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Mass killings feared in wake of elections

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) -- Reports of dozens of bodies being dumped near a large forest first emerged as human rights groups warned that security forces loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo were abducting political opponents after the disputed election.

Now the United Nations believes up to 80 bodies may have been moved to a building nestled among shacks in a pro-Gbagbo neighborhood. Investigators have tried to go there several times, and even made it as far as the building's front door before truckloads of men with guns showed up and forced them to leave.

Simon Munzu, the head of the U.N. human rights division, urged security forces Thursday to allow investigators inside. Gbagbo's government has repeatedly denied the existence of mass graves following violence over the disputed presidential runoff that has left at least 173 confirmed dead already. Most of the world recognizes Alassane Ouattara as the winner.

A second mass burial site is believed to be located near Gagnoa in the interior of the country, the U.N. said.


Queen joyful in birth of 1st great-grandchild

LONDON (AP) -- Queen Elizabeth was delighted with the birth of her first great-grandchild, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. Autumn Phillips, wife of the queen's grandson, Peter Phillips, gave birth to a baby girl on Wednesday, the palace said. The baby weighed 8 pounds and 8 ounces.

The newborn is 12th in line to the throne, and the palace said her name will be released later. Peter Phillips was present at the birth, which took place at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

The queen, her husband Prince Philip, and Autumn Phillips' family "are delighted with the news," the palace said in a statement. Peter Phillips, 33, the queen's oldest grandchild, is the son of Princess Anne and her first husband Mark Phillips. He and his younger sister, Zara Phillips, are among the most low-profile members of the royal family, and they are the only ones among the queen's eight grandchildren not to hold royal titles. Princess Anne turned down her mother's offer of the honors for her two children.

Peter Phillips married Montreal-born Autumn in May 2008 at Windsor Castle.


Jailed oil tycoon gets 6 more years in prison

MOSCOW (AP) -- Jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sentenced to six more years in prison Thursday following a trial seen as payback for his defiance of Vladimir V. Putin.

The ruling drew immediate condemnation from the United States and European governments, who called it evidence of the use of Russia's judicial system for political ends. Khodorkovsky's mother cursed the judge and said it was clear he had come under strong pressure. Putin, now prime minister, has been seen as the driving force behind the unrelenting legal attack on Khodorkovsky, who challenged him early in his presidency. As Putin considers a return to the presidency in 2012, he appears unwilling to risk the possibility that a freed Khodorkovsky could help lead his political foes.

"It's a very cruel and absurd sentence, " said Lyudmila Alexeyeva, a veteran rights activist.

Khodorkovsky had angered Putin by funding opposition parties.


Cameron says creation of jobs is top priority

LONDON (AP) -- Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to prioritize jobs and economic growth in 2011, but his New Year's message warns of tough times ahead with harsh budget cuts needed to tackle Britain's massive deficit.

Small businesses -- not the debt-ridden government -- will be the most important job creator, Cameron said, and he promised to consider more bank lending and other measures to help entrepreneurs grow and create a "new economic dynamism" in Britain.

Despite that upbeat note, Cameron acknowledged that tough austerity measures mean 2011 will be a rough year for many.

"We have been living seriously beyond our means," he said. "2011 is going to be a difficult year, as we take hard but necessary steps to sort things out."

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