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Police in Zimbabwe warned Wednesday that they'll shoot to kill if there are "Kenya-style riots" following next month's presidential election. Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said "it is time for political parties to own up if they lose." Hard-line President Robert Mugabe is being challenged by two opponents in the March 29 vote.

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In another heavy blow to Microsoft, the European Union fined the company a record $1.35 billion Wednesday for charging "unreasonable" prices for technical information sold to rivals. In 2004, the EU fined the software giant $613 million for violating competition rules on the Continent and gave it 120 days to share some of its secrets with competitors. Last September, the company lost an appeal of that order. The EU said Microsoft had dragged its feet in complying with the order, adding, "flouting the rules is expensive."

Luxury automaker BWM said Wednesday it will lay off 5,600 more employees by year's end, on top of 2,500 jobs already eliminated. The announcement was the second of its type in two days by a major German company. On Tuesday, electronics giant Siemens said it will cut 3,800 people from its payroll and transfer 1,200 others to plants outside Germany. Above, a BMW employee in Leipzig polishes the hood of a car just off the assembly line.

"A very large earthquake in UK terms" shook England and parts of Wales and Northern Ireland Wednesday, causing property damage and at least one serious injury. The quake, which seismologists said had a magnitude of 5.3, was centered 125 miles north of London and was the strongest in Britain in 24 years. Above, a Barnsley, England, resident inspects damage to his house.

A fictionalized tribute to Charles Dickens – but set in the South Pacific – was among the finalists announced for the 12th annual Kiriyama Prize, which is awarded for books that promote greater understanding of the Pacific Rim and South Asia. Winners in the competition, which also is open to works of nonfiction, will be announced April 1, officials said.

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