Former first lady leads Guatemala voting
GUATEMALA CITY -- A former first lady emerged Monday as the top vote-getter in the first round of Guatemala's presidential election, but she will have to compete in an August runoff that will determine the next leader of the Central American nation.
With votes tallied from 90% of polling centers, Sandra Torres had 24% of the vote from Sunday's election, followed by four-time presidential candidate Alejandro Giammattei with 14%, who held the edge for the second-place finish and the other spot in the runoff.
Both candidates made speeches early Monday outlining their plans for the government.
Torres promised to reactivate the economy, tackle the country's security situation, advocate for those at risk and run an efficient government. On the sensitive topic of corruption, she said she supported the recommendation of the country's top prosecutor to replace the United Nations-backed anti-corruption mission with a prosecutor's office that would focus on corruption cases and receive support from international experts.
Outgoing President Jimmy Morales, who was limited to a single four-year term, had said he would not renew the highly effective U.N. mission's mandate after it sought the lifting of his immunity of office so it could investigate allegations against him.
Giammattei spoke of the same goals but added that on immigration he plans to work closely with Mexico to raise living standards in communities near their shared border, which are the country's poorest.
Political analyst Phillip Chicola said that assuming the runoff will be between Torres and Giammattei, "Either one who makes it to the presidency is a sign of the victory for the status quo."
Earthquake jolts south China province
BEIJING -- A strong earthquake that hit Sichuan province in southern China late Monday night killed two people and injured 19, officials and news reports said.
The U.S. Geological Survey warned there could be significant damage. Authorities in China said the earthquake measured magnitude 6.0 and hit about 12 miles from the city of Changning. The nearest major city, Chongqing, is 120 miles to the northeast.
The quake was centered at a fairly shallow depth of 6 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage to buildings and infrastructure.
An aftershock measuring magnitude 5.2 later hit the same area, the agency said.
The Beijing Youth Daily said some people had been injured, but that could not be immediately confirmed. The emergency management ministry said teams of firefighters have been sent to the area to search for any casualties.
The official Xinhua news agency said a few houses were damaged in Chongqing but no injuries were reported there, according to the Municipal Emergency Management Bureau.
Syria: Insurgents' rockets kill 12 people
DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syrian insurgents fired rockets into residential parts of the government-held northern province of Aleppo, striking a wedding party and killing at least 12 civilians and wounding 15, state media said Monday.
The attack late Sunday took place in the village of Wadehi, south of Aleppo city, which abuts the last rebel-held enclave.
Syria's state TV Al-Ikhbariya said children were among those killed and some of the wounded were in critical conditions. The TV said more rockets landed as people tried to escape from the scene of the attack.
One woman told the TV that a missile landed in a room where four girls were, killing them. Another girl said her two sisters and one brother were killed in the strike.
A doctor speaking to the TV station said three of the wounded were in critical condition. Images from inside an Aleppo hospital broadcast on al-Ikhbariya TV show men and children lying on stretchers, some with their heads bandaged, while others have what appears to be abdomen wounds.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported fatalities, saying four children were killed in the attack.
Fighting has raged over the last seven weeks in northwestern Syria as government forces press an offensive toward the last rebel stronghold in the country's eight-year civil war.
U.N. reports slowed world population rise
UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations says the world's population is getting older and growing at a slower pace but is still expected to increase from the current 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050.
The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division said in a report Monday that world population could reach a peak of nearly 11 billion around the end of the century.
The new projections indicate nine countries will be responsible for more than half the projected population growth between now and 2050. In descending order of the expected increase, they are: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States.
The report confirmed that the world's population is growing older due to increasing life expectancy and falling fertility levels.
-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports
A Section on 06/18/2019
Print Headline: Former first lady leads Guatemala voting Earthquake jolts south China province Syria: Insurgents' rockets kill 12 people U.N. reports slowed world population rise