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Libya says 330,000 voters register for June poll

TRIPOLI — The chief of Libya’s election commission said on Sunday that 330,000 people have so far registered as voters to elect the nation’s first constituent assembly in June. “The number of voters registered by yesterday (Saturday) evening is 330,000,” Nuri al-Abbar told a news conference in Tripoli. Abbar said…

U.S. ready to expedite Chinese activist’s visa: Biden

WASHINGTON — The United States will grant Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng a visa as soon as he applies for one, and expects Beijing to stand by its promises, Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday. Biden told NBC television that Washington wanted to help Chen take up the offer of a…

Pirate Party picks up parliament seat in German regional election

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition lost power in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, first estimates showed Sunday, after a vote that could presage national elections next year. Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) scored 30.6 percent, according to ARD public television, with her junior partners at the national level, the…

Hugo Chavez reelection bid in doubt

President Hugo Chavez’s repeated trips to Cuba for cancer treatment and the government’s silence about his health are fueling rumors that he will name a successor to run in October presidential elections. So far, the government has fiercely maintained that there is no alternative to Chavez, who still leads in the polls. But several names…

South African traditional leaders oppose gay rights

South Africa’s National House of Traditional Leaders wants parliament to delete a clause in the constitution that guarantees equal rights to homosexuals, a media report said Sunday. The leaders, who advise the government on traditional laws and customs among ethnic groups such as the Zulu and Xhosa, made the request in reply to the…

China activist seeks official help to go abroad

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng said Sunday he remained in aBeijing hospital but had asked government officials to help him apply to go abroad, after a deal between China and the United States. “Now I have notified the hospital to invite them (government officials) to help me do the procedures. I really don’t have a way,” he…

France votes in presidential showdown

French voters went to the polls Sunday to give their final verdict in the hard-fought presidential battle between right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and his Socialist challenger Francois Hollande. Opinion polls and electioneering were banned in the final 32 hours before polling stations opened at 8:00 am (0600 GMT), but Hollande…

Facebook execs hit the road to persuade investors

NEW YORK — Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable US firms when it goes public later this month, now must convince investors in the next two weeks that it is worth all the hype. Top executives at the world’s leading social network have kicked off their…

Israel’s Labour leader slams Netanyahu on Iran

JERUSALEM — The head of Israel’s Labour party on Saturday slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for presenting a potential nuclear Iran as the Jewish state’s greatest threat. “It is a mistake to make the Iranian threat into Israel’s central problem,” Shelly Yacimovitch said in a televised interview with privately-owned Channel…

Buffett jokes with shareholders after cancer diagnosis

WASHINGTON — Billionaire Warren Buffett, who announced last month he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, on Saturday joked about his health and told shareholders: “I feel terrific.” “I have four doctors, at least a few own Berkshire Hathaway” stock, he said with a smile at the yearly stockholders’…

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