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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Ukraine plans closer ties to West Europe

From Wire Reports

Kiev, Ukraine – Political leaders who won strong voter endorsement for their pledges of reform and closer ties with Western Europe began work Monday on forming a parliamentary coalition to deliver on those promises.

Russian officials grudgingly said they would accept the results of Sunday’s elections for Ukraine’s Supreme Council that will give a trio of pro-Europe parties a majority and the power to steer their troubled nation into the West’s democratic fold.

With most of the vote counted late Monday, political movements headed by President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and a new alliance of young activists had at least 54 percent of the vote locked up for their expected coalition.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose Fatherland Party placed sixth with 5.7 percent, has also promised to join forces with the Europe-leaning leaders.

Israel plans to keep building in Jerusalem

Jerusalem – Israel’s prime minister pledged Monday to keep building in east Jerusalem, despite stiff international criticism and recent rising tensions between Jews and Arabs in the city.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government said it was advancing construction plans to build about 1,000 housing units in east Jerusalem, the part of the city the Palestinians demand for their future state.

Speaking to parliament, Netanyahu defended the stance, saying there was a wide consensus in Israel to continue building throughout the city, just as every Israeli government has done since Israel captured east Jerusalem in 1967.

Prosecution to appeal Pistorius verdict

Johannesburg, South Africa – Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius could see his murder acquittal overturned or could face a stiffer sentence in the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, if Pretoria’s high court grants a prosecution request to appeal.

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority announced Monday that it would ask to appeal both Pistorius’ murder acquittal and his five-year jail term, which many here saw as overly lenient. Spokesman Nathi Mncube said the legal arguments were being finalized and the appeal request would be lodged in coming days.

Judge Thokozile Masipa last week sentenced Pistorius, a double amputee runner, on a charge of “culpable homicide,” similar to manslaughter. She had previously acquitted him of murder. Pistorius, who claimed he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder, could be released to house arrest in 10 months.

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