Top news: Uhuru Kenyatta, indicted by the International Criminal Court for bankrolling election-related violence in 2007, won a narrow victory in Kenya's presidential election, securing 50.07 percent of the vote election authorities announced Saturday. Clearing the 50 percent mark with about 8,000 votes of over 12 million cast, Kenyatta, who is the son of Kenya's first president, will avoid a run-off, though his challenger, Raila Odinga, vowed to challenge the results.
Odinga maintained that the election was marred by fraud, refused to concede defeat, and said that he would challenge the election results before the Kenyan supreme court, saying Saturday that "democracy is on trial." With a mere 8,000 votes separating Odinga from a one-on-one rematch with Kenyatta, the stakes in the coming legal battle will be high, which is likely to focus on the many problems that bedeviled the country's election, including problems with the initial tally, overloaded servers, and a scrapped national ID system.
Should Kenyatta hold on to power, his ascension to the presidency is likely to create a difficult diplomatic situation for the West, which will have to balance the interests of maintaining relations with a key African ally and their commitments to the ICC. In a message Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Kenyans for voting peacefully but pointedly omitted Kenyatta's name.
Afghanistan/U.S.: Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of being in collusion with the Taliban to maintain a military presence in the country, remarks that coincided with newly minted Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's visit to the country.
- The United States and South Korea began a military exercise amid increasing tensions with North Korea, which has upped its bellicose rhetoric and threatened to strike the South with nuclear weapons.
- Japan is marking the two-year anniversary today of the earthquake that led to a devastating tsunami, the subsequent meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, and the deaths of 19,000 people.
- The ringleader of the men alleged to have gang-raped and killed a 23-year-old Indian woman aboard a bus in New Delhi hanged himself in his jail cell, sparking allegations that police killed the man.
- An Iraqi group affiliated with al Qaeda claimed responsibility for an attack on Syrian soldiers in Western Iraq that left 48 Syrian soldiers dead.
- Syrian rebels freed 21 U.N. peacekeepers taken hostage near the Golan Heights.
- The Tunisian prime minister-designate submitted a reshuffled cabinet lineup that includes key concessions by Islamist parties to the country's president.
- Radical Islamists in Nigeria executed seven construction workers, including several Westerners, who had been taken hostage.
- French Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said his country's forces had found weapons "by the ton" belonging to radical Islamists and stockpiled in caves.
- Former South African President Nelson Mandela returned home after being admitted to a hospital overnight for medical tests.
- Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles announced that he will run for president and challenge Hugo Chavez's hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, in elections set for April 14.
- Lauded as a reincarnation of the famed revolutionary, Simon Bolivar, Hugo Chavez was given a state funeral Friday that served as a political hand-off to his chosen successor, Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in as president shortly after.
- The residents of the Falkland Islands are voting in a two-day referendum on whether to remain a British territory.
- Cardinals gathered in the Vatican for the papal conclave are carrying out their final meetings today before going behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon for the start of the election.
- Hungary's right-wing ruling party is attempting to push through a slate of changes to the country's basic law that critics charge will undermine democracy.
- Amid criticism from European human rights officials, the trial of the dead lawyer Sergei Magnitsky has been delayed.
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