Isnin, 10 Mac 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

El Salvador ex-rebel's lead 'irreversible,' rival wants recount

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 09:00 PM PDT

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - A former Marxist rebel commander's tiny lead in El Salvador's presidential election is irreversible, the country's electoral tribunal said on Monday, but his right-wing challenger demanded a full recount, insisting he was the real winner.

Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which as a rebel group fought a string of U.S.-backed governments in the 1980-1992 civil war, claimed victory on Sunday after preliminary results showed he had won 50.11 percent support.

Challenger Norman Quijano, a former mayor of San Salvador and candidate of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) party, had 49.89 percent support.

The two men were separated by just 6,634 votes.

Quijano said in a Tweet on Monday that he wanted a "vote-by-vote" recount, calling the election tribunal biased and insisting that he was the president-elect.

"The behavior of the Supreme Election Tribunal has never been clean; they were tainted before and during the electoral process," Quijano said.

He also asked the country's attorney general to guard all electoral material and urged international observers to remain in El Salvador a few more days.

But Eugenio Chicas, head of the tribunal, said the law did not allow for a vote-by-vote recount, but that a recount of disputed polling stations would begin Tuesday.

The election tribunal has not formally declared Sanchez Ceren the winner, pending the review of challenges to some ballots and a definitive vote count.

Chicas told reporters earlier on Monday: "We put our technical teams to work all night, which is why I can tell you with certainty that the result of this election is irreversible."

Quijano later vowed to exhaust all legal avenues to challenge the result, and called for all ballot boxes to be opened.

"We're not going to allow them to steal the election from the people," he told reporters. "Once we have gone through this process with international organizations observing, once legality is respected and a definitive result springs from that, we will respect it."

However it is resolved, the victor will have a weak mandate to govern.

The FMLN and Arena - founded by the late Roberto D'Aubuisson, who had links to death squads - were fierce enemies during the civil war that killed about 75,000 people.

Quijano accused the election tribunal of corruption and hinted at foul play. He also warned on Sunday the armed forces were watching the election process.

"We are not going to allow fraud ... We are 100 percent convinced that we have won," he said. "They are not going to steal this victory. We will fight, if necessary with our lives."

While viewed as inflammatory political rhetoric, some saw a worrying tactic to undermine the result.

"I take it seriously as a political tactic rather than as a literal call, though I was troubled by his call to the army," said Hector Perla, an expert on Central America at the University of California Santa Cruz.

"All the rhetoric indicates that they are not going to accept, even if they do have the recount, they are not going to accept this other legitimate outcome," he added.

Sanchez Ceren claimed victory after the preliminary results showed him winning and he promised to govern for workers and business leaders alike.

"We are going to govern for everyone, for those who voted for us, and those who did not," Sanchez Ceren told supporters.

A carpenter's ninth son, Sanchez Ceren was a rural school teacher before joining the FMLN guerrilla movement and he then rose to lead one of its five main factions during the war.

Along with other FMLN leaders, he has moderated his policies since the peace accords were signed in 1992 and the rebel group became a political party.

The affable, media-shy 69-year-old has said he will build on its social programs, which include a glass of milk a day for children and free school uniforms, shoes and supplies.

(Additional reporting by Noe Torres in San Salvador and Dave Graham, Miguel Gutierrez, Alexandra Alper and Julia Symmes Cobb; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Kieran Murray, Ross Colvin and Lisa Shumaker)

A missing plane and emotional reunion, played live on Twitter

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 07:45 PM PDT

(Reuters) - Hours before Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was scheduled to depart on Saturday, a U.S. woman tweeted to her co-worker who was on a business trip that she was feeling ill and overworked.

He agreed to pick up the slack and missed his Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing flight, which then vanished and is presumed to have crashed with 239 people aboard.

The anguish and relief played out live on Twitter.

Reuters could not independently confirm whether the man, who goes by the Twitter name @KaidenDL, was indeed booked on the flight. Cylithria Dubois, in an emailed response to Reuters, said Kaiden was her "love and business partner".

"I am deeply chagrined by the attention that Kaiden and I drew upon ourselves with our tweets," Dubois wrote in the email. "At a time when the focus should be upon those aboard the ill-fated flight and their loved ones, I feel rather dumb speaking at all."

Dubois, whose Twitter handle is @cylithria, sent out a series of anguished messages on Saturday about the missing plane and how she couldn't contact Kaiden.

About 90 minutes later, he replied.

"@Cylithria can't reach you by phone. We missed the flight. Rory and I are OKAY Ria. I'm NOT ON THE FLIGHT RIA. I'M OK."

Kaiden did not respond to requests for comment. In his Twitter postings, he said he was angry at his girlfriend because "she'd gotten sick and I had to cover her. I was working on that, missed my flight to China. Grew angrier.

"But for the grace of God we'd be on that flight. Damn my ego. Instead of updating her, the office, I stewed," he wrote.

(Reporting by Emily Kaiser; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Nepal's miracle gel saves newborns from infection

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 07:35 PM PDT

DHULIKHEL, Nepal, March 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - S angita Shrestha desperately waits in a hospital bed to see the baby girl she has just delivered. In the next room, a nurse applies a gel to the stump of the newborn's umbilical cord, wraps her in cloth and places her in a cot next to her mother.

"I was naturally worried and getting impatient. Now I am happy to know that my daughter is safe from infection," 18-year-old Shrestha said at the Dhulikhel hospital, 30 km (19 miles) east of Kathmandu, Nepal's capital.

The baby was briefly separated from her mother when an antiseptic gel known as "Navi Malam", or chlorhexidine, was applied to avoid umbilical cord infection - a main cause of newborn deaths in the impoverished Himalayan nation.

Made by local firm Lomus Pharmaceuticals and backed by the government, the U.S. aid agency and other donors, the gel was introduced in 2011 in hospitals across Nepal and has helped to reduce the number of babies dying from umbilical cord infection.

Trials have shown a 23 percent drop in newborn deaths due to infection since the gel was introduced, according to USAID.

Nepal was the first country to adopt chlorhexidine for newborn cord care, with Nigeria and Madagascar in the process of implementing it in their health programmes.

"The United States will work to bring the chlorhexidine to the world," Rajiv Shah, the head of USAID, said during a visit to Nepal last month while presenting the government with the "Pioneers Prize" for leading the cord care programme.


Nepal emerged from a decade-long civil war in 2006 and political infighting since then has deepened the economic woes of its 27 million people, a quarter of whom live on less than $1.25 a day. The crisis has hit development efforts, driving thousands of young people to seek work abroad.

Experts say Nepal's public health sector is in tatters, with fewer than 2,000 doctors and some 63,000 health workers at about 100 hospitals. Many of the country's 4,000 villages do not have a health facility and nearly two-thirds of babies are born at home without the presence of skilled midwives.

Part of the reason for the high number of newborn deaths, experts say, is because pregnancy in the majority-Hindu nation is attached with taboos that confront women with social and religious hurdles to safe delivery.

Many women cannot discuss pregnancy with anyone or take a decision to seek medical help without the family's consent.

Families often apply a paste of turmeric powder, mustard oil and ash to the newborn after cutting the umbilical cord, raising the risk of infection and death.

The newborn and the mother are considered "unholy" for 11 days after delivery and often have to live in a dark, cold and unhygienic room with the mother lacking a nutritious diet.

Government officials say many people are still unaware that they should go to health facilities and seek the assistance of skilled birth attendants.

"But things are gradually changing," said Baburam Marasini, a senior Health Ministry official. "The use of the simple technology and the low-cost naval gel has made a positive impact in reducing newborn deaths due to infection."

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)


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