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EU Slaps Asset Freeze, Travel Ban on Putin's Bank Rossiya Cronies

The European Union on Wednesday imposed an asset freeze and travel ban against two close associates of President Vladimir Putin, also the leading shareholders in Bank Rossiya servicing senior Russian officials.

The EU's Official Journal listed eight people and three firms hit by an asset freeze and travel ban over the Ukraine crisis, including Yuriy Valentinovich Kovalchuk, chairman and leading shareholder of the bank, and Nicolay Terentievich Shamalov, second largest stakeholder in the institution considered the personal bank of senior Russian Federation officials.

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More than 150 Feared Dead in India Monsoon Landslide

The death toll from a major landslide Wednesday in western India was expected to exceed 150, a health official said, after heavy monsoon rains sent mud and rocks tumbling onto homes.

Emergency forces rushed to a remote village in the state of Maharashtra, where a hill collapsed in the morning as residents were reportedly sleeping.

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No U.S. Intent to Engage in Africa Militarily

Washington does not intend to engage in Africa militarily to resolve the continent's conflicts but is boosting efforts to train peacekeepers, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

Susan Rice, President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser, made the comments just days before almost all of Africa's leaders descend on the U.S. capital for an unprecedented summit.

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U.S. Urges China to Release Uighur Academic

The United States called on China to free a Uighur academic who was charged with separatism on Wednesday by prosecutors in far western Xinjiang after being detained earlier this year.

"We are concerned about reports that China has indicted prominent economics professor Ilham Tohti," deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, adding "we call on Chinese authorities to release" Tohti and six students held with him.

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Number of Russian Troops on Ukraine Border Rising, Says NATO

NATO's top commander said Wednesday that Russia was "increasing" the number of troops and weaponry along the border with Ukraine.

"The number of troops along the (Ukrainian) border is increasing. It is well over 12,000," General Philip Breedlove told reporters at the end of his one day visit to Kosovo, where he inspected the alliance's peacekeeping mission.

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East Europe Flooding Kills Three, Displaces Hundreds

Flooding caused by torrential rains in eastern Europe has killed three people, with a further four missing, Romanian and Bulgarian authorities said Wednesday.

In Arges in southern Romania -- one of the worst hit areas -- a 72-year-old man was swept away by floodwaters as high as two meters (six and a half feet), local authorities said.

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South Sudanese Squatters Flooded after Heavy Sudan Rains

Crude camps housing South Sudanese have been flooded by heavy rains that inundated the Sudanese capital over the Eid al-Fitr holiday, a southern diplomat said on Wednesday.

Rain and high winds lashed Khartoum overnight Tuesday, soaking homes and streets for the second time since Friday at the start of the rainy season.

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Turkish Minister Turns Ire on 'Pole-Dancing Women'

A senior Turkish minister who caused an outcry by suggesting women should not laugh loudly in public waded into a new controversy on Wednesday by attacking women who he said could not resist pole dancing.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, a co-founder of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), has strongly criticized in recent days what he sees as a decline of moral standards in Turkey.

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Acid Attack Injures Three Women in Southwest Pakistan

Three women in southwest Pakistan were injured in an acid attack over a family dispute, officials said Wednesday as police carried out raids to apprehend the suspects.

The attack took place Tuesday night in the Pishin district of the restive province of Baluchistan around 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the provincial capital Quetta.

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'Cherchez la Femme': EU Short of Women for Next Executive

With only 24 hours to go, Jean-Claude Juncker, president-designate of the next European Commission, is still very short of female candidates for his 28-member team.

In fact, instead of nine or even 10 female faces to provide minimal gender balance, so far only one of the European Union's 28 nations has put up a woman candidate for a post.

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