WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for a working lunch in New York on Tuesday on the sidelines of a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East. Pompeo described the meeting as “productive” while Vucic said “He (Pompeo)  wanted to hear what Serbia thinks about solving the Kosovo issue.”
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency failed to form a new government on Tuesday because of differences on its relationship with NATO. Chairman of the Presidency Zeljko Komsic said the meeting was called off “to leave room for agreement.” 
  • “On 20 August 2019, Commander EUFOR, Major General Reinhard Trischak, handed over the colours of the Multinational Battalion (MNBN) from Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Sanz to Lieutenant Colonel Manfred Leitner. The new commanding officer of EUFOR’s primary operational arm, the MNBN, has previously served in Kosovo and Chad.” (Sarajevo Times)
  • North Macedonia’s special prosecutor, Katica Janeva, was interrogated on Tuesday. She said she was questioned as a witness over her role in the “Racket” corruption case.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan postpones his trip to Serbia scheduled on August 29 to launch the construction of the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway.
  • Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik threatens to “physically prevent” a Croat celebration in Drvar. Croats celebrate the victories of three towns near Drvar over Serb forces as “liberators” while Serbs view it as an “occupation.”
  • Ljubljana will invest upward of $31 million (28 million Euros) in renovating kindergartens across the capital city. Over 13,000 children are set to benefit.
  • Business: “Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) and Belgian insurer KBC Insurance NV are considering a sale of their life insurance venture NLB Vita, Slovenia’s largest bank said in a statement on Tuesday. The statement marks the first time the two companies have publicly said they plan to sell the insurance business.” (Reuters)
  • Business: PepsiCo, Inc and Mattoni 1873 officially acquire a 100% stake in Serbia’s Knjaz Milos beverage company which produces mineral water.
  • Trade: Kosovo and N. Macedonia agree to end all non-tariff barriers between the two states. 
  • Crime: “German police say together with officers in Lithuania and Croatia they have shut down a website hosting bomb-making manuals.” (AP News)

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Human Interest: “Jurkovic shares foreigner’s perspective on football” by Charlie Benton in Starkville Daily News: “The Starkville Rotary Club got a taste of American football from a foreign perspective with a talk from author and attorney Margerita Jurkovic. Jurkovic is a native of Slovenia, who came to Mississippi to study law at Mississippi College through an international exchange program. While practicing at Frascogna Entertainment and Sports Law in Jackson, Jurkovic got the idea to write about American football from  her own Slovenian perspective.”
  • Sport: “Black & White: Kopitar’s Home” by LA Kings on NHL.com: “When the offseason comes around and it’s time to reset, the Kopitar’s only head to one place: Slovenia. The small, lakeside city of Bled offers a much-needed slower pace for Anze Kopitar and his family to escape from the busyness of Los Angeles.”
  • EntertainmentBritish actor Tim Roth will receive the “Heart of Sarajevo” award. He is best known for his characters in Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.