Ruling party pick wins election

A former chemistry professor hand-picked by President Olusegun Obasanjo won Nigeria’s presidential election in a landslide Monday, a vote denounced as deeply flawed by international observers and the opposition.

Umaru Yar’Adua, 56, must now fight for credibility in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, where some 15,000 people have died since strict military rule ended in 1999.

In the United States, which counts on Nigeria as a top supplier of oil, the White House expressed concern about reports of election irregularities. “Obviously, there is a lot of tension there and we hope that people can remain calm, and if they’re going to protest, do so peacefully,” said Dana Perino, the White House deputy press secretary.

Yar’Adua rejected allegations of rigging as not “based on fact.”


Fighting persists as death toll rises

There are no empty hospital beds in Somalia’s bloodstained capital, and barely enough bandages to patch up the wounded. Even bottles of medicine are running dry.

But patients kept pouring in Monday as fighting rocked Mogadishu for a sixth straight day and Somalia struggled with its latest humanitarian crisis, its civilians getting slaughtered in the crossfire and others fleeing with little to eat and no shelter.

A local human rights group estimates 1,000 civilians were killed earlier this month in four days of fighting and more than 250 have died in the latest battles. U.N. officials estimate more than 320,000 of the city’s 2 million residents have fled since February.


Famed climber sent to hospital

Mountaineering legend Sir Edmund Hillary, best known for conquering Mount Everest, is in a New Zealand hospital after a fall, media reported today.

Hillary, 87, who along with sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first men to climb the world’s tallest peak in 1953, is believed to have fallen during the weekend, the New Zealand Herald newspaper’s Web site said.

It has not been disclosed where the fall occurred, but it was unlikely to have been during any outdoor pursuit. Hillary has been walking with the aid of a cane for several years.

The report said that he was admitted to Auckland Hospital and that his condition was not life-threatening.

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