Fur Farmers Plead for a Postponement of Fur Farming Ban

An organization of chinchilla fur farmers and “enthusiasts” called a press conference to urge the lawmakers not to uphold a nation-wide ban on fur farming in Bosnia, set to be enforced next year. According to the 2009 law on animal protection, a full ban on fur farming was to be enforced in 2018, giving transition time to the farmers to transform their businesses. As the ban date is approaching, some lawmakers in the national parliament pushed for changes to the law that would postpone the ban for another decade.

“(Chinchillas) would have been extinct fifty years ago if they weren’t bred in captivity for fur,” the farmers told the press conference on Friday.

They said that some 150 families, currently in the chinchilla fur business, would lose their source of income if the ban is enforced.

“Animal welfare has three basic rules: the right to reproduce, (the right) to food and (the right) to life space. (The fur farming ban) would deny (chinchillas) the right to reproduce,” a farmer told the press conference.

The head of fur farmers’ organization, Zdravko Vukojević, said that the Bosnian production of fur is export-oriented and that it was important to save every job in this economy.

“Amendments to the law are very important and they should not only be passed hastily. We believe it is important to keep the ban transition period (…) until the government can compensate the farmers for the losses caused by the termination of (fur) farming.”

Second Bookstan Will Be Held July 4-7

Organizers of a last year’s street book festival in Sarajevo said the second edition of the event will be held July 4-7. The “Bookstan” festival will be organized at the same location – at Radićeva Street and the gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts, where book presentations will be held.


Co-owner of the Buybook publishing house and director of Bookstan, Damir Uzunović, and Buybook editor Kristina Ljevak called a press conference outside the Buybook bookstore to speak about the festival program and the side events. They said the main guest will be Hanif Kureishi, a British novelist, drama writer, screenwriter and director. He will present his new book, “Nowhere”, published by Buybook.

Kureishi will be interviewed by John Freeman, an American critic and co-founder of Bookstan. Freeman will also present his new book, “Mape” published by Buybook.

Focusing on the space that is neither east or west exclusively and the authors who mostly work outside their home countries, as well as the authors who are the second and third generation emigrants, the second Bookstan will feature authors who write in German.


Go Clubbing, Government Official Tells Kids Protesting School Segregation

High school students and activists rallied at the seat of Central Bosnia Canton to protest segregation in schools, but their demand for a nation-wide end to so-called two schools under one roof was described as a hard-to-achieve ambition by the canton’s education minister.

The Bosniak and Croat high school students in the town of Jajce succeeded in their fight against the canton’s government, forcing it to reverse its decision to divide them into two separate, ethnically based schools. Emboldened by the victory, they called on students in the rest of the country to join them in Travnik on Tuesday to request the unification of other schools in the Federation entity where Bosniaks and Croats attend separate classes in the same building.

“Education is a bad investment”

However, the canton’s education minister Katica Čerkez told the protesters that the segregated schools were a problem rooted in the very constitutional fabric of Bosnia. Čerkez, known for her affirmative positions on segregated schools, said the protesters should take the win in Jajce and “go to a disco”, according to local media.

After the Bosnian war of the nineties and the de facto division of the country along the ethnic lines, Bosnia’s three main groups – Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks – have each their own national curriculum and each is taught in the Serb, Croat or Bosnian language, although linguists say they are essentially one language. “Two schools under one roof” were formed in mixed Bosniak-Croat communities in the Federation entity, where Croat and Bosniak children attend classes according to their national curricula. They use the same building but are physically separated.

All attempts to unify education have failed so far.

“More than 8,000 Persons Still Live in Collective Centers”

Solidarity and humanity the world extended to Bosnian refugees during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war obliges Bosnia to return the favor, said the minister of human rights and refugees Semiha Borovac on the occasion of the World Refugee Day, June 20. More than two million Bosnians were forced to leave their homes, the minister said, and 1.2 million sought the refugee status in 100 countries in the world. Less than half a million have returned to Bosnia since the war ended.

Some 98,000 persons are still internally displaced in Bosnia, the minister said.

Semiha Borovac

“Unfortunately, more than 8,000 persons still live in collective centers, which should be closed by 2020,” said Borovac.

According to the minister, Bosnia is currently providing for 90 refugees and 17 persons eligible for so-called “subsidiary protection”.

A collective center for displaced persons.

According to a UN report published this week, 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide at the end of 2016, about 300,000 more than last year. The UN Refuge Agency said that on average, 20 people were driven from their homes every minute last year, or one every three seconds. The conflict in Syria, now in its seventh year, was the world’s biggest producer of refugees (5.5 million). However, the biggest new factor in 2016 was South Sudan, where a break-off of peace efforts in July of that year contributed to an outflow of 737,400 people by the end of the year. That number has continued to rise during the first half of 2017.

Plane Crash Blamed on Pilot’s Heart Attack

An official investigation concluded that a plane crashed near Mostar last month because the pilot had a heart attack mid flight. On May 13, a small aircraft with five people on board took off from the Mostar airport for a panoramic flight. The investigators said that the pilot suffered a heart attack minutes after the take-off. The plane crashed in a field outside Mostar, killing all five people on board, including three children.

Investigators said that the pilot suffered a heart attack minutes after the take-off.

The state ministry of transport and communications formed a commission to investigate the incident. The commission wrapped up the investigation last week and presented its findings on Monday. The investigators said the probe was about determining the cause of the crash and not the liability. The investigation report mentions no names, although the names of pilot and four passengers are known.

Earlier, the Civil Aviation Directorate said the aircraft had a permit to fly and that it was serviced in on April 5. However, according to the certificate, the plane was a four-seater.

The 67-page investigation report also contains comments from the state prosecution, the civil aviation directorate, the air navigation services agency and the Mostar airport.

Plane crash victims honored in Mostar.

Bosnian Arrested in Turkey on Suspicion of Being IS Member

A Bosnian national (37) was arrested in south-eastern Turkey on suspicion of being member of the Islamic State group, reported Oslobođenje daily quoting a Turkish news agency.  Turkish police arrested the man together with four Azerbaijan nationals close to the border with Syria. They had explosives and suicide vests on them. The police said they were probably planning a suicide attack in the region.

According to Žurnal, the arrested Bosnian is Begzad Spahić, who traveled to Syria in 2013. For most of the time there he lived in the city of Raqqa. Spahić was reportedly close to a fellow Bosnian there who returned to Bosnia two years ago and spent months hiding from law enforcement in the woods in Zenica region.

Mysterious Woman Pays Customers’ Debt in Town’s Neighborhood Stores

Owners of small neighborhood grocery stores in the central Bosnian town of Visoko said a young woman came to their stores this week and paid the debt of local customers. Traditionally, small grocery stores will let locals buy items and pay later if they are cash-strapped. According to a story on Al Jazeera Balkans, an unidentified woman drove to several stores in the town and offered to pay the debt customers might have accumulated there. She reportedly paid thousands of Euros to several grocery stores in the course of one day.


One shop clerk described the encounter with the woman: “I saw a car pull up at the parking lot and a person I never saw before stepping out. She walked into the shop and without an introduction she asked for the owner. In a mild voice, she asked me if we let (customers) pay later for the items. (…) To my surprised ‘yes’, she said she would like to clear the entire debt. I couldn’t believe it.”

The owner of another shop had a similar experience: “A worker came to me and said a girl has just walked in the shop and asked if we sold the merchandise and let (the customers) pay later. I said yes, thinking she wanted to buy something and pay later. (The women) asked me to see the books and figures. (…) I didn’t let her see the names in the book, for the neighborhood. She took out the money and left. I was shocked, and I still am.”

According to the locals, the woman was hired to pay the debts in local stores, but wouldn’t name the benefactor.