Friday, March 9, 2012

Local News from Kosovo

Being in Kosovo, I have the chance to browse through the local newspapers and pick up news items that most would never see.  If I can find the time, each week I would like to try to have one blog titled "Local News from Kosovo" quickly giving a blurb about what I have found interesting over the week in the Kosovo news.  So to steal the line from Ryan Seacrest "dim the lights and here we go"...

F Mobile refuses to sign contract with Ministry of Economic Development
The mobile phone company, F Mobile, has refused to sign a contract with the Ministry of Economic Development after winning the tender.  F Mobile has defended their refusal to sign the contract on the grounds that the Ministry would require the illegal importation of Apple iPhone 4S by the contract.  

Grand Hotel Fails to Pay Employees
The employees of the Grand Hotel in Pristina have threatened to go on strike after the owners have failed to pay salaries for the past eight months.  The employees have reached the agreement that if they do not receive payment by 12 March, they will "block" the hotel until they are paid.

In addition to the back wages owed to the employees, it is reported that Thermakos, a supplier of central heating, has turned off the heating to the Grand Hotel after its unpaid debt reached 82,000 Euros.

Ferizaj Municipality Purchases 82,000 Euros worth of vehicles
The Kosovo government has a limited budget and has long been criticized for purchasing luxury vehicles, spending massive amounts of money on telephone & services, and basically allowing government officials to treat the Kosovo budget like their own little petty cash fund.

Now, the Head of the Ferizaj municipality, Bajrush Xhemajli, has come under fire for spending 82,000 Euros on vehicles in a time that the Kosovo government has been instructed to reduce spending.

8 March -  International Women's Day
Thousands of women and girls gathered for a peaceful demonstration in Pristina for a variety of issues on International Women's Day.

The main focus was to raise awareness for women's rights and against domestic violence which is a common yet ignored part of Kosovo society.

A network of NGOs and the Women's Alliance for Kosovo called for accelerating the trial process of Ramush Haradinaj.  Haradinaj is currently standing trial again in the Hague after being previously acquitted due to lack of evidence.  The first charges were filed against him seven years ago on 8 March.

Kosovo Government Prepares to Privatize Brezovica
The Kosovo Government has taken steps to begin the privatization process of the Brezovica resort area in addition to plans to create a new Brezovica area. 

A conference to gather interest for investment in the new ski resort area which is planned to be adjacent to the current ski resort is planned in 2012 although no date has yet been decided.  The master plan for the new resort is to have it be much bigger (reported to be 5X) than Mavrovo in Macedonia (which would absolutely thrill this snowboarder!)  The plan also includes to have slopes for beginners (lacking at the current resort which has only two black runs) as well as runs for experts.