French conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and his Socialist rival, Segolene Royal, are back on the campaign trail after making it through the first round of France's presidential election. Final results from Sunday's ballot show Sarkozy in first place with 31 percent of the vote, and Royal in second place with just under 26-percent. The election drew a near-record voter turnout of almost 85-percent. Opinion polls taken late Sunday suggest Sarkozy would beat Royal in the runoff election to be held May 6th.
SOMALIA: Heavy shelling has pounded the Somalian capital,
Mogadishu, for a sixth straight day as Ethiopian troops backing Somalia's interim government battle to rid the city of Islamic militants. Witnesses say at least four people were killed today (Monday) when an artillery shell hit a residential area. Residents in the capital say they have heard several loud explosions and sporadic gunfire. The ongoing fighting has prompted tens of thousands of Mogadishu residents to flee.
RAQ: Iraqi authorities say three suicide bombers in different parts of the country killed at least 22 people and wounded more than 50 today (Monday). Officials say one attack occurred near the northern city of Mosul, when a suicide bomber detonated his car in front of an office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, killing 10 people and wounding 20. Police say a suicide car bomber also struck a police station in Baqouba, 60 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people and wounding 23.
THAILAND VIOLENCE: Police in Thailand's troubled south say
suspected Muslim insurgents have wounded at least 17 soldiers in separate ambushes. The attacks happened Sunday evening in the Muslim-majority Narathiwat province as soldiers were trying to reach a school that had been set on fire. Rebels there have often aimed attacks against schools, which the insurgents view as collaborating with the government.
CHINA POLLUTION: Chinese state media say pollution has contaminated more than 10 percent of China's farmland, threatening the country's ability to feed itself. State media quote China's Ministry of Land and Resources as saying the situation is getting worse, with large areas of farmland polluted by dirty water, excessive fertilizer, heavy metals and solid wastes. The ministry says heavy metals contaminate 12 million tons of grain every year, causing annual losses of more than two-and-a-half (2.6) billion dollars.
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