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Serbia: Kosovo minister Enver Hoxhaj makes historic visit
23 October 2014 - Enver Hoxhaj has become the first minister from Kosovo to officially visit Serbia since his country unilaterally seceded in 2008. The Kosovan foreign minister hailed warmer ties between the two sides, and urged his hosts to agree to a peace treaty that would recognise Kosovo's independence. (more)

Documentary film festival putting Kosovo on cultural map
21 August 2014 - Under a starry sky, young Kosovars take their seats alongside tourists on a platform rising from the shallow Bistrica River that cuts through Prizren. Others dangle their legs from the stone riverbank walls -- all drawn to the latest offering of Dokufest, the 13-year-old international documentary and short film festival that is putting Kosovo well and truly on the cultural map. Prizren, a centuries-old trading hub and cultural crossroads, is buzzing. Some 40 per cent of the visitors to the film festival are foreigners. This year at Dokufest, more than 230 documentaries were selected from nearly 2,400 submissions. (more)

Kosovo has made 'remarkable' progress, Pristina-Belgrade dialogue must continue - UN official
10 February 2014 - Building on the 'remarkable progress' made in Kosovo during 2013, particularly with regard to local elections, both parties must consolidate 'the critical achievements'; Pristina and Belgrade must continue their dialogue to reach regional reconciliation, stability and prosperity, the top United Nations official there said on 10 February. (more)

EU brokers historic Kosovo deal, door opens to Serbia accession
19 April 2013 - Serbia agreed to cede its last remaining foothold in the country's former province of Kosovo on Friday, striking an historic accord to settle relations in exchange for talks on joining the European Union. The deal, brokered by the EU, capped six months of delicate negotiations and marks a milestone for the region's recovery from the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. (more)

Kosovo says close to deal with Serbia to improve ties
14 March 2013 - Kosovo said on Thursday it was close to reaching an accord with Serbia to improve relations, with the European Union's foreign policy chief visiting both capitals to press for a deal that would open the door to membership talks with Serbia. 'Right now we are at the beginning of the end in reaching an agreement to normalize relations between the state of Kosovo and Serbia,' Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told reporters after meeting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Pristina. (more)

EU opens door to regional programmes for Kosovo
24 October 2012 - Kosovo will start negotiations with the EU to participate in the Union's community programmes after the Council of Ministers greenlighted the European Commission (EC) to open talks on a framework agreement. The programmes are designed to help countries become familiar with EU methods and policies, and in the case of the Western Balkans, is part of their European perspective. The community programmes cover topics such as culture, education, health, youth, and innovation. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia all have access to the EU programmes. (more)

Kosovo amends law to close Western supervisory body
7 September 2012 - Kosovo amended its constitution on Friday to close a Western-led supervisory body, a first step towards ending foreign oversight of the last country carved from the remains of Yugoslavia. The International Civilian Office (ICO) will close on Monday. Kosovo's 120-seat parliament voted 98-10 to amend the constitution, removing references to the ICO. Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a former guerrilla commander in Kosovo's 1998-99 war, hailed it as a 'very special and historic day'. (more)

Kosovo's supervision to end
2 July 2012 - A 25-nation group supervising Kosovo's democratic progress announced Monday that it will end oversight of Europe's youngest independent nation in September, a move that will bring the ethnically divided country closer to its aspirations of European Union and NATO membership. The mandate of the International Civilian Office, which operates under the 25-nation International Steering Group, was to run out this year. Monday's announcement affirmed expectations that Kosovo will enact remaining legislation guaranteeing and strengthening democratic institutions and human rights by September. (more)

West to end Kosovo independence oversight in Sept
2 July 2012 - Western powers agreed on Monday to stop overseeing Kosovo in September, four years after it proclaimed independence. The 25-member International Steering Group, including the United States and major EU powers, said at a meeting in Vienna that Kosovo could now walk on its own feet without supervision. Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who attended the meeting, hailed the decision as a 'historic day' for Kosovo. 'This day shows how long the journey we have passed as the nation striving towards freedom and independence,' Thaci said. (more)

Kosovo resumes clearing mined areas
5 April 2012 - Demining experts have resumed the slow process of clearing Kosovo of the many NATO cluster bombs and Serbian military land mines left behind from the 1998-99 war. On Wednesday, the UN marked International Mine Awareness Day to highlight the dangers of explosive devices such as these that have been used in conflicts around the world. (more)


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Kosovo: Consciousness-Based Education finds enthusiastic response
17 April 2010 - Dr Ashley Deans presented more highlights of a recent tour of Kosovo, during which educators, government officials, and the public showed great receptivity to Consciousness-Based Education. Dr Deans is Global Ambassador for Consciousness-Based Education. (more)

Kosovo: Educators learn that CEO of the brain develops through Consciousness-Based Education
4 April 2009 - Holistic development of the brain--including enlivenment of the prefrontal cortex, the 'chief executive officer' (CEO) of the brain--is one of the many benefits of Consciousness-Based Education. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for crucial mental processes such as decision-making and moral reasoning. Educators in Kosovo recently learned about these and other benefits from a leading expert in the field. (more)

Dr Ashley Deans brings Consciousness-Based Education to Kosovo
1 April 2009 - During a recent visit to Kosovo, Dr Ashley Deans met with senior members of the Ministries of Education and the Interior as well as with university leaders and the young founder of a private high school. (more)


Flops
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How Kosovo was turned into fertile ground for ISIS
21 May 2016 - Extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudis and others have transformed a once-tolerant Muslim society into a font of extremism. Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe. They were radicalized and recruited, Kosovo investigators say, by a corps of extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab gulf states using an obscure, labyrinthine network of donations from charities, private individuals, and government ministries. (more)

Coercion complaints underscore challenge to EU's Kosovo accord
17 November 2013 - Low turnout and complaints of coercion in a re-run election in northern Kosovo on Sunday underscored the challenge facing the European Union in implementing an accord designed to end the country's ethnic partition. Barely a fifth of eligible voters took part, even as the Serbian government mobilised public sector workers and their families to vote in organised groups under the EU-brokered accord to integrate them with the rest of majority-Albanian Kosovo. The municipal ballot was the first to be held in Kosovo's mainly Serb north, some 40,000-50,000 Serbs reject Kosovo as a sovereign state. But there was little sign of enthusiasm among local Serbs to elect a mayor and councillors who will operate under Kosovo law. Instead, there was evidence of the Serbian state mobilising voters to legitimise the accord, elect a Belgrade-backed candidate for mayor and maintain influence over the area. 'I was called on Friday night and told that, as someone on welfare, they'd be giving out sugar, oil and a bit of money sent by the state so that I would vote for the government candidate,' said Vesna Cosic, a pregnant unemployed Serb woman in Mitrovica. (more)

UN whistleblower says UN failed to implement 'best practices' to remedy corruption
8 April 2013 - A United Nations whistleblower who won his case alleging corruption in the UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo but received only 2 per cent of the $2.2 million he sought in damages and costs asked the US government Monday to withhold 15 per cent of its payments to the global organization. James Wasserstrom was subjected to drastic retaliatory action when he uncovered corruption involving senior officials in the UN peacekeeping operation in Kosovo in 2007. He was awarded $65,000 by the UN's Dispute Tribunal last month. 'This is not justice,' Wasserstrom told reporters Monday. 'It is a travesty, and what a strong message it sends to whistleblowers: Even if you win, you lose. You will be worse off than if you had not come forward at all. And for retaliators, don't worry. There are no consequences for you.' (more)

World Bank making poverty worse in Kosovo
3 October 2012 - Two years ago, Kosovan CSOs warned the World Bank that things would not turn out well for Kosovo should the Bank continue supporting and pushing for coal development projects in the country. In October 2008, the Kosovan government decided to restructure its energy sector by introducing private investors to key areas of energy generation and distribution, including privatizing the electricity grid, opening a new coal mine, and building a new highly polluting 600 megawatt coal-based power plant. This energy strategy was supported and pushed by the World Bank and the US government. The Bank agreed to consider a partial risk guarantee for the mine and the new power plant, while the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank's private sector arm) would provide the Kosovan government with advice on how to undertake the grid privatisation. Neither could move forward without the explicit approval of the US State Department. Kosovan CSOs and international partners reviewed the strategy and concluded that it was a dangerous path for Kosovo to follow, since it would dramatically increase the price Kosovars pay for power, fail to create jobs, affect the environment and saddle the country with unsustainable debt at a time when the European Union debt crisis is raging. (more)

Dozens wounded as Serbs, Kosovo police clash
28 June 2012 - More than 50 people were injured in clashes on Thursday when the authorities in Kosovo deported a group of visiting Serbs who accused the police of shooting at them, leaving one with life-threatening gunshot wounds. The group of about 70 mostly young Serbs was travelling in two buses to Gazimestan, when police turned them back, arguing they had become 'very aggressive, drunk, and were provoking both police and citizens'. Doctors in Gracanica, a Serb municipality, said they had treated 17 injured people after Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown at the Serbs' buses. NATO's mission in Kosovo also said Molotov cocktails had been thrown at the convoy -- as it passed through Pristina -- and condemned the violence. Violence also flared briefly at Kosovo's Parliament after a fist fight involving two MPs from the ruling party and two others from the outspoken opposition party Vetevendosje (Self-determination) broke out. (more)

Kosovo Serbs and NATO troops clash in tense north
1 June 2012 - At least three Kosovo Serbs and a NATO soldier were wounded in a gunfight on Friday, as peacekeepers tried to dismantle Serb barricades blocking traffic. NATO troops in the Kosovo Force (KFOR) fired tear gas and small arms and some protesters fired back with handguns. The troops, in armoured personnel carriers, were confronted by hundreds of Serbs who pelted them with stones near roadblocks in the villages of Rudare and Dudin Krs outside the town of Zvecan in a Serb-dominated northern area of Kosovo. A Kosovo policeman was killed in an ambush and several civilians and NATO troops were injured in clashes that have erupted over the last few months. Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is 90 per cent ethnic Albanian. But Serbs opposed to independence dominate in a small swathe of the north bordering Serbia which continues to function as part of the Serbian state, resisting efforts by the Kosovo government to extend its authority. (more)

Kosovo police, protesters clash near Serbia border
14 January 2012 - Police in Kosovo fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of demonstrators trying to stop traffic entering from neighbouring Serbia on Saturday. The Kosovo Albanian protesters were trying to block two border crossings in protest at Serbian obstruction of Kosovo's independence since its secession. Heavily-armed riot intervened after some 500 demonstrators blocked the road and ignored calls to disperse. The protesters responded by throwing rocks. Dozens were detained, and some protesters and police were injured, a Reuters witness said. Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999, after 11 weeks of NATO bombing. But Serbia's opposition to its existence has slowed Kosovo's development as an independent state. (more)

NATO reinforces tense Kosovo border crossing
28 September 2011 - NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo (KFOR) brought in more troops to a contested border crossing in the ethnic Serb north on Wednesday, a day after more than a dozen people were hurt in clashes. Sixteen Kosovo Serbs and four peacekeepers were injured during the confrontation between KFOR troops and a Serb crowd rallying against the removal of a barrier. Witnesses said KFOR soldiers used fire arms, teargas, and rubber bullets. The clashes prompted Belgrade to cancel EU-mediated talks with Pristina in Brussels aimed at improving cooperation in areas such as the flow of people and goods, property rights, and personal documents. (more)

Deadly violence breaks out in north Kosovo
28 July 2011 - A deadly flare-up of violence in Kosovo's Serbian-populated north has sent tensions with Belgrade soaring and prompted a stern intervention from the European Union. Kosovo, which has a 90 per cent ethnic Albanian majority, sent special police units on Monday to take control of northern border crossings and enforce a ban on imports from Serbia -- retaliation for its block on Kosovo's exports. One Kosovo police officer was shot in the head and died on Tuesday in a clash with local Serbs. On Wednesday, armed Serbs attacked and burned down the Jarinje border post and fired at members of NATO's KFOR peacekeeping force. (more)

Montenegro, Kosovo census ethnically tense
1 April 2011 - Montenegro and Kosovo are holding their first census since gaining independence, rekindling the bitter ethnic rivalries that tore the Balkan region apart. Billboards championing different ethnicities line Montenegro streets, with pro-Serb and staunchly patriotic Montenegrins accusing each other of pressuring citizens into declaring their ethnicity amid campaigns that include nationalist rhetoric. The pre-census atmosphere in this tiny country of around 600,000 has turned into a battle between pro-Serb groups and Montenegrins who narrowly split the country from Serbia in a referendum in 2006. (more)

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