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Iraq leader says security forces are making a comeback...Nigeria: Bomb death toll 14

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 18, 2014 at 5:41 a.m.

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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister says the initial shock has worn off and the tide is beginning to turn in the fight against Sunni militants in the north. Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite who has been in office since 2006, says the government has regained the initiative and begun a counteroffensive. The militants overran towns and cities last week.

DAMATURU, Nigeria (AP) — Police in northeast Nigeria say the death toll is 14 after a suicide bomber detonated explosives packed into a tricycle taxi at an outdoor World Cup viewing site. Another 26 people are wounded. There is no immediate claim of responsibility but Boko Haram, an armed group that wants to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state, is suspected.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Fraud allegations have emerged in the runoff election for president of Afghanistan. Front-runner Abdullah Abdullah is calling for a halt in vote counting. He's questioning what his team has determined early lead of 1 million votes by his opponent, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (ahsh-RAHF' gah-NEE' ah-mahd-ZEYE'). Abdullah says it's a dramatic change from the first round that put him in the lead with 45 percent of the vote compared to 31.6 percent for his rival.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's president is offering a cease-fire if pro-Russian separatists in the east want to lay down weapons or leave the country. Petro Poroshenko's plan, announced following conversations with Russian and German leaders, aims to end two months of fighting in eastern provinces that form the nation's industrial heartland. It could also help ease the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued an order that gives the fire department a much greater role in responding to reports of possible gas leaks. The order is in response to a March blast that killed eight people and leveled two East Harlem buildings. The mandate to increase the oversight of the fire department is in a report obtained by The Associate Press ahead of its release today.

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