According to polls, Evo Morales, the incumbent president of Bolivia is poised for reelection. Morales previously sponsored a referendum that allowed him to seek a second term. Morales is the country’s first indigenous president, BBC News.
A run-off vote for president was held in Romania today. Current President Traian Basescu is running against former Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana. Geoana was leading in the polls going into the election. The run-off election follows a November 22 election that was marked with fraud. The third place finisher in that election dropped out and gave his support to Geoana in the run-off, Bloomberg.
Political instability continues in Honduras. Though conservative Porfirio Lobo Sosa won last Sunday’s vote, some countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Spain, are still not recognizing the legitimacy of the election because ousted President Manuel Zelaya was not returned to power before the election. The voter turnout numbers are now being analyzed to see if an argument can be made that the election represented the will of the citizens of Honduras, CNN.
Iraq’s parliament has missed a deadline that would have approved elections for January 2010. Iraq has two vice presidents who both have veto power and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi vowed to not approve new election rules unless greater representation for Iraq’s Sunni population was included. Iraq does not currently have reliable census information. The UN has suggested February 27 as a new target date for an election, Al Jazeera.
Protesters clashed with police in Athens, Greece on the 1st anniversary of the police shooting of teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Two officers charged with his death will begin trial next year, BBC News.
Gunman still sought in shooting deaths of 4 Seattle police officers. Police tracked Maurice Clemmons to a home in east Seattle. Clemmons is thought to be the shooter that killed 4 police officers in a coffee shop near Tacoma, Washington Sunday morning. Clemmons has been arrested multiple times in Washington and his home state of Arkansas. The victims are Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; Officer Ronald Owens, 37; Officer Tina Griswold, 40; and Officer Greg Richards, 42, CNN. Clemmons may have been shot by one of the officers, AFP.
The trial of John Demjanjuk for Nazi war crimes has begun in Munich. Demjanjuk, 89, is in poor health and doctors have asked that the trial to be limited to 3 hours a day. Demjanjuk is accused of being a concentration camp guard at Sobibor in Nazi-occupied Poland. He denies the charges, BBC News.
Swiss voters approved a referendum that would ban minarets, the towers on Muslim mosques. The proposal was driven by the Swiss People’s Party, a far-right party that holds majority in Swiss parliament, BBC News.
Porfirio Lobo, the conservative candidate for President in Honduras appears to have won yesterday’s election. If the rest of the world accepts the vote as legitimate, the Honduran constitutional crisis may be over, New York Times.
Voters in Honduras are at the polls today to select the country’s next president. According to polls, conservative candidate Porfirio Lobo of the National Party is in the lead while the Liberal Party candidate, Elvin Santos, trails behind. Both Manuel Zelaya, the former Honduran president who was deposed in June after he tried to change the country’s constitution so that he would be eligible to run for a third term in office, and Roberto Micheletti, the man who has been acting president since then, are members of the Liberal Party, Christian Science Monitor.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has given up some of the presidential power that was expanded when his predecessor was in office. Presidential power was greatly expanded under President Pervez Musharraf who was a military general. Zardari moved control of the civilian seat on the National Command Authority which controls Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to the office of the Prime Minister, New York Times.
The state news agency of Iran reported that the Iranian parliament has approved the construction of 10 new uranium enrichment nuclear facilities. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency has called for Iran to halt production of a recently discovered nuclear facility at Qom, CNN.
Rwanda has become the 54th country to be admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations and the second to be admitted without a British colonial past. The Commonwealth is a voluntary intergovernmental organization of member states that developed as former members of the British empire developed their own governments, BBC News.
Officials say that a train derailment last night in Russia was mostly likely caused by a terror attack. 26 people were killed and more than 90 were injured. The express train was traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg, CNN. In pictures, BBC News. Bomb fragments have been found at the crash site, Sky News.
The U.S. has said it will recognize the outcome of the upcoming presidential election in Honduras, Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Secret Service has had to apologize after uninvited guests Michaele and Tareq Salahi snuck into a State Dinner at the White House and met with President Obama. The Secret Service says the couple posed no threat to the President and had cleared security checkpoints where they were checked for weapons, New York Times.
More information is available on Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychologist who opened fire at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas yesterday killing 13 people and injuring 30. Although he was initially reported to have been killed, it is now known that Hasan was shot several times by a civilian police officer and is unconscious and under armed guard at a local hospital. Hasan, the son of Palestinian parents who was born in Virginia, is a lifelong Muslim but did not appear to be an extremist. He was harassed after the September 11th attacks. Recently, he had expressed dissatisfaction with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was suspected of posting comments on the internet that seemed to praise suicide bombers, Associated Press. Witnesses say Hasan was calm and methodical during the shootings, ABC News. Hasan was said to have joined the Army in exchange for college fees and to have tried to gain release from his contract but was denied, Times Online. Hansan’s aunt says he even offered to repay his medical training in exchange for discharge. His aunt said that Hasan’s work as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center left him deeply disturbed and fearful of being deployed to Iraq, Washington Post.
Civilian police responded to the shooting within 3 minutes of the attack. Sgt. Kimberly Munley is being hailed as a hero for bringing down Hasan despite being shot herself, Associated Press.
Timeline of the shootings, BBC News.
In Yokohama, near Toyko, Japan, a gunman injured 3 debt-collectors before killing himself. The gunman was a member of organized crime in Japan. Violence, especially gun violence, is rare in Japan and is usually associated with the Japanese mafia (yakuza), BBC News.
The deal that would have restored political order in Honduras appears to have fallen through. Ousted president Manuel Zelaya says that he was unable to join the de facto government that has controlled the country since June 28 when Honduran military forced him to leave the country. Roberto Micheletti has been acting as the country’s leader since Zelaya’s exile. An upcoming scheduled presidential election is expected to proceed as planned but the United States has said the outcome will not be recognized as valid unless Zelaya is returned to power first, New York Times.