- - Sunday, February 12, 2012


Capriles wins primary vote to run against Chavez

CARACAS — State Gov. Henrique Capriles handily won a primary vote Sunday to become the single candidate who will challenge Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, launching a race to try to dislodge a leader who after 13 years in power still has a loyal following.

Opposition election chief Teresa Albanes announced the preliminary results, saying that Mr. Capriles won about 62 percent of the vote, beating Zulia state Gov. Pablo Perez by a margin of more than 30 percentage points.

Chavez opponents lined up to vote in many areas, surpassing most expectations with a turnout of about 2.9 million ballots cast out of Venezuela’s 18 million registered voters. Mr. Capriles had been the front-runner in pre-election polls among five contenders.

“He’s going to be the candidate who can get us out of this giant hole we’re stuck in,” said Carmen Gloria Padilla, a 66-year-old telephone company employee who voted for the 39-year-old governor of Miranda state, who has attracted a following as a charismatic, youthful alternative to Mr. Chavez..

Hundreds of supporters celebrated the win outside Capriles campaign headquarters, holding small flags emblazoned with the slogan “There is a way.”


9 die in avalanche; child, 5, survives

RESTELICA — Rescuers pulled a 5-year-old girl alive from the rubble of a house flattened by a massive avalanche that killed both of her parents and at least seven of her relatives in a remote mountain village in southern Kosovo.

Col. Shemsi Syla, a spokesman for the Kosovo Security Force, said the girl was discovered in the ruins, buried under 33 feet of snow, when officers heard her voice and the ringing of a cellphone.

Rescuers cheered in delight and pumped their fists in the air as the girl emerged alive.

A video aired on Klan Kosovo TV showed rescuers from the Kosovo Security Force and villagers covering the girl with blankets before rushing her from the remote village to a hospital.


Abbas rejects talks without Israeli settlement freeze

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