Turkish protesters battle cops for Istanbul square

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Turkish riot police were back in Istanbul's Taksim Square late Tuesday to drive out thousands of protesters who sought to reoccupy the area after the cops had expelled them in a pre-dawn raid.

Police again resorted to massive volleys of tear gas and water cannon to clear the square. But less than an hour later, a substantial group of activists marched back into the square chanting: "Taksim everywhere, resistance everywhere."

The latest police offensive against the protesters in Taksim caused additional casualties, Hürriyet Daily News reported, while television stations broadcast images of ambulances rushing to the square.

As the cops stormed Taksim for the second time in less than 24 hours, residents of many Istanbul neighborhoods banged pots and pans in a gesture of solidarity with the protesters.

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Police find 2 heads in cooler in northwest Mexico

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Police found the heads of an active duty officer and a former law enforcement agent in a cooler near Ahome, a city in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, officials said.

The victims have been identified as Ubaldo Cervantes Juarez, a 39-year-old former agent of the defunct Federal Investigation Agency, or AFI, and Luis Alonso Ruiz Felix, a 46-year-old state police officer, the Sinaloa Attorney General's Office said.

Gunmen had kidnapped the two men on Monday, the AG's office said.

A message from a gang claiming credit for the killings was found with the bodies, but officials did not reveal the contents. Sinaloa is home to the powerful drug cartel led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman.

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Recount found no discrepancies, Venezuelan election officials say

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A review of 100 percent of the ballots cast in the April 14 special election to choose a replacement for deceased President Hugo Chavez uncovered no discrepancies with the official results, Venezuela's National Electoral Council, or CNE, said.

Nicolas Maduro, who became Venezuela's acting president when Chavez died, defeated opposition candidate Capriles by 50.78 percent to 48.95 percent, according to the official results.

Maduro, Chavez's choice to succeed him as leader of his "Bolivarian revolution," was sworn-in as president five days after the vote. Capriles, however, said he would not accept the outcome without a full recount.

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Obama: Congress needs to pass immigration reform this summer

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President Barack Obama said that nothing is stopping the U.S. Congress from passing immigration reform before the end of summer, though he warned that opponents of the bipartisan bill now before the Senate will try to "gin up fear and create division."

"To truly deal with this issue Congress needs to act. And that moment is now," he said during an event at the White House with officials, labor and business leaders and other supporters of the Senate bill.

He spoke shortly before the Senate was due to begin debate on the reform proposal crafted by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight."

"There's no good reason to play procedural games or engage in obstruction just to block the best chance we've had in years to address this problem in a way that's fair to middle-class families, to business owners, to legal immigrants," the president said.

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China sends 3 astronauts into orbit

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The Shenzhou X spacecraft was put into orbit by a rocket launched from the Jiuquan Space Launch Center in Gansu province, marking China's fifth manned space mission.

Astronauts Wang Yaping, Zhang Xiaoguang and Nie Haisheng were launched into orbit around 5:38 p.m. as President Xi Jinping looked on at Jiuquan, while other high-level Chinese Communist Party officials monitored the mission from the aerospace control center in Beijing.

Wang is the second female Chinese astronaut to travel in space, while Nie is the first astronaut from the Asian country to return to space.

The mission is part of a series of flights planned by China as part of the development of an international space station by 2020.

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17 Killed in attack near Afghan Supreme Court

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Seventeen civilians were killed and 39 others wounded in a car-bomb attack targeting a bus carrying employees of the Afghan Supreme Court, Kabul's deputy police chief told Efe.

The vehicle rigged with explosives was detonated at around 4:30 p.m. in Masoud Square, near the U.S. Embassy, Dawood Amin said, adding that the fatalities include women and children.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the strike.

"Two suicide attackers detonated the explosives ... at the moment when the Supreme Court employees left the building," Taliban spokesman Zabiula Mujahid told Efe. Disputing the official death toll, he said that 50 "oppressor employees of the Supreme Court" were killed.

EFE