Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Beginning of Fall

2300 CET:  The suspicious package was found to be non-explosive but an investigation is being conducted.

1640 CET:  A bit over one hour after the security alerts went out to the staff, KFOR EOD has responded to Mission HQ to inspect the suspicious package...

1620 CET:  UN Mission HQ has been closed due to the finding of a suspicious package underneath a vehicle.

1525 CET:  For some "ongoing security incident" at Mission HQ, everyone has been asked to leave the compound and the compound has closed.  UN Security is advising everyone to stay away from Mission HQ as well as Police Avenue at this time.  In fact, Police Avenue is closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  If I find out exactly what is going on, I will update!

I've also noticed a statement given yesterday by KFOR's Commander Xavier Bout de Mamhac.  The French general has given mid-January as a date for Kosovo's status to be settled and said that it was the duty of Kosovo politicians to explain this to the general public.

1420 CET:  Well, yeah, it does look like the protestors here don't like the rainy cold fall weather.  While some reports say there were 1100 demonstrators, only about 150 people actually marched through the city.  It looked almost as if the students were in a hurry to get back to their warm dorm rooms as they didn't even stop in front of the UN Mission HQ to protest but just continued straight on down the road at a fairly brisk pace!

Earlier in the Day...It looks like fall is finally upon us with the rain and clouds that came over the weekend.  Today's grey skies and constant drizzle are certain to put a damper on the planned protest of the Albanian Student Union in Pristina.  The USSH (Albanian acronym) announced that they would be protesting the "the further delays of independence of Kosovo, as well as against the negotiations which threaten independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kosovo".  Estimates for the demonstration have been put at between 5-10,000 people although many of us doubt that there will quite that many people, especially since previous bad weather protests gathered few people (hmmm, so does that make the Kosovars fair-weather protestors?)

In the news, Kosovo's PM Agim Ceku has again stated that if there is no agreement by 10 December, Kosovo will unilaterally declare independence.  The UK and US are expected to recognize the independence but the EU is likely to split over the the issue, an outcome some conspiracy theorists say is the whole idea behind the US' policy.

Serbia has arrested 56 neo-Nazis during a Kosovo protest in Novi Sad after a fight broke out against anti-fascists who were holding an counter-demonstration.  The demonstration had been banned by the government but organizers went ahead   One liberal parliament leader in Serbia has blasted his fellow lawmakers and demanded the resignation of several key members such as PM Kostunica for their failure to appear at the anti-fascist rally.  The parliament session had to be recessed due to harsh verbal exchanges between the liberals and Kostunica's supporters.

A Swedish diplomat and a Swedish KFOR escort are being accused of illegally smuggling a Kosovar family into Macedonia.  The family was detained at the Skopje airport and being sent back to the Macedonia-Kosovo border for clarification of how they entered Macedonia without receiving entry stamps when the Swedish KFOR convoy took off and crossed the border into Kosovo without stopping leaving the Swedish diplomat stranded.  It is suspected that the Kosovar family entered Macedonia using the auxiliary border crossing at Blace reserved for official KFOR vehicles.