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Heads Of State

November 30, 2009 | By Alex Renderos and Tracy Wilkinson
Reporting from Mexico City and Tegucigalpa, Honduras -- Hondurans voted Sunday for a new president, many hoping that despite the questions surrounding the election they could restore legitimacy to their national government five months after a military-backed coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Official results late Sunday gave an insurmountable lead to Porfirio Lobo, a wealthy businessman from Honduras' political elite and candidate of the conservative National Party. His closest opponent conceded defeat.
November 23, 2009 | By Chris Kraul and Borzou Daragahi
Reporting from Bogota, Colombia Borzou Daragahi, and Beirut -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives today in Brazil on a Latin American and African tour amid U.S. and domestic criticism that, by playing host, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is squandering his newfound global influence. The first visit to Brazil by an Iranian head of state has generated two protests in the last week in which thousands of demonstrators, many of them Jews alarmed by Ahmadinejad's views on the Holocaust and on Israel, took to the streets and beaches of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
October 31, 2009 | Devorah Lauter
A French magistrate Friday ordered former President Jacques Chirac to stand trial on charges of misusing millions of dollars in public funds as mayor of Paris by allegedly paying friends and colleagues for work they did not perform. Magistrate Xaviere Simeoni led the investigation into allegations that Chirac invented job contracts for several friends and colleagues while he was mayor from 1977 to 1995. He is accused of paying them more than $5 million in public-funded salaries.
October 15, 2009 | Tracy Wilkinson
Backers of the coup against Manuel Zelaya made progress Wednesday in negotiations with representatives of the ousted Honduran president, but the key point, Zelaya's reinstatement, remained unresolved. Victor Meza, negotiating on Zelaya's behalf, said delegations representing the two factions had agreed on wording regarding that sticking point. But later, the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti, who replaced Zelaya, said no agreement had been reached. "The dialogue on this point has been cordial and both sides have made important advances," said a statement from the delegation representing Micheletti, according to news reports.
October 11, 2009 | Associated Press
Madagascar's outgoing prime minister refused to quit Saturday, endangering a power-sharing agreement brokered by mediators to keep peace on the island. Monja Roindefo said he does not acknowledge the mediators' appointment on Tuesday of Eugene Mangalaza as a prime minister in the transitional government. Roindefo said he did not feel that all parties involved in the negotiations were given a say in the appointment. "A simple press release cannot dissolve a government and appoint a prime minister," he said.
September 28, 2009 | Alex Renderos
The de facto government of Honduras suspended constitutional guarantees indefinitely late Sunday, outlawing public gatherings and making it easier for the army to make arrests. The measure, announced on a nationwide simultaneous television and radio broadcast, came on the eve of a potentially enormous march by ousted President Manuel Zelaya's supporters. From his refuge at the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, Zelaya called on people to take to the streets today to mark the three-month anniversary of his ouster.
September 24, 2009 | Alex Renderos and Ken Ellingwood
Reporting from Mexico City and Tegucigalpa, Honduras -- For a few hours Wednesday, Honduras' political drama gave way to more important matters -- like buying groceries and filling gas tanks. Streets in the capital, Tegucigalpa, were clogged with frantic shoppers after the country's interim rulers briefly lifted a nationwide curfew to let residents restock shelves. Meanwhile, the deposed president, Manuel Zelaya, remained hunkered in a foreign embassy. It was the first chance for residents to get out since Monday, when Zelaya sneaked back into Honduras and the de facto government abruptly imposed the shutdown.
September 17, 2009 | Associated Press
Japan's parliament named Yukio Hatoyama prime minister Wednesday, as his party took power for the first time with promises to revive the slumping economy and make Tokyo a more equal partner in its alliance with the United States. The Stanford-educated Hatoyama said he planned to review the American military presence in Japan, where 50,000 U.S. troops are stationed. But he said he wouldn't emphasize that potentially contentious issue in a first meeting with President Obama that could come sometime this month.
September 17, 2009 | Reuters
Lebanon's president designated Saad Hariri prime minister on Wednesday, asking the Saudi- and U.S.-backed politician to take on the tough job of forming a new government for a second time. Hariri was first designated prime minister in June but stepped down last week, blaming rival politicians, including the Iran- and Syria-backed Hezbollah, for thwarting his attempts to forge a government including all of Lebanon's main parties. His move triggered consultations this week between President Michel Suleiman and lawmakers that resulted in Hariri, son of assassinated statesman Rafik Hariri, being nominated again.
September 14, 2009 | Carol J. Williams
Crooked lawyers have long besmirched the profession's image, but the scale of their involvement in the loan modification scandals plaguing California homeowners has taken an unprecedented toll, the incoming president of the State Bar of California says. The proliferation of complaints against lawyers who said they could help rescue clients threatened with foreclosure has hurt tens of thousands of people and confronted the bar with a mounting and costly disciplinary burden, said Howard Miller, a partner with the Los Angeles plaintiffs' firm of Girardi & Keese.
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