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Friday:  August 15, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Serbia

Capital | Belgrade

Population | 7,310,555 (July 2011 est.)

Area | 102,350 SQ KM

Official Language | Serbian

Holidays | National Day, 15 February

Currency | Dinar (RSD)

Time Zone | UTC +1

Best Time to Visit | August to October (summer)

Connecting with the Culture | Dancing at dawn in Novi Sad’s baroque citadel during the Exit music festival. Wandering around the Old Town in Kotor’s walled medieval city. Taking in the stunning views of Kotor Fjord on the hairpin drive to Cetinje. Sunbaking with the beautiful people on any of Budva’s fine beaches. Basking in views of the Danube from Belgrade’s Kalemegdan Citadel.

Read | Tim Judah’s The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, a comprehensive and thoroughly readable account of Serbia’s part in Yugoslavia’s demise. Ivo Andric’s novel Bridge on the Drina foresaw the region’s disasters of the 1990s.

Listen | to Blehmuzica- brass music influenced by Turkish and Austrian military music. Darkwood Dub provides more contemporary electro- fusion styles.

Watch | Emily Kusturica’s Underground- a heady, chaotic film dealing with Yugoslavia’s history. Danis Tanovic’s superb satire No Man’s Land spotlights the absurdity of Yugoslavia’s internal warring.

Eat | a mešano meso (mixed grill- a mountain of grilled meat for carnivorously inclined. It comprises evapii (mini sausages made from minced pork, beef or lamb), plejskavica (large, spicy hamburger steak) and ražnjii (pork or veal shish kebab with onions and peppers).

Drink | the terribly good Montenegrin beer brew, Nikšiko Pivo. Local cognac, vinjak, and the ubiquitous plum brandy, šljivovica, are good for stripping your throat lining.

In a Word | Nema problema (No problem)

Characteristics | Piano accordions; eastern-bloc hairstyles; nationalist fervor; meat… meat and more meat; Soviet fashion; war-torn countryside.

Surprises | Europe’s deepest fjord; widespread Turkish (Ottoman) influences; loads of jazz; gorgeous beaches; superb lakes and National Parks.

NEWS ABOUT SERBIA:

Hague drops 1 genocide charge against Radovan Karadzic; keeps 10 others

(Photo: Radovan Karadzic, July 31, 2008/The Hindu)(HN, 6/28/12) - The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal dropped 1 genocide charge against Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic on Thursday while maintaining 10 other charges against the jailed warlord. In dropping the charge, the court ruled that prosecutors failed to prove that he intended to wipe out other ethnic groups in the early stages of Bosnia's 1992-95 civil war.  The ruling, posted on the UN-sponsored court's website, comes as Karadzic prepares for the defense phase of the case against him in The Hague, Netherlands. The remaining charges include 1 other count of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre - where about 7,000 Muslim men & boys were separated from their families & gunned down by firing squads, allegedly on the orders of Karadzic & Bosnian Serb army commander Gen. Ratko Mladic who are also thought to have committed murder, repression, deportation & other war crimes. (Read more at the LA Times

Serbian President Tadic resigns early; plans re-election run

(PHOTO: Boris Tadic/Serbian President's Office)(HN, 4/1/12) - One of the most popular politicians in Serbia, President Boris Tadic announced his resignation Wednesday - 10 months before his 5-year term was to end. A pro-Western politician & a strong supporter of Serbia's EU integration, Tadic is now expected to stand for re-election in early presidential polls on May 6th; the same day parliamentary & local elections are scheduled to take place. His Democratic Serbia party is the lead in Serbia's ruling coalition, & Tadic's focus has centered on bringing Serbia to be recognized as an official EU candidate country - which happened March 1st. Tadic's main opponent in May's election is likely to be Tomislav Nikolic's a populist leader & head of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNP).

(MAP: Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro locations in Europe/World Sites Atlas)The 2 faced each other in presidential runoffs in the 2004 & 2008 elections. Kosovo remains 1 of the most contentious issues in Serb politics & Tadic's opponents claim he is ready to give away the Kosovo issue in exchange for EU membership.  Tadic says he or his party will not recognize the sovereignty of Kosovo-a former Serb territory which declared independence in February, 2008. Belgrade has already announced that the May 6th municipal & parliamentary elections will include parts of northern Kosovo, which identifies with Serbia & recently held a referendum to denounce Pristina's authority. Kosovo officials have pledged to use force, if needed, to stop Serbia from conducting an election in its borders.  (Read more at RIA Novosti)