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Russian courts on Wednesday ordered the temporary closure of three McDonald's restaurants in Moscow over breaches of sanitary rules, news agencies reported, amid a standoff with the West over Ukraine. The restaurants on Moscow's Manezh square, under the walls of the Kremlin, at Pushkin Square and on Prospect Mira have been closed since last week following an order from state food safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor. Rospotrebnadzor has so far ordered the temporary closure of a total of five McDonald's restaurants in Russia. Sweeping checks, including unscheduled inspections, have been unveiled across Russian regions.
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah on Wednesday withdrew from a UN-supervised audit of the fraud-tainted election, tipping the country deeper into crisis less than a week before the scheduled inauguration. Abdullah's rejection of the audit heightened fears of a violent backlash to the eventual result after a prolonged and bitter dispute about the rightful winner of the June 14 election. The United Nations moved rapidly to try to save Afghanistan's first democratic transfer of power by asking Ashraf Ghani, the other presidential candidate, also to remove his observers from the vote-checking process. "We learnt from the team of Dr Abdullah that they have chosen not to participate in the audit process... this withdrawal is regrettable," UN deputy mission chief Nicholas Haysom told reporters.