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Ex-rebels claim election victory

A leftist television journalist claimed victory in El Salvador’s presidential elections Sunday after a preliminary vote count showed him poised to lead a party of former guerrillas to power for the first time since a bloody civil war ended 17 years ago.

Mauricio Funes, a moderate plucked from outside the ranks of the rebel group-turned-political party Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, appears likely to win. With 90 percent of the vote counted late Sunday, Funes had 51 percent compared to 49 percent for Rodrigo Avila of the ruling conservative Arena party, said Walter Araujo, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. He did not proclaim a winner and said final results would be announced later this week.


Right-wing leader to join Cabinet

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party has signed a coalition agreement with the Yisrael Beitenu faction, a deal that would make the right-wing party’s leader the foreign minister in a new government, Israeli media reported today.

The agreement is the first signed by Netanyahu on his way toward setting up a coalition of hawkish and Orthodox Jewish parties. Both Likud and Yisrael Beitenu left the door open for Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s centrist Kadima Party to join, but that appeared unlikely.


Airline passenger diagnosed with TB

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a passenger on a Northwest Airlines flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Detroit has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Northwest said the passenger was on Tuesday’s Flight 51 to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

CDC spokeswoman Shelly Diaz told the Associated Press the risk is low that other passengers might contract tuberculosis. She said Sunday that health officials were seeking to contact 17 passengers seated near the sick passenger so they can be tested for tuberculosis as a “cautionary move.”

WXYZ-TV said the ailing passenger is being kept in isolation at Annapolis Hospital in Dearborn.

Los Angeles

Getty museums slashing budget

Investment losses are forcing the world’s richest arts institution to cut its operating budget by 25 percent for the coming fiscal year.

The J. Paul Getty Trust relies on investment earnings to pay for its two Los Angeles art museums, as well as global research, grant-making and art-conservation operations. Its investment portfolio dropped 25 percent during the last six months of 2008, from $6 billion to $4.5 billion.

Getty President James Wood said the trust’s leaders and trustees will decide what reductions to make by the end of May.

From wire reports


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