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FIFA investigates Shaqiri and Xhaka celebrations

MOSCOW:  FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Switzerland players Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, looking into their goal celebrations during Friday’s win over Serbia at the World Cup. Both players, who are ethnic Albanians and of Kosovar heritage, celebrated with a gesture which appeared to imitate the eagle displayed on Albania’s flag. Serbia refuses to recognize the independence of its former province Kosovo, whose 1.8 million people are mostly ethnic Albanians, which broke away 10 years ago.…

Switzerland beat Serbia to join Brazil in Group E qualification contention

KALININGRAD: A last-minute Xherdan Shaqiri breakaway goal handed Switzerland victory Friday as they came from behind to defeat Serbia 2-1 in Kaliningrad.  The win puts Switzerland in pole position to make it out of a tough Group E that contains five-times winners Brazil but they were pushed all the way by the Serbs. It was a sweet victory for Shaqiri and fellow Swiss goalscorer Granit Xhaka, who along with team-mate Valon Belrami were booed relentlessly by Serbia's fans throughout. Shaqiri, Xhaka and Belrami trace…

Kolarov stunner gives Serbia World Cup victory over Costa Rica

Aleksandar Kolarov's brilliant second-half free-kick gave Serbia a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in their opening World Cup group match in Samara on Sunday. The Roma defender made the crucial breakthrough early in the second half with a magnificent effort, and although Serbia missed chances to further extend their lead, they were not overly troubled by the Costa Ricans. The win puts Serbia in a strong early position in Group E ahead of games against Brazil and Switzerland as they look to reach the last 16 for the first…

European clocks slowed by Serbia-Kosovo power grid row

BRUSSELS: European power operators called Wednesday for an end to a row between Serbia and Kosovo that has sapped the continent's electricity grid and caused electronic clocks to run several minutes late. The Brussels-based power operators association ENTSO-E said "political disagreements" between the Balkan neighbours have caused a decrease in the electric frequency in the continental network since mid-January. "The decrease in frequency average is affecting also those electric clocks that are steered by the frequency…

Kosovo marks 10 years after independence

PRISTINA: The assassination of a prominent Serb politician has cast another dark cloud above Kosovo as it is prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of its independence. Unilaterally declared on February 17, 2008, the independence of Serbia's breakaway province is recognised by more than 110 countries. But Belgrade and many of the 120,000 members of Kosovo's Serb minority, refuse to do so almost 20 years after the 1990s war. The conflict pitting Serbian security forces against Kosovo Albanian guerrillas claimed 13,000…

UN prosecutor urges Croatian leaders to face up to war-time past

THE HAGUE: The chief prosecutor of the UN war crimes court Sunday urged Croatian leaders to face up to what happened in the past and work towards reconciliation, after the suicide of a Bosnian Croat leader. In dramatic scenes Wednesday, Slobodan Praljak swallowed poison before UN tribunal judges, just moments after they upheld his 20-year jail sentence for war crimes in the 1990s Balkans conflicts. "It is unfortunate that Mr. Praljak made the choice to end his life," Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor for the…

UN war crimes court unveils last verdict in Bosnian Croat appeal

THE HAGUE: UN judges on Wednesday began handing down judgement in the appeals case of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders, in the court's final verdict for war crimes committed during the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia. The case of Jadranko Prlic and five others draws the curtain on two decades of work by the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), set up in 1993 at the height of the Balkans wars to prosecute Europe's worst atrocities since World War II. In a case which has…