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UNITED KINGDOM

Queen hands out presents on birthday

LONDON | Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II handed out presents at Westminster Abbey as she celebrated her 85th birthday Thursday.

The sovereign’s birthday for the first time coincided with Maundy Thursday, the day marking Jesus’ Last Supper, when the queen traditionally gives special coins to as many men and as many women as the years of her life.

JAPAN

No-go zone declared around nuclear plant

FUTABA, Japan | Residents rushed back into the 12-mile evacuation zone around Japan’s radiation-spewing nuclear power plant Thursday, grabbing whatever belongings they could before an order went into effect legally banning entry to the area.

Officials said the order announced Thursday was meant to limit exposure to radiation leaking from the plant and to prevent thefts.

Almost all of the zone’s nearly 80,000 residents left when the area was evacuated March 12, but police had not been able to legally block them from going back.

Under a special emergency law, people who enter the zone will be subject to fines of up to $1,200 or possible detention of up to 30 days.

TURKEY

Kurdish candidates can run for parliament

ANKARA | Turkey’s top election body on Thursday reversed a decision that barred several Kurdish candidates from running in a parliamentary vote in June - a move likely to ease violence that has killed one protester and left dozens wounded.

The High Election Board voted unanimously to allow six of seven candidates, backed by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, to run for parliament in June 12 elections. The board accepted arguments that the six candidates were not a threat to the public if they ran for office.

The board’s initial decision to bar the candidates from the ballots sparked outrage in the mainly Kurdish southeast, where protesters attacked banks and police with firebombs and stones.

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