- - Sunday, March 13, 2011

IRAN

Court sets trial for American hikers

TEHRAN | The Iranian government says a second session in the trial of three Americans accused of spying will be held May 11, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.

Ali Reza Avaei, head of Tehran’s justice department, said the upcoming session will likely be closed, as the first one was on Feb. 6.

Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd were hiking in northern Iraq near the Iranian border in July 2009 when Iranian forces detained them. Iranian officials have accused them of spying for the U.S., but the Americans deny the charges.

Mr. Bauer and Mr. Fattal pleaded not guilty in the February session. Miss Shourd was released on bail last September and fled the country. She pleaded not guilty in absentia.

PERU

Leading candidates lose ground in poll

LIMA | The three front-runners in Peru’s presidential election race have lost ground to leftist Ollanta Humala and former Economy Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, raising uncertainty ahead of the April 10 vote, a poll showed Sunday.

Former President Alejandro Toledo remained the top candidate, but his support slipped 2 percentage points, to 26.6 percent, in the Catholic University poll conducted across the country between March 4 and March 8.

The poll, which surveyed 1,570 people in urban and rural areas, had lawmaker Keiko Fujimori at 19.3 percent, down from 20.3 percent. Former Lima Mayor Luis Castaneda saw his support inch down to 17.3 percent from 17.5 percent.

Support for the left-wing ultra-nationalist Mr. Humala rose 3.5 percentage points, to 15.5 percent, while Mr. Kuczynski gained 7 percentage points, to 10.6 percent.

“The difference between the first- and the fifth-placed candidate has shrunk. Also, the gap between the second- and fourth-placed is a little under 4 percent, which means the outlook for April 10 is highly uncertain,” the pollster added.

SAUDI ARABIA

Relatives demand release of protesters

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