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AROUND THE WORLD

Hundreds of cars used to protest Putin

MOSCOW (AP) -- Hundreds of cars circled central Moscow during an opposition demonstration Sunday to demand that Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin allow free elections in Russia.

As they traveled along the wide Garden Ring, which makes a nearly 10-mile loop around the Kremlin, the cars displayed the white ribbons and balloons that have become a symbol of the peaceful anti-Putin protest movement.

Sunday's demonstration took place two weeks before the presidential election, which Putin is expected to win. Although none of his four challengers poses a serious threat, Putin does need to get a majority of the vote to avoid a runoff.

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Suicide bomber kills 20 at police academy

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A suicide bomber detonated his car Sunday as a group of recruits left their police academy here, killing 20 in the latest strike on security officials that angry residents blamed on political feuding that is roiling Iraq.

Police said the suicide bomber was waiting on the street outside the fortified academy near the Interior Ministry in an eastern neighborhood in this capital city. As the crowd of recruits exited the compound's security barriers at about 1 p.m. and walked into the road, police said, the bomber drove toward them and blew up his car.

Five police officers were among the dead; the rest were recruits. An additional 28 recruits and police officers were wounded.

Officials at three nearby hospitals confirmed the casualties.

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Inmate fight sparks prison riot fatal to 44

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) -- A fight among inmates led to a prison riot in northern Mexico that killed 44 people Sunday, a security official said.

Nuevo Leon state public security spokesman Jorge Domene Zambrano said the riot broke out at about 2 a.m. in a high-security section of a prison in the city of Apodaca outside the northern industrial city of Monterrey.

Several inmates attacked others, and the fighting then spread and blew up into a riot, Domene said. Forty-four people were killed before authorities regained control of the prison a couple of hours later, he said.

Deadly fights happen periodically in Mexico's prisons as gangs and drug cartels stage escapes and battle for control of penitentiaries, often with the involvement of officials.

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Vice president backed by Obama in election

SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- President Obama threw his support behind Yemen's vice president just days before an election expected to enshrine him as the new leader of a country that the United States sees as crucial to the fight against al-Qaida.

Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, read the text of a letter from Obama to reporters Sunday after delivering it to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi during a two-day visit to the troubled Persian Gulf nation.

Yemen, the Arab's world's poorest country, has been torn apart during a year-old uprising seeking to oust longtime autocratic President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh's security forces have used lethal force against demonstrators, killing hundreds, and many others have died in armed clashes with security forces.

Under a deal presented by Yemen's powerful Arab neighbors in the gulf region, Hadi is to be rubber-stamped as the country's new leader in presidential elections Tuesday. He is the only candidate.