Last 24 Hours: Ukraine region calls for independence, India starts massive vote

Pro-Russia groups in east Ukraine’s Donetsk declared a “People’s Republic of Donetsk” separate from the country’s government in Kyiv. They said, while occupying a regional government building, they will follow the steps of Crimea, another region in Ukraine that was eventually annexed by Russia. They stated there will be a referendum over independence this May.

Protesters in state security building in east Ukraine’s Luhansk have seized weapons and police have closed entrances to the city, local police said. The nation’s interior minister also said the regional administration building in Kharkiv has been cleared of “separatist” protesters.

The world’s largest election ever held is beginning in India. The country’s remote region in the northeast has started to go to the polls this Monday. The elections will be taking place during the next five weeks with half a billion voters – a high turnout predicted – and hundreds of thousands polling stations. [Everything you should know about the election, via The Guaridan]

The United States presses on with a Middle East peace talks rescue attempt. A new angle of conflict has affected the ongoing peace talks, where Palestine has put in a new effort for statehood via the United Nations and Israel wants to respond. Israel’s prime minister says they may take “unilateral action” against Palestine for this move.

Rivals cry foul as first results from Saturday’s national election put a certain candidate, the former foreign minister Abdullah, ahead in Afghanistan vote.

Should know 

Somalia; Two United Nations workers killed by Galkayo Airport in Somalia, UN spokesman says – Lebanon; Fighting in Palestinian camp in south Lebanon killed five – Nigeria; Clashes between Fulani herdsmen and vigilantes killed 72 – Egypt; More are killed in ongoing tribal clash – Jordan; One Syrian refugee killed in clash with Jordanian security

Central African Republic; United Nations leader says CAR peacekeepers “overwhelmed” – Japan; Government orders military to strike any new North Korean missile launches – Iraq; United States warns over security threat in Baghdad

Hungary; Country re-elects prime minister, far-right opposition gains – Egypt; Egypt court upholds jailing of leading pro-democracy activists – United States; U.S. to send F-16 jets to Romania for exercises – Costa Rica; Leftist Solis easily wins elections as sole runner

To watch

Syria; Assad is secure, will seek re-election, Hezbollah leader says – Taiwan; Taiwan anti-China protest exposes island’s nationalist divide – Iran, Pakistan; Navies of Iran, Pakistan to hold joint drill in Hormuz Strait

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