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NEWS   MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2015   NEWS

Boehner: White House Behavior To Netanyahu 'Reprehensible'
House Speaker John Boehner said his upcoming trip to Israel is no "victory lap" to celebrate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election -- and that it was planned months ago, before the Israeli election. The Ohio Republican will travel to Israel this week, while Congress is on recess. He said his plans were made before the rift between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over how to deal with Iran and Palestine burst into the open. "There are serious issues and activities going on in the Middle East and I think it's critically important for members of Congress to hear from foreign leaders, other governments, other parts of their government, to get a real handle on the challenges that we face there," Boehner told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" Sunday. CNN
VOA VIEW: Obama is an embarrassment to the US.

Indiana Gov Supports Effort To 'Clarify' Religious Objections Law
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said he would support legislation to “clarify the intent” of the new law that has drawn widespread scrutiny over concerns it could allow discrimination against gay people. Pence told the Indy Star he has been in talks with legislative leaders and expects to introduce a clarification bill to the religious objections law sometime this week.  Pence did not provide any details, but told the newspaper that making gay Indiana residents a protected legal class is “not on my agenda.” Pence disputes that the religious objections law would allow discrimination against gay people, although many Indiana businesses, convention-organizers and others have disagreed. The governor said he did not anticipate “hostility that’s been directed toward out state.” Fox News

COPD: Heartburn Is Common
Many people have symptoms of heartburn after eating. They may experience nausea, feel as though food is coming back up the throat, or vomit. When these symptoms occur often, it can be a sign of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Other signs of GERD include sore throat, hoarseness, belching, coughing and wheezing, and trouble swallowing. This condition is common in people with advanced COPD. It's possible to take medications that control stomach acid to help relieve the symptoms of GERD. You also need to keep an eye on your plate. Eating certain foods can bring on GERD's unpleasant symptoms. CNN

Rewarding Failure: Democrats’ Eagerness To Back Hillary
An abscess of anger seems to gnaw at Hillary Clinton, but the reasons for her resentments remain unclear. The world’s oldest party, which governed the nation during two world wars and is the primary architect of America’s regulatory and redistributive state, is eager to give her its presidential nomination, in recognition of .?.?. what? The party, adrift in identity politics, clings, as shipwrecked sailors do to floating debris, to this odd feminist heroine. Wafted into the upper reaches of American politics by stolid participation in her eventful marriage to a serial philanderer, her performance in governance has been defined by three failures. NY Post
VOA VIEW: A party of failure and losers.

Nearly One-Third Of Asian Students Earn Calculus Credit In High School.
Asian and white students do the best, on average, when it comes to state tests — especially in math. That’s not new, and is no surprise. But a new analysis by the State Board of Education adds a new dimension to those statistics, and a twist: When it comes to taking advanced classes in high school, Asian students appear to do so at higher rates than any other ethnic group. Much higher. Take math: In the class of 2014, close to one-third of Asian students earned a calculus credit in high school. The next closest group? Whites at 13 percent. For blacks and Latinos, it was about 5 percent. Seattle Times

US Treasury Secretary Presses Beijing On Technology Curbs
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said he pressed Chinese leaders Monday over proposed curbs on the use of foreign security products by banks and other restrictions on access to China's technology market. The United States and Europe say Beijing is improperly blocking access to its growing technology market with the curbs in proposed anti-terrorism and banking security measures. "We have already made clear our deep concern about issues regarding forced technology transfer and other attempts to bar technological competition most recently in the banking sector, and I look forward to continuing that discussion," Lew said in a meeting with a deputy Chinese premier, Wang Yang. Tampa Tribune

Defense Seeks To Bolster Military Retirement Benefits
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter plans to push a series of proposals, including a 401(k)-style pension plan and incentives for cyber warriors, aimed at attracting and retaining troops with the skills needed to fight modern wars. Carter, who took office last month, intends to move quickly to enact changes before the Obama administration leaves the White House in early 2017, according to a senior aide who was not authorized to speak publicly. Carter has identified building a new force capable of dealing with new threats and retaining top performers as a key priority. Carter is scheduled to address a number of issues regarding military personnel during a two-day trip starting Monday to Pennsylvania and New York. He's scheduled to speak at his old high school in Philadelphia and to address soldiers and students in New York. USA Today

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Tunisia Says It Killed Bardo Attack Suspects As Thousands March In Tunis
Tens of thousands of Tunisians marched through the capital in a show of solidarity against Islamist militants on Sunday, hours after the government said its forces had killed nine members of a group suspected of carrying out this month's deadly Bardo Museum attack. The March 18 attack in Tunis killed 21 foreign tourists and a policeman. A red-and-white sea of Tunisian crescent and star flags filled a major boulevard in Tunis where several world leaders, including French President Francois Hollande, planned to rally under the slogan "Le Monde est Bardo" (The World is Bardo). Thousands of police and soldiers were positioned around the capital. MSNBC

US Treasury Secretary Presses Beijing On Technology Curbs
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said he pressed Chinese leaders Monday over proposed curbs on the use of foreign security products by banks and other restrictions on access to China's technology market. The United States and Europe say Beijing is improperly blocking access to its growing technology market with the curbs in proposed anti-terrorism and banking security measures. "We have already made clear our deep concern about issues regarding forced technology transfer and other attempts to bar technological competition most recently in the banking sector, and I look forward to continuing that discussion," Lew said in a meeting with a deputy Chinese premier, Wang Yang. Charlotte Observer

Anti-Israel Sentiments Force Virginia Bar To Cancel Trip To Jerusalem
The Virginia State Bar Association has canceled a trip for its members to learn in Jerusalem later this year after some members campaigned against it, accusing Israel of “unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices” in how it ensures its border security. The episode, confirmed in an email from Bar President Kevin Martingayle that was obtained by The Washington Times, is the latest example of the impact of an anti-Israel fervor that has swept across some parts of America in recent months as President Obama has feuded with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Liberals are a measurable group.

Obama In Florida For Golf Getaway
President Obama kicked off the spring season on Saturday with a weekend golf getaway in Florida at the resort where he once caused a stir by playing with Tiger Woods. During his stay at the Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City, less than 50 miles up the coast from Palm Beach, Obama planned to be out of public view, with no official events scheduled. First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha were not on the trip. Washington Times

Slow Economy Could Prompt Iran To Take Nuclear Deal
The headlines in Tehran have been trumpeting some good news for Iran’s economy lately. In the first 11 months of the Iranian fiscal year, car production climbed 58 percent and pistachio exports shot up 71 percent. Inflation is high but easing, and after a sharp contraction in 2012 and 2013, the economy is growing again. But the Iranian economy is still a shadow of what it could be if international sanctions were lifted. There is virtually no foreign investment. Unemployment is rampant, especially among the young. Some of the country’s banks are in precarious positions. Corruption is common among politically connected groups that profit by circumventing international sanctions. “The economy is not healthy,” said Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, a professor of economics at Virginia Tech University. “It is a bit like a sick man whose leg breaks and then the leg is repaired, but the other stuff is still there.” Washington Post

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Northeast, Despite Highest Gas Costs, Resists More Pipelines
There is near universal agreement that the Northeast has to expand its energy supply to rein in the nation's highest costs and that cheap, abundant, relatively clean natural gas could be at least a short-term answer. But heels dig deep when it comes to those thorniest of questions: how and where? Proposals to build or expand natural gas pipelines are met with an upswell of citizen discontent. At the end of last year, a Massachusetts route selected by Texas-based Kinder Morgan generated so much venom that the company nudged it north into New Hampshire — where the venom is also flowing freely. During this winter's town meetings, a centuries-old staple of local governance in New England, people in the nine towns touched by the route voted to oppose the project. ABC

Small Tsunami Generated In Pacific After Earthquake
A powerful earthquake rattled the South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea on Monday, generating a small tsunami and frightening locals near the epicenter, but prompting no reports of damage or injuries. A tsunami of half a meter (1.5 feet) was measured in the harbor of Rabaul, a town near the epicenter of the magnitude-7.7 earthquake, said Martin Mose, acting director for Papua New Guinea's National Disaster Center. The quake struck at a depth of 65 kilometers (40 miles), about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of the town of Kokopo, near Rabaul, in northeastern Papua New Guinea, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Miami Herald

Missouri Is Stuck With Crumbling RoadAnd Reluctance To Pay For Repairs
Just about everyone in Missouri politics agrees that the state badly needs an infusion of cash to fix thousands of miles of crumbling highways and scores of increasingly rickety bridges. Finding consensus on where that money should come from hasn’t come so easy. Halfway through the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers have yet to coalesce around a plan to make up a $160 million shortfall projected by state transportation officials. If the legislature is unable to come up with a solution, the state transportation budget will shrink so much next year that only a quarter of the state’s 34,000 miles of roads will get proper upkeep. “Do we want to keep our head in the sand or do we want to move forward?,” said Sen. Doug Libla, a Poplar Bluff Republican. Kansas City Star

Business Forecasters Boost 2-Year Outlook For US Economy
A business economics group has boosted its outlook for U.S. economic improvement this year and next, particularly for job growth. The March report from the National Association for Business Economics forecasts more hiring, a lower unemployment rate, a lower inflation rate and more growth in consumer spending in 2015, compared to the group's forecast December 2014. The report, released early Monday, also predicts more investment by businesses in both equipment and intellectual property, as well as modest growth in stock prices. SF Gate
VOA VIEW: A group of quacks.

Who Would Americans Consider Voting For In 2016?
As he did last month, Jeb Bush remains the potential candidate with the most support from Republicans, and he is also the best-known of the candidates tested. Former Governor Mike Huckabee shows the second-highest level of consideration, followed by Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Respondents could say "yes" to as many or as few candidates as they wanted. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has undergone the biggest change since last month (interviews were being conducted for the poll when he announced his candidacy): 37 percent of Republicans would now consider voting for him, last month only 23 percent said so. Senator Rand Paul has gained 9 points since last month; now, 39 percent would consider voting for him, up from 30 percent in February. CBS

Kissinger Urges Return To Deng’s Way On South China Sea Tensions
 The U.S. and China should look to the example of Deng Xiaoping when it comes to defusing China’s territorial spats in the South China Sea, said Henry Kissinger, secretary of state during Richard Nixon’s presidency. China and the U.S. should “remove the urgency of the debate,” Kissinger told reporters on Saturday in Singapore. Kissinger, 91, was the architect of Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to China that led to the opening of diplomatic ties between the two countries. “Deng Xiaoping dealt with some of his problems by saying not every problem needs to be solved in the existing generation,” he said of the former Chinese leader. “Let’s perhaps wait for another generation but let’s not make it worse.” Bloomberg

Fiorina Likely GOP Presidential Candidate, Attacks Clinton
Former technology executive Carly Fiorina says she is more than 90 percent likely to seek the Republican presidential nomination. And she is questioning the confidence people can have in likely Democratic contender Hillary Rodham Clinton. On "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace," Fiorina challenged several Clinton comments, including saying she used a personal email account for State Department work because it would be easier to carry one device than two. She said such statements raise a confidence issue about the former secretary of state, senator and first lady. Fiorina also said Clinton is not candid. She said that "suggests her character is flawed." Las Vegas Sun

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O'Malley: Presidency 'Not Some Crown' Families Should Share
Potential Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley said Sunday that the country needs fresh perspectives for confronting its problems and criticized the prospects of the Clinton and Bush families yet again seeking the White House. "The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families," the former Maryland governor told ABC's "This Week." O'Malley spoke as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is considered a likely candidate and clear front runner for the Democratic nomination. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is considered a probable contender for the Republican nomination. ABC

Bike Ride For Gun Control
Advocates of tougher gun-control measures made a pit stop in North Jersey during their third annual bike ride from Newtown, Conn., to Washington. The riders rolled into Morristown yesterday and took part in a rally with some community members. The 26 cyclists are drawing attention to their campaign for measures including requiring all gun sales to be subject to a background check and a ban on high-capacity magazines. They started their 400-mile ride on Saturday and expect it to take four days to complete. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Anti Second Amendement.

Wind Power Or Hot Air? Foes Question Christie’s Shift On Clean Energy.
Just off this city’s famous coastline is one of the windiest stretches of the Mid-Atlantic, where constant breezes can fill a sail or — in theory — turn the blades of a wind turbine. It’s a place the state’s Republican governor invoked in 2010 in pledging to make New Jersey a wind superpower. “It makes sense for us to go in this direction,” said Gov. Chris Christie after signing a bill aimed at bringing thickets of wind towers to coastal waters and making the state, in his words, “a national leader in the wind-power movement.” Five years later, there are no ocean turbines in sight here and no firm plans for starting construction. The company created to install the first wind farm off Atlantic City has been repeatedly blocked by a Christie-appointed regulatory panel, and the governor has all but ceased talking about the subject. Washington Post

Former Israeli Premier Olmert Convicted In Corruption Case
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted Monday of unlawfully accepting money from a U.S. supporter in a retrial on corruption charges, the latest chapter in the downfall of a man who only years earlier hoped to lead the country to a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians. The conviction could land Olmert five years in prison, in addition to a six-year prison sentence he received last year in a separate bribery conviction, all but ensuring the former premier will not return to politics for many years to come. "His behavior constitutes a breach of trust which harms the public, harms morality, and harms the public's trust, in how he behaved corruptly," prosecutor Uri Korev said following the verdict. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Obama would be imprisoned if he was in Israel - no one is above the law.

Iran Says US Drone Kills 2 Advisers In Iraq
Iran's Revolutionary Guard says a U.S. drone strike has killed two of its advisers in Iraq, though the U.S. says it has only struck militants in its campaign. The claim comes as negotiators on Monday attempted to reach a deal on Iran's contested nuclear program. The Guard said on its sepahnews.ir website the strike happened March 23, just after the U.S.-led coalition began airstrikes to support Iraqi forces trying to retake the Islamic State-held city of Tikrit. It identified the dead as Ali Yazdani and Hadi Jafari, saying they were buried Sunday. It called them advisers. San Diego Union

U.S. Has Safeguards In Place For Pilot Health
The U.S. requires extensive training for its pilots as well as regular checkups and medical disclosures that should help prevent a rogue pilot from crashing a plane like German pilot Andreas Lubitz did last week, CBS News aviation and safety expert Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. Investigators have said that Lubitz deliberately crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps last Tuesday, killing himself and the other 149 people on board. Ripped-up sick notes suggest he had an illness that he was hiding from his employers. Sullenberger said that the U.S. "must do everything we can" to prevent a similar accident from happening at home, but that there are several safeguards already in place to do so. CBS

Australia Stocks Slip As Oil Retreats; Dollar Holds Gains
Australian stocks fell amid a slump in crude oil, as Iran met with U.S. and European diplomats over a nuclear accord and on speculation bombing in Yemen won’t have an impact on the global glut. Copper retreated and the dollar held gains. The S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 1 percent by 10:54 a.m. in Sydney, set for its lowest close since March 18. U.S. and Brent crude oil fell at least 0.6 percent after losses of more than 4 percent on Friday. Copper futures dropped 0.5 percent. The greenback climbed 0.3 percent against Australia’s currency as the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose a third day, advancing 0.1 percent. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.1 percent after the U.S. gauge snapped a four-day drop Friday. Bloomberg

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US Raises Pressure On Israel Over Palestinian State
The U.S. exerted new pressure against Israel by leaving open the possibility of letting the United Nations set a deadline for a Palestinian state, in what would be a departure from using American veto power to protect its close Mideast ally. The prospect of a U.N. Security Council resolution arose Friday when French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Paris would introduce a measure setting a deadline for a negotiated settlement of the conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, possibly within two years. On dozens of occasions in recent decades, the U.S. has lobbied against approval of such resolutions, using its veto authority as a permanent member of the Security Council as a last resort. In response to past resolutions concerning the Middle East, the White House has echoed Israel’s contention that U.N. action cannot substitute for direct negotiations. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Obama is telling the world that the US is capable of betraying an ally.

Thousands March In Indiana To Protest Law Seen Targeting Gays
Thousands of people marched in Indiana's largest city on Saturday to protest a state law that supporters contend promotes religious freedom but detractors see as a covert move to support discrimination against gay people. Waving signs reading "No hate in our state" and carrying rainbow flags, a crowd of at least 2,000 people including Democratic elected officials rallied the same day that business-rating website Angie's List Inc put on hold its plans to expand its Indianapolis operation with new offices, citing the new law. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed overwhelmingly by the Republican led-state legislature and signed into law on Thursday by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Reuters

Coffee Erases Liver Cancer Risk Caused By Daily Alcohol Consumption
Boozers are at heightened risk of liver cancer, but research suggests regular coffee consumption can diminish damage caused by regular alcohol consumption.
According to a new survey published by researchers with the London-based World Cancer Research Fund, drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day significantly increases the risk of being diagnosed with liver cancer. The findings, included in WCRF's Liver Cancer 2015 report, are based on the analysis of some 34 scientific studies -- research comprising health data from more than 8 million men and women and 24,600 cases of liver cancer. UPI

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Former HP CEO Fiorina: Chances Of Presidential Bid 'Higher Than 90 Percent'
Former Hewlett-Packard Co Chief Executive Carly Fiorina on Sunday said the chances of her running for U.S. presidency were "very high" and she would announce her plans in late April-early May. Fiorina, speaking on Fox News Sunday, put the chances of her running for president in 2016 at 'higher than 90 percent' but said she could not yet announce the bid as she was working to establish her team, get "the right support" and financial resources. Reuters

Israel Premier Expresses ‘Deep Concern’ On Pending Iran Deal
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he has "deep concern" over a pending nuclear deal the West appears close to signing with Israel's arch-enemy Iran. Netanyahu said that he conveyed those fears to visiting American lawmakers, warning that the looming deal appears to "corroborate all our concerns and then some." Netanyahu has been a fierce critic of American-led efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran and publicly has clashed with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama over the issue. Las Vegas Sun

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Arab League Leaders Agree To Joint, Voluntary Military Force
Leaders of the 22-member Arab League have agreed to create a joint, voluntary military force to combat threats to security. "The Arab leaders have decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said at the closing of a League of Arab States summit in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, on Sunday. The announcement comes after Saudi Arabia pledged to contribute 150,000 soldiers and 100 warplanes to combat Houthi rebels in Yemen, who Saudi Arabia accuses of being backed by Iran. UPI

House Speaker Boehner: Iran Will Not Abide By Nuclear Agreement
House Speaker John Boehner said Iran would not hold up its end of any agreement over its nuclear program, and that he was ready to ratchet up sanctions on the country if needed. Boehner said on CNN's State of the Union that Iran's leaders "have no intention of keeping their word," and the fact that they are even negotiating is evidence current sanctions on Iran are working. Boehner opposes an agreement the Obama administration and other countries are negotiating to try to convince Iran to curtail its nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions. Jerusalem Post

In Exchange For Freed Tax Funds, PA Won’t Pursue Israel Over Settlements At ICC
The Palestinian Authority will formally join the International Criminal Court on April 1, but – following Israel’s decision on Friday to release frozen tax revenues – is not expected at this time to take steps against Israel in the ICC regarding settlement construction. In addition, The Jerusalem Post has learned that while the ICC prosecutor has – at the PA’s request – opened a preliminary examination on alleged Israeli war crimes during Operation Protective Edge over the summer, the PA is not expected at this time to take additional legal steps in the ICC regarding the Gaza operation. As a result of Israel’s decision to free up the funds, the PA also does not intend now to stop its security cooperation with Israel, the Post also learned. Jerusalem Post

Greece's Creditors Mull New Reform Plans
Greece's creditors are studying new reform plans put forward by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' government in a bid to secure further bailout funds. Greece, which submitted the proposals on Friday night, says the plans will raise €3bn (£2.2bn; $3.3bn) in state revenues for the cash-strapped country. The plan includes moves to combat tax evasion, more privatisations and higher taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. Greece fears it will run out of cash in April if bailout money is not released. International creditors have suggested they are ready to extend help on Greece's €240bn (£176bn; $272bn) bailout until the end of June. BBC

Bird Flu Kills 22,000 Minnesota Turkeys And Infects Tens Of Thousands More
An outbreak of a bird flu strain that’s deadly to poultry deepened Saturday when state and federal officials confirmed a third Minnesota turkey farm has been infected, this time in one of the state’s top poultry-producing counties. The federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said a commercial flock of 39,000 turkeys in Stearns County of central Minnesota has been infected with the highly pathogenic H5N2 strain of avian influenza, which also killed tens of thousands of turkeys at two other farms in Pope and Lac qui Parle counties of western Minnesota. Guardian

Hollande Left Bruised As Sarkozy And Le Pen Triumph In French Local Elections
The French right has made large gains in the country’s local elections, handing President François Hollande’s ruling Socialist party its third electoral drubbing in a year and raising fears for the future of the left. Nicolas Sarkozy’s rightwing UMP party, in coalition with centrist allies, took the largest share of seats, wresting control of many traditional leftwing bastions from the Socialists. But key to the changing political landscape in France was the strong showing for the far-right Front National, which marked a major turning-point as the party established a new grassroots presence across the country. Guardian

US Firm Puts Mafia On Italian Tourist Map
An American tour company has become embroiled in a row with Sicilian authorities after it invited the son of one of Italy's most notorious mafia bosses to give a talk to a group of tourists in Palermo. Boston-based Overseas Adventure Travel invited Angelo Provenzano to chat to 15 holidaymakers at the Hotel Plaza Opera about his father, Bernardo – nicknamed "Binnie the tractor", because, in the words of one informant, "he mows people down". The company has been accused of glorifying the role of Bernardo Provenzano, now 82, who was convicted of a string of murders including those of two judges while in the Sicilian mafia, also known as Cosa Nostra. Telegraph

All British Babies To Get New Meningitis B Vaccine
All babies in the UK will soon have a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B, the Health Secretary has announced. Jeremy Hunt said Britain would become the first country in the world with a nationwide meningitis B vaccination programme after the Government reached a deal with drug manufacturers. The vaccination programme is likely to start in September. Government advisers said in 2014 that every child over two months should be offered the vaccine, but since then there have been long negotiations over costs. Telegraph

Welcoming Peaceful Nigerian Elections, Ban Encourages Patience As Polls Wrap Up
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the people and Government of Nigeria on the largely peaceful and orderly conduct of yesterday's presidential and parliamentary elections. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban condemnedthe attacks reportedly carried out by Boko Haram and others who attempted to disrupt the polling. “He is encouraged by the determination and resilience shown by the Nigerian people in pressing forward and exercising their civic duties in the face of unjustifiable violence.” UN News

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