Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bradt Travel Guide to Kosovo

The following comes from Geil Warrander, one of the authors of the first travel guide dedicated solely to Kosovo.

Bradt guides has just produced the first ever English language travel guide dedicated solely to Kosovo. Bradt are one of the world’s most respected guide book publishers and already have guides to other places  in the region - Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Hungary, Macedonia and Montenegro and City guides to Belgrade, Dubrovnik, Budapest and Llubijana.

The Kosovo guide is more than 240 pages long

19 maps including detailed town maps of Prizren, Gjilan, Gjakova, Mitrovica, Pristina x2, Peja and Decan and walking maps of Germia and Zubin Potok

walks in Strpce, Dragash and Zubin Potok

everything you wanted to know about tekkes, Kosovo historical figures, monasteries or hammams but couldn’t find anyone to ask

more than 150 restaurants, bars and cafes with opening hours, addresses and phone numbers!

more than 60 hotels

where you find working mills, ethnografic and energy museums

markets, festivals…

Gheg and Serb language glossaries

Our aim is to

- encourage internationals in Kosovo to spend more time and money there and invite their parents, family…

- persuade the diaspora to take their kids to places they haven’t seen and also spend more time in Kosovo

- bring in backpackers and pass through tourists

- encourage internationals, Macedonians, Albanians and the other neighbours to visit Kosovo

- prepare for the wider tourist market.

As a result of the guide the Kosovo tourism potential has already featured in The Times Newspaper and had a spot in Wanderlust travel magazine and was also on Yahoo news.

The authors are internationals who each lived in Kosovo for more than 4 years.

We are putting Kosovo on the tourist map. We’d like your suppport to promote the guide to  visitors of your web site. It makes a great souvenir, Christmas gift and education for your kids.

Those people in Kosovo can obtain copies from kysmetkosovo@yahoo.com or tel 038 248 342 or 044 115180 and ask for the book. We can deliver to your door at less than amazon prices. We are also selling the other Bradt guides.

Outside of Kosovo you can order the book on Amazon (US, Canada, Germany or UK web sites) , www.bradt.com or www.waterstones.com

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Kosova Report

Dear Friends,

I will cease blogging here for an undetermined time. The reason being something bigger and better in the works over at New Kosova Report.

Our goal is to make NKR the central place for news and opinion on Kosova status, politics, society and the economy for international audiences. The project came as a result of our realization that it is easy to remain indifferent to the fate of people that you barely know or understand.

NKR welcomes those that might want to share their thoughts on Kosova and its people - just drop me a line.

Happy blogging,
Warchild

Saturday, November 10, 2007

B92 - News - Politics - "Kosovo Serbs will not legitimize independence"

 

Let's count the ways Serbia government minister Slobodan Samardzic is wrong on the issue of Kosovo Serb participation in the upcoming local and parliamentary elections.

"Kosovo Serbs will not legitimize independence"

9 November 2007 | 17:23 | Source: Tanjug

BELGRADE -- Slobodan Samardžić said Friday that Belgrade cannot recommend that Kosovo Serbs to take part in elections there.
Their votes in the local and parliamentary elections would "practically legitimize interim institutions which are threatening with unilateral declaration of independence," the Kosovo minister said.

By that argument, because they have already participated in previous elections, they have already legitimized those same institutions. And as far as I know, the character of those institutions has been the same all along. Delivering speedy independence has been the main campaign issue in all of the previous elections except this time.


"Elections in Kosovo were scheduled by its interim institutions which were allowed to do so through an irresponsible decision of the UN special representative," Samardžić told Tanjug, noting that those institutions are threatening to unilaterally declare independence.

Not true. Kosovar institutions have recommended the date, UN's special representative has signed on it. 1244 is safe and sound.


"Serbian authorities cannot urge their own people, the Serbs, to vote for the institutions which will proclaim Kosovo independence tomorrow. They cannot keep silent either regarding such inappropriate stand of the special representative and interim institutions," he said.

 

No, you don't need to urge them to do anything, just stay away and let them go on with their lives. I am sure Kosovo Serbs and their leaders are competent enough to figure our what their interests are in this matter. What Belgrade is doing is spreading panic and using scare tactics with real consequences for those that don't obey. Belgrade is forcing Kosovo Serbs to choose between Prishtina (or their home town) and Belgrade.


Another reason why Kosovo Serbs should not go to the polls scheduled for November 17 is the possibility of manipulation with their votes and their turnout, the minister said.

Sure, anything is possible. But all five elections so far have been fair and orderly. Some of the best in the Balkans actually. We can't say the same for those elected, but that's another matter

Most Kosovar Albanian parties, including the smaller ones like AAK and especially ORA have encouraged Serbs to participate. ORA also stands to lose the most from their participation because their electorate share shrinks percentage wise if a group such as Serbs that is in no way going to contribute to their numbers anyway participates.

 
"As Serbian authorities and Kosovo Serbs cannot supervise or control the vote, it would be less damaging if Serbs did not vote than to have their votes cast in the local authorities ballot added to those for the provincial parliament," Samardžić said.

Not true. Kosovo Serb NGOs can apply to supervise the elections just like any other Kosovar NGO. Probably some have already done so, but I'm too lazy to research that. I am sure Serbia can get involved through OSCE as well if they wish, just like any other OSCE country interested in propagating democracy and fair elections. This is as far as supervising the elections. "Controlling" them goes into another realm. 1244 assigns that duty to UNMIK, which outsources it to OSCE, whose involvement this time is nominal because Kosovars are doing most of the work.   


Two thirds of Serb voters are no longer in Kosovo, eight years after its administration was taken over by the international community, he concluded.

Only half of them. Lying so blatantly may weaken your other arguments that may have a case, like the fact that half of them have still not returned. Once we agree on that, I would love to discuss the role that Serb government has played in making sure that so many of the Serbs do not return. And for the other half that have remained in Kosovo in the last eight years, and will hopefully continue to do so until the next elections, what do you recommend they do if nobody will be representing them in government in the next 3-4 years?

Just curious. 

B92 - News - Politics - "Kosovo Serbs will not legitimize independence"

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

 

EU Countries Prepare to Recognise Kosovo Independence

07 11 2007  As a unilateral declaration of independence becomes increasingly certain, some EU countries may recognise Kosovo without waiting to secure consent of all member states.

BIRN

Monday, November 05, 2007

 

Premier Says Separatists in Kosovo Losing Patience

By DAN BILEFSKY

PRISTINA, Kosovo, Nov. 3 — Agim Ceku, Kosovo’s warrior-turned-prime minister, is used to long and treacherous journeys.

In the spring of 1999, Mr. Ceku says, when he was in the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, he spent several days patiently hiking by foot over rugged mountains from Albania to Macedonia to Kosovo through deep snow and enemy lines before finally taking up his post as commander in the war against Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs.

Premier Says Separatists in Kosovo Losing Patience - New York Times

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kosovo: Is EU Set To Recognize Independence?

 

Kosovo: Is EU Set To Recognize Independence?

By Patrick Moore

Kosovo -- graffiti for independence, Prishtina, 21Nov2005

Graffiti in Pristina that says: 'No Negotiations -- Self-Determination'

(epa)

October 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Some recent German media reports suggest that Germany and a critical mass of countries within the European Union are prepared to recognize an independent Kosovo if the current round of Belgrade-Pristina negotiations do not produce an agreement. The talks end on December 10, after which the Kosovar leadership has said it will declare independence if no deal is reached.

Kosovo: Is EU Set To Recognize Independence? - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Le Monde: The West is preparing for a unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo (automatic translation)

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Can Kosovo play the game?

Sport is one bright side of the after-war period in Kosovo. It is also one of the few things that has made the most gains and maintained those throughout the years. Mind you, it has not been an easy road, but it just seems that when it comes to sports, the exuberance is unsurpassed in other fields of life.

Sport is the only field of life that has transpired the ethnic divisions on the national level. For example, you have a basketball club from the northern, Serb part of Mitrovica playing the team in the southern, Albanian part. Basketball and other sports matches are pretty much all the interaction that the two ethnicities get there, despite living a bridge apart from each other. Other basketball and football teams incorporate players from Bosnia, Croatia, Albanian, Montenegro, and Macedonia on top of the sport powerhouse nations such as the United States. The girls of my hometown handball team recently got the chance to play a team from Serbia. Imagine the cathartic event considering that out of a couple of thousands of Serbs before the war, none lives there today, and that, hundreds of Albanians are still missing and many others were found in mass graves in Serbia.

Kosovars care deeply about sports with all the major championships and leagues broadcast and followed religiously. Pick up any newspaper or TV program schedule and you will see what I mean.

That is why the current isolation of Kosovar sport is unacceptable. Rather than finding reasons to keep Kosovo’s sports teams from international participation, relevant authorities should look instead in ways to make it possible. The fact that Kosovo is not independent yet does not carry much water because many other regions with unique identities such as Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Faroe Islands have been participating in international competitions without second thoughts. Moreover, whatever form Kosovo status resolution takes in the future, it is understood even by Serbia’s own admission that Kosovo will be able to represent itself in international sporting events.

But we do not have to and should not go that deep into the murky water of politics. We only have to consider those cheese video spots you get during sporting events: sport is a major force for good and it can makes friends out of enemies. I know this because I have seen it in the last eight years in Kosovo.

Don't let sport become a victim of politics. Just let Kosovo play!

 

(In response to Can Kosovo play the game article published on the Play the Game 2007 Conference coverage website.)

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pseudo-principles

Articles to read from this week's issue of BIRN.

Edward P. Joseph, a former UN Deputy Administrator to Mitrovica and other Balkans hotspots has five recommendations for the US and the EU to follow on Bosnia and Kosovo. This is by far the best analysis on BIRN yet. His conclusion: 

The truth is that power is about the perception of power. As long as the EU and Washington stand together for their principles – and not allow Moscow and Belgrade to divide them with cynical pseudo-principles – these twin crises can be weathered. The alternative is tragicomedy.

 

From Prishtina there is a reportage with a former KLA commander and some students, who think that time has come to declare independence, even if its unilateral. This attitude is becoming more common. How common it is will see by the attendance in the announced student organizations' open-ended protests starting 10 December, when the negotiation protest is expected to end. 

Kosovars will be voting on municipal and parliamentary elections on 17 November. According to a poll about two weeks ago PDK is expected to lead with their percentage in the low 30s with the rest of the pie largely fragmentized. Now it seems that Serbs too will be going to the polls and the date might be December 9. There Seselj's Radicals lead in popularity among the parties and the reasonable Tadic among the men. BIRN brings two articles about what the elections mean for the Serb political scene. First, get a broad overview of what the two different positions are about the election timing in regards to the Kosovo status resolution and the fallout expected from that, and then about the actual date itself.

Now, why December 9? Does DS know something that we don't know about the results of the Kosovo process? More importantly, is it an guesstimate by DS or something they have been told and advised about by their friends in the EU capitals that would like to see a pro-Western attitude in Belgrade?

Initially, when Kosovo's own election date was being considered, there were opinions that it would become a diversion in the heat of  the status considerations. Now at least we are equals with Serbia in this aspect. 

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Friday, October 26, 2007

26-10-2007

Analysis: time for tough decisions on Kosovo running out
Times Online - UK
Vladimir Putin called for patience over Kosovo's fate before today's EU/Russia summit, but time is running out for tough decisions on the future of the ...

Putin warns Europe over Iran and Kosovo
Times Online - UK
Mr Putin will also address a bid for independence by Kosovo, the autonomous province in southern Serbia that became a battleground in 1999, when Nato jets ...

Serbian nationalists ratchet up rhetoric on Bosnia as decision on ...
International Herald Tribune - France
AP BELGRADE, Serbia: Facing a possible loss of Kosovo, Serbian nationalists are reigniting tensions in the Balkans, sending out dark hints about coming to ...

Serbia and Kosovo must compromise as talks reach 'critical phase'
Forbes - NY,USA
LONDON (Thomson Financial) - Talks over the future of Kosovo have reached a 'critical phase' and the two sides must be more willing to make compromises if ...

Green-based Guard unit returning from Kosovo
Akron Beacon Journal - Akron,OH,USA
By Beacon Journal staff report A Green-based Ohio Army National Guard unit is returning home after a nearly yearlong deployment to Kosovo. ...

Serbs call for election boycott in Kosovo
Courrier International - Paris,France
The campaigns have officially begun for Kosovo's local and parliamentary elections, due to take place on November 17. The Serb government is urging Serb ...

Kosovo: Former US Envoy Says It's Decision Time For Europe, Serbs
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty - Prague,Czech Republic
October 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Amid signs that Germany and other EU countries are prepared to recognize Kosovo as independent if current negotiations fail, ...

FreeBalance opens new office in Kosovo
Ottawa Business Journal - Ontario, Canada
By Ottawa Business Journal Staff Finance management software maker FreeBalance has opened a new location in Kosovo to better serve customers in Afria, ...

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