- COVID-19: 529 new cases, eight deaths (media)
- New anti COVID measures may be extended after April 18 (Koha)
- Over 80,000 new jobseekers since the beginning of pandemic (Kallxo)
- Reporters want to have priority in COVID-19 vaccination (Radio Free Europe)
- Latifi: Government decision for additional restrictions, hasty (Kallxo)
- Stano: We expect dialogue to begin upon institutional consolidation (Telegrafi)
- Document for confiscation of unlawfully acquired wealth finalised(media)
- AAK leader Haradinaj accuses LVV MP Zyba of ‘vote buying’ (Telegrafi)
- Qazim Rrahmani resigns post of deputy minister (media)
- Media representatives urged to stop hate speech (media)
- Two Kosovo Albanians identified from wartime mass grave in Serbia (BIRN)
COVID-19: 529 new cases, eight deaths (media)
Kosovo has recorded 529 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths in the last 24 hours. 801 persons have recovered from the virus during this time.
There are 15,951 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.
New anti COVID measures may be extended after April 18 (Koha)
The Government of Kosovo said on Tuesday that the new measures against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic could continue after April 18. The government said in a press release that depending on the epidemiological situation it will decide whether after April 18 it will continue with the same measures or ease them. The government also did not rule out the possibility of introducing even stricter measures if the current measures do not lead to a decreased number of infected and victims from COVID-19.
Over 80,000 new jobseekers since the beginning of pandemic (Kallxo)
Kallxo news website reported that anti-Covid measures have led to a 7% economic decline in Kosovo since the outset of the pandemic in March of last year and that Kosovo’s Employment Agency said that 84,884 jobseekers have registered during a one-year period.
Figures from the Agency also showed that the highest number of jobseekers was recorded in April and May of 2020 with more than 30,000 joining the list.
Reporters want to have priority in COVID-19 vaccination (Radio Free Europe)
The Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) said on Tuesday they will ask the state institutions to give priority to reporters in the vaccination strategy. Unlike Kosovo, some countries in the region have started vaccinating media staff members. AJK President Gentiana Begolli told the news website that they have raised the issue with the line institutions. “This week and perhaps even today we will submit a request with the Ministry of Health so that our colleagues can be included in the priority list, being that they have been in the front lines of the fight against the pandemic. We will have to wait and see if our colleagues will be included in the priority list,” she said. Begolli also said that the International Federation of Journalists too recommended that reporters should be among the first to get the anti COVID-19 vaccines. Minister of Health, Arben Vitia, told Radio Free Europe that for now there are no changes in the vaccination plan but that reporters must be among the first to get the vaccines.
Latifi: Government decision for additional restrictions, hasty (Kallxo)
Rahovec Mayor Smajl Latifi said on Tuesday that the Kosovo Government’s decision to introduce new measures against COVID-19 was hasty and that it was not coordinated with the municipalities. “The products of farmers are ready to be placed on the market. I have received many concerns from the farmers today. Major investments were made in the sector to get to the final products. In the absence of a market, losses will be inevitable,” Latifi wrote in a Facebook post.
Stano: We expect dialogue to begin upon institutional consolidation (Telegrafi)
EU foreign policy spokesperson Peter Stano told RTV Dukagjini that they expect the dialogue with Serbia to resume after Kosovo institutions have been consolidated.
“We welcome the election of the new president of Kosovo and express our congratulations to Vjosa Osmani. We commend the constructive engagement of a number of opposition MPs that enabled the election process to conclude. Kosovo can now focus on its important works. It needs to push forward reforms relating to EU accession and the EU-facilitated dialogue,” Stano said.
Document for confiscation of unlawfully acquired wealth finalised (media)
Kosovo’s Minister of Justice Albulena Haxhiu said that they have forwarded to the Government the draft document paving way for the drafting of the law enabling confiscation of unlawfully acquired wealth.
“Fight against organised crime and corruption is a priority of our Government and we will therefore strengthen the legal basis against corruption and empower capacities of justice institutions in their fight against organised crime and corruption,” Haxhiu wrote on social media.
AAK leader Haradinaj accuses LVV MP Zyba of ‘vote buying’ (Klan Kosova)
Leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj accused the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) MP Sali Zyba for what he said was vote buying in order to ensure election of Vjosa Osmani to the post of Kosovo president.
Haradinaj said the AAK’s disappointment with the Vetevendosje grew as the party ‘openly threatened’ with elections if their candidate for president was not voted and even more with the way the ruling party tried to ‘smuggle’ the law on elections last Friday evening. “This was the second moment that was disappointing and shows who these people are. The final straw was the vote buying for the president, so no political agreement with parties but buying of votes,” he said and accused Zyba of being the person who visited many MPs and offered them favours in exchange for their votes.
Zyba has in the meantime rejected allegations calling Haradinaj’s statement ‘damaging’ and ‘untrue’.
Qazim Rrahmani resigns post of deputy minister (media)
Qazim Rrahmani from the Ashkali Party for Integration (PAI) has offered his resignation from the post of deputy minister of finance to Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
Rrahmani announced the news via Facebook post where he said his party considers his contribution is best given from some other political post.
Media reported that Rrahmani, who was appointed to the government post last week, was convicted by a court in Prishtina for overstepping his authority while working at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare in order to secure personal benefits.
Media representatives urged to stop hate speech (media)
The Independent Media Commission, the Agency for Gender Equality and Kosovar Gender Studies Center sent an open letter to media representatives calling on them to stop the promotion of hate speech.
In the letter, the organisations said they were concerned with certain television shows which are continuously promoting hate speech and called on the media outlets to take all necessary actions to avoid broadcasting content that incites discrimination and intolerance.
“We appreciate the role of the media as vital for organising public and private life and protecting rights of vulnerable society groups. Furthermore, we recognise the potential that media carry for social transformation when their journalism is in line with the Ethics Code and other applicable laws. Therefore, hate speech present in these media is intolerable and directly damages social causes, by influencing the public opinion,” the signatories of the letter said adding that they would pursue all legal actions to fight such practices.
Two Kosovo Albanians identified from wartime mass grave in Serbia (BIRN)
The International Commission on Missing Persons told BIRN on Tuesday that experts have confirmed the identities of two people whose remains were found in a mass grave in the village of Kizevak in southern Serbia.
The ICMP said that samples of the partial remains of a third person found in the grave in Kizevak match samples of remains that were previously found in another mass grave in nearby Rudnica several years ago and identified.
It explained that of the eight postmortem samples from the Kizevak exhumation that it analysed, “two… are new identities, and one is a reassociation with a case from Rudnica which was recovered, sampled, and DNA identified in 2014”.
The mass grave in an open-cast mine in Kizevak, near the Serbian town of Raska, was discovered in November. An exhumation was launched shortly afterwards but was temporarily halted at the beginning of December due to bad weather.
Belgrade Higher Court told BIRN that “the work will be continued depending on the weather conditions in the field”.
The Higher Court said that the remains of at least five people have been found so far.
“Preliminary field, archaeological and anthropological information indicates so far that parts of at least five people have been observed or discovered, plus a large number of fragmented bones that cannot be reliably claimed to belong to someone in particular,” the court explained.
Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Monday that he had received information that the remains exhumed in Kizevak belong to ethnic Albanian war victims.
Speaking at a commemoration of the anniversary of massacres in the Kosovo villages of Kraljane/Kralan and Rezala/Rezalla, where a total of 185 ethnic Albanians were killed by Serbian forces, Kurti said that so far two new identifications have been made using DNA testing.
“The mass grave in Kizevak in Serbia is linked to the mass grave in Rudnica and we expect other people, victims from the Rezalla massacre who are on the list of missing persons, to be recovered in Kizevak,” Kurti said.
Lawmakers in the European Parliament adopted a resolution on March 25 calling on Serbia to “investigate the remains of three bodies so far exhumed during searches in a mass grave in Kizevak village”.
The mass grave found in Kizevak is the fifth such location to be discovered in Serbia since the end of Kosovo war 22 years ago. It is not far away from the Rudnica mine, where a mass grave was found in 2013 containing the remains of 52 people, all Kosovo Albanians.
In 2014, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague sentenced former senior Serbian police official Vlastimir Djordjevic to 18 years in prison in part for his role in concealing the bodies of ethnic Albanians killed in Kosovo.
Over 900 bodies have been found in mass graves in Serbia, but no Serbian court has ever convicted anyone of involvement in the cover-up.