Today in History for December 14th

George Washington dies at age 67; Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his group reach South Pole; Leaders of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia sign an internationally-brokered peace treaty; Baseball’s Roger Maris dies at age 51. (Dec. 14)

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In Serbia, world’s hottest peppers grow under the snow | AFP

December snow flurries in Serbia haven’t stopped Aleksandar Tanic from cultivating his flaming-hot crop: crinkly red chilli peppers considered to be the spiciest in the world. The former electrician started growing the peppers in southern Serbia over a year ago, including the gnarled Carolina Reaper that is deemed the hottest pepper in the world by Guinness World Records. First developed in South Carolina, it boasts an average of 1.6 million heat units on the “Scoville scale” that measures capsaicin, the ingredient that gives peppers their firepower.

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In Serbia, world’s hottest peppers grow under the snow | AFP

December snow flurries in Serbia haven’t stopped Aleksandar Tanic from cultivating his flaming-hot crop: crinkly red chilli peppers considered to be the spiciest in the world. The former electrician started growing the peppers in southern Serbia over a year ago, including the gnarled Carolina Reaper that is deemed the hottest pepper in the world by Guinness World Records. First developed in South Carolina, it boasts an average of 1.6 million heat units on the “Scoville scale” that measures capsaicin, the ingredient that gives peppers their firepower.

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Handke faces protests at Nobel Prize ceremony | AFP

Hundreds of demonstrators gather in central Stockholm to protest the award of the Nobel literature prize to Peter Handke as the author collected his award in the Swedish capital. Handke faced protests and boycotts over his backing of Serbia during the wars in ex-Yugoslavia.

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Chinese tourists say ‘I do’ to Serbia | AFP

Far from the capital over in western Serbia, locals in the tiny picturesque holiday village of Gostoljublje have found a way to profit from a huge boom in Chinese tourists to the Balkan state. The resort village offers visitors a chance to get a first-hand experience of a mock Serbian wedding, against a backdrop of rolling hills and farmland.

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Migrants lose in futile game on Hungary-Serbia frontier | AFP

Asurma Arab and her family spent more than two years waiting in Serbia for their chance to cross the steel fence that Hungary erected along its border to keep out migrants. Little did the Afghan family know, their asylum plea was already a lost cause.

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Celebrating life at Serbia’s undertakers’ ball | AFP

Lavish platters of food, free-flowing drink and spirited song and dance: you might mistake it for a Serbian wedding if not for the gigantic coffin-shaped cake at the centre of this annual ball for undertakers. Set in a cavernous restaurant hall in eastern Serbia, the party is a chance for hundreds funeral workers from the region to celebrate life and do a bit of business. This year’s party was organised by the undertaker famous for driving the remains of former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic to his family’s plot in 2006.

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Nikola Jokic: Serbia’s beloved big man of basketball | AFP

Nikola Jokic was always tall — as a teenager he had to lie down in school photos to fit inside the frame. Now the 24-year-old Serbian basketball standout is bigger than ever, spanning a huge mural on his former elementary school and living the dream of every youngster as an NBA All-Star with the Denver Nuggets.

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Serbian festival crowns longest moustache | AFP

At a festival in rural Serbia, retired construction worker Zoran Lazarevic is crowned the king of facial hair with his 140cm-long white moustache, the longest in a local competition.

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Former Kosovo PM Haradinaj arrives at special war crimes court | AFP

Ramush Haradinaj, who resigned as Kosovo’s Prime Minister, arrives at the Kosovo special court in The Hague to be questioned on suspicions of war crimes. Jakup Krasniqi, former president of Parliament and former spokesman for the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), is also appearing at the tribunal. The EU-backed special war crimes court for Kosovo was established in 2015 to try war crimes allegedly committed by ethnic Albanian guerrillas against minority Serbs and Roma and local Albanian political opponents during and immediately after the 1998-1999 independence war against Serbia. IMAGES

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Macron and Vucic review troops on Serbia visit | AFP

French president Emmanuel Macron is welcomed by his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade. IMAGES

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France’s Macron arrives in Serbia | AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Belgrade, greeted by his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic. IMAGES

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“The strongest woman in Europe” is in Serbia | AFP

Just five years after she first hit the gym, 35-year-old Serbian Jelena Marinko’s top scores in powerlifting competitions have led to her being dubbed Europe’s ‘strongest woman’.

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‘Wonder of nature’: Serbia’s ultra-expensive donkey cheese | AFP

White, dense and rich in flavour, Serbia’s one-of-a-kind donkey cheese is not only tasty but good for your health, says maker Slobodan Simic. There’s only one catch — at 1,000 euros ($1,130) a kilo, it may well be the most expensive cheese in the world.

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Serbia’s first #MeToo trial proves a lonely path | AFP

After reporting the mayor of her southern Serbian town for sexual assault and harassment, Marija Lukic is now battling angry mobs of men outside court, local power politics and an entrenched patriarchy as she seeks justice in the country’s first high-profile #MeToo trial.

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New bust of former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright unveiled in Pristina | AFP

A new bust of former US Secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, is unveiled in Pristina, with Albright and former US President Bill Clinton attending, as Kosovo thanks the West for the NATO intervention 20 years ago that ended its separatist war with Serbia and cleared a path for independence. IMAGES

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Serbian village celebrates “Stork Day” | AFP

Taras, a village in Serbia’s province of Vojvodina, celebrates “Stork Day” to promote awareness and environmental education about storks, the symbol of the village which is home to the largest number of pairs of these migratory birds in the country. In 2019, the usual number of around 30 – 40 pairs of storks dropped to 25.

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Serbian prisoners and pups give each other a new lease on life | AFP

Dusan and Cupko both lost their way in life before finding themselves behind bars in Serbia’s largest prison. Now the pair — one a 49-year-old inmate and the other a shaggy mutt — are hoping to leave together thanks to a programme that matches prisoners with stray dogs and prepares both for a second chance.

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Leaders pose for family photo at Balkan summit in Berlin

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pose with Balkan leaders at a summit where they call on Serbia and Kosovo to resume their dialogue before any progress is made on a possible EU membership. IMAGES of the family photo