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VENEZUELA: Presidential vote Sunday

Red-shirted backers of Hugo Chávez's chosen heir transformed downtown Caracas into a raucous festival Thursday on the final day of campaigning for the presidential election, flooding the streets with dancing and fireworks. Interim President Nicolas Maduro, who served as Chávez's foreign minister and vice president, is favored to win Sunday. But a poll said his advantage had narrowed as challenger Henrique Capriles hammered away at government deficiencies in fighting crime, food shortages, inflation and power outages.

EAST CHINA SEA: Japan-Taiwan fishing pact

Japan and Taiwan agreed Thursday to allow Taiwanese fisherman access to Japanese-administered waters near islands also claimed by China, which objected to the deal. The agreement is aimed at furthering peace in the East China Sea, said Mitsuo Ohashi, head of the Japan Interchange Association. The agreement covers an overlapping economic zone and doesn't involve areas that the two sides both claim is their territory, Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lin said. Seven months earlier, Japan's Coast Guard fired water cannons to drive off 50 Taiwanese boats near uninhabited islands claimed by both governments as well as by China.

SERBIA: Mass killer dies of wounds

A veteran suspected of killing 13 people in a shooting rampage before turning the gun on himself and his wife died Thursday, hospital officials said in Belgrade. Ljubisa Bogdanovic, 60, died of head wounds. His wife Javorka, 60, was recovering from surgery. Bogdanovic killed his mother, his son and a 2-year-old cousin, and others, police say.

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