Kosovo’s 38-year-old president takes office

Kosovo’s new president took office on Tuesday, becoming the country’s youngest head of state and one of the youngest in the world.

Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, 38, was elected to a five-year term on Sunday by Kosovo’s Assembly, or Parliament making her the Balkan nation’s second female leader in the post-war period.

Osmani-Sadriu took office Tuesday in a ceremony with a guard of honor. Acting President Glauk Konjufca handed over the country’s constitution, avoiding a more formal ceremony due to the pandemic.

Osmani-Sadriu was formerly acting president from November until late March. She replaced Hashim Thaci who resigned after facing charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special court based in The Hague Thaci was a guerrilla leader during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s.

The post of Kosovo’s president is largely ceremonial, but she also plays a leading role in foreign policy and as the commander of the armed forces.

Resuming normalization talks with former war foe Serbia will be a priority on her list, even though the government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti has said it’s not high among its own goals.

Kosovo became independent in 2008. It is recognized by more than 100 countries but not by Serbia or Serbian allies like Russia and China.

200 Chinese moved amid violence in Central African Republic

China evacuated more than 200 nationals to a safer area after eight Chinese mining company vehicles were stolen during armed conflict ahead of an election in the Central African Republic, its embassy said Wednesday.

A statement on the embassy website said the situation is now under control with the help of U.N. peacekeeping forces, though there is still sporadic gunfire.

The conflict followed a Dec. 3 court decision to bar former President Francois Bozize from participating presidential and legislative elections on Sunday.

Bozize, in response, gathered rebel groups to march on the capital city Bangui They have been engaged in conflict with government forces in the Yaloke area since Dec. 15, according to the embassy statement.

Eight vehicles and other property belonging to four Chinese mining companies were stolen. No Chinese citizens were injured, according to the embassy.

About 250 were evacuated to a safe place as the situation became more tense in ensuing days.

The Central African Republic is a resource-rich country. Timber, gold and diamonds dominate its exports, according to the International Peace Information Service, a research institute in Belgium.

Russia said Tuesday it had sent 300 military instructors to help train the army in the face of the rebel offensive.

The country has seen deadly inter-religious and inter-communal fighting since 2013, when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in Bangui. Mostly Christian militias fought back, resulting in thousands of deaths and displaced people.

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