Independence votes in Ukraine...Russian decries 'provocation' by Moldova...Balloon crash search

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By AP

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Updated: Sun, 11 May 2014 07:15:32 EST

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Residents of two restive regions in eastern Ukraine are casting votes in independence referendums today. The ballots have been rejected as illegal by the Ukrainian government and the West. Ukraine's interim president has said that independence for eastern regions will destroy the country's economy.

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Russia's deputy prime minister says "provocation" by Moldova will have "serious consequences" for the country's relations with Russia. Dmitry Rogozin made the comment on his Facebook page after Moldovan authorities stopped him from leaving the country with a petition calling on Moscow to recognize a separatist region. Rogozin had been visiting Trans-Dniester, where he offered support to the separatists.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's caretaker government says it will increase security to prevent clashes that could arise between the two sides in the country's escalating political crisis. Pro-government and anti-government protesters have been holding competing rallies in Bangkok this weekend following a court's ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (SHIN'-uh-wah) last week. The government's security committee is warning people to stay away from protest sites for their own safety.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — The lawyer for the Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. find Osama bin Laden says he is no longer representing the doctor because of threats from militants. The lawyer says he received what he describes as a "final" warning from militants. He also says that the undue U.S. pressure on Pakistan for his client's release has also hurt him. Dr. Shakil Afridi (shah-KEEL ah-FREE-dee) received a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted of providing money and medical treatment to Islamic militants in Khyber tribal region.

DOSWELL, Va. (AP) — The search is resuming this morning in the woods and fields north of Richmond, Virginia, for one of three people aboard a hot-air balloon that crashed in a ball of flames Friday night. The hot air balloon drifted into a power line, burst into flames and crashed Friday night with three people aboard. Two bodies were found about a mile apart yesterday, but the third remains missing.

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