Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gangster's Paradise

Actually, the title of the article is Gunrunner's Paradise but anyone who knows anything about Kosovo knows that it's the organized crime groups that run guns, drugs, and human trafficking in Kosovo.  I'm happy to see a locally based news agency write about something like this when most all other media has been focused on the status issue (blah, blah, blah! Does anyone else ever get sick hearing about the failing negotiations and now how they failed???) So kudos to BIRN for reporting on something different and still viable in their Kosovo: Gunrunner's Paradise article!

The Strategy Page focuses on Who's Who in Kosovo, giving a brief summary of different groups in Kosovo from KPS to Serbian paramilitary groups (ie...Guard of Tsar of Lazar (that name truly trips me up when I try to say it!))  The article is very short and I would have liked to see a more in-depth look into the groups but it's a good start!

The trial of Ramush Haradinaj came to an end yesterday with witnesses still citing fear for safety as a reason for failing to testify against the former KLA-commander.  The court has been criticized for failing to protect witnesses who have received death threats and in some cases suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome.
The recent spat of heavy rain and snow has caused substantial flooding in Kosovo.  Four rivers have broke their banks and flooded surrounding villages.  In the larger cities, residents are having to deal with overflowing sewers and raw sewage on the streets.  Surprisingly, with the flooding officials have stated that there may be shortages of water as well as electricity (if readers recall the power plant actually flooded last spring and that caused all sorts of power problems).

And finally, my last tidbit today is self-promotion!  With 44% living at or below poverty level and 14% living in extreme poverty, the winter and holidays can be difficult for families in Kosovo.  For the past several years, through my alter-ego Dj Vegas, I have been holding a charity toy drive to help families in need around Kosovo.  Toys and clothing, new or gently used, are being collected at my office and at several parties over the next few weeks.  Thanks for your support!

MTCowgirl's Interesting Articles...
  • Albin Kurti says Bush lies to Kosovo Albanians
  • Czech News:  Don't treat Thaci as a democrat
  • Serbia prepares rude reception for independent Kosovo

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Upcoming Flag Day

Tomorrow is Kosovo Flag Day...or Albanian Flag Day in Kosovo...Kosovo Albanian Flag Day???  Whatever it is, it's a reason to celebrate and a holiday for the local population.  Also, possibly a reason to go wild and vandalize property so the UN has implemented parking restrictions in downtown for UNMIK vehicles.  Kosovo still does not have it's own flag to my knowledge despite all the press and hype about the contest earlier this year. 

MTCowgirl's Interesting News Articles...
Other Kosovo News...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sunkissed & Freezing

I need to sit down and update my travel log with my latest adventures in Thailand (that's where the sunkissed comes in!)  I have to admit that I'm probably the only suntanned person in Kosovo at the moment because the weather is cold, snowy, and freezing!  I guess I was lucky leaving at the beginning of the month as the skies opened up and the fluffy white stuff poured out from above.  The fog has been heavy as well resulting in many flight cancellations (in fact, I got stuck in Istanbul on the way back due to my flight being cancelled after 5-hours of delays due to fog in Pristina!) and a kind of eerie atmosphere when the Kosovo blackbirds take flight!
Besides the funky weather, I missed out on the Kosovo elections of which former KLA-commander Thaci won the biggest portion of votes at 34%.  Having so many political parties vying for power means coalition governments must be formed and it's expected that Thaci's party will form a coalition with former President Rugova's party.  With the lowest voter turnout since the end of the conflict, only 45% of registered voters turned out showing just how disenchanted the local people are with their politicians