WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip T. Reeker and European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn will be in N. Macedonia today and tomorrow to meet top government officials.
  • Former Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj refused to answer any questions posed by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague where he is being questioned as a suspect for alleged war crimes.
  • One Croatian soldier died and two were seriously injured in a convoy attack outside Kabul. It was the first fatality for Croatian forces who have served in Afghanistan since 2003. The soldiers were en route to Kabul Airport.
  • Ursula von der Leyen, newly elected President of the European Commission, will visit Zagreb next week. Her position officially starts on November 1st when she replaces Jean-Claude Juncker. Croatia is the newest EU member and assumes the Presidency next year.
  • Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic agreed that they should increase cooperation across all fields, and signed a joint letter to Chinese Leader Xi Jinping calling for a Beijing-Sofia-Zagreb air route.
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo, and President of HBIS Serbia Wang Yulan held a groundbreaking ceremony to modernize its steel plant in Smederevo, according to Chinese state-run news outlet Xinhua.
  • Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev says:“Disinformation is one of the main challenges facing democracy in 2019 and a tool to manipulate the citizens. To misuse technology in order to create fake identities and to make up events that have never taken place has gravely disrupted democratic and elections processes, threatening to affect the citizens’ trust in the institutions and the media,”
  • Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dragan Covic met on Tuesday with Ambassador of China to BiH Ji Ping.
  • As Boris Johnson heads to 10 Downing Street, Croatians are reflecting on his 2012 trip to Dubrovnik. As Mayor of London, he commented: “The landscape was peachy: the sea was turquoise; the air was scented with myrtles and thyme; and a series of amazing islands lay stretched before us like a school of green-backed whales.”
  • Indian businessman Pramod Mittal has been detained by police at a company in northern Bosnia on suspicion of organised crime and abuse of office, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.
  • Mittal, the younger brother of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, heads the supervisory board at metallurgical coke producer Global Ispat Koksna Industrija Lukavac (GIKIL), which has been among Bosnia’s biggest exporters.” (Reuters)
  • “The parliamentary human and minority rights committee (of Croatia) called on the government on Tuesday to put up bilingual signs on state institution buildings in Vukovar and all other local government units where the law requires it.” (N1)
  • Meanwhile, an ex Kosovo Liberation Army member was arrested in N. Macedonia on a Serbian arrest warrant.
  • Over the weekend, over 249 migrants were apprehended on the Slovenia-Croatia border. They were primarily from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They are currently detained in Slovenia.
  • Slovakian soccer team Slovan Bratislava announced that two Serbian players and one coach would not participate against Kosovo side Feronikeli. Last month, Montenegro fired its coach for refusing to manage against Kosovo. Slovan Bratislava beat Feronikeli 2-1 in Bratislava.


BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Sports: The National Basketball Association (NBA) signed a deal with Arena Sport to televise over 200 games in the Balkans starting next season.
  • Sports: Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal while on vacation in Croatia and asked who the best foreigner to play in the NBA was: ““There are two answers, the best is Drazen Petrovic and the second is Shaquille O’Nealović,”