ANC heading to S. Africa win

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JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's long-ruling African National Congress was headed to another big victory in national elections Thursday, though it appeared to fall short of President Jacob Zuma's goal of a two-thirds majority, incomplete results showed.

The ANC led with 63 percent of the vote after nearly 83 percent of the ballots had been tallied, in keeping with projections that the party, mired in corruption scandals and headed by the unpopular Mr. Zuma, would shed a few percentage points off its share of the total this election. In the last general election, in 2009, it won 65.9 percent of the vote.

If the ANC's lead holds until the final returns are tabulated today, Mr. Zuma, who has battled charges of corruption and rape in recent years, should easily earn a second term.

Offshore drilling pushed

BEIJING -- China insisted Thursday it had every right to drill for oil off Vietnam's coast and warned its neighbor to leave the area around the deep-sea rig where Chinese and Vietnamese ships are engaged in a tense standoff.

With the ships jostling each other since China deployed the rig last weekend in disputed South China Sea waters, the United States warned both sides to de-escalate tensions and urged China to clarify its claims to the territory.

The stalemate underlines the apparently intractable nature of many of China's territorial disputes with its neighbors and the ship standoff -- with both sides accusing the other of ramming ships -- has raised the possibility of a conflict in the South China Sea's most serious incident in years.

China shames dissident

BEIJING -- One of China's most venerable dissident journalists was paraded on state television Thursday morning, apologizing for spilling state secrets that embarrassed the Chinese Communist Party.

The public shaming of Gao Yu, a 70-year-old grandmother who had written widely about the pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square, was perhaps the most shocking in a recent series of on-air confessions.

The leaked document appears to have been ideological guidelines distributed to cadres last year by the Communist Party's Central Committee.

Attacks kill 10 troops

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- A roadside bombing in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border killed nine paramilitary troops Thursday while another soldier died in an attack farther south, the army said.

The Pakistani military, meanwhile, test-fired a ballistic missile that it said could carry a nuclear warhead, an exercise meant to showcase the nuclear-armed nation's capabilities.

Also, Pakistan freed an FBI agent on nearly $10,000 bail three days after he was detained carrying knives and ammunition in his bag, officials said. The American was identified as Joel Cox from the bureau's Miami field office,

S. Sudan war report

UNITED NATIONS -- Both sides in the South Sudan civil war have committed crimes against humanity including arbitrary killings, mass rapes and other sexual violence, systematic pillaging and attacks on churches, hospitals and international aid facilities, the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan said Thursday.

The 61-page report, along with an equally sobering Amnesty International account of the war that has upended the young country over the past half year, came amid preparations for talks between President Salva Kiir and his chief antagonist, the rebel leader Riek Machar, in Ethiopia.

-- Compiled from news services

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