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Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - Crimea was due to formally apply to join Russia on Monday after voting to split from Ukraine, as Europe prepared to hit Moscow with a wave of sanctions in the worst East-West stand-off since the Cold War. An overwhelming 96.6 percent of voters on the mostly Russian-speaking peninsula chose to secede from Ukraine, according to final results from Sunday's referendum, which the Kremlin is accused of orchestrating. Crimea's regional assembly will meet early Monday to apply to merge with Russia, a process that could take months and is mired in uncertainty for a region that remains heavily dependent on the Ukraine mainland. There was sharp international condemnation of the vote, which could see the most radical redrawing of the map of Europe since Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.
Toyota said Monday it has suspended production at its two Indian auto assembly plants in response to threats against management and "deliberate" assembly-line stoppages, as efforts to hammer out a labour deal failed. The world's biggest automaker said the move will see the lock-out of about 6,400 employees at the factories in southern India. "In the meantime, under the instigation of the union, certain sections of the employees have resorted to deliberate stoppages of the production line, abuse and threatening of supervisors thereby continuously disrupting business for the past 25 days," Toyota said in a statement. With this background, the company is left with no other option but to declare a lock-out of the premises to ensure the safety of its workers and management personnel," it added.