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Despite defensive measures, a bold attack by the "air force" of Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels killed a power plant operator and damaged equipment on the outskirts of the capital, Colombo, Tuesday night. An Army base in the north of the island also was bombed, and at least three soldiers were wounded. Analysts said the attacks showed that the rebels still have the will and means to fight even though government troops are closing in on their headquarters.Skip to next paragraph
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Interim President Rupiah Banda appeared to be the favorite to win a full term in Zambia Thursday in a special election to replace the late Levy Mwanawasa. But opposition leader Michael Sata was expected to make the voting close with the support of workers in the copper industry, the main source of jobs in the sprawling but impoverished nation. Mwanawasa defeated Sata by 14 percentage points in 2006 but failed to survive surgery on Aug. 19 with three years left in his term.
Opposition leader Mohamad Nasheed, a onetime political prisoner, won the first democratic runoff election for president in the Maldives, ending the rule of Asia's longest-serving leader. Nasheed took 54 percent of the vote Tuesday, compared with 46 percent for incumbent Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who pledged his "full support and cooperation" to the victor. Gayoom won the first round of voting Oct. 8 but by less than a majority.
Qantas, Australia's flagship airline, was defending its safety standards again Wednesday after a 12-hour transpacific flight had to rely on weather data forwarded by a rival carrier. The plane, carrying 280 passengers from Los Angeles to Sydney, was diverted to Auckland, New Zealand, for repairs to its radar. On Oct. 7, a Qantas jet plunged hundreds of feet without warning before the pilot regained control, an incident in which 40 passengers were hurt. In July, an oxygen tank exploded aboard another Qantas flight, opening a hole in the fuselage and forcing an emergency landing.