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Turkish Cypriots voted in a new leader Sunday, with challenger Mustafa Akinci beating incumbent Dervis Eroglu in a run-off poll that could accelerate UN-backed efforts to reunify the long-divided island. Akinci, a former mayor of Nicosia in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and vocal advocate of reconciliation with the internationally recognised government, had won 60.4 percent of votes with 678 of 693 ballot boxes counted, organisers said. Celebrations began soon after results were announced at Akinci's office in north Nicosia, a few hundred metres (yards) from a UN-controlled buffer zone that separates the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides of Europe's last divided capital. Voters streamed steadily into polling stations in Nicosia from early morning, many bringing their children along to share the experience.
There is no military solution to migrants drowning in the Mediterranean, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said on Sunday, as European leaders search for ways to manage the flow of people leaving North Africa in rickety boats. The disaster has shocked the European Union into pledging more money for rescues. In an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Ban said the United Nations was ready to help tackle the problem. Asked about a proposal by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to "capture and destroy" the boats that traffickers use, Ban said the U.N. focused on security and protecting human rights.