Some clashes in Ukraine...Challenging China...Nigeria rights group calls for sanctions

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Updated: Sun, 11 May 2014 07:15:34 EST

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — There are reports of sporadic clashes but the situation remains calm in two regions of eastern Ukraine that are holding independence referendums today. Voting is underway in Donetsk and Luhansk. Meanwhile pro-Russian insurgents in the city of Slovyansk exchanged fire with Ukrainian troops on the outskirts of the city overnight. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry says an army soldier was wounded.

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar (AP) — Vietnam's prime minister says maritime security and free navigation in the South China Sea are "under serious threat" because of China's aggressive behavior. Vietnam is protesting China's deployment of an oil rig and has sent a flotilla to confront about 50 Chinese vessels protecting the facility. At a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Myanmar today, Vietnam is asking that concerns about the South China Sea be included in the meeting's final statement.

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A leading Nigerian rights group is urging the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on the Islamic extremists that abducted some 300 schoolgirls, saying concern and condemnation are not enough. The call comes as U.S. hostage negotiators and other experts are expected in Nigeria to help in the search. Nigeria's government belatedly accepted offers of help last week amid mounting outrage at its failure to rescue 276 girls abducted nearly a month ago.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Officials in Iraq say an insurgent attack on a military barracks outside the northern city of Mosul has killed 20 troops. Two police officers say gunmen staged the assault last night. They say some of the 20 soldiers killed appeared to have been shot at close range. A medical official confirms the causality number, and says 11 troops had their hands tied behind their backs.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional investigators say the government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage. The report highlights substantial gaps in oversight by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, which manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands. The findings come amid an energy boom in the country and the increasing use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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