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EL Doctorow to receive Library of Congress Prize

FILE - In this April 27, 2004 file photo, author E.L. Doctorow smiles during an interview in his office at New York University. Doctorow will be honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington made the announcement Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Novelist E.L. Doctorow will be honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.



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Man charged with marathon hoax due in court

Boston Marathon's finish line on TuesdayBOSTON (AP) — The mother of a man arrested near the Boston Marathon finish line carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker on the anniversary of the bombings says her son has a mental disorder.



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China first-quarter GDP at 18-month low, to cut reserve ratio for small banks

Labourers work at a construction site in BeijingBy Adam Rose and Xiaoyi Shao BEIJING (Reuters) – China's economy expanded 7.4 percent between January and March, its slowest pace in 18 months, prompting authorities to act for the second time in as many weeks to shore up growth. Hours after the National Bureau of Statistics released the data, Premier Li Keqiang was quoted by state media as saying that China would reduce the amount of cash that some village banks hold at the central bank to help the farm sector. The relaxation of reserve requirements, alongside tax breaks for more companies to support job creation, comes just two weeks after China took its first step this year to juice its slackening economy – cutting taxes for small firms and speeding up investment in railways. The unveiling of new pro-growth measures in quick succession suggests China may be more worried about the foundering economy than it lets on, even though it has ruled out the use of major stimulus to fight short-term dips in growth.



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Combat vehicles in east Ukraine fly Russian flag

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — A column of armored vehicles flying Russian flags drove into a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian insurgents Wednesday, dampening the central government’s hopes of re-establishing control over restive eastern Ukraine.
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UN deploys Ugandan guard unit in Somali capital

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan officials say about 400 troops will be deployed in Somalia on Thursday under a new United Nations guard unit charged with protecting U.N. staff and installations in the violence-prone Somali capital.
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Jill Biden promotes Post-9/11 GI Bill website

FILE - This April 7, 2014 file photo shows Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in Washington. Jill Biden is promoting a new website designed to make it easier for service members, veterans, their spouses and dependents to calculate their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at thousands of schools and job training programs. "In just a couple easy steps they can figure everything out," Biden told The Associated Press before a scheduled appearance Wednesday on NBC's "Today" program to show off the GI Bill Comparison Tool. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden is promoting a new website designed to make it easier for service members, veterans, their spouses and dependents to calculate their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at thousands of schools and job training programs.



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Separatists fly Russian flag over Ukrainian armored vehicles

Armed men stand guard near armoured personnel carriers in SlavianskBy Gabriela Baczynska and Thomas Grove KRAMATORSK/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – Separatists flew the Russian flag on armored vehicles taken from the Ukrainian army on Wednesday, humiliating a Kiev government operation to recapture eastern towns controlled by pro-Moscow partisans. The armored personnel carriers were driven into the rebel-held town of Slaviansk to waves and shouts of "Russia! Russia!". The military setback leaves Kiev looking impotent before a peace conference in Geneva on Thursday, when its foreign minister will meet his Russian counterpart for the first time since Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich was toppled in February after deadly protests. Moscow has responded to the overthrow of Yanukovich by declaring the Kiev government an illegitimate gang of fascists and announcing its right to intervene militarily across the former Soviet Union to protect Russian speakers, a new doctrine that has overturned decades of post-Cold War diplomacy.



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UN seeks $274 million for Central African Republic

GENEVA (AP) — The United Nations and aid groups launched an appeal for $274 million Wednesday to help people who have fled the Central African Republic because of the sectarian conflict there, warning that the dire needs of hundreds of thousands of refugees can’t be met with existing funds.
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283 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

South Korean coast guard officers try to rescue passengers from a ferry sinking in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. The ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving nearly 300 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUTMOKPO, South Korea (AP) — A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured.



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Sodastream in talks to sell up to 16 percent stake: report

Employees pack boxes of the SodaStream product at the factory in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim(Reuters) – At-home soda maker Sodastream International is in early talks to sell a stake of up to 16 percent to a strategic entity, Israeli financial news daily Calcalist reported on its website. U.S. shares of Sodastream rose as much as 12 percent to $42.25 on Wednesday after the website identified PepsiCo Inc, Dr Pepper Snapple Group or Starbucks Co as the potential investors in the Israel-based company. The price being discussed values Sodastream at about $1.1 billion, Calcalist said. The valuation reflects a share price of $52, compared with Sodastream's closing price of $37.64 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.



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US stocks higher after positive housing, output data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on April 11, 2014 in New York CityNew York (AFP) – US stocks rose in early trade on Wednesday after positive reports on the housing market and industrial production for March pointed to the economy emerging from bad winter weather.



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Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Classes resumed Wednesday at a Pittsburgh-area high school where authorities said a student stabbed or slashed 21 others and a security guard a week ago while rampaging through a hallway with two kitchen knives.
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Venezuelan crisis talks show signs of progress

Venezuela's Vice President Jorge Arreaza, center, accompanied of Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, right, Brazil's Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, third right, Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, fourth right, and Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, fifth right, prepares to speak to the media after a closed door meeting between the government and opposition representatives in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April. 15, 2014. Venezuela's opposition resumed negotiations with the government Tuesday amid rising doubts that the talks will produce a long-sought political opening. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Negotiators from Venezuela's government and the opposition agreed to broaden membership in a truth commission tasked with investigating who's to blame for 41 deaths tied to weeks of political unrest.



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Tanzanian president warns Congo rebels to disarm

In this Tuesday April 15, 2014 photo, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete speaks during an interview with Associated Press in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.The president of Tanzania is warning armed groups operating in eastern Congo to lay down their arms or risk being hunted down by Congolese and U.N. forces. (AP Photo/Khalfan Said)DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) — Tanzania's president warned armed groups operating in eastern Congo to disarm or risk being hunted down by Congolese and U.N. forces in an interview with The Associated Press.



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Alleged serial killings highlight GPS limits

CORRECTS FIRST NAME TO STEVEN-This combination of undated photos from the Megan's Law website shows suspects, Steven Dean Gordon, 45, left, and Franc Cano, 27, who were arrested on Friday, April 11, 2014, on suspicion of killing four women in Orange County, Calif. Anaheim police said detectives in Santa Ana and Anaheim launched a joint investigation after the naked body of Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, 21, was found in the conveyor belt of a recycling plant last month. The probe led detectives to connect the men to her slaying, and the disappearance of three women who frequented a Santa Ana neighborhood known for drug dealing and prostitution. (AP Photo/Megan's Law)SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Franc Cano and Steven Dean Gordon proved not once but allegedly twice that GPS trackers — the electronic leashes worn by 100,000 freed criminals in the U.S. — can't stop criminal activity.



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US stocks open higher; Yahoo soars in early trade

FILE- In this Friday, June 29, 2012, file photo Specialists Frank Masello, left, and John T. O'Hara work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York shortly before the closing bell. World stock markets rose Wednesday April 16, 2014 as China's slowdown in the first quarter was less severe than expected. (AP Photo/David Karp, File)U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading on Wednesday, extending their gains into a third day. Investors welcomed solid earnings from Yahoo as well as some encouraging news about China's economy and U.S. factory production.



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Bitcoin exchange MtGox in administration, bankruptcy eyed

A pile of Bitcoin slugs ready to be minted in Sandy, Utah on April 26, 2013A Japanese court Wednesday placed failed Bitcoin exchange MtGox in administration, with an order for bankruptcy expected to be issued soon, its administrator and chief executive said. "The Tokyo District Court decided today to dismiss the application for commencement of a civil rehabilitation and at the same time, an order for Provisional Administration was issued," a statement from CEO Mark Karpeles said. "Attorney-at-law Nobuaki Kobayashi (Supervisor and Examiner under the Civil Rehabilitation Procedure) was appointed Provisional Administrator." "I, as the provisional administrator, will administer the assets of the Company under the supervision of the Tokyo District Court," said a statement in Kobayashi's name posted on the MtGox website.



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Park resumes quest for first win of 2014

Park In-Bee of South Korea hits a shot during the final round of the World Ladies Championship golf tournament at Mission Hills Hainan in Haikou, on the southern Chinese island of Hainan, on March 9, 2014"Obviously the time has gone really fast," Park said. But she finished 36th in her title defense at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the year, two weeks ago. Defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway, ranked second in the world, will miss her third successive event with a back injury. Hawaii native Michelle Wie, coming off a runner-up finish to fellow American Lexi Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco, will be looking for a strong performance in her return home.



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Planned anti-gay rally in Ethiopia is cancelled

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A planned anti-gay rally that would have made Ethiopia the latest African country to demonize gays has been cancelled, officials said Wednesday.
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A year after background check defeat, modest goals

FILE - In this April 9, 2013, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with reporters about gun control at the Capitol in Washington. A year after the Senate scuttled President Barack Obama’s drive for new firearms restrictions, congressional gun control supporters are significantly winnowing their 2014 legislative agenda. That’s because of a lack of Senate votes, opposition by the Republican-run House and Democratic worries about this November’s elections. Reid says he needs additional votes before revisiting a proposed expansion of gun sale background checks that the Senate derailed in April 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic worries about this November's elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama's effort to pass new curbs on firearms.



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Guinea gold mine collapse kills at least six: local official

At least six people, including women and children, were killed when a small gold mine in Guinea, West Africa caved in on them, a local official said on Wednesday. Amongst them are also children of less than 12 years of age who were with their parents,” the central government’s local representative for the Siguiri region, Mohamed Cheick Diallo, told Reuters by telephone. Thousands work in Guinea’s mines, seeing it as a route out of poverty.
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Romanian poet, dissident Nina Cassian dies

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian poet and translator Nina Cassian, who obtained political asylum in the United States after the Communist-era secret police found her critical poems scribbled in a friend’s diary, has died in New York City. She was 89.
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AP names Nigeria chief of bureau

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Associated Press has named Michelle Faul, who has covered the major stories of Africa over the past three decades, as its bureau chief in Nigeria.
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Mt. Gox set to liquidate as court denies rehabilitation

Mark Karpeles, chief executive of Mt. Gox, attends a news conference at the Tokyo District Court in TokyoMt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company's bid to resuscitate its business, the court-appointed administrator said on Wednesday. CEO Mark Karpeles is also likely to be investigated for liability in the collapse of the Tokyo-based firm, the provisional administrator, lawyer Nobuaki Kobayashi, said in a statement published on the Mt. Gox website. "The Tokyo District Court recognized that it would be difficult for the company to carry out the civil rehabilitation proceedings and dismissed the application for the commencement of the civil rehabilitation proceedings," he said. In Wednesday's order for provisional administration, the court put the company's assets under Kobayashi's control until bankruptcy proceedings officially commence and a bankruptcy trustee is named.



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U.S. industry shows some vigor, but housing soft

Workers install a roof on a multi-family building in BroomfieldGroundbreaking for new homes also increased but remained well below the post-recession peak hit in November, signaling the drag the housing market is placing on the economy. Output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose 0.7 percent last month after an upwardly revised gain of 1.2 percent in February, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. Economists had expected industrial production to rise 0.5 percent.



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Abductors of Nigerian schoolgirls pretended to be soldiers: witness

By Lanre Ola Isaac Abrak MaiduguriAbuja – By Lanre Ola and Isaac Abrak MAIDUGURI/ABUJA, April 16 (Reuters) – Islamist rebels duped dozens of Nigerian schoolgirls into thinking they were soldiers come to evacuate them before abducting over 100 in their latest anti-government raid, one of the survivors said on Wednesday. Gunmen suspected to be members of the radical Islamist movement Boko Haram swooped on Chibok town in Borno state and on its nearby all-girls government secondary school late on Monday, calling on the students to leave their beds in the hostel. The mass abduction of schoolgirls aged between 15 and 18 has shocked Nigeria and showed how the five-year-old Boko Haram insurgency has brought lawlessness to swathes of the arid, poor northeast, killing hundreds of people in recent months. It occurred the same day a bomb blast, also blamed on Boko Haram, killed 75 people on the edge of the capital Abuja, stirring fears of violence spreading from the north of Africa’s No. 1 oil producer and most populous nation.
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Iran expects next payment under nuclear deal, signaling compliance

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an event to mark Nawroz, the Persian New Year, in KabulBy Fredrik Dahl and Mehrdad Balali VIENNA/DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran expects to get a fifth installment this week of previously blocked overseas funds, a senior official was quoted as saying, a payment that would confirm Tehran's compliance with an interim deal with world powers to curb its nuclear program. Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said "tough issues" faced the Islamic Republic and the six major powers in negotiating a permanent accord to resolve the decade-old nuclear dispute but that it was still possible by a late July deadline. "This means removal of sanctions and restoring financial relations with the rest of the world," he said, making clear Iran's aim to have sanctions that limit oil exports and make financial transactions difficult lifted as soon as possible. Diplomats and experts say it will be difficult, but not impossible, to resolve the standoff over nuclear activities which Iran says are peaceful but the West fears may be aimed at developing nuclear weapons capability.



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20 killed as Islamic extremists rampage in Nigeria

A morgue attendant stands near to a lifeless body carried by a truck prepared for funeral outside Asokoro hospital in Abuja, Nigeria, Tuesday, April. 15, 2014, with at least 72 feared dead as a blast on Monday destroyed more than 30 vehicles and caused secondary explosions as their fuel tanks exploded and burned. The Monday attack just miles from Nigeria's seat of government increases doubts about the military's ability to contain an Islamic uprising that is dividing the country on religious lines as never before. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Suspected Islamic militants have struck for a fourth time in three days in Nigeria, killing 20 people including a traditional ruler in attacks in the northeast, local government and security officials said Wednesday.



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