AP News in Brief at 10:58 p.m. EDT

Sunday, April 6, 2014

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Ships race to investigate signals in Malaysian jet search; official warns against false hope

PERTH, Australia (AP) - A British navy ship with sophisticated sound-locating equipment arrived Monday in a patch of the southern Indian Ocean to determine whether underwater sounds picked up by a Chinese ship crew using a hand-held device came from the missing Malaysia Airlines black boxes.

Britain reported the HMS Echo had arrived in the new area. It will be in a race against time to determine what the noises are, because the battery-powered pingers that emit sounds from the black boxes are on the verge of dying out.

Meanwhile, the Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, which is carrying high-tech sound detectors from the U.S. Navy, was investigating a sound it picked up in another area about 555 kilometers (345 miles) away. Australian authorities said once it had finished that investigation, it would head the new area to help the HMS Echo.

Searchers on Monday were anticipating good weather, with nine military planes, three civilian planes and a total of 14 ships expected to search for Flight 370, which vanished a month ago.

Hopes of finding the plane were given a boost after a Chinese ship picked up an electronic pulsing signal on Friday and again Saturday. The Ocean Shield detected a third signal in the different area Sunday, the head of the multinational search said.

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Afghan elections hailed as triumph of democracy over violence, though Taliban threat remains

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghans and the international community hailed its presidential election as a triumph of democracy over violence Sunday, despite complaints about ballot shortages and sporadic fraud after millions of people braved a Taliban threat to vote for a new president. But some cautioned against declaring a premature defeat of the Islamic militants.

Securing the vote was a test for Afghan government forces as they prepare to take full responsibility for their own security as the U.S. and allied forces end their combat mission at the end of this year. The consensus was that they largely passed, though there was sporadic violence.

A roadside bomb hit a pickup truck transporting ballot boxes Sunday in the northern province of Kunduz, killing three people, officials said. But the major attacks that had been feared did not materialize.

“This in itself is a victory over violence and a victory over all those who wanted to deter democracy by threats and violence,” said Thijs Berman, the head of the European Union’s election assessment team in Kabul.

Electoral officials, meanwhile, urged patience, saying officials continued to log complaints and tally ballots. The ballots were coming from more than 20,000 polling stations nationwide, some in extremely remote and rural areas. They were being transported to tally centers in all 34 provinces before the results reach Kabul.

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APNewsBreak: Lacking lawmakers’ support, Obama uses executive actions to test workforce ideas

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