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story.lead_photo.caption Milo Djukanovic, leader of Montenegro’s ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, and wife Lidija cast their ballots Sunday at the polling station in the capital, Podgorica, during the country’s presidential election.

Montenegro ruling party claims victory

PODGORICA, Montenegro -- Montenegro's ruling party declared leader Milo Djukanovic the winner of Sunday's presidential election after preliminary projections showed he swept the vote and avoided a runoff.

The Center for Monitoring and Research said after a near-complete vote count that Djukanovic won nearly 54 percent while his main opponent, Mladen Bojanic, won 33 percent.

If confirmed in the official vote count, the result will present a major boost for Djukanovic, who defied Russia to take his country into NATO last year.

The vote, the first since Montenegro joined the Western military alliance in December, was seen as a test for Djukanovic, who favors European integration over closer ties to traditional ally Moscow.

Bojanic, who was backed by several opposition groups, including pro-Russian ones, vowed to continue his struggle against Djukanovic, describing him as "the man holding Montenegro and its institutions hostage."

Djukanovic, the country's dominant politician, and his Democratic Party of Socialists have ruled Montenegro for nearly 30 years. President Filip Vujanovic of that party was not running because of term limits.

Hostage crisis diverts Air China plane

BEIJING -- An Air China flight bound for Beijing was diverted to central China on Sunday after a passenger held a flight attendant hostage using a pen as a weapon, authorities said.

All passengers and crew members on Flight 1350 made it safely off the plane after it landed in Zhengzhou at 10 a.m. because of what had earlier been described by authorities as an unspecified "illegal interference."

The flight had taken off at 8:40 a.m. from Changsha in Hunan province and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 11 a.m.

The Civil Aviation Authority of China said in a statement on its website that the plane was diverted when a male passenger held a flight attendant hostage. It said only that "the matter was successfully handled" by 1:17 p.m., but did not provide any details.

Police in Zhengzhou's Henan province said in a statement that the alleged hostage-taker had a history of mental illness and suffered an unspecified "sudden" psychological disorder when he grabbed the flight attendant. It identified the man by only his surname, Xu, and said he was 41 and from Anhua, a county in Hunan. Police arrested him at about 1 p.m., according to the statement.

Hamas tunnel destroyed, Israelis say

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli military said Sunday that it has destroyed a Gaza attack tunnel built by Hamas militants that penetrated Israeli territory.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said the new Hamas tunnel was connected to a network dug in the northern Gaza Strip and entered Israel near the Israeli community of Nahal Oz. It's the fifth such Hamas tunnel Israel has destroyed in as many months.

Conricus said the tunnel was adjacent to the site of recent mass protests, which Israel says Hamas is using as a cover for attacks.

Conricus said Hamas began building the tunnel after the 2014 war. Israel has placed a high priority on halting the tunnel threat since Hamas infiltrated Israel during the war. Although they did not manage to reach civilian areas, the infiltrations caught Israel off guard, with one attack killing five soldiers, and terrified local residents.

Taliban blamed in deadly Afghan attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan -- At least 11 Afghan paramilitary forces were killed when the Taliban attacked their checkpoint, an official said Sunday.

Zabi Amani, a spokesman for the governor of the northern Sari Pul province, said two other members of the paramilitary force were wounded in the attack late Saturday. He said three insurgents were killed, including a local commander, and four others were wounded.

Those targeted were members of the Local Uprising Forces, militias supported by the government.

No one immediately claimed the attack, but Amani blamed the Taliban, who are active in the area.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, insurgents attacked two security checkpoints in the eastern Ghazni province, killing four police and wounding five others, according to Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor. He said the Taliban opened fire on the checkpoints and then targeted reinforcements with a roadside bomb.

A Section on 04/16/2018

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