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LIPJAN, Kosovo – All the students in a tiny village in Kosovo have gathered to celebrate a very special day for Pavaresia Sopi — a 10th birthday with deep significance for her whole Balkan nation.
Pavaresia, whose name means "independence" in Albanian, was the first baby born in an independent Kosovo, 15 minutes after independence was declared at an afternoon session in parliament on Feb. 17, 2008.
The 4th-grade students celebrated Friday in Sllovi, 17 kilometers (11 miles) south of the capital, Pristina. On the blue-yellow-and-white birthday cake — the colors of Kosovo's flag — they wrote: "Pavaresia 10 vjet! Happy Birthday!"
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia nine years after NATO's 78-day bombing in 1999 halted a Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.
Kosovo is recognized by 115 countries but not by Serbia.