International News from CNN

Ukraine separatists: Vote is still on

Pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine insisted Saturday that a controversial referendum on greater autonomy will go ahead -- despite calls from Kiev and Moscow not to hold the vote amid soaring tensions.

South Sudan rivals sign cease-fire deal

South Sudan's President has reached a cease-fire deal with a rebel leader following five months of violence in the world's youngest nation.

First lady: Nigeria kidnappings 'unconscionable'

First lady Michelle Obama on Saturday condemned the "unconscionable" kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian school girls, saying the action was taken by "a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education."

Protesters descend on Thai capital

Thousands of protesters surrounded Bangkok's Government House on Friday seeking the removal of Thailand's embattled caretaker government amid soaring political tensions following the ouster of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Venezuela cracks down on protest camps

The Venezuelan government detained 243 protesters in a swift, predawn operation targeting four campsites set up at public squares around Caracas, the capital.

Brazil wrestles with crack epidemic as it readies up for World Cup

Officials have launched a string of initiatives to tackle Brazil's crack epidemic but critics say they often seem more concerned with cleaning up the streets before the World Cup than addressing the causes of addiction or providing solutions for users themselves.

'Daddy, Boko Haram is here'

CNN's Isha Sesay recounts the agonizing conversation between an abducted Nigerian girl and her father.

Iraq launches large-scale offensive in Falluja

Iraq has launched a large-scale military operation to regain control of the city of Falluja, held by anti-government fighters since December, the Defense Ministry said Friday.

Berlusconi starts community service

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi began a year of community service for his conviction on tax fraud charges on Friday when he showed up at a senior center near his hometown, Milan.

Pistorius defense suggests Steenkamp wasn't cowering

One of the most respected ballistics experts in South Africa disputed key elements of the prosecution case against Oscar Pistorius on Friday, saying that the girlfriend he killed last year did not appear to have been in a defensive position when he shot her.

Crowds in Moscow, Sevastopol, cheer parade

Crowds packed the streets of Moscow and the Crimean city of Sevastopol on Friday for Victory Day parades in an annual show of nationalistic fervor heightened by Russia's recent annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

U.S. officials 'hitting the ground' in Nigeria

U.S. military officials are expected to arrive in Nigeria on Friday to help in the search for hundreds of girls kidnapped by Islamist militants, the Pentagon said.