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EstoniaNo political cost for Bad economy

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.

JAPAN

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.

BENIN

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.

IRELAND

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.

Elsewhere

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.

Times wires

EstoniaNo political cost for Bad economy 03/06/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2011 10:54pm]
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  1. Accused cardinal denies Australia sex abuse allegations, takes leave of absence

    World

    ROME — One of the most senior Vatican officials to be charged with sexual offenses denied on Thursday the allegations levied against him by Australian police, saying he would take a leave of absence as one of Pope Francis' chief advisers to defend himself.

    Cardinal George Pell meets the media at the Vatican on Thursday. The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney says Pell will return to Australia to fight sexual assault charges as soon as possible. [Associated Press]
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    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Taking another shot at obtaining a Community Redevelopment Agency grant to improve his downtown building, the husband of Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez was denied this week by a deadlocked board.

    Mayor Camille Hernandez recused herself but was asked to stay in the room.
  3. Lightning planning $6 million upgrade to practice facility

    Blogs

    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will invest $6 million in upgrading the team's practice facility, the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

    The plan will create a brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, an 18,000 square foot addition.
  4. Deputies responding to car crash in Riverview find shooting victim inside

    Crime

    RIVERVIEW — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating after deputies responding to a single-car crash late Wednesday discovered someone in the car had been shot, authorities said.

  5. Commentary: Ten years later, the iPhone owns us

    Science

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    Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's release on June 29, 2007. [Associated Press]