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Ukraine: "5 terrorists" killed in operation in Sloviansk

Kiev, Apr 24 (EFE).- Ukraine's Interior Ministry said Thursday that "five terrorists" were killed in a military operation against pro-Russian militias in the southeastern city of Sloviansk. "Five terrorists died in the armed clash," the ministry said on its Web site. Ukrainian Interior Ministry forces and military troops tore down three militant checkpoints set up northeast of the city center, the statement said, adding that one police officer was wounded in the operation.

Obama vows to ease Okinawa's base-hosting burden

U.S. President Barack Obama vowed Thursday to ease the burden borne by people in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan, in hosting U.S. military bases. At a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Obama said the United States and Japan "continue to make progress towards realigning our forces in the (Asia) region, including Okinawa, which will lessen the impact of our bases on local communities."

China welcomes Palestinian unity deal, hopes will help peace

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's foreign ministry welcomed on Thursday a unity pact agreed between the Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' Palestine Liberation Organisation, saying Beijing hoped this would help peace talks with Israel. While the United States said it was disappointed by the deal, which it said could make peace efforts difficult, China said it regarded the move positively.

Ukraine forces kill several separatists in Slaviansk operation

By Aleksandar Vasovic and Gleb Garanich SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukrainian forces clashed with pro-Russian militants as they closed in on the separatist-held city of Slaviansk on Thursday, seizing rebel checkpoints and setting up roadblocks as helicopters circled overhead. Reuters journalists saw a Ukrainian military detachment with five armored personnel carriers take over a checkpoint on a road north of the city in late morning after it was abandoned by separatists who set tires alight to cover their retreat.

Kashmiris shun polls as Modi challenges for power in India

By Douglas Busvine and Fayaz Bukhari ANANTNAG, India (Reuters) - Mohammad Amin Pandith, a smallholder and father-of-three from Indian-controlled Kashmir, was lured from his home at night by a man in army uniform, dragged along a potholed lane and shot in the back of the head. His execution, one of three deadly attacks on village elders in the last week blamed on militants determined to derail elections, spread fear through the hamlet of Gulzarpora and led locals to boycott India's general election on Thursday.

Obama says Russia not abiding by Geneva agreement on Ukraine

President Barack Obama said Thursday Russia was not abiding by the letter or the spirit of the Geneva deal to ease tensions in Ukraine, and said new sanctions against Moscow were already teed up. The president weighed into an increasingly bitter US-Russian dispute over the actions of separatist militias in the east of the country Washington says are backed by the Kremlin, during his tour of Asia.

Oil prices rebound in Asian trade

Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade Thursday as heightened tensions in Ukraine overshadowed data showing US commercial crude inventories reaching an all-time high. New York's West Texas Intermediate for June delivery, was up 30 cents at $101.74 a barrel in afternoon trade, and Brent North Sea crude for June rose 24 cents to $109.35. Both contracts tumbled Wednesday on the US stockpiles data, which indicate softer demand at a time of robust production in the world's biggest oil consuming nation.

Bomb kills four in Pakistan's Karachi

A bomb targeting a local police official killed at least four people and wounded 15 others in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Thursday, police said. The explosion took place near a tailor's shop in the old vegetable market in a neighbourhood in the east of the city. "The blast killed police official Shafiq Tanoli and three others and wounded 15 others including Tanoli's three guards," senior local police official Tanvir Ahmad Tunio told AFP. He said the bomb targeted Tanoli. "We are right now trying to ascertain the exact nature of the blast."

Indian Kashmir votes in shadow of violence

Indian Kashmir headed to the polls under the shadow of violent threats from militants on Thursday in the latest stage of the country's five-week election that sees 180 million people eligible to vote. Residents of India's financial and entertainment capital Mumbai also cast ballots, as did constituents in the electorally significant southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Jordan amends anti-terror law to face Syria fallout

Controversial amendments to Jordan's anti-terrorism law seek to curb the influence of homegrown Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists fighting the regime of the kingdom's northern neighbour Syria, analysts said. New articles added to the law approved by MPs on Tuesday deem "joining or attempting to join armed or terrorist groups, or recruiting or attempting to recruit people to join these groups" acts of terrorism. They also outlaw "acts that would expose Jordan or Jordanians to the danger of acts of aggression, or harm the kingdom's relations with another country."
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