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Officials: Gunmen kidnap 30 Hazaras in southern Afghanistan

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 03:43 AM

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan officials say gunmen have kidnapped 30 members of Hazara ethnic community in the country's south.

The attack happened Monday afternoon in Afghanistan's Zabul province.

Provincial Gov. Mohammad Ashraf said Tuesday some of those kidnapped may have been government officials and likely were taken from two vehicles traveling on a main road in the area.

Another local official also confirmed the 30 Hazaras were taken.

Ukraine rebels claim weapons pullback begins

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 03:34 AM

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine say they have begun a large-scale pullback of heavy weapons in line with an international peace plan that aims to form a wide buffer zone between separatists' and Ukrainian forces' artillery.

The claim Tuesday by Eduard Basurin, a top rebel commander, could not immediately be confirmed. Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the observer mission that is monitoring the fighting in eastern Ukraine, said he could not comment until receiving monitors' reports at the end of the day.

Germany bans Dutch biker gang Satudarah, raids premises

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 02:58 AM

BERLIN (AP) — German police are raiding premises linked to biker gang Satudarah after authorities issued a ban against the group.

Satudarah Maluku MC originated in the Netherlands but has chapters in more than half a dozen countries in Europe and Asia.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere early Tuesday banned the group from carrying out any activity in Germany, saying it poses a serious danger to the general public.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian in overnight West Bank raid

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 01:45 AM

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian official says Israeli troops have shot and killed a Palestinian during an overnight raid in the West Bank.

Bethlehem Governor Jebren al-Bakri says 19-year-old Jihad al-Jafari was shot in the chest Tuesday morning on the roof of his house in the Deheisha refugee camp as he was watching a disturbance below. Palestinians showed footage of the body being taken to hospital.

3 killed in illegal Chinese gold mine

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 01:07 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Local Chinese authorities say three people have died and six were hospitalized after being poisoned by gas in an illegal gold mine.

The official Xinhua News Agency says rescuers were dispatched to the mine in Songxian County in the central province of Henan on Saturday after a tipoff from the public.

Cambodia deports outspoken Spanish activist

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 23, 2015 - 11:35 PM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Police in Cambodia say that an outspoken Spanish environmental activist was deported after the expiration of his visa.

The Monday deportation of Alex Gonzalez-Davidson came after the anti-dam campaigner had refused an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen to leave the country.

Gonzalez-Davidson was a co-founder of a non-governmental group called Mother Nature, which opposes the construction of a controversial hydropower dam in southwestern Cambodia's Koh Kong province.

New Zealand to send troops to Iraq to train local forces

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 23, 2015 - 08:44 PM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand plans to send a small number of troops to Iraq to help train local forces in their battle against the Islamic State group.

Prime Minister John Key on Tuesday told lawmakers the country would deploy up to 143 military personnel. He said the troops would be based "behind the wire" training Iraqi security forces and would not be involved in combat missions.

OSCE says Ukraine cease-fire has lowered military exchanges

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 23, 2015 - 07:47 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says the cease-fire in Ukraine has "very significantly" lowered the level of military exchanges between government and separatist forces, but violations are still taking place.

Lamberto Zannier told a group of reporters Monday that there have been a number of violations in the south, and some limited incidents around the town of Debaltseve and around the Donetsk airport, both seized by separatists.

Mexico plans diplomatic note over purported papal letter

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 23, 2015 - 06:17 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico says it will send a note to the Vatican to protest purported comments by Pope Francis worrying about a possible "Mexicanization" of his native Argentina amid rising drug trafficking there.

Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade says Mexico is expressing its "sadness and concern" over the matter. He added Monday that he has met with the Vatican's emissary to Mexico City, Christophe Pierre, to inform him about the diplomatic note.

Dissidents say as many as 200 arrested in Cuba

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Monday, February 23, 2015 - 04:32 PM

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban dissidents say that more than 100 anti-government activists have been arrested and they are awaiting word Monday on how many have been released.

Berta Soler, leaders of the group Ladies in White, said that 53 members of her group and 36 other dissidents were arrested Sunday during the group's traditional march through Havana after Sunday Mass.

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