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Iraqi Elections Hailed as Peaceful


IRAQ: Iraqi officials are tallying votes after millions of Iraqis cast their ballots in Saturday's provincial elections.
Authorities said today (Sunday) about 60 percent of voters cast ballots throughout the country, although official figures and results are not expected for several days.
The polls were hailed as peaceful by Iraqi and U.S. leaders.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the elections an important step forward as Iraqis continue taking responsibility for their future.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said "the purple fingers have returned to build Iraq," in a reference to the ink on index fingers that show voters have cast their ballots.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: Israeli police say Gaza militants have fired two rockets into southern Israel without causing casualties or damage.
No group claimed responsibility for today's (Sunday's) attack, which raised the prospect of Israeli retaliation.
It is the fourth such rocket attack since cease-fires two weeks ago ended Israel's offensive against the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Egypt has begun installing surveillance cameras and motion sensors on its border with Gaza in an effort to curb arms smuggling into the territory.

KENYA OIL FIRE: An oil spill has caught fire in Kenya, killing at least 111 people and injuring more than 170 who were trying to scoop up free fuel.
Officials say the oil spill in the central town of Molo Saturday came from a truck that had crashed.
Witnesses say a cigarette may have started the blaze.

AU SUMMIT: Africa's leaders are gathering today (Sunday) in Addis Ababa for the semi-annual African Union summit expected to be dominated by the continent's most urgent crises.
More than half of the continent's 50-plus heads of state and government are expected to attend, along with a host of dignitaries led by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The summit is expected to be taken up with crises in Zimbabwe, Somalia and Sudan's Darfur region as well as last year's coups in Guinea and Mauritania.

COLOMBIA HOSTAGES: Officials say a special delegation has arrived in Colombia to pick up six hostages the leftist FARC rebels have agreed to release.
Officials say the delegation traveled from Brazil in at least two helicopters and landed in the Colombian city of Florencia Saturday.
A Colombian lawmaker (Senator Pieidad Cordoba) and members of the International Red Cross are part of the group that will receive three policemen, two politicians and a soldier from the FARC.




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