Friday, October 30, 2009

Job Hunters Get Your Pens!

The long awaited 10th call for international positions (seconded and contracted) with EULEX was released online this week.  Applications are being accepted for approximately one month until 27 November 2009.  The applications are sent first to Brussels and then the mission receives a cleared list of candidates from Brussels to call for interviews.  EULEX has a policy that if they can take a seconded person for a position they will take that person first over a contracted person.  There are rumored unofficial hiring guidelines to take candidates in the order of:  EU-nation seconded, 3rd contributing seconded, EU-nation contracted, 3rd contributing contracted, other contracted…of course as I said this is the “unofficial” guideline and if questioned I’m sure EULEX officials would strongly deny this practice *wink, wink*

Through the grapevine I have also heard that EULEX is going to start downsizing its local staff as they reportedly hired too many on in the beginning so the likelyhood of any announcements coming out for local positions doesn’t seem very good.

So for the weekend party crowd, check out the Funk & Funk bash at Odyssea Bistro on Saturday night (from 2130 hours) and the Pub Quiz on Sunday at 91 to benefit the dog shelter :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kosovo Seeks to Improve Image

Kosovo has started a new ad campaign designed to improve the image of the young country.  The first aired international ad aims at luring international investors and battle its reputation of corruption and instability.  Designed by Saatchi & Saatchi will be aired in six stations in Europe and the US at the cost of 5.7 million Euros.

Big in the news recently has been the signing of an agreement between Macedonia and Kosovo regarding the demarcation of the border.  Some groups in Kosovo are unhappy with the arrangement and have been holding protests but mostly it has been hailed as a step forward for establishing good relations between the neighboring countries.

For weekend warriors looking for fun, check out the Funk Party at Odyssea Bistro (2200 hours) and on Sunday, check out the Pub Quiz action at 91 of which the proceeds go to benefit the Kosovo Animal Shelter.

Also, Dj Vegas & Friends have kicked off their annual Toy & Clothing Drive.  Donations are currently being accepted at UNMIK MHQ – UNWind Gym although another external collection point may be established soon for everyone.
MTCowgirl’s Interesting Articles/Commentary

Monday, October 19, 2009

Did I Say Winter?

Ummm, I should have saved yesterday’s post for today when I said “Winter Arrives” because this morning when I woke up I was greeted with a fresh thin coat of snow on the neighbor’s roof.  I think the words “Holy Crap, it snowed last night” popped out of my mouth :)   It seems that winter has truly arrived early and fall really did only last one day!

On Sunday there will be a Pub Quiz to benefit the Kosovo Animal Shelter at 91.  I had a blast at the last quiz I attended and the questions were very well-rounded (in other words I didn’t feel like a complete social reject!)  I think the cost is still 1 Euros per person so for sure it won’t break the bank and all the money goes for a good cause :)
MTCowgirl’s Interesting Commentary/Articles

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Winter Arrives

Fall lasted about one day this year…I guess we could joke that “fall was on a Saturday” :)   Luckily I had the chance to take a drive up Mount Sara to see all the fall colors before it started snowing Monday :)   We confirmed the existence of the snow via IPKO’s live webcam on the mountain.  But as I mentioned in my last post, there are many questions about what will happen up at the ski resort this winter.  If I somehow was reading the mind of International Crisis Group, I was pleasantly surprised to find their report on Strepce and it’s status as a possible “Model Serb Enclave

The new Bill Clinton statue has been placed on the corner near his huge banner.  The official unveiling/inaguration has been postponed from last Friday to November as the big man himself is due to attend.  Unfortunately compared to the gianorous poster on the side of the apartment block the three (3) meter statue looks fairly tiny and with the vehicles parked up on the sidewalk the statue is easy to miss.

MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Summer is Over!

It seems that summer is officially over in Kosovo with the temperature dropping down in the low 40′s, possibily even 30′s overnight last night.  The rainy/mud season has now begun although there is rumor of snow by the end of the week.  Of course as a snowboard nut, I won’t be too disappointed if the snow comes early this year!

The ski resort at Mount Sara (Brezovica is actually the name of the village near the resort, not the mountain!) usually opens towards the end of December but when there is enough snow sometimes they will start running the lifts as early as 1 December…so fingers crossed!  There is talk this year of problems with the electricity on the mountain for the ski lifts as KEK is trying to secure a payment of more than one million Euros from the resort for past electricity.  Some speculate that the electricity to run the ski lifts will be cut-off although that move would seem counter-productive because if the lifts aren’t running, the resort won’t be making income and therefore KEK won’t get any money…but alas, not all things in Kosovo run on common sense!

I’m looking forward to next Thursday (22 October) as ZZ Top will be performing in nearby Skopje at the stadium.  Tickets were only around 17 Euros each but have to be purchased down in Skopje as I have not heard of anywhere in Pristina selling the tickets.  I know recently someone asked me how to find out what events are going on around town and there isn’t really any good source for entertainment news in Kosovo at this time.  Most parties and events are promoted via email chains and by word of mouth.
So, probably I should give a bit of news about Kosovo…so here it is…

MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Schoolchildren Hospitalized for Alleged Gas Poisoning

On the 1st, over 100 14-15 year-old  schoolchildren were hospitalized in Kosovo Polje/Fushe Kosova due to alleged gas poisoning.  There still is no confirmation as to what made the children sick but reports of a “bad smell in the air” have been discussed.  The day before this major incident, a small number of children from the school were hospitalized for similar illness.

Life for the international community in Kosovo continues and the old addage of “same $hit, different day” seems to pop-up quite frequently.  From the outside, there seems to be little change except perhaps the color and size of the vehicles :)   It will be interesting to see what reviews EULEX receives upon its completion of its first year of “operational capacity” which is still hotly debated partly due to what is described as a hugely burecratic and beyond slow procurement process which has led to delays in purchasing and receiving equipment necessary to complete sensitive police tasks.  This leads me to post some interesting news/commentary articles which I have recently found.  As always, these articles do not necessarily reflect my personal opinion however I found the arguments or information presented interesting.

MTCowgirl’s Interesting News/Commentary

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Back in Special K

I am back in “Special K”, a nickname dubbed by a friend for Kosovo, after a nice week-long cruise of the Mediterranean.  I’m happy to say that Divine Cleaning Service took great care of Smokey.  It was nice to come back and not have to toss him in the bathtub and he seemed to really take to the “pet specialist” that Divine sent to take care of him.  I also signed up for regular cleaning service and all I can say is WOW!  The girl that came over made the house look like new and I doubt that my tiles have ever gleamed so bright :)   I have to say that I could easily get spoiled with not having to clean house on the weekends!!!

Kosovo is gearing up for the municipal elections and billboards with pictures of the various political leaders have popped up all over the place before they technically were allowed so it will be interesting to see if the two big parties will be charged with violating electoral law.  The fight between Ramush Haradinaj and Haschim Thaci continues with Ramush’s party accussing the Thaci government of stifling the media.  EULEX has also started a PR campaign for “Supports Kosovo integration to the European Union”.  I will try to get a few pictures over the weekend when I am out and about.

MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News