking part in the local government.  Serbia is to put out a plan on autonomy for Kosovo in the next week or so, stating that it is the best solution for the conflict.  I've seen news that there may be trouble in June/July as Ahtisaari prepares to address the UN Security Council on the progress (of lack) in the status negotiations.  It is thought that while the international community cannot impose a solution on Serbia to give Kosovo independence, they will use entrance into the EU as a large bargaining chip.

There have been statements recently about how granting independence to Kosovo will cause problems elsewhere in the Balkans.  Several days ago, a prominent politician in Bosnia & Herzegovina made comments that if Kosovo is granted independence, the Republica Srbjica may attempt to break off from the union.  There also are demands for autonomy of the minority Romanian population in northern Serbia and of course, demands for autonomy of the Albanian minority in the Presevo area of southern Serbia (perhaps joining to Kosovo).

Monday, April 3, 2006

Little Progress Made in 3rd Round

Reports are that little progress has been made in the 3rd round of status talks between Serbia and Kosovo politicians.  There is great difference between the ideas of the two groups on how Kosovo will be run.  Serbia is insisting on autonomy and the development of a Serbian entity in Kosovo while Kosovo politicians are arguing for centralization of power.  One of the goals of these talks was to have an agreement on the method of local government but so far none has been reached as the differences between what the two groups desire are great.

The UN is pushing for an agreement on final status by the end of the year while some Albanian politicians are hopeful that an agreement will be reached by July.  The next round of talks are scheduled for the 4th of May.