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  Magnitude 6.6 Quake Off British Columbia Coast
    PORT ALICE, British Columbia, April 24: A magnitude 6.6 quake was recorded Wednesday night in the Pacific Ocean off the northwest corner of British Columbia´s Vancouver Island, the U.S. Geological Survey´s National Earthquake Information Center said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. There was no danger of a tsunami, according to the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

  Obama Offering Japan Security, Economic Assurances
    TOKYO, April 24: President Barack Obama is seeking to reassure Japanese leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges to Asia even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere.

The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama´s four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. He may decide during the trip whether to levy new economic sanctions on Moscow, a step that would signal the failure of an international agreement aimed at defusing the crisis.

  UN: 3.5 Million Syrians Desperately Need Aid
    UNITED NATIONS, April24:  Almost 3.5 million civilians in Syria have virtually no access to desperately needed humanitarian aid and people are dying needlessly every day as violence and extremism escalate and the risk of sectarian violence grows, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday.

In a report to the Security Council, the U.N. chief criticized both the Syrian government and rebel forces for their failure to implement a U.N. resolution adopted in February. The resolution is aimed at eliminating obstacles to deliver food, medicine and other essentials to millions of civilians caught up in the three-year civil war that has killed more than 150,000 people.

  Taliban Kill 5 Afghan Police Officers
       Associated Press  
    KABUL, Afghanistan,April 23 Officials in Afghanistan say five police officers have been killed in a Taliban attack on a checkpoint in the country´s volatile south.

A spokesman for the Kandahar provincial police, Zia Durani, said Wednesday that Taliban insurgents raided the police post late the previous evening in Ghorak district. He did not elaborate.

  In India's Vote, Hindu Holy City Is Battleground
    VARANASI, India, April 23:  For tens of millions of Hindus, Varanasi is a place of pilgrimage. Crowded with ancient temples and shrines, its streets jammed with believers and tourists, this city on the banks of the holy Ganges River is where the devout believe they attain instant salvation.

But in recent weeks Varanasi also has become the noisy battleground for India´s most-watched contest in its national elections: Two of the country´s most prominent politicians are facing off in a contest for the city´s sole parliamentary seat.

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