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Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Monday extended his grip on power in the oil-rich, ex-Soviet republic with 97.7 percent of ballots in an election slammed by Western observers as deeply flawed. Nazarbayev, who has run the huge Central Asian country since before the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, improved his already eye-popping scores in previous elections to win a fifth term in power. The Central Election Commission claimed a record turnout of 95.22 percent in Sunday's vote. Reacting to criticism of the poll by Western monitors in the capital Astana Monday the 74-year-old president issued a mock apology.
By Scott Malone BOSTON (Reuters) - A lawyer for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev called on a jury on Monday to sentence him to "a lifetime of unrelenting punishment" rather than death. Tsarnaev, a 21-year-old ethnic Chechen, was found guilty early this month of killing three people and injuring 264 in one of the highest-profile attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001, as well as fatally shooting a police officer. "No punishment, no punishment could ever be equal to the terrible effects of these crimes on the innocent people who were killed and hurt or on their families," said defense attorney David Bruck. Defense lawyers countered that Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time of the attack, was following the lead of his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who died after a gunfight with police four days after the bombing.