Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back in Kosovo :)

After a long but uneventful 24-hour trip from the US, I arrived in the sweltering Kosovo heat yesterday.  Supposedly temperatures are due to spike up into the mid-30�C's (that's 100's for �F folks) later this week.  Yikes!  With the high summer temperatures (I can't remember a hot summer like this except maybe my first year here!) there are all sorts of water shortages.  Whether or not we will run out next month as suspected and reported still remains to be seen but severe water rationing has been put into effect.  Everyone's water is turned off from 11pm-5am each night.  That means the neighbors run outside around 9pm to water their sidewalks :P 
The UN has implemented conservation efforts by informing everyone that they can only have their car washed once a week (we do our part in my office by never getting the cars washed until we can't see out the windows at night from the layers of dust on the inside of the windshield *hehe*)  Yet the whole thing that I don't understand about all the conservation efforts is that the UN will issue a directive about the cars but then they will bring in a water truck during the middle of the day to wash the roads in the compound or water the grass (which is really stupid because the heat & rays from the sun magnify in the water and end up frying the grass!).  I say let the stupid grass die and let's save the water for showering next week!  Or at least bring the trucks in at night when the temperatures are down and you don't end up killing the grass in your efforts to keep them green!  That's real UN-efficiency and UN-thinking for you :o)

While I was on my way back to Kosovo, there was a bit of excitement at Dubrava prison.  Seven inmates escaped on Saturday (18 August) in a apparently well-organized plan that seems to have involved armed "rescuers" and prison guards.  Five guards have been detained or arrested in conjunction with the escape.  One of the inmates has escaped three times prior to this latest escape.  All the escapees have been identified, one is accused of murdering a Russian KFOR soldier.  The charges of the inmates range from acts of terrorism to kidnapping and robbery.  Kosovo's minister of justice visited the prison following the breakout and promised that there will be rigorous changes to prevent a repeat of the weekend escape.  An investigation is ongoing into the escape and KPS is still actively searching for the inmates in a manhunt that involves several hundred officers.  

Current PM Agim Ceku has announced that he will not run for office in the upcoming elections.  In his weekly address, Ceku said that he would not participate in elections held before the status resolution and urged politicians participating to "show individual and institutional responsibility and not let their political differences affect the process of establishing the future status of Kosovo".  The date for the elections will be determined in two weeks at the beginning of September.  The Kosovo government has requested that the elections be held the third week of November.

MTCowgirl's Interesting News Articles
  • Kosovo negotiators receive death threats from ethnic Albanian group
  • What if Kosovo is recognized, an opinion piece in the Sofia Echo
  • The UN's Flawed Kosovo Plan, an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal
  • Kosovo Albanians only coming to Serbia for passports, another article on Kosovo citizens visiting Serbia for travel documents
  • Kosovo celebrates Bill Clinton's 61st birthday - Ha, gotta love it!!! :o)