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Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during an interview with Reuters in Belgrade, Serbia, September 28, 2023.

REUTERS/Zorana Jevtic

Kosovo and Serbia to restart talks

Well, even as one of the world’s most intractable conflicts gets steadily worse, there’s at least a chance that another will get slightly better. This Saturday, the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo will meet with US and EU officials to try to revive peace talks.

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FILE PHOTO: Kosovo police officers patrol, in the aftermath of a shooting incident, in Banjska village, Kosovo September 27, 2023.

REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

Is Serbia really about to do something extreme in Kosovo?

Things are getting hot again between Serbia and Kosovo. The US and NATO have both sounded the alarm after a recent gun battle between Kosovo police and Serb nationalists in Northern Kosovo left several people dead, prompting what the White House called an “unprecedented” buildup of Serbian troops along the Kosovo border.

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Kosovo-Serbia tensions worsen, hurting EU membership hopes
Kosovo-Serbia escalation | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Kosovo-Serbia tensions worsen, hurting EU membership hopes

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics - this week from Stockholm.

Are Serbia and Kosovo heading towards a confrontation?

It looks very bad. What happened in northern Kosovo the other day was distinctly bad. A collection of fairly well-armed and well-organized Serb thugs did an operation that was eventually beaten back by Kosovo police. It follows a cycle of escalation that was initiated on the Kosovo side, has to be said, last year, and has not been brought under control by rather intense diplomacy, both by the Europeans and by the Americans. At the moment, things look very bleak. This, of course, is damaging the EU integration prospects for both Serbia and Kosovo. Let's see what happens.

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Police officers patrol in the aftermath of a shooting, at the road to Banjska village, Kosovo September 24, 2023.

REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

Trouble brews in the Balkans

Is Europe’s tinderbox once again set to explode?

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Nervous mood in Russia after drone strikes

Nervous mood in Russia after drone strikes

Carl Bildt, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations and former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics (this week from Stockholm).

Will recent drone attacks in Moscow lead to Russian escalation in Ukraine?

I think there's nervousness in Moscow. The drone attacks have been, Putin was trying to play down. He couldn't do very much else. He said our defenses are working, but nothing was perfect. I think there's also nervousness on what might happen on the battlefront. What are Ukrainians up to? Will there be some sort of success in some sort of Ukrainian offensive? A nervous mood, we don't know. The inclination of Putin is always to escalate whenever he can.

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NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) soldiers clash with local Kosovo Serb protesters


Kosovo flareups intensify

NATO is deploying additional troops to its peacekeeping mission in Northern Kosovo after clashes with local ethnic Serb protesters on Monday left dozens injured on both sides.

The Balkan backgrounder: Majority-Albanian Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after Serbia waged a brutal war to crush Kosovo’s autonomy. But neither Serbia nor the ethnic Serbian majority in Northern Kosovo recognize Kosovo’s independence.

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Protesters against President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's plan to reform the electoral authority, in Mexico City, Mexico, February 26, 2023.

REUTERS/Luis Cortes

Hard Numbers: Mexicans protest AMLO changes, North Korea seeks grain, Iran hearts Ipanema, a controversial kiss from Kosovo

500,000 or 90,000?: How many people in Mexico City took part in recent mass protests against President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s overhaul of the electoral system? Organizers say 500,000 turned out to oppose the changes, which would weaken independent election oversight. But authorities in Mexico City, which is controlled by AMLO’s party, say it was only 90,000.

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Commuters ride a subway train during the morning rush hour in Beijing.


What We’re Watching: China’s open door, sticky US border policy, Iran’s “mercy” deficit, Kosovo’s creeping crisis, Nepal’s “Terrible” new top dog

China’s COVID opening worries the neighbors

China’s National Health Commission announced on Monday that beginning January 8, travelers entering China will no longer be required to quarantine for eight days. Hong Kong followed the mainland by similarly relaxing testing requirements for international arrivals. It’s the latest signal that China has abandoned its zero-COVID lockdown-intensive policy, despite evidence the virus is now sweeping through a country where millions remain unvaccinated and even larger numbers have been jabbed only with less effective Chinese-made vaccines. An announcement last week that China will change the way it counts COVID deaths had led to anxiety elsewhere that Beijing has decided it can no longer contain new infections, that the economic cost of its zero-COVID approach is too high, and that it will now hide the true number of infections and deaths across the country to weather domestic and international criticism of its handling of the virus. This worry will feed the fear that much higher rates of transmission across this country of 1.4 billion people will help the virus mutate, spawning new variants that again infect people around the world. It’s no wonder then that Japan’s government has announced that, beginning Friday, it will tighten border controls for all travelers entering Japan from China, while the US is also mulling restrictions for Chinese arrivals.

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