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Taliban Claims to Have Kidnapped 50 Afghan Policemen

The Taliban claimed Sunday that it kidnapped 50 Afghan policemen in northeastern Afghanistan — part of the insurgents' murder and intimidation campaign against anyone affiliated with the U.S.-backed government.

Militants ambushed the policemen Saturday afternoon after being tipped off that they would be traveling in Kunar province, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement to reporters. The policemen from Nuristan province had just finished their training to join the Afghan National Police, he said.

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Lights Off as 'Earth Hour' Circles the Globe

Lights went off around the world Saturday as landmark buildings and ordinary homes flipped their switches while the annual "Earth Hour" circled the planet in what was dubbed the world's largest voluntary action for the environment.

In Paris a minute's silence was observed for Japan as the city of light went dark, with illuminations switched off at the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame cathedral, City Hall, opera houses and many bridges, fountains and public places.

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Workers Evacuated as Radiation Soars at Japan Nuclear Reactor

Extremely high levels of radiation were detected in water leaking from reactor two of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, forcing the evacuation of workers, its operator said Sunday.

A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said the level of radiation found in the leaked water in the turbine room was 10 million times higher than it should be for water inside the reactor, indicating damage to the fuel rods.

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Pakistan to Seek Interpol Help to Arrest Musharraf

Pakistan will ask Interpol to circulate a global arrest warrant for former president Pervez Musharraf over the murder of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, a prosecutor said on Saturday.

A Pakistani court last week gave prosecutors until April 2 to serve a warrant granted in February on Musharraf, who was president when Bhutto was killed in December 2007 in a gun and suicide bomb attack in Rawalpindi.

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NATO: Afghan Civilians Killed in Airstrike

Afghan civilians were killed and wounded in an airstrike by international forces targeting a Taliban commander in the volatile southern province of Helmand, NATO said Saturday, giving no details of numbers.

It said the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) called an airstrike on two vehicles believed to be carrying a Taliban leader and his associates, but later discovered they were transporting civilians.

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U.S. Recognizes Ouattara As the Rightful Leader of Ivory Coast

The United States recognizes President Alassane Ouattara as the rightful leader of the West African nation of Ivory Coast, U.S. President Barack Obama said late Friday.

"Last year's election was free and fair," Obama said in a video message to the leaders and people of Ivory Coast. "And President Alassane Ouattara is the democratically-elected leader of the nation."

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Gunmen Kill Eight in Ambush of Pakistan Shiites

Eight people were killed and five wounded Friday when gunmen opened fire on two vehicles carrying Shiite Muslims in Pakistan's lawless tribal region in suspected sectarian violence, officials said.

The vehicles were ambushed in Bagan town of Kurram district, near the Afghan border, and the victims "were all Shiite Muslims", a security official said.

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6.8 Quake Hits Myanmar, Over 75 Dead

At least 75 people were killed when a strong earthquake struck Myanmar, officials said Friday, with fears that the toll would rise as news filtered through from remote areas still cut off.

Tremors were felt as far away as Bangkok, almost 800 kilometers from the epicenter, Hanoi and parts of China during the earthquake on Thursday, which the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) measured at magnitude 6.8.

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Magnitude-7.0 Quake Hits Myanmar

A magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck eastern Myanmar Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The epicenter, in the hills of Myanmar close to the borders with Thailand and Laos, was only 10 kilometers deep.

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U.S. Soldier Pleads Guilty Over Afghan Killings

A U.S. soldier pleaded guilty Wednesday to targeting Afghan civilians for execution, under a plea bargain for his part in a rogue U.S. Army unit in southern Afghanistan.

Corporal Jeremy Morlock, who is set to testify against four co-accused, admitted murdering or helping to kill three men, and using illegally obtained Afghan weapons to make it appear that the victims were enemy combatants.

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