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1/04/2008 - 17:58

Zimbabwe poll may head to runoff

HARARE (Reuters) - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai willbeat President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe's crucial election,but be forced into a runoff vote in three weeks, according to aruling party projection. Two ZANU-PF party sources said onTuesday the projection showed Tsvangirai falling short of the51 percent needed for outright victory. It was similar toprojections by an independent monitoring group.

Bush to press for Ukraine and Georgia in NATO

KIEV (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush vowed onTuesday to press for Ukraine and Georgia to be allowed to startthe process of joining NATO despite resistance from Russia andscepticism from the alliance's European members. Bush, in Kievon his way to his farewell NATO summit in Romania, said Moscowhad no right to veto bids by the two ex-Soviet states. Therewas no link between their ambitions and a planned U.S. missiledefence system in Europe, he added.

France may send extra troops to Afghanistan

PARIS (Reuters) - France might send a few hundred extratroops to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said onTuesday, clashing with the opposition Socialists who accusedthe government of pandering to the United States. Sarkozy saidlast week France would boost its military presence providedNATO allies accept certain proposals at a summit in Bucharestthis week, such as working on a broader strategy forAfghanistan, which they are expected to do.

China lays out conspiracy claims against Dalai Lama

BEIJING (Reuters) - China accused Tibetan groups on Tuesdayof planning suicide attacks following last month's riots andprotests but did not answer key questions about its evidencefor such allegations. A spokesman told a news conference inBeijing that police had seized guns, bullets and explosives insome Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and repeated the accusationthat the Dalai Lama was linked to Tibetan groups that hadorganised the recent unrest.

Somali gunmen kidnap two foreign contractors

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali gunmen on Tuesday kidnappedtwo contractors, a Briton and a Kenyan, working for aU.N.-funded project in southern Somalia, the United Nationssaid. Local militias were pursuing the kidnappers in the hopeof freeing the captives, residents said, and local clan elderswere pressing the gunmen to release the two men.

Iraqi casualties at highest level since August

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Fighting between security forces andShi'ite militiamen last month has driven civilian deaths inIraq to their highest level in more than six months, governmentfigures showed on Tuesday. Britain responded to renewedviolence in the southern city of Basra by delaying plans tobring home 1,500 of its 4,000 troops in Iraq.

Clinton slams Republican McCain on economy

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Democrat Hillary Clinton slammedpotential White House opponent John McCain's economic approachon Tuesday, accusing the Republican of turning his back onstruggling workers and middle-class families. Clinton,embroiled in a tough battle with Barack Obama for theDemocratic presidential nomination, focused on McCain whilecampaigning in Pennsylvania and said he was taking his economiccues from President George W. Bush and Vice President DickCheney.

Chad says Sudan broke peace pact

N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Rebels in Chad attacked an easternfrontier town on Tuesday in a raid the government said wasordered by Sudan and violated a peace pact signed last month bythe two oil-producing neighbours. Sudan's armed forces deniedany role in the attack on Ade by Chad's rebel NationalAlliance, which said its fighters struck from inside Chadianterritory without crossing the border.

Russia doomsday cult prays for sign to leave bunker

NIKOLSKOE, Russia (Reuters) - Fourteen members of a Russiandoomsday cult on Tuesday abandoned the remote undergroundbunker where they had been hiding for nearly half a yearawaiting the end of the world. The local chief negotiator said14 cult members who remained underground would spend the nightin the bunker praying for a sign from God that it was time forthem to come out.

At least 40 wedding party members drown in Nigeria

BAGWAI, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 40 members of awedding party drowned in a river after the dug-out boat theywere travelling in capsized in the northwestern Nigerian stateof Kano, survivors and officials said on Tuesday. The victims,mostly women and children, were escorting a bride from Bagwaidistrict to the remote village of Badau when their boat sanklate on Monday, they said.


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