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Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 12:40 p.m. EDT

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 10:42am

Voter turnout in France's close presidential election is above 69 percent in late afternoon, almost as high as the last presidential vote. The Interior Ministry announced Sunday that the turnout had reached 69.4 percent, compared to 70.6 percent in the first round of presidential voting in 2012.

French vote for president in litmus test for Europe's future

Thomas Adamson, Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 10:14am

Amid heightened security, French voters began casting ballots for their next president Sunday in a first-round poll that's being seen as a litmus test for the future of Europe and the spread of populism around the world.

Saudi king names son as US envoy as ties boosted with Trump

Abdullah Al-Shihri and Aya Batrawy, Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 10:03am

Saudi Arabia's King Salman issued a decree late Saturday naming one of his sons, an air force pilot who has taken part in coalition strikes against the Islamic State group, as the kingdom's new ambassador to the U.S.

Sicily prosecutor probes possible NGOs-smuggler 'contacts'

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 9:30am

A prosecutor in Sicily says that an investigation has found "evidence" of contacts between rescue boats run by some humanitarian groups and Libya-based migrant smugglers.

The Latest: Turnout is high for French presidential vote

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 9:30am

The Latest on the first round of France's presidential election (all times local):

Author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann shot in Kenya

Tom Odula, Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 9:12am

The Italian-born author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann was shot at her Kenyan ranch and airlifted for treatment after herders invaded in search of pasture to save their animals from drought, officials said Sunday.

OSCE monitor killed in Ukraine when mine blows up vehicle

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 9:02am

A member of the OSCE's arms monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine has died and two others have been wounded after their vehicle was blown up by a mine in the separatist Luhansk region.

North Korea detains US citizen, the 3rd American being held there

Eric Talmadge, Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 8:34am

North Korea has detained a U.S. citizen, officials said Sunday, bringing the number of Americans now being held there to three.

Corpses being sent home for burial after Taliban attack

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 8:34am

Dozens of corpses are being sent to different provinces around the country for burial two days after a Taliban attack on a northern Afghanistan army base left at least 100 soldiers and others dead or wounded.

Plight of Palestinian refugees now spans 5 generations

Karin Laub, Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 7:50am

As a boy, Palestinian Abdullah Abu Massoud fled the war over the birth of Israel in 1948 and sought refuge in the nearby Gaza Strip.

Israeli police: Palestinian stabs 4 in Tel Aviv

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 7:41am

A Palestinian stabbed and lightly wounded four people in Tel Aviv before being arrested Sunday, the latest violence in a wave of attacks by Palestinians in the last year and a half, Israeli police said.

Tight, tense French presidential vote echoes around world

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 7:31am

As French voters cast ballots for president Sunday, they're making a choice that will resonate far beyond France's borders, from Syrian battlefields to Hong Kong trading floors and the halls of the U.N. Security Council.

Duterte says he can be 50 times more brutal than terrorists

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 7:04am

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Sunday that he could be "50 times" more brutal than Muslim militants who stage beheadings and said he could even "eat" the extremists if they're captured alive by troops.

Pentagon chief visits African nation home to key US base

Robert Burns, Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 6:22am

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday visited Djibouti to bolster ties with the tiny and impoverished African country that is home to an important base for U.S. counterterrorism forces, including drones.

Report: Anti-Semitism rises, but violence against Jews falls

Ariel David, Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 5:52am

Violent attacks on Jews dropped for a second straight year in 2016, but other forms of anti-Semitism are on the rise worldwide, particularly on U.S. university campuses, according to a report released Sunday.

Ceremonies mark liberation of 2 Nazi camps 72 years ago

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 5:40am

Holocaust survivors and officials have gathered at the memorial sites of former concentration camps Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany and Sachsenhausen near Berlin to commemorate the liberation of the camps 72 years ago.

Roadside bomb in Somalia kills 8 soldiers, police say

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 5:10am

A Somali police official says a roadside bomb in a remote town in Somalia's semiautonomous state of Puntland has killed eight soldiers and injured three others.

Syrian troops capture central town after heavy clashes

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 5:01am

Syrian government forces have captured a central town and adjacent villages, boosting security in nearby areas loyal to President Bashar Assad, and marched deeper into a rebel-held neighborhood of Damascus, Syrian state media and an opposition monitoring group said Sunday.

Human rights advocate found stabbed to death in the Maldives

The Associated Press  |  Posted   Apr 23rd - 4:51am

Police in the Maldives said Sunday that they're investigating the stabbing death of a prominent blogger and human rights advocate.