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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Multiple blasts kill dozens across Iraq

iraq blastsBombs exploded in predominantly Shia Muslim districts of Baghdad and in the southern city of Hilla on Tuesday, killing at least 49 people, police and hospital sources said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but Shia Iraqis are often targeted by radical Sunni groups, which have been regaining ground in Iraq over the past year and overran several towns in recent weeks.

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Ukraine police close on protesters, at least five reported dead

Kiev riotsUkrainian riot police advanced on the heart of 12-week-old protests against President Viktor Yanukovich on Tuesday and security forces set a deadline to end disturbances after at least five protesters were reported killed in a day of clashes.

Forces loyal to the Russian-backed leader broke through front-line barricades near the Dynamo Kiev soccer stadium and marched to the edge of occupied Independence Square hours after Moscow gave Ukraine $2 billion in aid it had been holding back to demand decisive action to crush the pro-European protests.

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Former U.S. congressman arrested in Zimbabwe

Melvyn ReynoldsFormer U.S. Rep. Melvin Jay Reynolds has been arrested in Zimbabwe on suspicion of possessing pornography and an immigration offence.

Reynolds is being held in custody and is expected to appear in court soon, immigration official Ario Mabika told The Associated Press. Reynolds, 62, was arrested Monday by police detectives and immigration officials at a Harare hotel, according to the state-controlled newspaper, The Herald.

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Venezuela leader expels US officials amid protests

venezuela protestsPresident Nicolas Maduro's government on Monday gave three U.S. Embassy officials 48 hours to leave the country, accusing the Obama administration of siding with student protesters who Venezuela accuses of inciting violence.

The announcement by Foreign Minister Elias Jaua came amid fears that renewed clashes could erupt Tuesday when both pro- and anti-government activists have announced plans for demonstrations in the capital.

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200 South African miners trapped underground by fallen boulders

south african minersRescue services in South Africa are trying to reach more than 200 illegal miners reported trapped underground in an abandoned gold shaft in a suburb just east of Johannesburg.

An emergency services spokesman said rescuers were communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface at the old mine site in Benoni.

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Iraq strains under largest internal refugee crisis since height of war

Iraq refugeesIraq has the largest internal displacement since the height of the US war on its hands today as government forces try to wrest control of parts of Anbar Province back from militants, adding yet another source of instability to a country already teetering.

According to a Feb. 13 United Nations report, 62,679 families have fled since the fighting began at the end of December – 13,000 of them this week alone. With the UN's rough estimate of six people per family, that is more than 370,000 people, most of them pouring out of the Anbar cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. According to the report, 85 percent of Fallujah's population has been displaced.

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Merkel, Hollande to discuss possible European communication network that avoids U.S.

International communicationGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would talk to French President Francois Hollande about building up a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States.

Merkel, speaking on Saturday ahead of a visit to France, has been pushing for greater data protection in Europe following reports last year about mass surveillance in Germany and elsewhere by the U.S. National Security Agency. Even Merkel's cell phone was reportedly monitored by American spies.

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