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Kiev, rebels exchange POWs; trains, buses to Crimea suspended

KIEV - Ukraine's government and pro-Russian separatists on Friday began an exchange of hundreds of prisoners of war while Kiev said it would suspend all train and bus service to Crimea, effectively creating a transportation blockade to and from the region.

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Doubts deepen over Chinese-backed Nicaragua canal as work starts

MANAGUA - When one of the poorest countries in the Americas and a little-known Chinese businessman said they planned to undertake one of the biggest engineering projects in history, few people took them seriously.

2:25pm EST

Schaeuble says he is ready to tackle tax 'bracket creep' in Germany

BERLIN - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he would be ready to cut income taxes by adjusting thresholds for inflation if the upper house of parliament agrees to scrap a practice that generates billions of euros in annual revenues.

2:06pm EST

Sudan defends decision to expel two United Nations officials

KHARTOUM - Sudan defended on Friday its decision to expel two senior UNDP officials and urged the world body to respect Sudanese sovereignty, worsening tensions with the United Nations.

United Nations 1:56pm EST

Asia remembers devastating 2004 tsunami with tears and prayers

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - Survivors of Asia's 2004 tsunami and relatives of its 226,000 victims cried and prayed as they gathered along Indian Ocean shorelines on Friday for memorials to mark the 10th anniversary of a disaster that still leaves an indelible mark on the region. | Video

Erdogan tells Europe to stop criticizing Turkey

ISTANBUL - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan slammed European countries on Friday for criticizing deteriorating press freedom in Turkey and said they should instead try to find a solution for what he said was increasing Islamophobia in the continent.

Turkey 10:56am EST

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