Top news: With initial returns indicating Nawaz Sharif secured a resouding majority in parliamentary elections Saturday, the former prime minister, who was ousted in a coup in 1999, has begun discussions to form a government, even as allegations of widespread voting fraud abound.
Current estimates indicate that Sharif's party, Pakistan Muslim League, has won at least 125 seats, short of a majority but sufficient to guarantee victory. His two main opponents, the Pakistan People's Party and former cricketer Imran Khan's Movement for Justice Party, have secured about 30 seats each. To win a majority takes 137 seats. Sharif's strong showing at the polls may hand him a government in a much stronger position than the outgoing PPP, whose weak coalition government frequently flirted with collapse.
But Saturday's vote, which marked the end of a frenetic and energized campaign, was also marred by violence and serious allegations of voting fraud, particularly in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. Allegations include the forcible takeover of some polling stations, in addition to outright voter fraud in other parts of the city. Additionally, at least 38 people were killed Saturday in attacks through out the country aimed largely at derailing the vote.
Turkey/Syria: After a car bombing killed 46 in a Turkish town on the border with Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said it was time for the international community to act against the Syrian regime. Despite Syrian denials of involvement, Davutoglu pointed to an "old Marxist terrorist organization" with ties to the Assad regime as responsible for the attack. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogarn added that Turkey will not be dragged into a war in Syria as a result of the attack, saying in a televised speech that "we will not lose our calm heads, we will not depart common sense, and we will not fall into the trap they're trying to push us into." He also added: "Whoever targets Turkey will sooner or later pay the price."
- Syrian government forces retook control of Khirbet Ghazaleh, a strategically important town near a highway that links Damascus with Jordan.
- Syrian rebels released four Filipino peacekeepers captured near the Syria-Israel border.
- Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made his first comments to the media since being ousted from power, saying that he is worried about the country's state of affairs and conditions for the poor.
- With the deathtoll of a factory collapse in Bangladesh at 1,127, the government announced it will raise the minimum wage for garment workers and allow workers in the industry to form trade unions without the consent of factory owners.
- The Japanese stock market advanced Monday morning on news the G7 finance chiefs had approved efforts by the Japanese government to stimulate the economy, which has the yen hitting historic lows against the dollar.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un fired his hard-line defense minister and replaced him with a little-known general.
- According to exit polls, neither Bulgaria's center-right party nor the Socialists -- who finished first and second, respectively -- secured the necessary votes in parliamentary elections to form a government.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing a revolt within the Tory party on the issue of continued UK membership in the European Union.
- Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic visited northern Kosovo and urged ethnic Serbs there to accept an EU-brokered agreement to normalize relations between the two countries.
- Three activists were arrested in Zimbabwe for carrying out educational activities to increase awareness of the country's upcoming eleciton.
- Forty patients escaped from a mental hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, after overpowering the guards.
- Rebel soldiers who overthew the government in the Central African Republic are demanding payment before they disarm.
- The former dictator of Guatemala, Efrain Rios Montt, was convicted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity and handed an 80-year prison sentence.
- Pope Francis canonized the first saints of his papacy, including two Latin American nuns, one of which is the church's first Colombian saint.
- Ilich Ramirez Sancez -- the Venezuelan terrorist better known as Carlos the Jackal -- has decided to appeal a life sentenced handed down by a Paris court.
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