Friday, March 19, 2010

Corruption in Kosovo

For a while now, corruption has been big in the headlines of Kosovo news.  An unnamed minister is accussed of stealing millions of Euros and when Kosovo PM Haschim Thaci was presented with the evidence, it is reported that he was “unconvinced“.  This has resulted in opposition leader, Ramush Haridinaj, to cry foul and lead to speculation that the high level government corruption starts with Thaci himself.

The sudden focus on tackling corruption can stem from several sources.  One is the reluctance of foreign investors in Kosovo who are scared away by the high level of corruption not just in business but also the top levels of the Kosovo government.  Another reason is that it has been two years since Kosovo declared independence.  The main focus of politics before now was the declaration of independence itself and creation of a consitution.  Now the Kosovo people have their independence and are looking to focus their attention on other pressing political matters that affect their daily lives.

For years, watch groups have issued report after report on the rampant corruption in Kosovo but now it seems people are finally starting to pay attention and demand action.  It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Kosovo politics.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Minor Earthquake Rattles Kosovo

A minor 4.8 magnitude earthquake centered near Istog/Zubin Potok (depending on the source) occurred yesterday at approximately 1435 hours.  Minor building damage has been reported at schools and the Mitrovica Districit Court and Police Station prompting the closure of the buildings until a safety inspection can be carried out.  Both UNMIK and EULEX evacuated staff from buildings for some time after the quake.

NATO and KSF have reported that the temporary freeze on cooperation has ended following a disagreement on KSF display of weapons at a KLA Commemoration ceremony.  According to a statement released by KFOR, KSF will continue to be able to carry weapons at ceremonial occassions with the agreement of the KFOR commander.  KFOR also reiterated that KSF does not have a military or defensive role as that task is being handled by NATO at this time.

MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News
MTCowgirl’s Interesting Articles/Commentary

Monday, March 8, 2010

NATO Withdraws Support for KSF

Following the involvement of armed KSF members in the 5-7 March Nights of Fire, a commemoration of the Kosovo Liberation Army, NATO has announced that it has suspended its support of the Kosovo Security Forces.  Reportedly, KSF had agreed with NATO to participate without weapons but later violated the agreement when members of a honor guard appeared armed in violation of the agreement and the non-military status that KSF was founded upon last year.  NATO also protested the usage of its flag during the commemoration as the organization has taken a neutral stance towards Kosovo’s declaration of independence.  Kosovo leaders have reacted to the announcement calling for clarification and chiding NATO in saying “nobody should expect Kosovo not to behave like a sovereign state“.

On the lighter side, I’m happy to welcome London Taxi Service to the streets of Pristina.  Now officially my favorite taxi service, London Taxi Service has taken the streets of Pristina by storm, drawing both praise and criticism.  Taxi drivers from established companies have complained because the municipality has done little to curb illegal taxis and they accussed the municaplity of giving preferential treatment because of the alleged company ownership by the President’s son.  But all the politics aside, I have found London Taxi Service to be both very prompt and just as affordable as all the other legitimate taxi services.  Plus there’s something special about pulling up to your house or dinner in the stylish London cabs!  Give them a call at 044 300 300 :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

French FM Calls VOA Reporter “Insane”

The Society for Families of Kidnapped and Missing Persons in Kosovo have accussed former UNMIK SRSG and current French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, of insulting Serb victims after he called a Voice of America reporter “insane” following questions on alleged organ trafficking.  According to news on the incident, Kouchner responded to a question on alleged organ traficking in Kosovo by laughing at the reporter and telling the reporter he was “sick” and that “People who talk about things like that are bums and murderers“.  The incident has been reported to the International Federation of Journalist and the Serbian association of journalists have requested an explanation from France concerning Kouchner’s unprofessionalism.  Perhaps most shockingly in Kouchner’s response, he appeared to have little knowledge of the case of human organ traficking at the infamous “Yellow House” which is reported to have happened while Kouchner was SRSG in Kosovo.

MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News