Kosovo Transitional Council becomes more representative: The newly expanded Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC), with nearly three times more members, met today for the first time, UNMIK said today. The KTC, the highest-level consultative body in Kosovo, has been expanded from 12 to 34 members. The members include nine representatives of political parties, two political independents, the four Kosovo members of the Interim Administrative Council (IAC), three representatives of religious communities, nine representatives of civil society and seven representatives of national communities including Serbs, Bosniacs, Turks and Roma. Head of UNMIK Bernard Kouchner said each week the IAC would brief the KTC on their work. If the KTC disagrees with a decision of the IAC, it can propose a different course of action to the Head of UNMIK.
Kosovo Transitional Council meets to consider measures to reinforce security in Mitrovica: At its first meeting today the newly expanded Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC) discussed a six-point strategy to reinforce and enhance security in the city of Mitrovica. The strategy, presented by UNMIK Police and KFOR, includes expelling troublemakers, increased screening of individuals in order to prevent "external elements" from entering Mitrovica and continuing the curfew already imposed for as long as it is necessary. Other measures include reinforcing patrols in the northern sector of the city, and enlarging the security zone around the Mitrovica bridge.
Curfew hours in Mitrovica changed: The curfew imposed in Mitrovica following ethnic violence last week has been pushed back to 10 p.m., instead of 8 p.m., and goes through to 5 a.m. UNMIK Police said that the situation in the city while calm, remains tense. Police are investigating the attack on Albanians, the murders of at least eight Albanians and the grenade attack of a Serb café. In northern Mitrovica, a Serb male slashed the tyres of four UNMIK Police vehicles yesterday.
"Hate speech" regulation comes into effect: On 1 February a regulation on "hate speech" came into effect, UNMIK said today. The regulations specifies that whoever publicly spreads hatred, discord or intolerance between national, racial, religious, ethnic or other such groups living in Kosovo -- acts which are likely to disturb public order -- shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment not exceeding five years or both. Ms Phyllis Hwang of the OSCE Rule of Law Division said the punishment may be increased for 8 to 10 years if the public incitement of hatred has been committed under particular circumstances, for example, if the public incitement of hatred was committed by a person taking advantage of their position of authority.
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