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Kosovo Marks Independence amid Better Ties with Serbia

Kosovo on Monday celebrated six years of independence marked by a historic improvement of ties with former foe Serbia, which was coaxed along by an EU-brokered deal last year.

Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told a special parliamentary session that "our vision of an independent Kosovo is one of a democratic country... ready to find its place within the family of free nations."

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Serbs Jailed for the Murder of More than 100 Kosovars

Serbia's war crimes court on Tuesday sentenced nine Serbian members of a paramilitary force to up to 20 years in prison for killing at least 109 ethnic Albanians during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict.

The nine "committed murders, rapes and robberies in an extremely brutal way, with the main goal to spread fear among Albanian civilians in order to force them to leave their homes and flee to Albania", judge Snezana Nikolic Garotic said in her verdict.

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Dozens Injured as Kosovo Police Clash with Protestors

Dozens of people were injured in Kosovo Friday as riot police clashed with students demanding the resignation of a university dean accused of faking research.

Police used tear gas and batons to prevent hundreds of student protesters from entering the university compound in Pristina, an Agence France Presse reporter witnessed.

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Police in Kosovo Clash with Protesting Students

Five policemen and about a dozen students were injured in Pristina on Thursday when anti-riot police used pepper spray and batons to disperse protesters demanding the resignation of the dean of the Kosovo capital's university.

Student prevented by police from entering the university building threw rocks and stones at anti-riot units cordoning off the main gates of the compound, an Agence France Presse reporter at the scene said.

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Kosovo Serb Leader Arrested over Alleged War Crimes

A top Serb politician was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of war crimes allegedly committed during the 1990s war, his lawyer said.

Oliver Ivanovic, 60, was ordered detained for a month over crimes "which occurred in 1999 and in 2000 against Albanian victims", his lawyer Nebojsa Vlajic told Agence France Presse.

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EU's Ashton Hails Unique Peace Effort by Serbia, Kosovo PMs

As the EU readied to open its door to Serbia in reward for easing ties with Kosovo, the bloc's chief diplomat Catherine Ashton on Thursday hailed the premiers of both sides for a peace drive that could foster regional stability.

After 200 hours of talks at 20 meetings in Ashton's sixth-storey Brussels office, the work done by the prime ministers of Kosovo and Serbia, Hashim Thaci and Ivica Dacic, "gives a certainty to the future" in the Balkans, she said.

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Kosovo Hardliners Win Top Posts in Local Polls

Hardline nationalists took top posts in Kosovo's capital as well as the main Serb-populated town in the breakaway territory in local elections, preliminary results showed Monday.

The electoral commission said the capital Pristina was won by Shpend Ahmeti of the nationalist Self Determination movement, which opposes the presence of the European Union and NATO in Kosovo as well as any talks with Serbia.

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Kosovo Returns to Polls after Violence-Marred Election

Kosovo voters cast ballots under a heavy police presence Sunday in round two of local elections seen as a test of stability in the troubled, Serb-majority north of the territory.

The election is part of a historic deal brokered by the EU to normalize ties between Serbia and Kosovo after the breakaway territory proclaimed independence in 2008.

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EU Prosecutor Charges 15 Kosovo ex-Rebels for War Crimes

The EU justice mission on Friday charged 15 former Kosovo rebel fighters for alleged war crimes including murder and torture committed during the 1998-1999 war with Serbian forces.

The identities of the defendants were not revealed, but local media reported that they include former KLA commander Sylejman Selimi, who is now Kosovo's ambassador to Albania, and Sami Lushtaku, mayor of northern town Srbica and a top official in Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's ruling party.

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Serbia, Kosovo Vow to Keep Peace on Track after Poll Violence

The premiers of Kosovo and Serbia, Hashim Thaci and Ivica Dacic, vowed Wednesday to keep a peace deal on track despite election violence by Serb extremists in Kosovo.

"Both governments condemned the incidents," Thaci said as election officials in Kosovo ordered a re-run vote in a town where Serbs stormed a polling station and destroyed ballot boxes on Sunday.

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