Monday, May 31, 2010

Protestors Clash with EULEX, KFOR During Kosovo-Serb Elections

Riot police and KFOR kept protestors from each other on opposite sides of the Ibar Bridge in Mitrovica over the weekend as Serbia held elections in the North as tensions flared.  Albanian demonstrators gathered in the South while Serbs gathered in the North at the infamous Mitrovica bridge, a symbol of the city’s division while police used tear gas to keep the two from clashing.  The result of the Serbian election is said to be for the Serb Party for Progress lead by Tomislav Nikoliq.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kosovo Hotel Hits News and Takes A Hit

Kosovo has a lot of tourist opportunities but when there is news about Kosovo, it’s rarely about the beautiful nature or in this week’s case, it questions if one of the landmark hotels is the Worst Hotel in The World (Grand Hotel).  But honestly, while it doesn’t flatter or help Kosovo’s tourism, the article is pretty much spot on in regards to opinion and reality at the Grand Hotel.  The rooms are completely overpriced, shoddy in appearance and decor, and the outside atmosphere is less than impressive.  However, there currently is a multi-million Euro renovation on-going (aka drills, jackhammers, and other loud noises to wake you in the early hours or keep you up at night!) and there are rumors that the group owning the Sheraton Resorts in Turkey will purchase the hotel and make it a Sheraton francise out of Turkey…that would be interesting to say the least!!!

But back to the nature in Kosovo…it’s awesome!  Everyone who comes to Kosovo should go spend a day exploring Rugova Canyon near Peja/Pec.  It is some of Kosovo’s best nature and a real treat to get out of the dusty cities.  Renting a small wood cabin only costs 25 Euros per night and you can have some fantastic fresh grilled trout along the river.

The trip to Boge Ski Resort is an adventure in itself as you wind along the small dirt road that seems to never end.  Curious cows and sheep watch you as you make your way up into the mountains giving you a feel for what it’s like to live in “real” Kosovo…or the way basically everyone who doesn’t live in the city lives :)
For those looking for a short jaunt outside Pristina, a visit to the Gadime caves is a must.  And you 100% need to get the older gentleman who gives the tours.  Not only is his English better than the other guides but he is a real hoot and gives an informative, humorous tour of the caves.  A constant temperature (5C) during the year, a light sweater is recommended for those who get chilled easily.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Radical Islamist Detained in Kosovo

Kosovo Police detained five men described as being radical Islamists in a suspected violent plot.  The two Kosovar Albanians and three Kosovo Bosnians were later sentenced to 30 days in jail.  While the details of the plotted attack have not been made public, a large amount of weapons, bulletproof vests, computers, and binoculars were seized during the arrest.

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

Friday, May 14, 2010

EULEX Posts Local Jobs

Get those pens ready!  EULEX has posted its latest call for applications for local jobs and the deadline in 27 May 2010!  It is rumored that EULEX will only do calls for applications 3-4 times a year for international jobs and possibly less for local positions.
For the application, visit EULEX’s Local Job Site and a list of the jobs currently available is located at the Local Job Descriptions/Synopsis page.  Best of luck!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Four Killed in Border Shoot-Out

Four people have been killed in a shoot-out with Macedonian police at the Kosovo border area.  Macedonian police reportedly tried to stop a van suspected of carrying arms when the occupants opened fire.  The police returned fire and killed four passengers in the van which turned out to be carrying a large amount of weapons and explosives.  This is the second such case in the past week or two with arms smuggling from Kosovo into Macedonia.  The Kosovo-Macedonia border area is notorious for being a smuggling route for weapons and was the focal point for an armed conflict in 2001 which threatened to break into a civil war in Macedonia between ethnic Albanians and Macedonians.  Already NATO has expressed concern over the recent smuggling seizures and shoot-outs.

The fall-out over the raid of the Kosovo Ministry of Transportation by EULEX authorities continues.  The coalition government between LDK (Democratic League Party) and PDK (Democratic Party – yeah, I know.  They basically have the same name!) is reportedly shaky after the investigation into alleged corruption by the Ministry was revealed by EULEX.  Kosovo Prime Minister Haschim Thaci has accussed EULEX of making a media circus and of intefering with the judicial system.  The acting chief prosecutor, Johann van Vreeswijk,  for the case has defended EULEX’s actions by saying that the raid was conducted in proportion to the seriousness of the case and that it has been so ordered by the judge.  He also warned those involved in corruption and organized crime to “start sweating” and expressed dissatisfaction at Thaci’s remarks that EULEX was conducting a “political war”.

More news has come out on the mass grave discovered near the Kosovo border in Serbia.  The grave thought to contain approximately 250 remains was discovered under a parking lot and building in the town of Rudnica.  The building and parking lot in the small village were constructed in 1999 should have raised suspicion according to an investigative journalist and the Serbian war crimes prosecutor has stated that EULEX gave a key tip to assist in the location of the grave.

MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News
  • Mass grave find shows Serbia slowly facing up to the past
  • Kosovo bans Serbian buses and public transportation from Gracanica due to licensing
  • Serbia issues notices on 150 Kosovars suspected of war crimes
  • Serbian telecomms re-established in Kosovo

Monday, May 10, 2010

Serbia Finds Mass Grave

Serbia has announced that it is deploying investigators to the administrative line with Kosovo to investigate a mass grave reported to hold the remains of some 250 persons.  The mass grave was located in a pond near the town of Raska as Serbian war crimes prosecutors worked with EULEX.  Investigators failed to find the suspected grave two years ago in the area where it is believed that up to 400 people were buried during 1998-1999.

In response to statements criticizing EULEX for the search of the Ministry of Transportation by Kosovo government officials, the Chief Prosecutor has come back that EULEX would not have conducted the searches or be looking into the matter unless they had evidence of corruption.  The local news has been full of articles denouncing EULEX for making a “media spectacle” from leading PDK politicians, including Prime Minister Thaci.  According to Kosovo law, if found guilty, Fatmir Limaj could face up to 55 years in prison for corruption or misuse of funds as alleged.

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