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N. Korea raps U.S. "hostile policy" ahead of Obama's Asia tour

North Korea said Monday, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Asia this week, that Washington should reassess its "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang and stop seeking "hegemony" in the region. "The Obama administration would be well advised to coolly examine its hostile policy...when there is still time for it," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Deadly gun attack in eastern Ukraine shakes fragile Geneva accord

By Aleksandar Vasovic and Alissa de Carbonnel SLAVIANSK/YENAKIEVO, Ukraine (Reuters) - At least three people were killed in a gunfight in the early hours of Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, shaking an already fragile international accord that was designed to avert a wider conflict.

Ukraine business card 'proof' derided on Internet

A business card brandished by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine as proof that a deadly attack on their checkpoint was the work of ultra-nationalists quickly became an object of derision on the Internet on Sunday. Following the attack on a pro-Russian checkpoint near the flashpoint town of Slavyansk, the self-proclaimed mayor, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, presented a business card to the international press which he said was proof of the involvement of the ultra-nationalist group Pravy Sektor ("Right Sector").

Air strikes in Yemen kill 40 al Qaeda militants in two days

By Mohamed Mukhashaf ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - Air strikes in southern Yemen killed about 30 suspected al Qaeda members on Sunday, local tribal sources said, in the second day of strikes against militant targets in the country. On Saturday an air strike killed 10 al Qaeda militants and three civilians in central Yemen, a country that neighbors top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the group's most lethal wings.

Air strikes in Yemen kill 40 al Qaeda militants in two days

By Mohamed Mukhashaf ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - Air strikes in southern Yemen killed about 30 suspected al Qaeda members on Sunday, local tribal sources said, in the second day of strikes against militant targets in the country. On Saturday an air strike killed 10 al Qaeda militants and three civilians in central Yemen, a country that neighbors top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the group's most lethal wings.

Ex-army chief, leftist to run for Egyptian presidency

By Maggie Fick and Mahmoud Mourad CAIRO (Reuters) - The former army general who toppled Egypt's first freely elected president will face a leftist politician in next month's presidential election, as they were the only candidates to enter, the committee organising the vote said on Sunday. The committee had received paperwork from former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and former parliamentarian and presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, its head told a news conference, hours after the deadline for nominations had passed.

Top Palestinian cleric says Israel threw stun grenades into al Aqsa; Israel denies

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The most senior Islamic cleric in Jerusalem said on Sunday Israeli police hurled stun grenades into al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, to quell the latest in a string of Palestinian protests at the politically sensitive holy site. Israeli police denied the allegation, saying officers threw the non-lethal devices, which emit a loud noise, on a plaza outside the mosque after protesters threw rocks and firecrackers at them.

Syria's Assad pays Easter visit to old Christian town

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad paid an Easter Sunday visit to a historic Christian town newly recaptured from jihadist-backed rebels, as opposition fighters counter-attacked his forces in a key battleground city. The surprise visit to Maalula, just north of Damascus, came as Pope Francis said in his Easter message that it was time for warring parties to "boldly negotiate" peace in Syria after three years of conflict estimated to have killed 150,000 people.

Palestinians mull handing territory 'keys' back to Israel

Palestinian negotiators have warned they may pass responsiblity for their territory back to occupying power Israel if peace talks remain stalled, a senior Palestinian official said on Sunday. The official said the Palestinians told US peace envoy Martin Indyk on Friday that unless Israel releases Palestinian prisoners as agreed and freezes settlement building, they could dismantle the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) of president Mahmud Abbas.

Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly gunfight

Pro-Kremlin rebels in east Ukraine appealed Sunday for help from Russian "peacekeepers" after a deadly gunfight killed at least two of their militants, shattering an Easter truce and sparking "outrage" in Moscow. But the Western-backed authorities in Kiev claimed the violence was a set-up by Russia to create a pretext for it to send in troops. The attack, near the flashpoint town of Slavyansk, undermined an accord worked out in Geneva between Russia, Ukraine and Western powers on Thursday under which "illegal armed groups" were to surrender their weapons.
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