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Spain's Socialists suffer losses

MADRID - Spain's ruling Socialists suffered a crushing defeat to conservatives in local and regional elections Sunday, yielding power even in traditional strongholds against a backdrop of staggering unemployment.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the result was due to punishment of his government for the state of the economy; the jobless rate is a eurozone high of 21.3 percent.

Spanish media said the performance was the worst on record by the Socialists in local elections; the conservative Popular Party won about two million votes.

The election came against a backdrop of widespread discontent. Protest camps of mainly young people sprang up in cities around the country a week ago and stayed put, swelling to tens of thousands of demonstrators in the evenings.

- AP

Zelaya cuts deal to return home

CARTAGENA, Colombia - Ousted Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya signed an accord with his successor Sunday that will permit Zelaya's return to his homeland and the country's reentry into the Organization of American States.

Shaking hands with smiles, Zelaya and current President Porfirio Lobo sat down in this Caribbean port to sign an agreement that was worked out by Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia.

The goal is to end the political crisis caused by the June 2009 coup that sent Zelaya into exile and caused the OAS to suspend Honduras as a member.

Lobo called the signing "a very important day for Honduras" and urged his countrymen to recognize that it will be good for the country for Zelaya to return home. - AP

Yemen protesters pin ambassadors

SAN'A, Yemen - Armed with guns, knives, and swords, supporters of Yemen's leader trapped U.S., European, and Arab ambassadors at a diplomatic mission in new turmoil that swept across the capital Sunday as the president refused to sign an agreement calling for him to step down in 30 days.

Security forces broke up the crowd after several hours of letting them besiege the embassy. But President Ali Abdullah Saleh's balking at the U.S.-backed deal threatened to wreck hopes for a peaceful resolution to the chaos that has consumed Yemen, where hundreds of thousands have protested for three months, defying a bloody crackdown, to demand his ouster.

If the mediation collapses, many fear further deterioration of the political situation, including an escalation of armed conflict between Saleh's loyalists and military units that have joined the opposition. Salah said he would not do so unless opposition leaders come to the palace and sign it in public, not "behind closed doors." - AP


Two landslides that hit an orphanage in Kuala Lumpur killed 15 boys and one adult, but nine people survived, police said after a nearly 15-hour rescue mission ended.