WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS – BiH: The popular Bosnian band Dubioza Kolektiv has been entertaining fans with weekly. “quarantine shows.” The Council of Ministers appointed a delegation to negotiate a $20 million loan with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to fight the virus. By the numbers: 764 confirmed cases, 33 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – CROATIA: The European Commission has approved a 790 million euro package in the form of state guarantees for companies which can prove exports make up 20% or more of their revenue. The unions in Croatia want to know which companies are receiving state assistance and are demanding a daily assessment of who is receiving funds. The Croatian Foreign and European Ministry has called on Croatian citizens abroad to stay where they are to decrease the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading. By the numbers: 1,282 confirmed cases, 18 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – KOSOVO: U.S. KFOR troops have delivered personal protective equipment to North and South Mitrovica. By the numbers: 203 confirmed cases, 4 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – N. MACEDONIA: President Stevo Pendarovski spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on how the alliance can respond to the COVID-19 crisis.. PM Oliver Spasovski has called on citizens who lost their jobs to file for unemployment. By the numbers: 599 confirmed cases, 26 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – MONTENEGRO: President Milo Djukanovic has called for solidarity in his country and the world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. By the numbers: 241 confirmed cases, 2 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SERBIA: Sacramento Kings players Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica joined Vlade Divac in donating medical supplies to Serbia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the weekend curfew could start on Friday instead of Saturday to curb further cases. By the numbers: 2,447 confirmed cases, 61 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS – SLOVENIA: The Slovenian parliament has passed legislation to meet over the internet and limit allow faster enactment of laws. PM Janez Jansa said some restrictions could be lifted as early as next week. By the numbers: 1,055 confirmed cases, 36 deaths.

POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING AMIDST COVID-19: An assistant to the Mayor of Novi Pazar, Serbia was sacked after criticizing President Aleksandar Vucic’s visit to the city hit hard by COVID-19. The assistant, Emir Asceric, posted on Facebook that Vucic was using this as an opportunity to campaign amidst the pandemic.

MORE BORDERS: Slovenia is planning on erecting more border fence along the Croatian border despite Zagreb’s intent to join the Schengen Zone. The fence is being dubbed “anti-migrant fencing.”

KOSOVO – LDK & VV: Acting Speaker of Parliament Vjosa Osamni of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) did not vote with her party in the vote of no confidence against the now Acting PM Albin Kurti (Vetvendosje) because she didn’t agree with dismissing the government amidst the COVID-19 crisis. In an interview on Tuesday night, Osmani stated she would not leave LDK.

PJELESAC BRIDGE: “Workers of the Strabag company on Tuesday began boring the main tube of the 2,467-meter-long Debeli Brijeg tunnel, which is part of the second section of an access road to the Peljesac Bridge, Croatian Roads (HC) said. The section is 12.1 km long and Strabag is building 10.46 km. The rest will be built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation.” (Croatia Week)

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: “Lajcak’s clock is already ticking” by Visar Xhambazi in Prishtina InsightOP-ED: “Applauding Kurti’s Fall, the US is Testing Kosovo’s Loyalty” by Fron Nazhi in BIRN

ANALYSIS: “Balkan Tourism Sector Braces for Summer Season Write-Off” in BIRN

ANALYSIS: “How Multi-ethnic is Kosovo?” by Xhorxhina Bami and Jakob Weizman in BIRN

HUMAN INTEREST: “Ozark County Peace Corps volunteer describes living and teaching in North Macedonia – and rushing to evacuate” by Jessi Dreckman in The Ozark County Times

HUMAN INTEREST: “Returning to Serbia” by Alexandra Cirovic in The Marist Circle

CULTURE: “Sarajevo Haggadah is a Manuscript written on Parchment, with superb Illuminations” in Sarajevo Times

SPORT: “Senad Lulic: A True Lazio Captain” by Jerry Mancini in The Laziali

SPORT: “Spurs ‘readying £22m bid for Kosovo international Muriqi’” in Ghana Soccer Net