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Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled

Anti-gay activists in Ethiopia said Thursday they have been forced to abandon plans to demonstrate in the capital after apparently failing to win support from the government and the powerful Orthodox church. The anti-homosexuality rally had been planned for April 26, and comes amid a trend of increasing stigmatisation of homosexuals across the continent -- with Uganda and Nigeria recently adopting tough anti-gay legislation.

Algeria's Bouteflika votes in wheelchair for 4th term

Abdelaziz Bouteflika, seeking a fourth presidential term, cast his ballot from a wheelchair Thursday as Algerians voted in an election he is widely expected to win despite chronic health problems. In his first public appearance in two years, a smiling Bouteflika arrived at a polling station in El Biar district of Algiers and waved but made no comment to reporters covering an election tainted by fraud warnings and boycott calls.

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces. President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress want laws to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but Republicans, who hold the majority in the House of Representatives, have blocked all legislative efforts since 2011.

Death toll rises to 18 in ferry sinking

JINDO/SEOUL, South Korea, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Rescuers fought rising winds and waves on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people believed to be still trapped inside a ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast a day earlier. Navy and Coast Guard divers tried to enter the capsized ship more than 10 times, hoping for a response from nearly 300 people, mostly high school students, but were hampered by poor underwater visibility and strong currents.

Death toll rises to 18 in ferry sinking

JINDO/SEOUL, South Korea, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Rescuers fought rising winds and waves on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people believed to be still trapped inside a ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast a day earlier. Navy and Coast Guard divers tried to enter the capsized ship more than 10 times, hoping for a response from nearly 300 people, mostly high school students, but were hampered by poor underwater visibility and strong currents.

Students give Easter twist to dwindling Venezuela protests

By Andrew Cawthorne CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan students are marching barefoot, building crucifixes and planning to burn effigies of President Nicolas Maduro to try and breathe new life into their protest movement over Easter. The religious-themed demonstrations are the latest tactics in anti-government protests since early February that have convulsed the South American OPEC nation and led to 41 deaths.

Iraq's draft child marriage law seen as political stunt - and sign of times

By Raheem Salman BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Proposals that would legalize the marriage of nine-year-old Iraqi girls are unlikely to become law, but indicate the growing role of religion in a country some fear is going down the path of neighboring theocracy Iran. Based on Shi'ite Islamic jurisprudence, the Ja'afari Law's advocates say it would bring regulation of personal status - comprising family law, wills and inheritance - into line with sharia religious law.

India passes halfway mark in election with Hindu nationalists gaining strength

By Ashutosh Pandey and Swetha Gopinath BANGALORE (Reuters) - India called a quarter of its 815 million voters to polls on Thursday, the biggest day of its staggered election, in areas ranging from Himalayan passes to a southern IT hub and western sugarcane farms. The country is now over halfway through its nine days of voting for a new parliament in the world's biggest ever election, with the ruling Congress party struggling to hold ground against the Hindu nationalist opposition.

Death toll rises to 14 in ferry sinking

JINDO/SEOUL, South Korea, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Rescuers fought rising winds and waves on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people believed to be still trapped inside a ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast a day earlier. Navy and Coast Guard divers tried to enter the capsized ship more than 10 times, hoping for a response from nearly 300 people, mostly high school students, but were hampered by poor underwater visibility and strong currents.

Death toll rises to 14 in ferry sinking

JINDO/SEOUL, South Korea, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Rescuers fought rising winds and waves on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people believed to be still trapped inside a ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast a day earlier. Navy and Coast Guard divers tried to enter the capsized ship more than 10 times, hoping for a response from nearly 300 people, mostly high school students, but were hampered by poor underwater visibility and strong currents.
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