WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott has allegedly shown a map of Serbia without Kosovo to school children in Apatin according to Independent MP Miladin Sevarlic.
  • The presidential elections in N. Macedonia are heading for a run off after SDSM-led coalition candidate Stevo Pendarovski narrowly received more votes than rival VMRO-DPMNE’s Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova. According to the State Election Commission, Pendarovski received 323,829 votes (42.85%), Siljanovska-Davkova received 319,224 votes (42.24%), and third candidate Blerim Reka received 79,914 (10.57%) as of 8pm EST on Sunday. There was a total of 755,781 voters, or 41.82% of the country.
  • The second round is scheduled for May 5 and requires 40% of the state to vote in order for it to be constitutionally legal.
  • Bosnian Serb Member of Presidency Milorad Dodik says he will discuss Jasenovac with the Pope on his trip to the Vatican on April 26.
  • ISIS Returnees: Kosovo brings back 110 citizens, including jihadists, and 74 children from ISIS  with the help of the United States. Kosovo police say there are still 30 fighters, 49 women and 8 children still in conflict zones. Four will be detained on return to Kosovo.
  • The US Embassy in Kosovo released a statement commending Kosovo for setting “an important example for all members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the international community to follow. We applaud their compassion in accepting the return of this large number of civilians.”
  • Pentagon Spokesman Sean Robertson said: “U.S. assets were used in support of this repatriation operation. At no time did the U.S. take custody of the FTF [foreign terrorist fighter] detainees.” 
  • One former ISIS fighter was transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina which detained him. According to Reuters, “Bosnia’s state court has tried and convicted 46 people who have returned from Syria or Iraq in the past few years.”
  • Protests against Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic continued just a day after the president held a massive rally in the capital.
  • They also continued in Podgorica where protesters shouted for President Milo Djukanovic‘s resignation in front of the Radio Television Montenegro (RTCG) building.
  • Deutsche Welle interviews Serbian award-winning journalist Andjela Milivojevic who says “journalism in Serbia is unwanted.”
  • Kosovo makes plans to penalize denial of Serbian war crimes in Kosovo. Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj said: “What happened twenty years ago in Kosovo will not be forgotten, and if someone denies crimes, it should be prosecuted. Denying Serbian crimes committed in Kosovo is double crime and offends family members of the victims.”
  • China + Croatian Soccer Infrastructure: According to N1, “Chinese company Z-Run WellTon Industry to build a new football stadium and a sports camp, in a major project estimated to be worth €150 million…This is the second major sports venue project recently agreed with Chinese companies in Croatia. Last week, president of HNK Rijeka, Damir Miskovic, signed a memorandum of understanding with Top International Engineering Corporation (TIEC) based in Xi’an, to build a new stadium in the northern Adriatic city of Rijeka.”
  • Wages in Albania are the lowest in the region.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • PODCAST ALERT: Foreign Policy’s First Person: “The Butcher of Bosnia on Trial“:”Two British filmmakers covered the trial over five years with unparalleled access to the defendant’s lawyers and family, prosecutors, and witnesses. The result is a documentary that probes the psychology of both genocide and justice. The film, The Trial of Ratko Mladic, aired on PBS Frontline last month.We hear from one of those filmmakers, Rob Miller, on First Person this week.”
  • Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek and best-selling author and psychologist Jordan Peterson sat down for a debate. You can watch it here.
  • Dubrovnik is the place to be: Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo spent his Easter holiday on the Dalmatian Coast. 
  • Croatian boxing heavyweight FIlip Hrgovic will have his debut American fight at the MGM at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25 against Gregory “Bad News” Corbin
  • Kosovo-born soccer player who represents the Albanian national team Eros Grezda has been given a six-month driving ban after receiving 12 points after only 7 months of living in Scotland.
  • 190,450 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina lived in Germany last year. This number increased by10,000 from the end of 2017. 
  • Croatian basketball forward Luka Samanic will enter the 2019 NBA draft. He currently plays for Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia.