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In July, Gianfranco Fini, the lower house speaker and a former ally of Mr. Berlusconi‘s, ended the prime minister’s once-comfortable parliamentary majority by breaking away from his coalition.

But after months of uncertainty and bitter political warfare, Mr. Berlusconi and his camp this week stopped calling for early elections and said the government would find a way to survive until the end of its term.


French Gendarme injured in clash

MITROVICA | A French Gendarme was shot and wounded early Sunday during clashes between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo’s ethnically divided city of Mitrovica as European Union police fired tear gas to disperse the violent crowd, an EU official said.

The policeman was shot in the leg and was out of danger, said Karin Limdal, spokeswoman for the 2,000-strong EU police mission. Special police units were called in to support local forces in separating the two sides, which pelted each other with stones at the foot of the bridge that splits the city into two halves, she said. Machine-gun fire and blasts also were reported.

The clashes, sparked after Turkey defeated Serbia in the semifinals of the basketball world championship, highlight the deep ethnic divide that runs between the two ethnic foes over a decade since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999. They come as the two sides brace for EU-facilitated talks that were called upon in a U.N. resolution passed Thursday.

The clashes started when Albanians in the southern part of the ethnically divided city “started celebrating Turkey’s victory,” police spokesman Besim Hoti told the Associated Press. Three police cars were damaged in the clashes.

Doctors in the Serb-run north said a Serb youth was shot and wounded.


Leader concerned by Albanian nationalism

ATHENS | Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou warned on Sunday of rising nationalism in Albania, after the murder of a member of the country’s ethnic Greek minority last month.

“The rise of nationalism among extremist groups, which target the Greek minority, is a very serious matter,” Mr. Papandreou said during a news conference in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

“Nationalism does not help the Balkans, it always causes big problems,” he said.

Albanian authorities have arrested seven people after the Aug. 13 murder of Aristotelis Goumas in the southern town of Himara.

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