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Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Monday extended his grip on power in the oil-rich, ex-Soviet nation with 97.7 percent of ballots in an election slammed by Western observers as deeply flawed. Nazarbayev, who has run the huge Central Asian country since before the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, improved his already eye-popping scores in previous elections to win a fifth term in power. The Central Election Commission claimed a record turnout of 95.22 percent in Sunday's vote which was called a year ahead of schedule. Western observers slammed the lack of choice in Kazakhstan's early presidential election in which the country's deeply marginalised opposition did not field a candidate.
By Mohammed Mukhashaf ADEN (Reuters) - The humanitarian situation in Yemen has become catastrophic, relief officials said on Monday, as Saudi-led aircraft pounded Iran-allied Houthi militiamen and rebel army units for a second day, dashing hopes for a pause in fighting to let aid in. Residents said warplanes flew between 15 and 20 sorties against groups of Houthi fighters and arms depots in the al-Dhalea provincial capital, Dhalea, and the nearby city of Qa'ataba, between dawn and 0900 local time (0600 GMT), setting off a chain of explosions that lasted for two more hours. A coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, rattled by what they saw as expanding Iranian influence in the Arabian Peninsula, is trying to stop Houthi fighters and loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Salah taking control of Yemen. Houthis were stopping convoys of trucks reaching the southern port city of Aden and an arms blockade by Saudi-led coalition navies searching ships for weapons was holding up food deliveries by sea.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The official state china of President Barack Obama's administration is a modern-inspired service trimmed in a blue that recalls the waters of his native state of Hawaii, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be among the first guests to eat from it at a state dinner Tuesday in his honor.