UKRAINE ELECTION: Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych has a narrow lead in Sunday's runoff presidential election, and has claimed victory in what would be an astonishing comeback for the pro-Russia candidate.
With about 94 percent of the votes counted, official results give Mr. Yanukovych slightly more than 48 percent of the vote compared to about 46 percent for his opponent, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Mr. Yanukovych is calling on the prime minster to resign, but Ms. Tymoshenko is refusing to concede defeat. Ms. Tymoshenko accused pro-Yanukovych forces of ballot-box stuffing in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, and her campaign said it will contest votes cast in about 1,000 polling stations.
Official final results are expected later this week.
COSTA RICA ELECTIONS: Ruling party candidate Laura Chinchilla is on her way toward becoming Costa Rica's first woman president, taking a big lead in Sunday's presidential election. Partial results showed Chinchilla with 49 percent of the votes cast, more than twice the total of any of other six candidates, Her main opponents quickly conceded defeat. A total vote of 40 percent would be enough to avoid a run-off election. Chinchilla served as vice president undergoing President Oscar Arias. Chinchilla promised to continue Mr. Aria's business-friendly policies and to take measures to cub rising crime.
US-SHUTTLE: The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour is on its way to the International Space Station. NASA launched the shuttle from the Kennedy Space Center on the Atlantic coast in Florida early Monday. A Sunday morning launch had been called off because of poor weather at the launch site.
The six astronauts aboard the shuttle are scheduled to deliver parts to the International Space Station for the last major construction operation on the orbiting outpost, which is almost complete.
AFGHANISTAN: In southern Afghanistan, Taliban militants are digging in for a fight against NATO forces preparing a massive assault on a key insurgent stronghold.
Witnesses say Taliban fighters are bringing in weapons supplies and digging in around Marjah in Helmand province, home to an estimated 80,000 people and center of opium trafficking. NATO commanders say thousands of coalition and Afghan troops are preparing to take back Marjah in one of the biggest offensives of the eight-year-old Afghan war.
The fight for Marjah, expected to begin soon, will be the first major operation by coalition forces since U.S. President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan to overcome Taliban resistance.
THAILAND-THAKSIN: The government of Thailand says it is deploying 20,000 troops across the country ahead of a court ruling on the fortune of ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. A government spokesman (Panitan Wattanayagorn) said Monday protests will be allowed, but violence is a concern in the event of a backlash if the court seizes Mr. Thaksin's $2.2 billion worth of assets when it rules on February 26. Thaksin loyalists are stepping up anti-government demonstrations ahead of the court date.
Mr. Thaksin's fortune was frozen after he was deposed in a coup in 2006 and could be seized by authorities.
SPORTS/SUPERBOWL: The celebrations have begun in New Orleans, as the city's National Football League team -- the Saints -- have won their first Super Bowl championship title, bringing joy to a city still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The Saints surprised the favored Indianapolis Colts 31 to 17 Sunday evening before a packed stadium in Miami, Florida -- and an expected 100-million television viewers in the United States and millions more around the world.
Early in the game, the Saints trailed 10 to nothing, but battled back for the victory, tying the mark for the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.