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By Pavel Polityuk and Thomas Grove KIEV/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Armed pro-Russian separatists were still holding public buildings in eastern Ukraine on Friday, saying they needed more assurances about their security before they comply with an international deal ordering them to disarm. The agreement, brokered by the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union in Geneva on Thursday offered the best hope to date of defusing a stand-off in Ukraine that has dragged East-West relations to their lowest level since the Cold War. Enacting the agreement on the ground though will be difficult, because of the deep mistrust between the pro-Russian groups and the Western-backed government in Kiev, which this week flared into violent clashes that killed several people.
Lewis Hamilton battled back Friday to set the fastest time in second practice for the Chinese Grand Prix after suspension problems with his Mercedes earlier in the day. Fernando Alonso brought some welcome cheer to Ferrari after a troubled week, by posting the second fastest lap in the afternoon after leading the first session. Championship leader Nico Rosberg was third fastest in his Mercedes followed by the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel in fourth and fifth respectively.
By Cheick Dioura and Jean-Baptiste Vey GAO/PARIS (Reuters) - French troops in Mali on Thursday freed five local aid workers kidnapped in February, the French and Malian governments said, killing about a dozen of their captors in the process. Land and air forces were deployed in the rescue mission, which targeted the kidnappers' two pick-up trucks in the remote desert region north of Timbuktu, a spokesman at Central Command of French Armed Forces, Colonel Pascal Georgin said. Two of the aid workers were hit by bullets during the operation and were receiving medical care for minor injuries at a Gao military hospital, according to a Malian employee for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Four of the aid workers belonged to the organisation and the employee named them as Filipe Diarra, Ousmane El Ansary, Youssouf Ag Rissa and Amikal Ag Handaka.