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Heads Of State

August 27, 2009 | Associated Press
President Hamid Karzai extended his lead over his top challenger in Afghanistan's presidential election, new vote results showed Wednesday, but remains short of the 50% threshold that would allow him to avoid a two-man runoff. Afghan election officials are slowly releasing results from last week's presidential election, and final certified results will not be ready until at least mid-September, after dozens of serious complaints of fraud have been investigated. Low turnout and the fraud allegations have cast a pall over the vote, seen as crucial to efforts to stabilize the country, which is racked by Taliban insurgents and doubts over its fragile democracy.
July 23, 2009 | Tracy Wilkinson
The chief mediator in the Honduran coup crisis offered a 12-point proposal Wednesday that calls for the reinstatement of ousted President Manuel Zelaya as early as Friday. But Zelaya's delegation immediately rejected the plan because of the conditions it attached to his return to office. Representatives of the de facto government that deposed Zelaya said they would submit the proposal to the Honduran Supreme Court and attorney general's office for consideration.
May 30, 2009 | SANDY BANKS
California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass earned her political stripes on the streets as a grass-roots activist for more than a decade. Her Community Coalition helped change the landscape of South Los Angeles by shutting down seedy low-rent motels and converting liquor stores to grocery markets. Her colleagues in Sacramento had such faith in her, they elected her speaker last year, after her first term in the Assembly.
May 13, 2009 | Associated Press
A slain lawyer's videotaped and posthumously broadcast accusation that President Alvaro Colom ordered his slaying threw Guatemala into an uproar Tuesday and prompted the government to call for a United Nations agency and the FBI to investigate the killing. Colom vehemently denied the allegations made in a videotape left by lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, who was shot to death Sunday by unidentified assailants while riding his bicycle.
May 7, 2009 | Patrick McGreevy
Two weeks before the special election, the head of the state Senate continued Wednesday to warn that Californians face dire consequences if voters reject budget-related measures on May 19. The measures include a spending cap that would extend newly enacted tax hikes for up to two years and a plan to borrow up to $10 billion against future revenue from the California Lottery, according to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).
April 8, 2009 | Adriana Leon and Chris Kraul
Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was found guilty of mass murder and kidnapping Tuesday and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, a rare instance of a former head of state being found guilty in his own country on human rights charges.
March 24, 2009 | Associated Press
Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought a nationalist religious party into what is shaping up to be a narrow, hawkish coalition, taking a major step Monday toward securing the parliamentary majority he needs to form a government. As Netanyahu wrapped up the deal with the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, he also launched formal talks with the centrist Labor Party in hopes of moderating his emerging government.
December 23, 2008 | Times Wire Reports
President Lansana Conte, who ruled the African nation of Guinea with an iron hand since seizing power in a 1984 coup, has died after a lengthy illness, the National Assembly president said today. Aboubacar Sompare, flanked by the country's prime minister and the head of the army, said on state-run television that Conte died Monday evening. He was believed to be in his 70s. According to the constitution, the head of the National Assembly becomes president if the head of state dies.
December 14, 2008 | Associated Press
Raul Castro on Saturday began his first international trip as Cuba's president with a visit to Venezuela, a symbolic choice aimed at strengthening ties with the island's socialist ally and main benefactor. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has long been a close ally of Raul Castro's older brother Fidel Castro, who in February ceded power to Raul because of illness. Chavez's support for Cuba's communist government and his fierce criticism of U.S. policy have irritated officials in Washington.
July 26, 2008 | Paul Richter, Times Staff Writer
Barack Obama's electoral rival is John McCain, but Obama's overseas trip this week has given heartburn to another Republican -- President Bush. In stop after stop across the Middle East and Europe, Obama was embraced as the man whose promise of change meant a change from Bush: on Iraq, Mideast peace, the treatment of terrorism suspects, climate change, alliance relations and more. The tour has brought into focus how world leaders already are positioning themselves for a new American president.
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