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World briefs: Sarkozy's party fares poorly in local elections

By Times Wires
Published March 10, 2008


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France

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling party appeared to suffer major losses in municipal elections across the country Sunday in what some voters and public surveys described as a rebuke of his personal escapades and uneven economic programs. Voting returns and exit polls indicated that Socialist candidates could unseat members of Sarkozy's ruling Union for a Popular Movement in key towns in runoff elections next Sunday and were easily maintaining their power bases in Paris and Lyon, the country's third-largest city. Nine months after his inauguration, Sarkozy has become such a liability to his party that most of its candidates shunned his support and some stripped the governing party's labels from their Internet sites and campaign literature.

Venezuela

Ties are restored with Colombia

Venezuela said Sunday that it was restoring full diplomatic ties with Colombia that were broken off in a regional crisis sparked by a cross-border Colombian attack on a leftist rebel camp in Ecuador. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said it was reopening its embassy in Colombia and will allow Colombian diplomats it expelled to return.

U.S.-sought drug suspect captured

One of the U.S. government's most-wanted drug trafficking suspects has been captured in Venezuela, state television reported Sunday. The United States offered a reward of up to $5-million for the arrest of Hermagoras Gonzalez Polanco. He has been indicted in New Jersey on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and in New York on drug trafficking charges.

Elsewhere

Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe, campaigning for elections, has signed a law requiring foreign- and white-owned businesses to hand over 51 percent control of their operations to blacks, state media reported Sunday.

Iran: The government is ready to negotiate with Europe over its nuclear program if there would be "meaningful and effective" results, Iran's foreign minister said Sunday. The comments came just days after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared to rule out any nuclear negotiations with Europe.

Times wires

[Last modified March 10, 2008, 00:07:50]


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