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Afghans flock to polls to vote for new leader

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans flocked to polling stations nationwide on Saturday, defying a threat of violence by the Taliban to cast ballots in what promises to be the nation’s first democratic transfer of power. The turnout was so high that some polling centers ran out of ballots. The excitement over choosing a new leader for the first time appeared to overwhelm the fear of bloodshed in many areas, as Afghans embarked on a major transition nearly 13 years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the rule of the Taliban.

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Sheer size is just 1 complexity in Indian election

NEW DELHI— In a country where men have long told their wives whom to vote for, Sheila Kumar says she has no intention of letting her husband dictate her vote in next month’s national election.

Kenyan Muslim leader assassinated

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP)— The charismatic Muslim leader on Kenya’s coast was certain he would be killed. Abubakar Shariff Ahmed — known as Makaburi — told an Associated Press reporter in October that “I’m living on borrowed time.” He said this after two other Muslim leaders of a mosque that Makaburi was associated with had been killed by unidentified gunmen. On Tuesday night, Makaburi’s premonition came true. He died the same way as the other two: shot dead by unidentified gunmen on the streets of Mombasa. Another man with Makaburi was also killed.

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NATO meets on Ukraine; plans to reassure Baltics

BRUSSELS—Facing their biggest security challenge in years, NATO foreign ministers discussed how to react to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and what measures to take reassure the alliance’s rattled eastern members in the face of a newly assertive Russia.

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India is polio-free after 3 years with no new case

SHAHPARA, India— The scourge of polio ends in India with a lively 4-year-old girl, Rukhsar Khatoon, who became ill as a baby after her parents forgot to get her vaccinated. Her barely perceptible limp the only lingering sign of the disease, Rukhsar was the last person to contract polio in the nation of 1.2 billion people.

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Afghan quits presidential race, backs front-runner

KABUL, Afghanistan— An Afghan presidential candidate with royal lineage quit the race Wednesday in favor of a front-runner, narrowing the contest in the April 5 poll down to eight men.

Obama expresses concern Russia moving on Ukraine

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — With no sign of Russia abandoning the Crimean Peninsula, President Barack Obama said Tuesday he’s concerned that Moscow will move deeper into Ukraine and warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that that would be a bad choice.

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Ukraine defense chief resigns; troops leave Crimea

KIEV, Ukraine— Lawmakers in Ukraine accepted the resignation of the defense minister Tuesday as thousands of troops began withdrawing from the Crimean Peninsula, now controlled by Russia.

Are tougher penalties against Russia to come?

Putin: No need for more moves

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Libya’s guns free-for-all fuels region’s turmoil

TRIPOLI, Libya — At the heart of the Libyan capital, the open-air Fish Market was once a place where residents went to buy everything from meat and seafood to clothes and pets. Now it’s Tripoli’s biggest arms market, with tables displaying pistols and assault rifles. Ask a vendor, and he can pull out bigger machine guns to sell for thousands of dollars.

Ukraine’s east rallies for secession referendum

Putin: No plan to move further

Crimea goes east, Ukraine goes west

BRUSSELS (AP) — Two signatures Friday on opposite sides of Europe deepened the divide between East and West, as the European Union pulled Ukraine closer into its orbit and Russia formally annexed Crimea.

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Search continues for MH370

Planes hunt floating debris found in satellite imagery.

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Putin signs treaty to add Crimea to map of Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — With a sweep of his pen, President Vladimir Putin added Crimea to the map of Russia on Tuesday, describing the move as correcting past injustice and responding to what he called Western encroachment upon Russia’s vital interests.

Scotland ‘swithers’

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Scotland’s swithering “middle million” has Britain’s future in its hands.

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