December 2008

EU and Kosovo: The Honeymoon is Over?

by Limbic on December 9, 2008

I am detecting an upsurge in anti-Kosovo rhetoric, particularly amongst former big supporters like Germany.

One article in a Serbian weblog discusses the outrage in Germany over the arrest and detention of three of its agents in Pristina. It would appear that these arrests really have caused a rift between the Germany and Kosovo. 

Stratfor have also picked up on the growing conflict between the EU and the government of Kosovo. Here is an excerpt from their scathing report published Dec 3rd and reprinted in B92:

Ironically, however, the struggle is now no longer primarily between Priština and Belgrade. Kosovo’s government is facing off instead with Brussels, which until recently seemed to be a firm ally. However, now that independence is all but entrenched, Kosovo’s interests are diverging from those of the European Union (and, incidentally, the United Nations). Priština wants to claim sovereignty over its entire territory — including the restive Serbian-majority provinces — while Brussels wants to begin clamping down on the rampant narcotics- and human-smuggling operations in the newly minted country.

Kosovo sits on an elevated plain surrounded by imposing mountains, right in the middle of one of the most lucrative drug – and human – smuggling routes in the world. The region is isolated enough to be practically unconquerable, and certainly untamable, and yet is near enough to historical trade routes (through the North-South Vardar River Valley and the nearby Adriatic coast) to be a perfect smuggler’s haven.

Slaves, mainly young girls from Moldova and Ukraine, are transported through the Balkans regularly — and Kosovo is part of that route. The transportation of heroin, however, is Kosovo’s main source of income. Heroin from Afghanistan and Central Asia enters the Balkans through Turkey and is distributed through Kosovo to various points in Europe. One of the main smuggling routes goes to the Italian port of Bari on the Adriatic Sea, where the Italian Mafia distributes the product to the rest of Europe. However, the most lucrative distribution method for Kosovo is via its own diasporic networks in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. In particular, Switzerland — where the diaspora numbers more than 100,000 and where the Kosovo mafia handles up to 90 percent of all incoming heroin — is key for further distribution through Europe, particularly now that the Swiss have joined the Schengen treaty of open European borders.

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Good things about Belgrade

by Limbic on December 7, 2008

United States of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia, Dec 2008

"United States of Serbia", Belgrade, Serbia, Dec 2008

I finally got around to starting my “Good Things About Belgrade” list.

Please see the full page on the wiki for descriptions and explanations, but here are the headlines. If you have any comments, please post them here or contact me via the Contact us form.

  1. Weather
  2. Art & Street Art
  3. Good looking women
  4. Nightlife
  5. Restaurants
  6. Inexpensiveness
  7. Self-Care is easy and affordable
  8. Heroic resistance and the fight for justice
  9. Low crime
  10. Neotenous Capitalism
  11. Things are getting better (Economic boom)
  12. Modernist and Brutalist architecture (New Belgrade)
  13. Compactness
  14. Concerts, Shows & Conferences
  15. Kindness
  16. Xenophilia
  17. Crypto-cosmopolitanism
  18. Phoenix spirit
  19. Serious friendships
  20. The Rivers & Ada
  21. Cultural and Historical richness

http://www.belgradefvc.com/wiki/index.php?title=Good_Things_About_Belgrade

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DJ Rade Banyan is back at the decks

by Limbic on December 7, 2008

DJ Rade Banyan at the decks

DJ Rade Banyan at the decks

Just received an e-mail from DJ Rade Banyan one of my favourite Belgrade DJs, linking to his brilliant new ultra deep house mix, the first of several new ones.

Grab it yourselves here.

Meanwhile another favourite DJ, DJ Pookie, has remixed “Bedtime Groove“. Marko Hollywood also a has a remix on the same EP. They are all availabel on out on Beatport.

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Twitter Updates for 2008-12-05

by Limbic on December 5, 2008

  • Like @robotwisdom, “i’m in search of hi-quality lo-volume twitterers”. Anyone have a “Must Follow People” list? – http://tinyurl.com/6qmlln #

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My (Current) Twitter “Must Follow” List

by Limbic on December 5, 2008

This is where I will maintain a list of my top Twitter feed recommendations. You could, of course, just see who I am following, but that does not tell you why, and as I find new and interesting people, that list will grow.

Thanks to Leon (@leon_jacobs) for pointing out that I did not reveal my own twitter id! I am @limbic . My Belgrade related feed is @bgfvc

High quality, low volume

High Volume but so good its worth the deluge…

  • Ian David Chapman – Genuine expert on social media, higher volume but also high quality
  • Guy Kawasaki – Web Celebrity but very conversational and good links.
  • Tim O’Rielly – Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media, chatty but good.
  • James O’Reilly – Polymath and generally interesting global nomad.
  • Tim Ferriss – Author of the “4 Hours Work Week”.

Broad based appeal

  • Phil Glyford – Long enjoyed this guys excellent weblog, now tweets.
  • Kevin Marks – Google insider and generally posts intersting technically inclined tweets.
  • Clay Shirky – Another web celebrity, but very likeable and very smart
  • Alex (Emp) – personal data flow: neuroscience <-> bioengineering <-> product design <-> social architecture -> entrepreneur -> party
  • Robyn – “Buffoon, auteur, gentlewoman”. Great blog too.
  • Erin Pettigrew – “New media and marketing maven.”

Services

Belgrade, Serbia related

Please see my Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club feed for a full list of my Serbia/Belgrade/Balkans follow list.

DanicaR – The queen of Belgrade new media.

THIS LIST IS STILL IN PROGRESS

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Death Metal Trabant

by Limbic on December 4, 2008

Spotted this super cool death metal themed Trabi in Dorcol today.

Click image for large version

Click image for large version

Click image for large version

For more Belgrade pics, see my Flickr stream.

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Danish Prime Minister Interviewed in Serbia

by Limbic on December 4, 2008

Here is an interview with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen translated from Politka and reported in B92:

When he landed at Belgrade airport, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen already knew that 76 % of people, who voted at a referendum in Greenland, voted for more autonomy, which is considered to be a great step towards possible independence of the island. However, on the question whether he feels uncomfortable like Serbian politicians when Kosovo claimed its independence, the Danish prime minister said that he supports higher autonomy of Greenland and their ambition to take on more responsibility. However, talking with Politika, Fogh Rasmussen points out that, it is a question on autonomy within the Kingdom of Denmark, and not question of Greenland’s independence.

“Greenland would only like to strengthen existing local authorities, while foreign policy, defence policy, the central bank and several more institutions are in common. I think that decentralisation is good, and that is why I welcome the result of the referendum in Greenland. The result of the referendum was by no way influenced by the Danish recognition of Kosovo, but instead the citizen’s of Greenland wants to control profits from the possible oil, gas and minerals findings on the island. We were negotiating and made a compromise saying that we will share the profit of possible oil and mineral findings in two, if it turns out to be any in the area. In accordance with the possible profits, we will reduce the current regular subvention to Greenland.”

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Twitter Updates for 2008-12-01

by Limbic on December 1, 2008

  • Sage! @emp – “talk to people outside your clique about the things people in your clique talk about. test your echo chamber” via @valdiskrebs #
  • Lemon juice is NOT a suitable substitute for soy sauce as a medium for dissolving Wasabi to make Wasabi-joyu (for Sushi dunking) #

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Conversation is now Correspondance

by Limbic on December 1, 2008

From Bruce Schneir has a great post on the most insidious and potentially dangerous transformations of our communications space: The ephemeral dying, conversation is correspondence, and recorded as such:

Conversation used to be ephemeral. Whether face-to-face or by phone, we could be reasonably sure that what we said disappeared as soon as we said it. Organized crime bosses worried about phone taps and room bugs, but that was the exception. Privacy was just assumed.

This has changed. We chat in e-mail, over SMS and IM, and on social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace, and LiveJournal. We blog and we Twitter. These conversations — with friends, lovers, colleagues, members of our cabinet — are not ephemeral; they leave their own electronic trails.

We know this intellectually, but we haven’t truly internalized it. We type on, engrossed in conversation, forgetting we’re being recorded and those recordings might come back to haunt us later.

…Ephemeral conversation is dying.

Cardinal Richelieu famously said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” When all our ephemeral conversations can be saved for later examination, different rules have to apply. Conversation is not the same thing as correspondence. Words uttered in haste over morning coffee, whether spoken in a coffee shop or thumbed on a Blackberry, are not official pronouncements. Discussions in a meeting, whether held in a boardroom or a chat room, are not the same as answers at a press conference. And privacy isn’t just about having something to hide; it has enormous value to democracy, liberty, and our basic humanity.

Schneier on Security: The Future of Ephemeral Conversation

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Anyone know anything about these new stencils?

by Limbic on December 1, 2008

These are some new stencils I have snapped in and around the city centre and Dorcol. Anybody know anything about them?

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