Venezuela voting results challenged

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CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s election officials said Sunday that socialist leader Nicolas Maduro won a second six-year term as president of the oil-rich South American country, while his main rivals were disputing the legitimacy of the vote and calling for a new election.

The National Election Council announced that with almost 93 percent of polling stations reporting, Maduro won nearly 68 percent of the votes in Sunday’s election, beating his nearest challenger, Henri Falcon, by almost 40 points.

The opposition throughout the day argued that a Maduro victory would lack legitimacy because many voters had stayed home, heeding the call to boycott an election that was seen as rigged.

Electoral authorities said turnout is projected to reach 48 percent.

Campaigns proving deadly in Mexico

This election season has been the most violent in Mexico’s recent history, with 36 candidates killed since September, and dozens of other politicians and campaign officials slaughtered.

That macabre statistic has created a fresh challenge for the country’s political parties: They are now trying to fill dozens of candidacies left open by the assassinations.

“There are some positions that no one wants to contest right now,” said Eduardo Guerrero, a security expert at Lantia Consultores in Mexico City. “It’s something that we’re seeing in several states in the country.”

Political killings have tripled from the 2015 elections, according to research from Lantia Consultores.

Pope Francis appoints 14 cardinals

Pope Francis announced Sunday he has chosen 14 men to be the newest cardinals in the church, among them his chief aide for helping Rome’s homeless and poor, as well as prelates based in Iraq and Pakistan, where Christians are a vulnerable minority.

Among the new cardinals are Louis Raphael I Sako, the Baghdad-based patriarch of Babylonia of the Chaldeans, and Joseph Coutts, archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan.

Francis’ choice of Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, a Pole who personally has handed out sleeping bags to homeless on frigid Roman nights and driven poor people to seaside day trips paid for by the Vatican, reflects the pontiff’s determination to make the Catholic Church known for its attention to those on life’s margins.

Others tapped to be cardinals are from Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Bolivia and Spain.