Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

-Hugo Chavez beats Henrique Capriles in Venezuela’s presidential election- Fighting for his political life, President Hugo Chavez overcame a vigorous challenge by Henrique Capriles in Sunday’s presidential election, receiving another six-year term that will give the populist firebrand the opportunity to complete the consolidation of what he calls 21st century socialism in one of the world’s great oil powers. The victory, announced by the National Electoral Council late Sunday, gave Chavez the win with 54.4 percent of the vote, while Capriles took 44.9 percent. In winning his fourth presidential election since 1998, Chavez captured just over 7.4 million votes to 6.1 million for his adversary, turning back what had been a determined battle by Capriles, a 40-year-old former governor, reports Juan Forero.


-With ‘sabotage’ charge, Iran takes hostile tone with U.N. watchdog- Iran is ratcheting up pressure on the U.N. agency responsible for overseeing the country’s nuclear program, accusing its inspectors of engaging in spying and sabotage and threatening to restrict U.N. access to Iranian nuclear facilities. So strident has been Iran’s criticism of the International Atomic Energy Agency in recent weeks that some Western officials fear that the country is preparing to officially downgrade its cooperation with the nuclear watchdog. The Vienna-based agency is the only international body allowed to routinely visit Iran’s most sensitive nuclear installations, reports Joby Warrick.


-Imran Khan and Codepink are blocked from tribal area- The military on Sunday blocked Pakistan’s most vocal anti­war politician from leading thousands of his supporters into the nation’s insurgency-racked tribal region to call for a halt to U.S. drone strikes and promote peace with the Taliban. Imran Khan, the cricket star turned politician who has earned broad appeal with his populist message, brought a 500-vehicle convoy to within 15 miles of the border of South Waziristan. But he was turned back after the army’s Frontier Corps said it could not ensure security for the several thousand rally-goers, reports Richard Leiby.



-Congress members back legislation that could benefit themselves, relatives- A California congressman helped secure tax breaks for racehorse owners — then purchased seven horses for himself when the new rules kicked in. A Wyoming congresswoman co-sponsored legislation to double the life span of federal grazing permits that ranchers such as her husband rely on to feed cattle. And a Pennsylvania congressman co-sponsored a natural gas bill as Exxon Mobil negotiated a deal that paid millions for his wife’s shares in two natural gas companies founded by her great-great-grandfather. Those lawmakers were among 73 members of Congress who have sponsored or co-sponsored legislation in recent years that could benefit businesses or industries in which either they or their family members are involved or invested, according to a Washington Post analysis. The findings emerge from an examination by The Post of financial disclosure forms and public records for all 535 members of the House and Senate, report Kimberly Kindy, David S. Fallis and Scott Higham.


-Romney, in Florida, says Obama team making “excuses” after debate- Mitt Romney painted a dark vision of a second Obama term on Sunday, telling more than 10,000 supporters at a rally here that the president would raise taxes on the middle class, weaken the military and explode the deficit if reelected. “I don’t want four more years like the last four years,” Romney, speaking in a rapid-fire tone as rain threatened from a gray sky, said to chants of “USA! USA!” Before a boisterous crowd spread out on a grassy field next to the town square, Romney tried to capitalize on his momentum from his widely praised debate performance Wednesday, report Jerry Markon, Bill Turque and Kimberly Kindy.


-The Fix- Is Obama overrated as a candidate?- In his closing remarks at the first debate in Denver last week, President Obama uttered the following sentence: “Four years ago, I said that I’m not a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect president.” For anyone who has watched Obama campaign for a second term this year, the phrase is old hat — part of the president’s seemingly self-effacing acknowledgment that he has, is and will continue to make mistakes but that he does so in the service of trying to do the right thing. But the now-familiar phrase took on a different — and more troubling — meaning for the president in the debate as it capped a decidedly desultory performance that left even his most loyal allies wondering what was wrong with him, reports Chris Cillizza.


-In Virginia, Mitt Romney to call for change of course in Middle East-Every aspiring president must pass the commander-in-chief test, and that examination has not always been kind to Mitt Romney. The former CEO, in his comfort zone when focused on the economy, has stumbled during his occasional forays into foreign policy. He offended his British hosts and Palestinian leaders during an overseas trip in July, failed to mention Afghanistan in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, and was roundly criticized for the timing of his assault on President Obama’s handling of violence in Libya. But with the president now potentially vulnerable on issues such as Libya and U.S.-Israeli relations, the Romney campaign senses an opportunity to reshape an issue long seen as an Obama strength. Romney will give a major foreign policy address Monday in Virginia that aides said would advocate a “peace through strength” approach abroad and attack Obama’s leadership as weak, themes that Romney has been trying to push for months, reports Jerry Markon.


-The Root: Affirmative Action’s True Purpose- As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments this week in Fisher v. University of Texas, we can expect our country to descend into the now standard hand-wringing about affirmative action. But our conversations about Fisher, like those surrounding the Ricci v. DeStefano firefighter case four years ago and the Grutter v. Bollinger case nine years ago, will most likely avoid engaging the core questions that lie at the heart of whether and how affirmative action should be continued. The blame for the inadequate nature of our conversation about affirmative action must be shared by civil rights organizations and right-wing groups, writes Sherrilyn A. Ifill.


-House panel wants U.S.-China telecom mergers blocked- The federal government should block mergers of U.S. firms with Chinese telecommunications companies suspected of ties to the Chinese government to lower the potential risk that such firms could serve as conduits for espionage, a congressional panel concluded. The recommendation is one of several growing out of a nearly year-long investigation by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is set to issue its report Monday. The report accuses two major Chinese telecoms, Huawei and ZTE, of failing to cooperate fully with the panel’s probe into their operations and alleged ties to the Chinese government and military, reports Ellen Nakashima.


-The mouse faces extinction as computer interaction evolves- Swipe, swipe, pinch-zoom. Fifth-grader Josephine Nguyen is researching the definition of an adverb on her iPad and her fingers are flying across the screen. Her 20 classmates are hunched over their own tablets doing the same. Conspicuously absent from this modern scene of high-tech learning: a mouse. This fall, for the first time, sales of iPads are cannibalizing sales of PCs in schools, according to Charles Wolf, an analyst for the investment research firm Needham & Co. And a growing number of even more sophisticated technologies for communicating with your computer — such as the Leap Motion boxes and Sony Vaio laptops that read hand motions, as well as voice recognition services such as Apple’s Siri — are beginning to make headway in the commercial market, reports Ariana Euncjung Cha.


-Neighborhood living near the National Mall?- In New York City, some of the most sought-after high-rise apartments overlook Central Park. In Paris, outdoor cafés line the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The Terreiro do Paço, in Lisbon, is not only bordered by a bustling downtown, but endless views of the Atlantic Ocean. A block away from Washington’s central attraction, the National Mall, there is little of this. Steps from the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art, the Hirshorn Museum and the National Air and Space Museum is a complex of five government office buildings that collectively could not be more boring architecturally or uninviting to someone considering a stroll down Independence Avenue. There are few places to eat, little to see and the streets are interrupted by railroad tracks, overpasses and structures such as the looming James V. Forrestal Building that straddles 10th Street SW. Change may be coming. The GSA announced at the end of September that it plans to seek ideas from the private sector for what to do with the drab cluster of buildings, opening the door to what could be the largest redevelopment of federal land in downtown Washington since the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center was built 15 years ago. The stakes for the government and the city are high, reports Jonathan O’Connell.


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