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Venezuelans Vote in Closely Watched Presidential Election


Venezuela Election: Venezuelans are voting today (Sunday) in one of Latin America's most closely watched presidential elections.
Incumbent Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is seeking re-election to another six-year term.
Ahead of the vote, Mr. Chavez held a solid lead in opinion polls over his rival, Zulia state Governor Manuel Rosales.
But Mr. Rosales has led the opposition's most serious challenge to the president in years and has said he will be victorious.
Mr. Chavez says if he wins, he will begin a new phase of his so-called "Bolivarian Revolution." Named after the 19th century independence leader Simon Bolivar, it directs much of Venezuela's oil wealth toward social programs for the poor.
Mr. Rosales says President Chavez has started to transform Venezuela into a communist dictatorship. He also says crime and corruption have worsened under the president's watch.

Chile Pinochet: Hospital officials in Chile say former dictator Augusto Pinochet has suffered a heart attack.
Officials say the 91-year-old is in serious but stable condition today (Sunday) in a military hospital in the capital, Santiago.
General Pinochet has been accused of committing numerous human rights violations during his rule from 1973 to 1990. More than three-thousand people were killed or disappeared for political reasons during that time.
The former dictator was placed under house arrest last week in connection with the disappearance of two of the thousands of people who went missing under his regime.

Cuba Castro: Cuban President Fidel Castro has failed to attend a military parade to celebrate his 80th birthday, raising concerns the ailing leader may not return to power.
Tens of thousands of Cubans waved flags Saturday as tanks rolled through Havana's streets and jets soared overhead to mark the president's August birthday. The fanfare also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the start of the Cuban revolution.
Mr. Castro had postponed his five-day birthday celebration so he could recuperate from intestinal surgery performed in late July.
The leader known for his hours-long speeches did not even send a message to fellow-Cubans Saturday.

Lebanon Politics: Thousands of Lebanese opposition activists are protesting outside the prime minister's office in Beirut for a third straight day to demand the resignation of the pro-Western government.
Supporters of the pro-Syrian militant group Hezbollah and its allies are camping out in a central Beirut square in a protest that began Friday with a huge opposition rally.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora remains holed up inside his office and is rejecting calls to resign.
He says his government will continue as long as it has the support of parliament, where his anti-Syrian allies hold a majority.

Listen to our World News for details.


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