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Pro-Ouattara Forces in All-Out I. Coast Offensive

Fighters backing internationally recognized President Alassane Ouattara claimed fresh gains Monday in attacks across Ivory Coast, their biggest offensive yet against his rival Laurent Gbagbo.

Commanders of the Republican Forces said they had made gains in both the east and the west of the country during the day's fighting.

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Japan on 'Maximum Alert' Over Nuclear Plant

Japan said Tuesday the government is on "maximum alert" over a crippled nuclear plant where highly radioactive water has halted repair work and plutonium has been found in the soil.

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast coast and left over 28,000 dead or missing also knocked out reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, which has leaked radiation into the air and sea.

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Berlusconi Attends Fraud Case Hearing

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attended a legal hearing on Monday for the first time in eight years, over allegations of fiscal fraud and breach of trust in his business interests.

The hearing in judge's chambers in Milan was part of a process to decide whether Berlusconi, a billionaire tycoon-turned-politician with a vast media empire, should stand trial in the case involving his company Mediatrade.

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Voters Reject Sarkozy Party in French Local Elections

Voters rebuffed French President Nicolas Sarkozy's party in local elections Sunday that saw the Socialists and the far right gain ground ahead of next year's presidential vote.

The Socialist Party (PS) collected 36 percent in the second round of a poll to choose councilors in France's 100 departments, according to official provisional results.

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Suicide Bomb in Eastern Afghanistan Kills 13

A suicide bomb attack on a road construction company in eastern Afghanistan killed 13 people and wounded 50 more, a spokesman for the provincial governor said Monday.

The official had initially said 15 people were killed, but later corrected the figure.

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Japan Lifts Tsunami Warning after 6.5 Quake

Japan lifted a tsunami warning after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit off the northeast coast of Japan on Monday, the weather agency said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency had earlier issued a 50-centimeter tsunami warning for the Pacific coast of Miyagi prefecture, which was devastated by the huge earthquake and tsunami that hit on March 11.

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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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