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VENEZUELA: Maduro accuses U.S., Capriles

President-elect Nicolas Maduro blamed the opposition Tuesday for seven deaths and 61 injuries the government claims have occurred in disturbances protesting his election, and he accused the United States of organizing the unrest. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles accused the government of being behind the violence. Maduro's accusation against Washington came after the U.S. State Department said it would not recognize the results of Sunday's unexpectedly close election without the vote-by-vote recount being demanded by Capriles. "The [U.S.] embassy has financed and led all these violent acts," he said. Earlier, Maduro, the chosen heir of the late Hugo Chávez, said he would not allow an opposition protest march called for Wednesday in Caracas, saying Capriles was "responsible for the dead we are mourning." He then summoned his own supporters to take to the streets in the capital, raising the possibility of a confrontation with protesters. But Capriles called off the opposition march. "Whoever goes out into the street tomorrow is playing the government's game," he said. "The government wants there to be deaths in the country."

CHINA: Report attacks U.S. buildup

China said Tuesday that the United States is destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region by strengthening its military alliances and sending more ships, planes, and troops to the area. The U.S. policy runs counter to regional trends and "frequently makes the situation tenser," the Defense Ministry said in its report on the state of China's defense posture and armed forces. Spokesman Yang Yujun made the remarks at a Beijing news conference marking the report's release. China has consistently criticized Washington's deployment of additional ships and personnel to Asia, along with increasing cooperation with treaty partners, including Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, as well as with other countries such as Vietnam that aren't traditional allies.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Quake rattles north coast

A shallow magnitude-6.8 earthquake shook the northern coast Wednesday morning, but there was no threat of a widespread tsunami in the Pacific. The quake struck about 11 miles east of the small town of Aitape.

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