MANILA, Philippines – After a decade of corruption-tainted politics, Filipinos stood in long lines today to elect a new leader, and surveys indicated they’re pinning their hopes on the son of democracy icons who has electrified masses with his clean image and Aquino family name.
Sen. Benigno Aquino III – whose father was assassinated while opposing a dictatorship and whose late mother led the “people power” revolt that restored freedoms and swept her into power – had a large lead in the last pre-election polls.
The Philippine election has been marred by violence, with more than 30 killed in political attacks and reports of deadly violence the morning of the election. And a software glitch in optical scanning machines that for the first time will count and transmit votes in 17,600 precincts was discovered just days ago, almost derailing the vote.
Former governor extradited to U.S.
MEXICO CITY – Mexico has extradited a former state governor to the United States to face charges of helping smuggle cocaine through Cancun to the U.S., in a high-profile demonstration of the nation’s increased willingness to extradite suspects as it battles surging drug violence.
Mario Villanueva, governor of the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo from 1993 to 1999, was in U.S. custody on Sunday, a day after authorities handed him over, Mexico’s attorney general’s office said in a statement.
Meanwhile, two young men were found murdered near the Pacific beach city of Zihuatanejo, and federal police in Morelia were searching for attackers who shot and killed an officer while he was eating at a taco stand.
Villanueva is charged in New York federal court with helping the Juarez cartel smuggle hundreds of tons of Colombian cocaine to the U.S.
Indonesia lifts tsunami watch
JAKARTA, Indonesia – An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.4 rattled Indonesia’s North Sumatra province Sunday, prompting a brief local tsunami watch, knocking out power and damaging some homes, officials said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the afternoon quake hit 135 miles southeast of Banda Aceh at a depth at 38 miles. Indonesia and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu issued a tsunami watch for the area, but both canceled their warnings less than 90 minutes later.
Indonesia’s chief of Indonesia’s meteorology agency, Fauzi, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said the closest town to the epicenter was Meulaboh, where a small “tsunami wave” just 7.9 inches high was detected by a buoy off the coast.