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Kosovo Holds First Elections Since Independence

Kosovo is holding elections Sunday for the first time since its ethnic Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia in 2008. More than 1.5 million people are eligible to cast ballots for mayors and council members in 36 municipalities, including the capital, Pristina. Hours after the polls opened, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci urged minority Serbs not to boycott the vote as called for by authorities in Belgrade and by Serbia's influential Orthodox Church. Western journalists say some Serbs appeared at polling station

Kenyan Cattle Rustlers Kill 11

Kenya's livestock minister says cattle rustlers have killed 11 people near the central town of Isiolo. Mohammed Kuti, who is also the member of parliament for Isiolo, says the rustlers raided in a village in the area early Sunday. The state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation puts the number of attackers at 300 and says they stole an unknown number of livestock. Kuti condemned the raid and blamed Kenya's government for failing to provide security in the area.  Cattle rustling is common in Kenya, and the extended drought has heightened competition for scarce sour

Somalia Terrorist Group Suspected in Killing of Puntland Judge

Security forces in Somalia's northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland say three people have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a judge late Wednesday in the commercial port town of Bosasso.  The assassination may be linked to a Puntland cell of al-Shabab, a militant group linked with al-Qaida. According to witnesses, two masked gunmen ambushed the judge, Sheik Mohamed Abdi Aware, as he left a mosque. Aware died after being shot several times in the head and chest.

Turkey-Iran Ties Continue to Worry West

Relations between Turkey and Iran appear to be getting closer and those ties are raising concerns among some of Turkey's Western allies. This past weekend, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said at a meeting in Ankara that his country is keen to bolster relations with neighboring Iran.   Increasing closeness between Turkish leaders and Iran, and Turkey's quest for better ties in the broader Muslim world, have fueled concerns in the West that this key U.S.

ECOWAS Resumes Talks on Niger's Political Crisis

The mediator appointed by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS has been meeting with a coalition of Niger's opposition and civil society groups in Abuja in a bid to find a solution to the West African country's constitutional crisis. A meeting involving a 41-member opposition delegation and ECOWAS-appointed mediator, former Nigerian military ruler Abdulsalam Abubakar, explored ways of narrowing differences between Niger's government and the opposition before a wider stakeholder forum at a later date. Abubakar held talks on Monday with a 22-member government delegation

N. Korea Says South Will Pay 'Expensive Price' for Naval Clash

North Korea says South Korea will pay "an expensive price" for firing at a North Korean patrol boat on Tuesday. The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published a commentary Thursday saying the clash in the Yellow Sea was not an accident, but instead was a "premeditated act of aggression" by the South.

Russian Gas: Pipelines, Politics and Money

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned Ukraine he will cut off the country's gas supplies if it siphons fuel from export lines. Mr. Putin made the statement in Moscow following a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann. His warning carries an implicit threat that Europeans this winter could again face shortages of gas they receive from Russia via pipelines that go through Ukraine.   Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been discussing energy with European leaders much of this past year.

Pirates Seize Cargo Ship in Indian Ocean

Somali pirates have seized another ship, this one a cargo vessel with 22 crew members. The Greek-owned MV Filitsa was hijacked Wednesday in the Indian Ocean, 750 kilometers northeast of the Seychelles islands. The vessel was carrying cargo from Kuwait to South Africa.

US Urges North Korea Not to Escalate Tensions in Yellow Sea

Washington has urged North Korea not to escalate tensions in the Yellow Sea following a naval skirmish between the North and South Korean navies Tuesday. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says Washington hopes Pyongyang will not take any further actions in the area that could be seen as an escalation. South Korea's military says one of its warships first fired warning shots at a North Korean boat that it says crossed the Korean maritime border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula. South Korea says the North K

Eritrea is Focus of Brussels Meeting

International experts and politicians are in Brussels for a two-day meeting on ways to harmonize European and American policy on Eritrea and other parts of the Horn of Africa.   The meeting is sponsored by Europe External Policy Advisors, a Brussels-based research group.  It is being held amid mounting international concern about Eritrea's human-rights policy and allegations the Eritrean government supports Islamist insurgents in neighboring Somalia. In August, U.S.

'Assassination' of Kenyan Gang Spokesman Condemned

A Kenyan human rights body is calling for an investigation into the killing of the spokesman of a major Kenyan gang, saying the leader told the group a few weeks prior that his life was in danger from a government hit squad.

Sri Lanka to Boost Investment in Tamil Provinces Devastated by Civil War

Sri Lanka plans to pour development money into Tamil-dominated provinces that suffered economically during years of civil war.

Turkey Says Bashir to Skip OIC Summit

Turkish officials say Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will not attend a summit of Islamic leaders in Istanbul Monday. Turkey said last week that Mr.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union Sounds Alarm on Takeover Violence

Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers Union on Friday said there has been a significant increase in violence against the country's remaining white commercial farmers as the Office of the Attorney General has fast-tracked enforcement of farm takeovers. CFU President Deon Theron says that although farm invasions have been taking place since 2000, the latest round has of officially sanctioned takeovers been more vicious.

US Disappointed at Breakdown in Honduras Political Talks

The United States Friday expressed disappointment that efforts to resolve the four-month-long political crisis in Honduras have hit another roadblock.