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Kiev representatives and pro-Russian separatists finally met on Saturday to thrash out a "binding" truce despite Ukraine suffering one of its bloodiest days yet in the nine-month conflict with 15 troops killed. The talks came as Ukrainian forces suffered their highest one-day loss since the September truce, with 15 soldiers killed and 30 wounded, said Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak. Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, the OSCE's Heidi Tagliavini, and separatist representatives Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego, as well as Russian ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov, were participating in the talks aimed at defusing fighting that has left at least 5,100 people dead. Pro-Kremlin Ukrainian business tycoon and politician Viktor Medvedchuk -- a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who Moscow have backed as a mediator -- was also present at the talks.
Los Angeles (AFP) - NASA on Saturday launched a new Earth-observing satellite that aims to give scientists high-resolution maps showing how much moisture lies in soil in order to improve climate forecasts.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two pilots in a helium-filled balloon landed safely off the coast of Mexico early Saturday after an audacious, nearly 7,000-mile-long trip across the Pacific Ocean that shattered two long-standing records for ballooning.