Estonia's center-right government was poised to stay in power for a second term after winning a clear parliamentary majority Sunday in the Baltic country's first election as a eurozone member, preliminary results showed. The outcome was a sign of political stability taking hold in a nation with a 1.3 million population where no previous government had managed to serve a full term since Western-style democracy replaced communism following the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. Unlike Irish voters, who punished their government last month for their battered economy, Estonians remained confident in Prime Minister Andrus Ansip's coalition even though it, too, presided over a dramatic boom-to-bust cycle and enacted tough austerity measures.
Foreign minister quits over donation
The foreign minister suddenly quit Sunday for having accepted a political donation from a foreigner — a violation of Japanese law — dealing another blow to the embattled administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Seiji Maehara, 48, was foreign minister for just six months, and was viewed as a leading candidate to succeed Kan.
United Arab Emirates
U.S. commandos capture pirates
Antipiracy officials say U.S. commandos have captured four suspected pirates who boarded a Japanese-owned oil tanker off the coast of Oman. A statement by the international anti-piracy task force says the 24 crew members on the MV Guanabara took refuge in a protected part of the vessel after reporting they were under attack Saturday. A special unit from the destroyer USS Bulkeley boarded the tanker Sunday. The statement said no shots were fired and the merchant crew was not harmed.
Presidential election delayed a week
Benin's presidential election due to take place Sunday has been postponed until March 13 because voting materials had not been printed and election observers had not been properly trained. President Boni Yayi, first elected in 2006, is facing 12 opposition candidates in his bid for a second term. Benin is viewed as a rare example of democracy in a region of West Africa better known for coups. Yayi's popularity has been hurt, however, by a Ponzi scheme scandal in which more than 100,000 people in the nation of 8.7 million lost their savings.
Parties form coalition after economic deal
The two opposition parties that triumphed in Ireland's election, conservative Fine Gael and left-wing Labour, agreed Sunday to form the country's next coalition government after compromising on plans to repair the debt-battered economy. The move clears the way for both parties' lawmakers to elect Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny prime minister when the new parliament convenes Wednesday. Leaders stressed their immediate goal would be to improve relations with European Union partners — so that they could renegotiate terms of the humiliating international bailout.
Chile: A magnitude-6.2 earthquake Sunday shook a northern region of Chile. No injuries or major damage were reported.
Iraq: A roadside bomb killed six people and wounded 12 Sunday morning in the oil-rich city of Basra in southern Iraq, local officials said.