Friday, March 16, 2012

Local News from Kosovo

Edita Tahiri Draws Fire over Expenditures
Edita Tahiri, Deputy Prime Minister and Lead Negotiator for Kosovo, has drawn fire and calls for her resignation following the spending of 50,000 Euros for 36 female staff members to take a three-day trip to Tirana in celebration of International Women's Day.  In addition to the travel expenses, the women also received a daily stipend of 209 Euros, nearly a month's salary for many people in Kosovo.

Grand Hotel Woes Continue
Last week I wrote about the problems that Grand Hotel was facing with employees not receiving wages.  Shortly afterwards, it was announced that the Kosovo Privatization Agency was considering to withdraw the agreement with the current owner and put the hotel up for bidding again.  Now, Limak Company, who runs the Pristina International Airport, reportedly has expressed interest in the hotel.

KEK Announces Increase in Prices
Kosovo Electric Company has raised the ire of many consumers by announcing a rate increase of 23% starting 1 April.  Already consumers have been complaining about the increase in bills from January to February when the worst of the winter weather hit Kosovo.  The regulatory agency that oversees KEK threatened to fine the company if they stuck with the rate increase and proposed to instead increase the rate at 7.6%.

The number of beggars increases
Honestly it is a yearly phenomenon but this is the first year that I can recall any local news source paying attention to the number of beggars increasing when the weather started warming up.

I have long advocated giving the street beggars, particularly children, items that cannot be "taken away" from them like candy bars, drinks, anything besides money although both Troy and I have recently broken our own rules by "adopting" a few Roma children and their mother who regularly beg near our offices.  It isn't much but they are always appreciative of the couple of Euros we give them over the course of the week and the occasional candy bar we buy from the nearby supermarkets when we see them out.