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Surveys: Honduran Conservative is Favorite in Sunday's Presidential Election


HONDURAS: Voters in Honduras go to the polls Sunday to vote for a new president some five months after President Manuel Zelaya was ousted from office. Recent opinion polls indicate conservative candidate Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo of the opposition National Party is the clear front-runner with a 16-point lead over Elvin Santos of Mr. Zelaya's ruling Liberal Party, which ousted him in June. Both Mr. Lobo and Mr. Santos support Mr. Zelaya's removal from power, a move that brought international isolation to the poor Central American nation. Both candidates also signed a pledge to respect the outcome of the vote and honor the constitutional ban on running for re-election. Mr. Zelaya was removed from office after pushing for a referendum to reconsider the ban. The date for Sunday's election was set before the June coup.

URUGUAY VOTE: Uruguay is voting Sunday in a runoff presidential election to select a new president who will take office in March. The contest is between former guerrilla leader Jose Mujica and former President Luis Alberto Lacalle.
Public opinion poll results released Friday put Mr. Mujica ahead of Mr. Lacalle by about eight percentage points. Mr. Mujica had the most votes in the first round election in October, but not enough to avoid a runoff. Mr. Mujica once led the Tupamaro guerrillas, a group that organized political killings and bank robberies in the 1960s. He was held in solitary confinement in prison for years. Mr. Lacalle was Uruguay's president from 1990 to 1995. The winner will replace President Tabare Vazquez, who has successfully guided Uruguay's economy during his five years in office.

RWANDA - COMMONWEALTH: Rwanda has been admitted into the Commonwealth, becoming the 54th nation to join the group mainly composed of former British colonies. The decision to accept the central African nation into the group was made late Saturday at a Commonwealth summit in the Caribbean island-state Trinidad and Tobago. Rwanda applied for membership last year. Rwandan Information Minister Lousie Mushikiwabo is quoted by the country's New Times online edition saying Kigali sees the "accession as recognition of the tremendous progress this country has made in the last 15 years." A former colony of Germany and Belgium, Rwanda is the second country, after Mozambique, with no British colonial past or constitutional link to Britain to be admitted into the Commonwealth.

AFGHANISTAN: Officials in Afghanistan say border security guards have killed at least 26 militants in a gunbattle near the country's border with Pakistan.
Afghan officials say no security guards were killed in Sunday's clash in Khost province. They say coalition air support backed the guards during the battle, which lasted several hours. On Saturday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Britain will host an international conference on Afghanistan next year to outline conditions for handing security responsibilities back to Afghan authorities. Mr. Brown made the announcement alongside U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Commonwealth summit in Trinidad and Tobago.

IRAN - NUCLEAR: Iran's parliament speaker has warned that Tehran could reduce its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, two days after the United Nations agency voted to censure Iran over its nuclear activities. Speaker Ali Larijani said during a parliament session Sunday that Iran would review its policy of cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog if the international community continues to pressure Iran. The IAEA resolution approved Friday criticizes Iran for defying international demands to freeze uranium enrichment and secretly building a nuclear facility. The resolution demands Iran stop the project immediately and disclose any other hidden nuclear activities. China and Russia have close ties with Iran, but voted for the censure in what was seen as a rare move that further steps up pressure on Tehran. Iran has denounced the resolution, calling it an intimidation tactic.

NORTH KOREA - REFUGEES: An international group of lawmakers has urged countries to better protect and support North Korean defectors. Representatives from 12 mostly Asian countries met Saturday in the Thai city of Chiang Mai to raise attention to the plight of North Korean refugees. The group adopted a statement demanding that China stop forcibly repatriating refugees to North Korea, where they could face execution, and instead offer them protection as refugees. A Japanese lawmaker at the meetingsays China has a deal with Pyongyang to repatriate all North Korean defectors. Lawmakers also praised Thailand's efforts to not send refugees back to North Korea and instead allow them to go to South Korea or another country. Many North Korean refugees hide in China but others travel to Thailand, a key transit route for those making their way to South Korea.

CHINA - EU: Senior European economic policy makers said Sunday that a gradual rise in the Chinese yuan against all major floating currencies is in the interest of both China and the world economy. After a meeting in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank, told reporters that officials advised China to take a more flexible monetary policy. China says it needs a stable exchange rate against the dollar to support its economic recovery. But Europe accuses Beijing of having an unfair advantage in world markets.

Listen to our audio for translations of these news items.



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