- - 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

CAIRO — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday told the Arab League he will not resume peace talks without an Israeli settlement freeze.

Mr. Abbas is under international pressure to resume low-level border talks that began last month. His comments Sunday, however, seemed to close the door to further negotiations because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected a settlement freeze, as well as a demand to accept Israel’s pre-1967 war frontier as the basis for a border with a future Palestine.


Troops deployed to face foes of government

MANAMA — Bahrain on Sunday deployed thousands of security forces to confront anti-government protesters ahead of the one-year anniversary of the start of the Shiite-led uprising that seeks to loosen the ruling Sunni dynasty’s monopoly on power.

Opposition groups urged marchers to stream toward an empty lot dubbed “Freedom Square” outside the capital Manama. Some activists seek to occupy the site before Tuesday’s anniversary of the start of the wave of protests and turn it into a new semipermanent hub for the uprising.

Battles between security forces and protesters have flared up almost every day for months across Bahrain, particularly in the predominantly Shiite villages around Manama.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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