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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, October 31

By   /  31/10/2020  /  Comments Off on UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, October 31

• COVID – 19 report: Four deaths, 418 new cases (media)
• Kosovo to decide on new measures against COVID – 19 tomorrow? (media)
• CDHRF: Prishtina has turned into a hotbed of new infections (media)
• New measures expected; Prishtina Mayor says he’s not informed (Express)
• Hoti backs down, accepts AAK’s condition for Dukagjin Highway (Koha)
• Selimi says there are no cracks in coalition with LDK (media)
• “Sun Valley”, a neighborhood without permits, proof of discrimination (KTV)

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  • COVID – 19 report: Four deaths, 418 new cases (media)
  • Kosovo to decide on new measures against COVID – 19 today (media)
  • CDHRF: Prishtina has turned into a hotbed of new infections (media)
  • New measures expected; Prishtina Mayor says he’s not informed (Express)
  • Hoti backs down, accepts AAK’s condition for Dukagjin Highway (Koha)
  • Selimi says there are no cracks in coalition with LDK (media)
  • “Sun Valley”, a neighborhood without permits, proof of discrimination (KTV)

COVID – 19 report: Four deaths, 418 new cases (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement on Friday that four deaths and a record-high of 418 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the last 24 hours of 1,608 samples tested.

67 patients have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new infections is from the municipality of Prishtina (188).

Media highlight that today’s figures are the highest recorded during a 24-hour period in Kosovo since the outset of the pandemic in March.

The current number active coronavirus cases in Kosovo is 3,500.

Kosovo to decide on new measures against COVID – 19 today (media)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Health said in a statement on Friday that the evaluation and coordination committee for COVID – 19 will meet on Saturday to discuss new proposals for the implementation of measures aimed at preventing a deteriorating situation that could lead to extreme restrictions.

The Ministry of Health called on Kosovo citizens to respect the measures in force and said it will also discuss new measures. “Meanwhile, Kosovo Police and the inspectorates are to undertake immediate measures against those that violate measures,” the statement notes.

CDHRF: Prishtina has turned into a hotbed of new infections (media)

The Prishtina-based Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) issued a statement on Friday calling on Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Health Minister Armend Zemaj to make immediate decisions for protecting the public health. The Council called on opposition parties to cooperate with the government in efforts to prevent the further spread of the pandemic “and to set aside political fights for a time when we will return to normality or when the number of infected persons will be more manageable”.

The Council also said: “it is concerning that Prishtina, in almost all cases constitutes 50 percent of infected persons at the country level, therefore, it has turned into a hotbed of infection and spread of infection, this is why immediate measures must be undertaken”.

“The CDHRF expects the Kosovo Government to act swiftly and undertake preventive measures in order to avoid a total lockdown,” the statement concluded.

New measures expected; Prishtina Mayor says he’s not informed (Express)

Following the spike in new coronavirus cases, Kosovo’s Minister of Health Armend Zemaj said new measures will be introduced to prevent the further spread of COVID – 19, especially in Prishtina. Prishtina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti however said he has not been informed about new measures. “No, we haven’t been informed,” Ahmeti told the news website on Friday.

After 188 new coronavirus cases in Prishtina were confirmed on Friday, Ahmeti took to Twitter to say that the number of new cases will continue to increase “if we don’t have individual responsibility and limit our going out if we don’t have special reasons”.

Hoti backs down, accepts AAK’s condition for Dukagjin Highway (media)

“The Dukagjini Highway must not be built on the basis of political arguments but on the basis of feasibility studies … The funds for the Dukagjini Highway will go to other projects that will benefit the people of the whole Dukagjini Plain”. This is what Avdullah Hoti said in late 2019 when he was not yet Prime Minister of Kosovo, KTV reported on Friday.

The news website notes that Hoti has backed down and has agreed for around €1 billion, the approximate cost of the Dukagjini Highway, not to be spent for the healthcare system. Koha recalls that the construction of the highway was one of the conditions of the Haradinaj-led Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) to join the Hoti government.

All government ministers voted in favor of including the funds for the highway in the 2021 draft budget, except for Finance Minister Hykmete Bajrami who abstained from voting. “We all need to understand the pandemic situation, because we are living on daily basis. The number of infected persons is on the rise. One thing should be clear to everyone of us: the Ministry of Finance cannot deliver on the promises and pledges of every individual,” Bajrami said.

Prishtina-based news website Kallxo reported that the highway project was included in the draft budget following a request by Minister of Infrastructure, Arban Abrashi.

Several news websites quote Deputy Minister of Finance, Agim Krasniqi, as saying that the construction of the highway will not begin in 2021.

Selimi says there are no cracks in coalition with LDK (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Selim Selimi, said in an interview with RTV21 on Friday that there are no cracks in the ruling coalition with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). Selimi, a member of the Haradinaj-led Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), the main partner in the coalition, said there are only debates and discussions on different issues. “Every disagreement that we had, we said it in public too, because the Alliance believes that the public too needs to be part of the debate and discussions,” he added.

Selimi said his party fears that the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia may slip into a technical dialogue. He also said he would vote only in favor of AAK’s candidate for President of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj.

“Sun Valley”, a neighborhood without permits, proof of discrimination (Koha)

The TV station reported on Friday that Sun Valley, one of the most talked-about neighborhoods in Zvecan, in northern Kosovo, is being built without an environmental permit from the Ministry of Environment and Economy. Images from the ground show that around 300 housing units and collective buildings are close to being finalised, but representatives of the Ministry of Environment claim they lack the required permits.

To make matters more complicated, the municipality of Zvecan did not submit any documents to the Ministry of Environment upon the latter’s request. As a result, the Environment Inspectorate has sent the case to court.

Meanwhile, Albanians that used to live in the north before the war, have not been able to return to their properties yet. There are around 300 Albanian houses in the Kroi i Vitakut neighborhood, and Albanians have not returned there even 21 years after the war has ended. A representative of Albanian residents from Kroi i Vitakut told KTV: “We have left our houses 21 years ago. For 21 years they are mistreating us, promising us that they will build our houses. We were victims during and after the war. They have built 300 houses for the Serbs. That neighborhood [Sun Valley] is 150 meters away from our houses.”

KTV tried to get a statement from the Kosovo Government for the reconstruction of Albanian houses in the north and their return there, as well as for the illegal constructions in Sun Valley, but they were not available for comment.

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