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FRANCE: Socialists pick Sarkozy foe

Former Socialist Party chief François Hollande declared victory Sunday in the party's presidential primary, urging the left to unite around his bid to unseat embattled conservative Nicolas Sarkozy in elections next year. Hollande, 57, a moderate known more as a behind-the-scenes consensus-builder than a visionary, is seen by many as a welcome contrast to the tough-talking, hard-driving Sarkozy.


CENTRAL AMERICA: Heavy rains claim 66 lives

Sixty-six people have died in six days of heavy rains that caused landslides, floods and bridge failures throughout Central America, officials said. At least 24 people had died in El Salvador, most of them buried in their houses by landslides.


YEMEN: Saleh voices defiance

Embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh charged Sunday that foreign diplomats have been misled by the opposition and are conveying false information about the situation in Yemen. His criticism came before a scheduled meeting this week at the UN Security Council to discuss a resolution calling for a cease-fire and transfer of power. Security forces fired on protesters Sunday, killing seven.


LIBYA: Gadhafi's walls come down

Libyan revolutionary forces bulldozed the green walls surrounding Moammar Gadhafi's main Tripoli compound Sunday, saying it was time "to tear down this symbol of tyranny." Ahmad Ghargory, commander of a revolutionary brigade, said the area will be turned into a public park accessible to all Libyans.


MEXICO: 61 rescued from drug gang

Soldiers freed 61 men held captive and forced to work for a drug gang in a violent northern border city, the army said. The men were found Saturday, guarded by three kidnappers in a safe house in Piedras Negras. The soldiers' security sweep also turned up an abandoned truck filled with 6 tons of marijuana.

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