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LIVNI REPORTEDLY WILL CALL FOR EARLY ELECTION

ISRAEL

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's campaign to become the nation's next prime minister appeared to be faltering late Saturday amid media reports that she was abandoning her efforts to build a new coalition government. Livni today planned to recommend that President Shimon Peres call for a general election, possibly in February - more than a year ahead of schedule, Israel Radio and Army Radio reported. Livni and her representatives did not issue any public statements as of Saturday night, as the Kadima Party leader huddled with advisers at her Tel Aviv home.

SWEDEN

Nobel winner calls for Mideast peace

Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari says it is a disgrace that the Middle East conflict remains unresolved. In an interview broadcast on Sveriges Radio Saturday, he blamed a lack of international political will. The former Finnish president said he hopes the next U.S. president will use his first year in office to find a permanent solution that guaranteed a Palestinian state as well as peace for Israel. Ahtisaari also criticized the Western boycott of Palestinian militant group Hamas, and said it may soon be time to admit that "we have to speak with the Taliban" in Afghanistan.

BRAZIL

Brazilians vote in mayoral runoffs

Brazil's ruling party will likely lose control of South America's biggest city today in mayoral runoff elections that could see the country's second city elect a former guerrilla. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's Workers' Party is poised to gain power in many cities - but lose Sao Paulo, the biggest prize and a springboard for the next presidential election. The latest survey by Datafolha shows incumbent Mayor Gilberto Kassab, of the conservative Democrat Party, nearly 20 points ahead of Marta Suplicy of the Workers' Party.

CHINA

Premier vows to ensure safe food

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Saturday the country will take steps to improve its food safety, saying that tainted milk products that are believed to have killed four babies and sickened thousands of children were a failure of regulation. He told a meeting of 43 Asian and European nations that China would pass laws to ensure food exports meet global standards. In a display of government resolve, state TV showed authorities burning tainted dairy products. About 32,200 tons were destroyed this month in one province, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Elsewhere

Yemen: A deadly tropical storm has killed 58 people, according to the government. The toll could rise since scores of people are still missing and hundreds of families are homeless or trapped by the flood waters in the remote southern province of Hadramut.

Italy: A huge crowd turned out in Rome on Saturday to protest the conservative policies of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government, including plans to cut funding for public universities and hold separate classes for immigrant children.

Zimbabwe: Justice must be done following widespread political attacks blamed on President Robert Mugabe's police, soldiers and party militants, the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said Saturday before cheering crowds in a northern area believed to have seen some of the worst of the violence.

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