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 Balkan Insight 
Balkan Insight
Balkan Insight
In-depth politics, business and society from Southern and Eastern Europe.

Ratko Mladic Discharged from Hospital after Operation: Lawyer
A lawyer representing Ratko Mladic, who is appealing against his conviction for genocide and other crimes, said the former Bosnian Serb military chief has left hospital after having a colon operation.
Twitter Axes Thousands of Accounts ‘Promoting Serbia’s Ruling Party’
Social network says it deleted almost 9,000 accounts that were promoting Serbia’s ruling Progressive Party and its leader, President Vucic, and so violating company policy on manipulation and spam.
On Top of COVID-19, Kosovo Faces Constitutional Crisis
After PM Albin Kurti’s swift fall from power, President Thaci wants a new government formed. But is the constitution on his side?
Turkey Reports 601 Medics Infected with COVID-19
As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across Turkey, officials concede that medical staff are among those most affected by the pandemic.
Serbian Reporter’s Arrest Over Pandemic Article Draws PM’s Apology
After a journalist was arrested for reporting poor conditions in a hospital, Serbia’s Prime Minister has promised to withdraw a new ruling penalizing anyone releasing information about the coronavirus outbreak that is not ‘authorized’ by her office.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Coronavirus Curbs on Children and Older People Are Ill-Conceived
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s blanket bans on certain age groups from going outdoors during the pandemic are not only harsh, arbitrary and discriminatory – but also risk worsening public health outcomes.
There Are Lessons for Sports in This Dark Time
As an unseen enemy robs us of our passion, it’s time to reflect and remember why we fell in love with sports in the first place.
Bosnia’s Forgotten Victims: The Lost Children of Gorazde
Over 120 children are estimated to have been killed during the 1992-95 war in the Bosnian town of Gorazde, where attacks continued even after the area was declared a ‘safe zone’ by the United Nations.
Why Populists Love the Pandemic
Illiberal politicians in Hungary, Poland and beyond are exploiting the coronavirus crisis to bolster their power.
Turkish President Accuses Municipalities of Forming ‘Parallel State’
President Erdogan’s government has banned opposition-run municipalities from collecting donations to help people in the current pandemic – accusing them of breaking the law.
Kosovo President Presses Leaders Over Unity Govt
As Kosovo President Hashim Thaci launched talks with party leaders on the way ahead after the recent no-confidence vote in the government, outgoing Prime Minister Albin Kurti appeared isolated in calling for new elections.
CoE Urged to Stop Countries Abusing Pandemic to Curb Freedoms
Ten rights organisations that advocate for press freedom and freedom of speech sent a letter on Tuesday to the Council of Europe, urging it to take measures against countries misusing the COVID-19 crisis to curb essential freedoms.
Pandemic Threatens Moldova Print Media’s Survival, Editors Warn
After the postal service said it could no longer distribute newspapers amid the coronavirus pandemic, media editors have appealed to the government for help, saying that otherwise the entire print industry could fold rapidly.
Bosnian Court Rejects Wartime Rape Defendant’s Appeal
The Bosnian Constitutional Court rejected an appeal by Zarko Vukovic, a former Bosnian Serb Army soldier who was sentenced to seven years in prison for repeatedly raping a woman in Foca in 1992.
Croats Remain Traumatised by Quake Damage to Capital
After a powerful earthquake just over a week ago left many people in Zagreb suffering from anxiety, there has been a big uptake in use of specialized apps on which people can share quake info and record their experiences.
Kosovo Decision to Partly Scrap Tariffs Leaves Serbia Unmoved
The decision of the outgoing government of Kosovo under Albin Kurti to partly lift tariffs on Serbian imports, in line with the so-called reciprocity principle, has not impressed its northern neighbour.
Serbian Govt Takes Control of Information Flow About Pandemic
Under new rules on the flow of information about the coronavirus, local crisis headquarters or health institutions can no longer talk directly to the public but must send all their data to the national crisis staff – which will then transmit it to the public.
Montenegro Spends First Night Under Curfew
Montenegro's nocturnal curfew began at 7pm on Tuesday evening, with only police officers visible on the normally crowded streets of central Podgorica.
Roma: Europe’s Neglected Coronavirus Victims
Squeezed into settlements and cut off from healthcare and sanitation, Roma communities are especially vulnerable in the face of COVID-19. Helping them is in everyone’s interests.
Coronavirus is Not the Only Disease Afflicting the Balkans
Finding a cure to the current pandemic sweeping the Western Balkans – and the world – may well be easier than purifying the region of the malign influence of its political class.
Balkan Tech Enthusiasts Deploy 3D Printers against COVID-19
Like much of the rest of Europe, Balkan states face an acute shortage of protective medical equipment in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Tech enthusiasts are stepping up.
Turkey Plans to Release 90,000 Non-Political Prisoners
The Turkish government plans to release 90,000 prisoners from its overcrowded jails as part of efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, but the proposed legislation excludes a large number of alleged political prisoners.
Bosnian Court Lifts Movement Restrictions on Turkish Citizen
A court lifted restrictions imposed on a Turkish school employee, but for the intelligence service he remains a ‘threat to national security’.
Concern in Montenegro over Number of Health Workers Self-Isolating
The government says health workers are being exposed to COVID-19 at home, but unions say they lack protection against infection at work.
State of Emergency ‘on Hold’ in Republika Srpska
Parliament in Bosnia’s Serb-majority Republika Srpska entity voted to declare a state of emergency at the weekend but opposition to the crisis measure from Bosniak political parties means that it has not yet been imposed.
Bosnian Serb Ex-Policeman Charged with Murdering Civilians
Former reservist policeman Milorad Krunic has been charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the killing of six civilians in the Sanski Most area in 1992.
Hungary ‘No Longer a Democracy’ After Coronavirus Law
Unlimited emergency powers granted to Prime Minister Viktor Orban have taken Hungary a step closer to dictatorship, critics say. How low can Orban go?
Romania’s State of Emergency Raises Media Freedom Concerns
Campaigners are warning that media freedom could be curbed in Romania by state-of-emergency provisions that allow the shutdown of websites that publish fake news and exempt the authorities from answering urgent inquiries from journalists.
North Macedonia Sends Election-Riggers to Jail
A court in Skopje sentenced two officials of the junior party in the ruling coalition, the Democratic Union for Integration, to three-and-a half years in jail each for falsifying voting records at the 2013 local elections.
Bulgaria Prepares for ‘Worst-Case Economic Scenario’
Bulgarian Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said the government is preparing for the country’s economy to sustain serious damage from the coronavirus pandemic, possibly economy shrinking by three per cent.

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