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In brief: Brazilian president gains ground in poll

From Wire Reports

RIO DE JANEIRO – A poll released Monday night shows Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff gaining ground over her rival in a tight re-election race, though the contest remains in a technical tie.

The Datafolha polling group’s latest survey has Rousseff with 52 percent of voters’ support, compared to 48 percent for challenger Aecio Neves. With the margin of error at 2 percentage points, the pair statistically are tied.

But the poll was the first to show Rousseff numerically in front of Neves – meaning she’s trended upward while Neves has slipped. The previous poll by Datafolha released late last week had the race at 51-to-49 in Neves’ favor.

This year’s campaign is considered by many analysts to be the most surprising and closely contested since Brazil’s return to democracy nearly 30 years ago. It’s been marked by a plane crash that killed opposition contender Eduadro Campos in August, only to see his vice presidential candidate Marina Silva step into his spot and almost immediately gain a double-digit advantage over Rousseff in surveys.

But Silva’s campaign never found its feet, and her poll numbers glided down ahead of the Oct. 5 first-round vote, allowing Neves to surpass her to force Rousseff into the runoff round.

Rousseff, of the ruling Workers’ Party, is boosted by rock-solid support among Brazil’s poor. During her party’s nearly 12 years in the presidency, sweeping social programs have been started or expanded, helping lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty and into the middle class.

Oil company CEO killed in plane crash

MOSCOW – The CEO of French oil giant Total SA was killed when his corporate jet collided with a snow removal machine late Monday night at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport, the company said.

Total “confirms with deep regret and sadness” that Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie died in a private plane crash at the Moscow airport, the company said in a press release posted on its website.

Airport officials told Russia’s Tass news agency that the collision occurred at 11:57 p.m. Monday, killing de Margerie and three crew members, all of them French citizens.

A representative of the transport investigative department told Tass that the French-made Dassault Falcon 50 business jet, headed for France, collided with the snow removal machine during takeoff. Airport officials said the driver of the snow removal machine was not hurt.

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