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NATO Begins Dismantling Kosovo Serb Barricade

NATO-led peacekeeping troops fired teargas to disperse protesters Thursday as they began dismantling a barricade erected by Serbs in northern Kosovo near a disputed border crossing with Serbia.

No injuries were reported in the incident at around 6:00 am (04:00 GMT) as an armed transporter approached to remove a truck in the center of the Kosovo Serbs' barricade, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported.

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Serbia Wins First Step Towards EU Membership

Serbia on Wednesday won a first battle in its bid to join the European Union, when the EU executive recommended granting the Balkans nation candidate status.

If approved by EU leaders, the proposal by EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele will be a key first step towards joining the EU club of 27 nations, which this year agreed to enlarge to 28 with Croatia, due to join in 2013.

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Albanians Attacked by Serbs in Flashpoint Kosovo Town

Serbs attacked three Kosovo Albanians Wednesday in the northern part of the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, a police official said.

"Three Albanians were attacked in the Cesmin Lug neighborhood by a group of Serbs," Kosovo police spokesman Besim Hoti told AFP.

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KFOR Soldiers and Serb Protesters Injured in Kosovo Violence

Four NATO peacekeepers and six Serb protesters were wounded Tuesday when violence erupted at a disputed crossing point between Serbia and Kosovo, officials said.

The violence came just hours before Belgrade was due to resume EU-mediated talks with Pristina aimed at calming tensions in majority-Serb northern Kosovo.

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Nadal Heaps More Criticism on International Tennis Federation

Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal again blasted the International Tennis Federation on Sunday, claiming they were shirking their responsibility to players by failing to lighten a packed tennis calendar.

Nadal led Spain to a 4-1 Davis Cup win over France, and a final date with Argentina, but there were tears for his U.S. Open final slayer Novak Djokovic whose injury-forced retirement saw defending champions Serbia slump 3-2 to the South Americans.

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World Study Shows Religious Violence, Abuse Growing

Religious-linked violence and abuse rose around the world between 2006 and 2009, with Christians and Muslims the most common targets, according to a private U.S. study released Tuesday.

"Over the three-year period studied, incidents of either government or social harassment were reported against Christians in 130 countries (66 percent) and against Muslims in 117 countries (59 percent)," said the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life study.

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Serbia's Icon-Painting Nuns Combine Religion and Art

On the wooded slopes of southwestern Serbia's Golija mountain, a dozen nuns at the Gradac monastery have devoted their lives to God but have not turned their backs on their lifelong passion: painting.

Twenty years ago Jasna Topolski, already a famous artist who had graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, arrived at this 13th-century monastery. Today, she is Efimija, the mother superior.

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Mladic Slams War Crimes Court 'Obnoxious' Charges

Wartime Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic denounced genocide and war crimes charges against him as "obnoxious" Friday, claiming he was gravely ill as he refused to enter a plea before a U..N. court.

Making his first appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia since his arrest last week, Mladic told the court that he "defended my people and my country" during the 1992-95 Bosnia conflict but declined the opportunity to plead not guilty.

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Serbia Arrests Wartime Military Chief Mladic Ending 16-Year Manhunt

Serbia announced the arrest of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic on Thursday, ending a 16-year manhunt for the general accused of masterminding Europe's worst massacre since World War II.

President Boris Tadic confirmed reports that the 69-year-old had been detained by Serbian security forces, saying the capture would bolster Serbia's "moral credibility in the world".

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