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Kenyatta takes early lead as Kenya counts votes

NAIROBI - Kenyan presidential hopeful Uhuru Kenyatta opens up early lead as ballots are counted in election that brought out millions of voters despite pockets of violence that killed at least 15 people. (KENYA-ELECTIONS/(UPDATE 5, PIX, TV), moved, by Yara Bayoumy and George Obulutsa, 930 words)

+ See also:

- KENYA-ELECTIONS/COAST, moved, by Drazen Jorgic, 970 words

US, China agree UN sanctions draft; N.Korea renews threats

UNITED NATIONS - United States and China reach deal that "significantly expands" U.N. sanctions on North Korea for its third nuclear test, eliciting renewed threat by Pyongyang to scrap armistice that ended 1950-53 Korean War. (KOREA-NORTH/UN (UPDATE 6, TV), moving shortly, by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols, 970 words)

Chavez allies gather, supporters weep after cancer setback

CARACAS - Venezuela's political and military leaders gather at presidential palace and supporters weep after government says President Hugo Chavez suffers serious setback in his battle against cancer. (VENEZUELA-CHAVEZ/ (UPDATE 4, TV, PIX), moved, by Andrew Cawthorne and Daniel Wallis, 757 words)

Kerry: U.S. more confident arms flowing to Syria moderates

DOHA - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington is increasingly confident that weapons being sent to Syrian opposition by other countries go to moderate forces. (SYRIA-CRISIS/KERRY (UPDATE 3, PIX, TV), moved, by Arshad Mohammed and Regan Doherty, 728 words)


Deal with White House clears way for Senate panel vote on Brennan

WASHINGTON - Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats resolve dispute with White House over access to classified legal opinions on "targeted killings," including drone strikes on U.S. citizens, clearing way for committee vote on John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director. (OBAMA-NOMINATIONS/BRENNAN, moved, 300 words)

In shift from campaign pledge, Paul Ryan floats Medicare age tweak

WASHINGTON - House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan floats plan that would force Medicare cuts onto people aged 56 and younger, breaking a campaign promise not to touch benefits for those older than 55. (USA-FISCAL/MEDICARE, moving shortly, by David Lawder and Kim Dixon, 511 words)


Chile growth, foreign policy propel Pinera approval near two-year high

SANTIAGO - Billionaire President Sebastian Pinera's popularity rebounds to 38 percent in February, near two-year high, on approval of Chile's robust economic growth and foreign policy, pollster Adimark says. (CHILE-PINERA/APPROVAL (UPDATE 1), moved, by Alexandra Ulmer, 474 words)


Italian president mulls new technocrat government - sources

ROME - President Giorgio Napolitano considers appointing new technocrat government led by non-politician as one way out of Italy's political stalemate, Italian officials say. (ITALY-VOTE/ (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved, by Steve Scherer and Roberto Landucci, 802 words)

+ See also:

- ITALY-VOTE/PRESIDENT (PIX), moved, by Barry Moody, 1,072 words

French unions lead protests over labour deal

PARIS - Tens of thousands of protesters march in towns across France against plans to allow companies to cut workers' hours during economic downturns -- policy central to President Francois Hollande's jobs and growth strategy. (FRANCE-PROTESTS/ (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV), moved, by Antony Paone, 430 words)

Britain says will release parts of secret report on rendition

GENEVA - Britain will publish parts of confidential report on its role in U.S. "rendition" of foreign terrorism suspects, its envoy to main U.N. human rights forum says. (RIGHTS-UN/TERRORISM, moved, by Stephanie Nebehay, 595 words)

Cardinals say will not be rushed into electing new pope

VATICAN CITY - Catholic cardinals say they want time to get to know each before choosing next pope and meanwhile will seek more information on secret report on alleged corruption in Vatican. (POPE-SUCCESSION/ (PIX, TV), moved, by Philip Pullella, 739 words)

Miners join protests as Bulgaria heads for early polls

SOFIA - Bulgarian miners, railway and power station workers march through capital to protest possible job cuts, joining wave of demonstrations that already fells government. (BULGARIA-GOVERNMENT/ (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved, by Tsvetelia Tsolova, 598 words)

Moldovan pro-Europe government falls, EU course could change

CHISINAU - Moldova's pro-Europe government falls amid anger and bickering when it loses confidence vote that could affect former Soviet republic's drive for place in European mainstream. (MOLDOVA-GOVERNMENT/VOTE (UPDATE 3, PICTURE, TV), moved, by Alexander Tanas, 780 words)


Big powers want fast results in revived diplomacy with Iran

VIENNA - Six world powers call for quick and concrete results in nuclear negotiations with Iran that resume after eight-month hiatus, aimed at averting threat of new Middle East war. (IRAN-NUCLEAR/POWERS (UPDATE 3), moved, by Fredrik Dahl, 631 words)

Fifty wounded in Egypt port city as police battle protesters

PORT SAID, Egypt - Egyptian security forces battle stone-throwing youths in Suez Canal city of Port Said while in Cairo police take to streets to protest, reflecting country beset by discontent over host of grievances. (EGYPT-PROTEST/ (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved, by Yusri Mohamed, 394 words)

Independents named as Tunisia foreign, defence ministers

TUNIS - Independents will take over foreign and defence ministries in Tunisia's new government under deal by ruling Islamist party to cede key portfolios after violent unrest over assassination of secular opposition leader. (TUNISIA-GOVERNMENT/ (UPDATE 3), moved, by Tarek Amara, 531 words)


Two more killed in Guinea as protests spread

CONAKRY - Two more people are killed in clashes between government and opposition supporters in Guinea, officials say, as election protests fuelled by ethnic rivalries spread to more towns in West African country's interior. (GUINEA-CLASHES/, moved, 423 words)


Afghan court jails 20 men in landmark bank fraud case

KABUL - Afghan court gives jail terms to 20 of 22 men convicted in multi-million dollar bank fraud case seen as test of Afghanistan's commitment to fighting corruption. (AFGHANISTAN-KABULBANK/(UPDATE 2, TV, PIX), moved, by Hamid Shalizi and Amie Ferris-Rotman, 617 words)


Canada Inuit, conservationists oppose polar bear trade crackdown

OTTAWA - Proposals to ban trade in polar bear furs will do little to ensure animals' long-term future, Canada's Arctic Inuit and two major conservationist groups both say. (CANADA-POLARBEARS/, moved, by David Ljunggren, 600 words)

Comet Pan-STARRS dresses up night skies, visible with naked eye

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - First of two comets heading toward sun this year makes its closest approach to Earth and will be visible in Northern Hemisphere beginning Thursday. (USA-COMET/ (PIX), moved, by Irene Klotz, 573 words)