Albanian Language Media:
- LDK’s Gashi: We have 64 votes for new government (Koha)
- Mustafa to present the new government to LDK MPs (media)
- Thaci: No peace without justice for crimes Serbia committed in Kosovo (media)
- Ahmeti: Schools will not reopen on May 4 (media)
- Specialist Prosecutor initiates additional proceedings (Koha)
- Pacolli: Government preventing my return to Kosovo in ‘primitive, dictatorial’ way (media)
- Ministry of Health: Public health measures applied to everyone equally (media)
- VV’s Abrashi says Pacolli’s request is arrogant (media)
- Three KFOR soldiers from Slovenia infected with coronavirus (RTK)
- Association of Journalists condemns attack on Nenad Milenkovic (RTK)
Serbian Language Media:
- Open hunting season: Are journalists the only problem? (KIM radio)
- A house set on fire in the village of Cernica in Gnjilane municipality (Kosovo Online, B92, Tanjug)
- Jevtic requests from Kosovo minister, officials protection for Serbs and their properties (Kosovo-online)
- Two new cases of Covid-19 infection, two deaths registered in northern Kosovo (Kosovo-online)
- EU lifts restrictions on medical exports to Western Balkans (N1)
- The owner of RTV Puls attacked in front of North Mitrovica municipality building (KoSSev)
- Office for KiM, Spric condemn physical assault against RTV Puls owner (KoSSev)
- Journalists’ associations, TV Mreza condemn attack on RTV Puls director (Radio KIM)
- OSCE Mission requests swift investigation into arson of Serb house in Novake village (Radio KIM)
- Djuric: ”KFOR will not allow Pristina to invade northern Kosovo” (Kosovo Online, TV Pink)
- Kosovo was not adequately prepared for the pandemic (EWB)
- Robelli: A barbary of barons (Koha)
- Serbia practices its four-pillar foreign policy in the coronavirus era (intellinews.org)
- Kosovo Court in Another Step Toward Indicting War Suspects (AP/NYT)
- EU Pledges to Continue Search for Kosovo’s War Missing (AP/NYT)
- EU in Kosovo and CoE Office call for strong efforts to guarantee safe access to education
- EU Plans New Package To Help Balkans Through Coronavirus Crisis (RFE)
- European Commission aware of air pollution in Western Balkans (N1)
- Media literacy project – A guide to the news you release into your world! (KoSSev)
Albanian Language Media
LDK’s Gashi: We have 64 votes for new government (Koha)
Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) parliamentary group chief Arben Gashi said after his party’s meeting today that they have 64 votes for the formation of a new government.
“The candidate for Prime Minister, Avdullah Hoti, was present at the meeting too. Once the coalitions are formalised, we expect this to happen today or tomorrow, we will initiate the request for an extraordinary [Assembly] session to form the government of Kosovo,” he said.
Gashi said that after formalising 61 MPs, they will notify the President who will then issue a decree for the Prime Minister candidate.
Gashi also said that the Serbian List will be part of the new ruling coalition and that one of the SL ministers can be deputy Prime Minister.
Mustafa to present new government to LDK MPs (media)
Isa Mustafa, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) met today at 11:00 hours with the Parliamentary Group of his political party, in order to present to them the new governing cabinet and to ask for their approval.
RTK reported that all LDK MPs except for the Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani, were seen joining the meeting.
LDK MPs reportedly will be able to see concrete names and details of the agreement that were not made public yet.
Mustafa is also expected to ask them to vote this government, as some of them opposed it at the LDK’s General Council.
Following the no-confidence motion on Kurti’s government, the LDK is seeking co-governance with AAK, NISMA, AKR and the minorities.
Thaci: No peace without justice for crimes Serbia committed in Kosovo (media)
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said today that there is still no justice, local or international, for the crimes Serbian forces committed in Kosovo.
“This international silence is a silence that one way or another amnestied Serbia’s genocide and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. However, there is no time and there will be no factor that can amnesty Serbia’s crimes against humanity and genocide in Kosovo. There is no peace without justice and we will all work together for this,” Thaci said as he paid tribute to the victims of the war crimes at the “Heroines” monument in Pristina.
Ahmeti: Schools will not reopen on May 4 (media)
Prishtina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti announced today in a Facebook post that major changes will be made soon in the education system in the municipality of Prishtina. Ahmeti later said in another post that schools will not reopen but that the communication in education would become digital. “I did not say that schools will reopen on May 4. I said that major changes are coming for education in Prishtina on May 4. Education, the management of schools, communication is becoming digital. We will announce more information during the week,” Ahmeti writes.
Miftaraj: Vetevendosje has not yet consumed right to form govt (Telegrafi)
Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) Ehat Miftaraj said in an interview to the news website that the Vetevendosje Movement (VV) has not yet consumed the right to form a government and that President Hashim Thaci could be going beyond his competencies in saying that any party or coalition that secures a majority in parliament will have the mandate to form a new government.
Miftaraj said that in the current circumstances, the Constitutional Court cannot dodge its responsibilities and that it needs to play its role. “Although the Constitutional Court’s position is that it will not interpret hypothetical situations with requests to interpret the Constitution, this specific case and the current situation in Kosovo and the uncertainties surrounding the formation of the government, this is a case where the Constitutional Court cannot dodge its responsibilities. The court should play its constitutional role if there was political readiness by the President to clarify procedures for forming the government,” he said.
Specialist Prosecutor initiates additional proceedings (Koha)
Kosovo Specialist Chambers have issued a press release which informs that the Specialist Prosecutor notified the President of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers on 23 April 2020 that he intends to initiate additional proceedings before the Specialist Chambers.
“Following his notification to initiate proceedings in February 2020, the Specialist Prosecutor again notified the President of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers on Thursday, 23 April 2020, of his intent to initiate additional proceedings before the Specialist Chambers and requested that a Pre-Trial Judge be assigned in accordance with the Law.
The President has therefore assigned a Pre-Trial Judge in accordance with the Law and the Rules of Assignment to review the new indictment filed by the Specialist Prosecutor. The content of indictments are confidential, unless and until confirmed by the Pre-Trial Judge,” reads the press release.
Pacolli: Government preventing my return to Kosovo in ‘primitive, dictatorial’ way (media)
Leader of the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) Behgjet Pacolli has reacted to the prospect of being sent to a 14-day stay at a quarantine facility if he returns to Kosovo from Switzerland where he has been staying since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a Facebook post, Pacolli accused the acting government of Kosovo for not allowing him to return to Kosovo. “This government in a primitive, dictatorial way prevents me from returning to my country! It prevents me from carrying out my parliamentarian activity in the service of my Homeland! The act against me, in violation of all international laws, even the recent decision of the Constitutional Court, is not an act of force but an act of weakness,” he wrote.
Pacolli seemed to suggest that the conditions imposed for his return are linked to the voting of the new government. “Who are you to judge my vote? If I were to publicly announce that I would vote in your favour – would you still prevent me? No, I don’t believe you would!”
Ministry of Health: Public health measures applied to everyone equally (media)
Kosovo’s Ministry of Health issued a statement following allegations from the leader of the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) Behgjet Pacolli accusing the authorities of preventing him from returning to Kosovo by saying he needs to be put under a quarantine following arrival.
“As confirmed yesterday, the same measures are applied to all returning citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, the Ministry of Health said, adding that all citizens will be treated equally regardless of positions they may hold. It said that public health measures are paramount in this case.
The Ministry also said that there is no practice in developed countries whereby someone because of his/her status is not subjected to preventive measures as the rest of the population.
VV’s Abrashi says Pacolli’s request is arrogant (media)
Vetevendosje MP Artan Abrashi took to Facebook to react to New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) leader Behgjet Pacolli’s request not to be placed under a 14-day quarantine upon his return to Kosovo from Switzerland.
“Pacolli’s feudal arrogance to be treated differently from us is irritating, unacceptable and must not be tolerated. Obligations do not care about one’s living standard or how big their wallet is. A 14-day quarantine is mandatory for Kosovo nationals that come from abroad. Tens and hundreds of citizens with low incomes are fined every day for failing to respect the measures. Why should he be treated any differently,” Abrashi writes. “Every citizen is equal before the law.”
Three KFOR soldiers from Slovenia infected with coronavirus (RTK)
Slovenian armed forces confirmed that three KFOR soldiers from Slovenia tested positive with COVID-19. The soldiers have already been transported to Slovenia for their recovery, informs the press release.
RTK reports that 780 people have been infected with coronavirus in Kosovo, 22 have passed away while 201 are covered. This news portal informs further that employees at U.S. military base Bondsteel are among the infected.
Association of Journalists condemns attack on Nenad Milenkovic (RTK)
The Association of the Journalists of Kosovo strongly condemns the physical attack on the journalist and owner of TV Plus, Nenad Milenkovic, which happened on Monday in Mitrovica North.
“According to the reporting, Milenkovic was attacked by four masked individuals in front of the municipal building in Mitrovica North.
Milenkovic received medical care after succumbing injuries on his head and body.
The Association requests from the justice bodies to investigate the motives of the attack and investigate this case which in essence violates the freedom of speech and media, as soon as possible.
The Association calls on all local actors to condemn the incident and engage to prevent threats and attacks on the journalists,” informs the press release.
Serbian Language Media
Open hunting season: Are journalists the only problem? (KIM radio)
Kosovo residents are increasingly less likely to turn to competent institutions about their problems, because they often face misunderstandings and therefore often share their troubles with journalists, write KIM radio portal today.
However, writes the portal, after the third attack on media workers in just one month, one gets the impression that journalists are the only problem of the entire society, but also the only problem of the Serbian and Kosovo institutions.
In less than a month, three media outlets have been targeted in Kosovo.
First, KoSSev editor Tatjana Lazarevic was arrested during a journalistic assignment, then the RTV KiM team was harassed while filming in Kuzmin, and shortly thereafter a physical attack on RTV Puls director Nenad Milenkovic took place.
In a phone statement to RTV KiM, Milenkovic said that attacks on journalists were increasing and that he was the victim for the third time.
“It shows how well journalists are protected and I think they are not, at all. The attacks are still happening, and I’m a victim not for the first time, but for the third time. It’s unfortunate that Serb hooligans have attacked me and that everything happened in front of the building of the Serbian municipality of Kosovska Mitrovica, where no one came to my aid or called the police. I think it says a lot about that municipality and the conditions under which it operates,” Milenkovic explained, adding:
“After the attack, fear remains, but the attacks will not discourage us to continue our work, which I would recommend to all media workers,” he said.
The situations that journalists have been facing lately show only “how rotten Kosovo society is and how much the system is protecting no one, not even journalists,” said RTV news editor Kim Zorica Vorgucic.
“Arrogance, insolence, and the power of the stronger are ruling. This was also evident in the three cases that we had in the past month, namely the arrest of a journalist on the field, the photographing and the threat to our television crew and the last incident of yesterday, in which a colleague Nenad Milenkovic was beaten,” said Vorgucic.
Journalist Andjelka Cup believes that the overall situation with journalists gives the impression that “journalists are the only problem for the whole society, but also the only problem for everyone, both Serbian and Kosovo institutions.”
“What happened yesterday, in the middle of the day, in front of an institution building, to beat a man without the police finding the perpetrators is truly amazing. I don’t understand police work, but that insults our intelligence. I really do not know if we, journalists, are the only ones to blame for everything that is happening or whether this is all politically orchestrated. The latter is very dangerous, I’m afraid. It is interesting that the media working in the north, except for one, were not on the spot as they knew to be in other, very strange, situations,” Cup said.
Vorgucic reminds of the mission of journalists, that their strength lies in their microphones and pens.
“What journalists can do is report on the events that surround them, the problems that accompany this society,” Vorgucic added.
Cup added that troublesome events have a worrying and frightening effect on journalists.
“I suppose young journalists are increasingly afraid to go to work, I totally understand. I urge my colleagues to be in solidarity and for all institutions to respond. Reactions in the form of announcements are not enough,” said Cup.
President of the Association of Journalists of Serbia in Kosovo, Budimir Nicic, believes that attacks on journalists are unacceptable because they represent “an attack on the freedom of public expression, on the freedom of expression, democracy, as well as on all those values that normal societies stand for.”
“We, as associations, always respond and send a clear message to our colleagues that they are not alone and that they will not be left alone, but that we must all stand in solidarity and make clear to bullies, beaters, and various centers of power that attack journalists, that we will not agree to live and work in a society where violence is a normal thing and that it should not be tolerated,” said Nicic, urging all colleagues to report cases of assault, to follow processes and to insist on justice, and for NGOs to respond more actively in relation to the journalists’ attacks.
In a statement rejecting any association of Kosovska Mitrovica municipality with yesterday’s brutal beating of RTV Pulse director, its president Aleksandar Spiric said that “when all institutions give their maximum in the fight against coronavirus, it is absolutely impermissible for anyone to attack Serbian institutions with unsubstantiated ratings and lies “, not commenting on the TV Mreza allegations that ”municipal video surveillance cameras did not work in moments while four persons with their hands and legs tried to make Milenkovic not to participate in the contest”.
For those whose memory is short, video surveillance cameras didn’t work even when Oliver Ivanovic was shot in the back, wrote KIM portal.
A house set on fire in the village of Cernica in Gnjilane municipality (Kosovo Online, B92, Tanjug)
In the village of Cernica in Gnjilane municipality, the S. C. house was set on fire early this morning, and firefighters managed to prevent the house from burning completely.
The bureau chief of the Office for KiM Zoran Stojkovic told portal Kosovo Online that the owner lives in Jagodina with his wife, but that the residents were visibly disturbed the incident and called on the authorities to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
“Cernica is an ethnically mixed village, with a majority Albanian population, of about 2,000 Albanians and about 70 Serbs. After the demolition of Jovica Menkovic’s house, on February 18, one more Serb house was burned down. In the village, the event caused fear and a sense of insecurity and of uncertainty,” Stojkovic said.
The owner’s daughter, Mileva Zivkovic, who lives in village Partes and is currently in isolation in Jagodina because at the time of the pandemic she was abroad, said that her father had not been told the house was on fire because he was old and sick.
“The isolation expires for me in May and then I will see my parents. This is both painful and scary. We have never had any problems with neighbors Albanians,” she said, adding that the house had been repeatedly robbed and things were taken away, and the perpetrators were never found.
Jevtic requests from Kosovo minister, officials protection for Serbs and their properties (Kosovo-online)
Regarding frequent thefts and attacks against Serb returnees in Kosovo, Minister for Communities and Returns Dalibor Jevtic sent letters to the acting Minister of Internal Affairs Xhelal Svecia, Kosovo police director Rashit Qelaj and Prizren mayor Mytaher Haskuka, requesting concrete steps be undertaken in the protection of Serbs and their properties, Kosovo-online portal reports.
In addition to the request to find and punish perpetrators of these incidents, Jevtic requested reinforced presence of the police in the returnees’ areas, while from Prizren mayor, Jevtic requested to work on resolving the issue of illegal landfills on private properties belonging to the Serbs at the entry of the village Novake in this municipality.
The officials of the Ministry for Communities and Returns have visited five-member of the Petrovic family from Babin Most village in Obilic municipality, residents of Novake village in Prizren municipality and Crkolez village in Istok, who were targets of recent burglaries, thefts and arson, the portal reported.
Two new cases of Covid-19 infection, two deaths registered in northern Kosovo (Kosovo-online)
Over the last 24 hours two new cases of Covid-19 infection were registered in northern Kosovo, while two persons have passed away, Kosovo-online portal reports. At the same time four persons were cured.
The two new cases were registered in Mitrovica North and Leposavic.
The persons who have died were from Leposavic and Zubin Potok, making the total number of coronavirus related deaths in the north at 8.
The total number of Covid-19 infected persons in northern Kosovo is 96, while 47 persons were cured.
EU lifts restrictions on medical exports to Western Balkans (N1)
The European Commission decided to lift the export restrictions on medical goods to the countries of the Western Balkans, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Tuesday.
The Commission has adopted a proposal to change the procedure for export licenses to meet your needs by reducing the number of items that require a permit and at the same time excluding the Western Balkans from the procedure, the press release quoted the letter signed by Commission Vice-President and European Union High Representative Josep Borell and Commissioners Phil Hogan (Trade) and Oliver Varhelyi (Neighborhood and Enlargement).
The letter said that the EU expects member states to lift any restrictions at national level on exports of personal protection equipment. “We hope that you will appreciate the special attention which the EU has devoted to support for the Western Balkans in the fight against COVID-19,” the press release quoted the letter as saying.
The owner of RTV Puls attacked in front of North Mitrovica municipality building (KoSSev)
The owner of the private company “Puls inžinjering”, Nenad Milenkovic claims he was attacked by four masked assailants yesterday in front of the Serbia-sponsored North Mitrovica municipal building, reported portal KoSSev.
Milenkovic was heading to apply for a public tender for the construction of residential buildings in North Mitrovica. Milenkovic suffered blows to the head and other parts of his body and has a medical report which can confirm that he received medical assistance, including stitches. Milenkovic announced that he would be filing criminal charges and sending a complaint to the Public Procurement Commission on the suspicion that the municipality of Kosovska Mitrovica committed malfeasance.
See more at: https://bit.ly/3f0JR99
Office for KiM, Spric condemn physical assault against RTV Puls owner (KoSSev)
Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija condemned the physical assault against owner of a private company “Puls Inzinjering” and RTV Puls, Nenad Milenkovic which took place yesterday in Mitrovica North, KoSSev portal reports.
The Office requested responsible bodies to urgently determine the facts and circumstances of this event, find those responsible and motives behind the attack.
“It is impermissible that anyone gets beaten in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, and for that to happen at the moment when our entire people in Kosovo and Metohija face danger of coronavirus,” the Office said in a statement.
It was added that events such this one cause uncertainty among the citizens, and “it was particularly concerning that the attack took place in front of the office of local authorities, in a day light.”
Meanwhile, President of the Interim Authority in Mitrovica North, Aleksandar Spric also condemned the incident, and requested responsible bodies to find and punish the perpetrators.
At the same time, Spric said it was impermissible that anyone attacks the Serbian institutions by making unsupported assessments and uttering lies, in particular at the times when these institutions are doing their utmost to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“I consider as absolutely shameful the attacks on Kosovska Mitrovica municipality and attempt to link yesterday’s attack with our institution in whatsoever way, while the institution tries to be in the service of all citizens, in particular to the most vulnerable ones. This very incident, according to the statements of responsible bodies, took place outside of our institution’s premises,” Spiric said in a statement.
Journalists’ associations, TV Mreza condemn attack on RTV Puls director (Radio KIM)
The Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) and its branch in Kosovo (DNKiM) condemned the physical assault on RTV Puls from Silovo director Nenad Milenkovic and requested police to urgently find the perpetrators, organizers and motives of this assault, Radio KIM reports.
Meanwhile, independent TV Mreza, consisting of TV Herc, TV Mir, TV Puls, TV Most and Media Center Caglavica, in the strongest terms condemned the assault, and urged police and other responsible bodies in Kosovo to find and punish the perpetrators of the attack against Milenkovic.
TV Mreza expressed concern, as reportedly the surveillance cameras in front of Kosovska Mitrovica municipality did not work at the time of the attack, Radio KIM reported.
OSCE Mission requests swift investigation into arson of Serb house in Novake village (Radio KIM)
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo requested a swift investigation into arson of Momir Stanojevic house in the village of Novake, Prizren municipality, Radio KIM reports. The house of late Momir Stanojevic was set on fire two days ago, and although his wife does not live in the house, she was visiting it frequently.
“The OSCE Mission in Kosovo was concerned by the apparently deliberate burning of an uninhabited Kosovo Serb house in the Serb returnee village of Novake, Prizren Municipality, which occurred on April 25. There are also reports of regular visits to the village by a group of youth who disturb local residents through disorderly behavior. We recall that multiple burglaries of uninhabited Kosovo Serb houses in the same village occurred in March. The OSCE Mission calls for a swift investigation of the most recent incident and for heightened attention of institutions to this small returnee community,” Mission wrote on its Twitter profile.
Djuric: ”KFOR will not allow Pristina to invade northern Kosovo” (Kosovo Online, TV Pink)
Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric, said that KFOR, at the start of the coronavirus epidemic, ”promised not to allow Pristina to exploit the situation and try to invade northern Kosovo.”
“KFOR Commander General Michele Risi, at the outset of this epidemic, acted fair towards the Serb community in Kosovo, contacted Goran Rakic as President of the Serbian List and Mayor of North Mitrovica, offered assistance and said that under these conditions, KFOR would ensure that they did not have to worry about security issues and not have to worry that any of the extremists in Pristina will be allowed to take advantage of this situation and break into northern Kosovo and the like,” said Djuric to TV Pink.
Asked what happens to KFOR and the Slovenian soldiers when it comes to the coronavirus, Djuric said that the virus had been registered and among KFOR, and that out of the 90 tested, 80 were positive in Camp Bondsteel.
Djuric pointed out that in an organised manner during the curfew in Kosovo, Serb property was looted, adding that it happened especially where they knew no one was living. He said livestock, tractors and other machinery have been stolen.
Kosovo was not adequately prepared for the pandemic (EWB)
By Besa Kabashi-Ramaj
”The Republic of Kosovo (RKS) has already lost 20 people to the COVID-19 pandemic, 731 cases have tested COVID-19 positive and the Kosovo National Institute for Public Health (NIPH) is monitoring around 6000 other citizens for potential infections with COVID-19. Like many countries around the world, the RKS is facing a situation of unprecedented risks to the lives of its citizens, its economy and its self-sustainability. So far, the RKS is taking all the measures possible within the available capabilities, to avert the virus from spreading despite an overall lack of human security, be that economic, health, food, environmental, community or otherwise.”
”Unfortunately, in addition to the pandemic, the RKS is also plagued with political instability, deriving from the rifts between the government coalition parties which led to the government’s no confidence vote, a trend in the RKS’ history and a tremendous obstacle at a time when the country is facing a pandemic.”
”Facing the pandemic is a real-life national emergency that puts all RKS institutions to the test, testing the state emergency system capabilities and the ability to prevent, prepare respond and recover. In the case of RKS, the Strategic Security Sector Review 2012-2014 (SSSR) had already revealed back in 2014 that RKS’s security institutions faced redundancies in their roles and missions, were not coordinated well and were ill equipped to face the potential threats and risks to the wellbeing of the people of RKS and its national security, should there not be drastic changes.”
See more at: https://bit.ly/35g6SAK
Robelli: A barbary of barons (Koha)
Publicist Enver Robelli writes in an opinion piece that “endless lies have been seen and heard in the last couple of months in Kosovo”. In reference to the Democratic League of Kosovo, Robelli notes that “a party with a tradition of 30 years won votes with the promise that it would undo the corrupt and patronage system and clientelist networks. But after the elections, it delayed the formation of the government, it entered the government more as a result of public pressure, it worked from within to bring down the government, it left the coalition for a reason that normal parties don’t. Now, Kosovo is at a political dead-end. The Constitutional Court will now have the final say, the institution that is most probably used most and misused as a result of dirty political games”.
Robelli writes that “an idea that has been around for several years and supported by the Office of Kosovo President is now being promoted intensively”. “The idea is called: amnesty of crimes in the agreement with Serbia. In a macabre way, this can be called ‘reciprocity’ with victims. Pardon the crimes of Serbia, then they will pardon some of the crimes that ‘some of ours’ have committed and who are afraid that some witnesses that have not been killed could testify. This is the ‘modern’ form of reciprocity, a market economy with victims. We can imagine the scene. The two Presidents in an office somewhere in Europe. The secret conversation. One: If we pardon the murder of the old woman in postwar Prishtina, what will you pardon? The other: We will pardon 50 percent of the victims in the village of Meja. Hooray, onwards to ‘the historical agreement’.”
Serbia practices its four-pillar foreign policy in the coronavirus era (intellinews.org)
By Ivana Jovanovic
Since the coronavirus hit the globe, Serbia’s long-lasting goal to be an EU family member, the US’ friend, China’s brother and Russia’s kid all at the same time, or the so-called ‘four pillars foreign policy’, has been coming closer to its full realisation.
Aid for the fight against COVID-19 is arriving from all four directions and has re-opened the debate on what is dearer to Serbs: “Russian poop or American cake”.
The dispute was sparked in public back in 1985, when Emir Kusturica’s movie When Father Was Away on Business (Otac na sluzbenom putu), based on a screenplay by Abdualah Sidran, was released. The plot of the movie starts in 1948, an important year in Yugoslavia’s history that marked its assertion of independence from the USSR. Back then, the communist leader of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, claimed to have said his historical ‘njet’ to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, which ended Yugoslavians’ obligatory payments to Moscow for their liberation from the Nazis in 1945 (for the three intervening years families throughout Yugoslavia were obligated to give part of their goods or income to Russia in order to pay for their liberation from the Nazis).
After the Tito-Stalin split anyone in Yugoslavia who publicly expressed sympathy for Stalin ended up in a labour camp or political prison. One of those was a character in the movie, Vlado Petrovic, who yelled to Yugoslavia’s communist party police: “I like Russian poop better than American cake!” Later, the father of the movie’s main character met with a similar destiny. (A decade later, when Kusturica made his diary public, it became clear that the movie itself was a kind of pro-Russian propaganda.)
This anti-Stalin (not anti-Russian) mood in Yugoslavia lasted until his death in 1953. However, the dilemma remains open in Serbia more than 70 years later, even at a time when the entire world is temporarily closed. Also, new players have now joined the game: China and the EU. While the Serbian government tries to express equal gratitude to all sides, citizens and the media keep debating whose aid is bigger and better, sincere or fake, does it come as real help or as amends for injuries in the distant or recent past.
See more at: https://bit.ly/3cYegTZ
Kosovo Court in Another Step Toward Indicting War Suspects (AP/NYT)
A court investigating crimes against ethnic Serbs during and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 independence war with Serbia on Tuesday said it has initiated charges against suspects without giving details.
A prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, with headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, asked the court’s president to assign a pre-trial judge because of his ”intent to initiate additional proceedings before the Specialist Chambers.”
EU Pledges to Continue Search for Kosovo’s War Missing (AP/NYT)
The European Union’s mission to ensure the rule of law in Kosovo said Monday that the number of people still missing since the war more than 20 years ago is a good reason to continue the mission.
Kosovo was marking the National Day of Missing Persons.
EU in Kosovo and CoE Office call for strong efforts to guarantee safe access to education
On the occasion of the Diversity Day, 26 April, the European Union Office in Kosovo and Council of Europe Office in Pristina wish to stress the importance of guaranteeing access to education for all children also during the current COVID-19 crisis.
“Inclusive education is something the European Union pays close attention to. This is why we are glad to finance the project INCLUDE, which will provide a timely response to ensure inclusive education in the current circumstances. In the long run, the education system in Kosovo will benefit from the capacity building activities and targeted support provided during the project”, said Ms Nataliya Apostolova, Head of EU Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative in Kosovo.
EU Plans New Package To Help Balkans Through Coronavirus Crisis (RFE)
The European Union is discussing a new aid package for the Western Balkans to help the region cope with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, according to a document seen by RFE/RL.
The document, a first draft of a declaration expected to be adopted after a videoconference of EU and Balkan leaders scheduled for May 6, states that the bloc has “mobilised very swiftly a package of over EUR x.x billion to the benefit” of the region.
EU officials familiar with the matter told RFE/RL that the amount of the package isn’t known as all contributions haven’t been made yet.
The draft states that the package “includes immediate support for the health sector, in particular through delivering essential supplies to save lives and significant support for the social and economic recovery needs” of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.
See at: https://bit.ly/2yTS9Pu
European Commission aware of air pollution in Western Balkans (N1)
The European Commission said on Tuesday that it is aware of what it called “the deeply problematic air pollution situation in the western Balkans and the need to ensure a transition away from coal in the energy supply” following reports of “a thick cloud of toxic smog mainly attributable to lignite-fired power stations”.
Replying to a question from Demetris Papadakis MEP, Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said that the Commission is working with the countries of the region to improve their legislation in line with inter EU air quality standards.
“The Commission supports improving air quality through a range of instruments and financial support, including projects under the Instrument for Pre-Accession or others laid out in the ‘Clean air for all’ Communication”, the commissioner said.
He recalled that the Western Balkan countries are also Contracting Parties to the Treaty establishing the Energy Community, including provisions of the EU Industrial Emission legislation. “Power plants have to comply with these requirements by 2028 to limit harmful emissions,” he added.
According to the Commissioner, a joint initiative by the Commission, World Bank, EBRD, College of Europe and the Energy Community will soon be launched to help coal regions in the western Balkans and Ukraine in their transition to a low-carbon economy.
Papadakis recalled in his question that lignite, the most pollutant type of coal, is widely available in the western Balkans, providing cheap energy and that a recent UN Environment Program survey showed that air pollution accounts for 20 % of premature deaths in 19 cities in the Western Balkans.
Media literacy project – A guide to the news you release into your world! (KoSSev)
During emergencies, the public obviously and clearly expresses the need for timely and accurate information. Panic is the enemy of emergencies, while a lack of timely and accurate information is a trigger for panic.
Also, in the absence of such information and due to the public’s need for it, disinformation or “fake news“ emerges. Lack of quality information and disinformation undermine the security and quality of our lives and societies.
In order to make a small contribution to the way we inform ourselves as we all live through this pandemic, but also the way we inform ourselves in the digital era, the KoSSev portal – in cooperation with UNMIK and a creative team of young freelancers from Belgrade – is launching a mini educational video series titled „OpisMEDIJavanje“ (Media Literacy project) within the media literacy campaign “Media and Citizens.”
In today’s episode, a well-known Serbian journalist, Tamara Skrozza talks about the code of ethics for journalists, a document that should help journalists do their job more honestly, responsibly, and morally.
See more at: https://bit.ly/3aJgDs4