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Obama says Russia not abiding by deal on Ukraine

US President Barack Obama accused Russia on Thursday of failing to respect an agreement to defuse the crisis in Ukraine, the latest salvo in the Cold War-like duel between Washington and Moscow over the future of the ex-Soviet nation. Obama said Washington was ready to slap fresh sanctions on Moscow, a day after Russia, which has massed tens of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine, warned that it was ready to strike if its interests were attacked.

Israel ministers mull reprisals for Palestinian unity deal

Israel's security cabinet was to meet on Thursday morning to weigh its response to a unity deal struck between the Palestinian leadership and the Hamas rulers of Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted angrily to Wednesday's agreement between the rival factions accusing Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas of choosing "Hamas, not peace". Public radio said ministers were likely to announce fresh retaliatory measures on top of a raft of financial sanctions unveiled this month when the Palestinians applied to join 15 international treaties.

Kabul hospital guard opens fire, kills foreign doctor

A guard at a Kabul hospital run by a US charity opened fire on staff Thursday, killing at least one foreign doctor and wounding several other people, medics told AFP. "He was a guard, he has shot doctors here. One foreign doctor is dead," said a doctor who was treating the wounded at the Cure International hospital in the Afghan capital. Cure International is a non-profit organisation based in Pennsylvania, operating hospitals in 29 countries.

Pakistan jets target Taliban hideouts, kill 12

Pakistan fighter jets on Thursday attacked Taliban hideouts in the lawless northwestern tribal belt and killed at least 12 suspected militants, officials said. It was the first time the military is known to have used air strikes on militants since the Pakistani Taliban announced a ceasefire on March 1 to help peace talks. The Taliban said last week it was ending the ceasefire, complaining of little progress in negotiations with the government. A series of militant attacks since then have killed seven people in the northwest.

Pakistan jets target Taliban hideouts, kill 12

Pakistan fighter jets on Thursday attacked Taliban hideouts in the lawless northwestern tribal belt and killed at least 12 suspected militants, officials said. It was the first time the military is known to have used air strikes on militants since the Pakistani Taliban announced a ceasefire on March 1 to help peace talks. The Taliban said last week it was ending the ceasefire, complaining of little progress in negotiations with the government. A series of militant attacks since then have killed seven people in the northwest.

Ukraine troops take checkpoint north of Slaviansk

KHRESTYSHCHE, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukrainian troops with five light armored vehicles took control of a checkpoint north of Slaviansk on Thursday after pro-Russian separatists appeared to abandon the position, Reuters journalists said from the scene. When the armored unit approached along a road from Sviatogorsk, which Ukraine's government said it recaptured on Wednesday, militants set up a smokescreen of burning tires. Within half an hour, the Ukrainian force was in control of the position near the village of Khrestyshche. No shots were heard.

Ukraine government forces kill 'up to five' militants in east

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's interior ministry said on Thursday its forces had killed "up to five" militants in the separatist-controlled town of Slaviansk, in the east of the country. A ministry statement said that during an "anti-terrorist operation" its forces, supported by the army, removed three illegal checkpoints manned by armed groups in the northeastern part of the city. "During the armed clash up to five terrorists were eliminated," it said. One person had been wounded on the side of government forces, it added.

Former U.S. test site sues nuclear nations for disarmament failure

By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The tiny Pacific republic of the Marshall Islands, scene of massive U.S. nuclear tests in the 1950s, sued the United States and eight other nuclear-armed countries on Thursday, accusing them of failing in their obligation to negotiate nuclear disarmament. The Pacific country accused all nine nuclear-armed states of "flagrant violation of international law" for failing to pursue the negotiations required by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Crude oil rebounds to near $102 a barrel on Ukraine uncertainty, export woes in Libya, Nigeria

The price of oil rebounded to near $102 a barrel Thursday on worries about tensions in Ukraine and continued concerns about crude exports from Libya and Nigeria. By early afternoon in Europe, U.S. crude for June delivery was up 34 cents to $101.78 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the Nymex contract fell 31 cents. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, was up 15 cents to $109.26 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Air raid kills 21 at Syria market

An air strike on a market on Thursday killed at least 21 people, including three children, in a village of the north Syrian province of Aleppo, a monitoring group said. The deadly raid comes amid a massive aerial offensive targeting opposition-held areas across Aleppo city and province that began in December 15. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing campaign has killed hundreds, mostly civilians, and forced thousands of families to flee their homes.
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