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Japan marks 7th anniversary of tsunami
AP, Tokyo
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led a sombre ceremony Sunday as Japan marked the seventh anniversary of a deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that devastated its northeastern coast and left around 18,500 people dead or missing.
The magnitude 9.0 quake-which struck under the Pacific Ocean on March 11, 2011 -- and the resulting tsunami caused widespread damage and took the lives of thousands of people.

Japan PM, finance minister face mounting pressure over cronyism scandal
Reuters, Tokyo
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ally, Finance Minister Taro Aso, face mounting pressure over a suspected cronyism scandal as the finance ministry prepares to report on Monday that documents in the case were doctored.
Abe, now in his sixth year in office, had hoped to put the issue of the sale of state-owned land at a huge discount to a school operator with ties to his wife, Akie, behind him. But it has gathered steam with a series of fresh revelations.

London school removes 'homosexual' mentions from textbook
AFP, London
A state-funded Orthodox Jewish girls school in north London has admitted to censoring sections of textbooks to remove mentions of homosexuals and examples of women socialising with men, to protect girls from sexualisation, the media reported.
Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' school in Stamford Hill, which serves the strictly Orthodox Haredi community, covered text and images including Hollywood actor Fred Astaire dancing with actress Ginger Rogers, reports the Guardian.

18 Afghan soldiers killed fighting
Reuters, Lashkargah
As many as 18 Afghan soldiers and members of the special forces have been killed in fighting in the western province of Farah, local officials said on Saturday. Taliban fighters attacked troops assembled to prepare an attack in Bala Buluk district in the night, setting off a fierce battle, officials said. Defence Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said four members of the special forces had been killed and a number wounded, but the head of the local provincial council.
Farid Bakhtawar, said the death toll had reached at least 18.

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