DONETSK, Ukraine

Kiev pursues diplomacy as troops continue attacks

Government troops pressed attacks Tuesday in the two largest cities held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, while Kiev also pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed more than 2,000 and displaced another 300,000.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko prepared to host German Chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend before heading to a meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The next two weeks “will be crucial for finding the way to move from war to peace,” said Valery Chaly, the deputy head of Poroshenko’s administration.

He said in a televised briefing that Kiev sees “clear diplomatic roadmap” ahead and expressed hope that a new approach could be found to end the war.

Poroshenko’s efforts to quell the insurgency have been focused on encircling Donetsk, the largest rebel-controlled city and a regional capital. Fighting began in mid-April after Russia annexed Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea, while Kiev’s forces have recaptured significant amounts of territory from the separatists.

In fighting Tuesday, one soldier was killed and four were wounded when a pro-Kiev battalion of volunteers came under mortar fire before entering the town of Ilovaysk, 11 miles east of Donetsk, Ukrainian officials said.


Protesters demand prime minister’s resignation

Tens of thousands of protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes broke through barriers protecting Pakistan’s parliament and other government buildings Tuesday night, demanding the country’s prime minister resign.

Wearing masks and carrying makeshift shields, they hammered through a barrier around the zone, which also holds the president’s and prime minister’s ceremonial homes and many diplomatic posts.


Misbehaving students to be disciplined at school

The nation’s second largest school district says students caught misbehaving will be sent to the principal’s office rather than the courthouse as part of sweeping reforms to the discipline policy at Los Angeles schools.

Superintendent John Deasy says the district’s police officers won’t arrest or cite students for low-level offenses but will instead refer them to administrators or counselors.

The change by the Los Angeles Unified School District marks the latest rollback to harsh penalties imposed under “zero tolerance” policies.


Powerball prize of $1 million unclaimed by deadline

A Powerball ticket sold in West Virginia that was worth $1 million from the Feb. 11 drawing has gone unclaimed. West Virginia Lottery spokesman Randy Burnside says no one stepped forward by the Aug. 11 deadline.

– From news service reports

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