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AP Top International News at 10:58 a.m. EDT

Freed Ukrainian pilot returns home after 2 years in Russia
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Russia freed Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko on Wednesday after holding her for nearly two years, with President Vladimir Putin pardoning her as part of a swap for two Russian servicemen jailed in Ukraine....

Swedish court denies detention hearing request by Assange
HELSINKI (AP) -- A Swedish court has turned down a request to overturn the arrest warrant of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange....

The Latest: Council of Europe welcomes Savchenko's release
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- The Latest on Ukrainian pilot Nadezda Savchenko (all times local):...

Afghan Taliban appoint new leader after Mansour's death
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Afghan Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that their leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week and that they have appointed a successor - a scholar known for extremist views who is unlikely to back a peace process with Kabul....

Israel's new defense minister could clash with his soldiers
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's incoming defense minister once called for bombing Egypt, suggested just weeks ago that Israel kill Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip and opposed the prosecution of a soldier accused of killing a wounded Palestinian. These are just a few of the positions that could put former bar bouncer Avigdor Lieberman at odds with the military he now commands....

In Iraq battle, IS prevents Fallujah residents from fleeing
BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Islamic State group is preventing people from fleeing Fallujah amid a military operation to recapture the city west of Baghdad, a local Iraqi official and aid groups said on Wednesday....

Poland starts chopping down beetle-infested trees in forest
WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Authorities have started chopping down beetle-infested trees in parts of Poland's oldest forest, a move that aims to eliminate dying trees and to ensure safety for tourists, a government official said Wednesday....

Yemeni officials: Airstrike kills 11 from same family
SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- The death toll of a suspected Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit a family's house in southern Yemen has been raised to 11, including four children from one family, security officials and witnesses said Wednesday....

Azerbaijan court orders release of investigative journalist
BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) -- A court in Azerbaijan on Wednesday ordered a prominent, award-winning investigative journalist to be released on probation following a storm of international protests about her case, which has been widely seen as an attempt to silence a critical voice....

Dutch king: European bouquet incomplete without English rose
BRUSSELS (AP) -- Dutch King Willem-Alexander has used a speech to the European Parliament to make a plea for unity less than a month before Britain's referendum on whether to remain in the 28-nation bloc....

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AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
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Up to the Minute
Kenya military: 21 al-Shabab extremists killed in ambush

Linked to emperor, Ise Shrine is no ordinary shrine

Swedish leader reshuffles government after gaffes, scandal

Latin America/Caribbean
Secret recording in Brazil puts Senate leader on defensive

Middle East
Israel's new defense minister could clash with his soldiers