BEIRUT – It takes him a good 20 seconds to get his bearings, but, sitting up in his bed, Matti Tourrani smiles, and, voice muffled by a drowsy cough, says hello. His right leg is swollen – so much that it is now twice as thick as his left. “It’s not so painful; I’m more concerned about my knee,” says the elderly man. Mr. Tourrani traveled with his wife Maysoun from their small village near Mosul in northern Iraq . He’s in Beirut for knee-replacement surgery, a procedure that will cost more than $23,000 and for which the family mortgaged their house. Their part of Iraq is still violent: Last week a bomb killed two people just a mile from their home. “We’re used to it by now,” Maysoun says. But the family is concerned that they might have traveled in vain. Before any knee surgery, the leg must heal more, says Irad Beldjebel, a doctor who works helping Beirut’s unknown thousands of refugees.
PRISTINA — Dick Roche, Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs, told The Sunday Business Post that ‘‘this would not be a precedent for other ethnic groups. There are specifics to each case’’. At a news conference last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin rubbished claims that Kosovo had special status, and EU member states such as Spain and Cyprus, with separatist movements of their own, have expressed their concerns about the Kosovo example. But the fact that Kosovo’s independence will be internationally-supervised, not to mention controversial, did little to curtail the jubilation around Pristina over the weekend. The new state will apparently be called Kosova, closer to the Albanian language version, and last minute efforts are being made to get the trappings of sovereignty ready, even if real sovereignty will be curtailed. ‘‘We want to get all the symbols and names correct, to show we are a separate country and heritage,” said Berat Jashari, a student at the University of Pristina.