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Conservative Koch-backed group uses soft touch in recruiting U.S. Hispanics

By Andy Sullivan ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - The conservative advocacy groups backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are known mostly for spending millions of dollars to pelt Democratic candidates with negative television ads.

Japan lawmakers visit war shrine on eve of Obama trip

Nearly 150 Japanese lawmakers paid homage at the Yasukuni war shrine on Tuesday, raising the stakes in an already tense region on the eve of Barack Obama's visit. A cross-section of parliamentarians, including at least one cabinet minister, paid their respects at the shrine, which honours Japan's war dead, including a number of senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes.

Japan lawmakers visit war shrine on eve of Obama trip

Nearly 150 Japanese lawmakers on Tuesday paid homage at the Yasukuni shrine which honours the nation's war dead, raising the stakes in an already tense region on the eve of US President Barack Obama's visit. A cross-section of parliamentarians -- including at least one cabinet minister -- paid their respects at the shrine, which honours those who have fought for Japan including a number of senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes.

EU calls for speedy implementation of Ukraine accord

The storms flooded half of Acapulco, including the airport terminal, while landslides blocked the only roads linking the city to the capital. Thousands of angry, stranded tourists held a protest, demanding swifter airlifts.

Japan lawmakers visit war shrine on eve of Obama trip

Nearly 150 Japanese lawmakers on Tuesday paid homage at the Yasukuni shrine which honours the nation's war dead, raising the stakes in an already tense region on the eve of US President Barack Obama's visit. A cross-section of parliamentarians -- including at least one cabinet minister -- paid their respects at the shrine, which honours those who have fought for Japan including a number of senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes.

Biden pledges support for Ukraine's pro-Western leaders

Vice President Joe Biden said the United States stood by Ukraine's new pro-Western leaders Tuesday in the face of "humiliating threats" as Washington and Moscow traded blame over the crisis in the ex-Soviet country. "You face very daunting problems, and some might say, humiliating threats," Biden told a group of lawmakers in a meeting at Ukraine's parliament. The US would "stand with" Ukraine ahead of a presidential poll scheduled for May 25 that "may be the most important election in Ukrainian history," he said.

New Syria chemical claims emerge as election announced

New claims have emerged that President Bashar al-Assad's regime may have launched attacks with an industrial chemical earlier this month, despite an international agreement to eliminate Syria's chemical arsenal. The latest evidence, cited by the United States and France, comes as Syria plans to hold a June 3 presidential poll, which the United Nations and the Syrian opposition have slammed as a "farce" that flies in the face of efforts to end the country's three-year war.

New Syria chemical claims emerge as election announced

New claims have emerged that President Bashar al-Assad's regime may have launched attacks with an industrial chemical earlier this month, despite an international agreement to eliminate Syria's chemical arsenal. The latest evidence, cited by US and French authorities, comes as Syria plans to hold a June 3 presidential poll, which the United Nations and the Syrian opposition have slammed as a "farce" that flies in the face of efforts to end the country's three-year war.

Biden meets Ukraine leaders as Russia, US swap blame on crumbling deal

US Vice President Joe Biden met Ukraine's new pro-Western leaders Tuesday to offer firm American backing as Washington and Moscow traded blame over an unravelling peace deal to defuse the country's deep crisis. Biden began by meeting acting President Oleksandr Turchynov in Kiev's parliament building, with US officials saying that the onus was firmly on Moscow to fulfill the accord meant to reduce tensions in the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

China's new environment law submitted to parliament

BEIJING (Reuters) - Amendments to China's 1989 environmental protection law that will mean stiffer punishments for polluters have been submitted to the country's parliament for deliberation, official news agency Xinhua reported late on Monday. The National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, will consider the amendments during its latest bimonthly session, which runs until Thursday this week, Xinhua said.
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