Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

Whew, it's not just hot...it's daaaaaaaaaaaamn hot!  The temperatures have been soaring for the past week and everyone is scrambling for the shade and air-conditioning.  This afternoon outside temperatures have reached 98�F (36�C) but luckily the temperatures will start dropping down in the high-20's towards the end of the week. 
Due to maintenance of the Kosovo-B plant, a new power rationing schedule has been put into effect.  A-areas such as Pristina are supposed to have five hours of power and then one off (5:1), B-areas are 4:2, and C-areas get 3:3 for the next day or two.  With few houses with air-conditioning and many of us relying on fans, that one hour in the capital without power means it gets stuffy in the house at night!  Last night we discovered that our water is being shut-off at nights when the power went out and we no longer had the water from the tank.  Talking with friends, I guess water rationing in Pristina has been in effect for several months now which makes sense due to the water shortage problem facing Kosovo.  The water schedule now looks to be off from 10pm - 5am in most parts of Pristina.

MTCowgirl's Kosovo News Update...

Fears or tensions whatever you want to call them are rising as the Kosovo status talks seem to be stalled.  KLA veterans are threatening renewed violence and stating that they have only been in a "ceasefire".  Vetevendosje is preparing for a protest on Saturday which many fear is bad news in light of the past demonstrations that have turned violent.  In an effort to prevent the vandalism of the blast barrier outside the UN Mission HQ downtown, the UN will be having children from around Kosovo paint a mural on the wall.  We are all keeping our fingers crossed that the activist groups will respect the work of the children and not deface the wall anymore.

As with many other Kosovo governments, there are fears that the current coalition will fall due to broken promises.  In my six years in Kosovo, several of the last Prime Ministers have promised independence will be granted while they were in office.  Of the last two, I recall Kosumi promising independence by June 2006 and then Ceku saying December 2006, January, April, May, June, July(???) 2007.  Former KLA leader Hashim Thaci, a often back-scenes political figure in Kosovo compared to the President & Prime Minister but present since the beginning, has stated "The time was yesterday. Today is already too late. Tomorrow is dangerous.�

A local newspaper has again started printing the names of Serbians who served in the military.  The newspaper claims that it is pointing out who was a commander and who was responsible for war crimes, there is no evidence that any of the people listed actually committed any crimes.  A Kosovo newspaper has published similar lists before and in 1999 a young Serbian translator whose name appeared on the list was shot in Pristina.  The newspaper editor, Rexhep Hoti, has stated that "we are giving the names of people in the military and police at the time massacres occurred" and offers no apologies for publishing the list.  Zivorad Zdravkovic from Lipjan whose name appears on the list admits to being in the Serb military as many were during that time due to the requirement to serve upon completion of school but denies ever being involved in any war crimes much less fighting in Kosovo.  It is his belief that the newspaper is just seeking a new way to intimidate the remaining Serbian population.

Meanwhile, KPS arrested several people in Vushtrii/Vucitrn on Sunday for hanging up flyers of the banned Albanian National Army (ANA in English, AKSH in Albanian).  KPS spokesperson Veton Elshani stated that while it was not illegal to distribute flyers, the message contained was a serious threat.  The flyers stated that "The AKSH is here, we wait for you with bullets".