VENEZUELA: Capriles to run against Maduro
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said Sunday night he will run in April 14 presidential elections to replace Hugo Chávez, accusing Nicolas Maduro, Chávez's hand-picked successor, of using the president's corpse as a campaign prop. Capriles said supporters told him the odds are so stacked against him that running against the Chavista machine would be like being dropped into a meat grinder. Chávez died last Tuesday after defeating Capriles, 40, in October elections with 56 percent of the vote to continue his 14-year rule.
THE FALKLANDS: Britain hopes for favorable vote
Britain is hoping the referendum on the political status of the Falkland Islands will push the United States and other neutral governments off the fence in its territorial dispute with Argentina over the remote South Atlantic archipelago. The Falkland Islands government mobilized a major effort to get as many of its 1,650 registered voters as possible to cast their ballots Sunday and Monday, sending off-road vehicles, boats and seaplanes to remote sheep farms across the lightly populated islands. Islanders were asked to answer yes or no to: "Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?" Islanders expect the answer to be overwhelmingly in favor of British governance and protection, hoping to put their own self-determination at the center of any debate about their future in the face of Argentine claims.
PHILIPPINES: Demanding protection in Malaysia
Officials asked Malaysia on Sunday to clarify news reports that Filipinos in Malaysia's eastern Sabah state were being mistreated as authorities crack down on Filipino gunmen staking a claim on the resource-rich region. The Department of Foreign Affairs reiterated a call for Malaysia to give Philippine diplomats full access to Filipinos being held outside the part of Sabah where Malaysian forces are battling followers of a sultan from the southern Philippines who revived a historical claim in the area. About 200 Filipinos, dozens of them armed, barged into Sabah in Borneo around Feb. 9, sparking assaults by Malaysian troops. The gunmen fatally shot two police officers on March 1. At least 53 Filipino gunmen and eight Malaysian policemen have died in the conflict, according to Malaysian officials.