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Seeds of Arab Spring grow into free election

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) -- The people who started the Arab Spring shared one of its earliest fruits Sunday: a free election. Tunisians who brought down a dictator nine months ago waited for hours to select those who will help shape their fledgling democracy.

Tunisians voted Sunday to elect a 217-seat assembly that will appoint a new government and then write a new constitution.

It was the first truly free election in the history of Tunisia, which was under the control of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali for 23 years. Ben Ali was overthrown Jan. 14 by a monthlong uprising, sparked by a seller of fruit who set himself on fire in protest of police harassment, then stirred by anger over unemployment, corruption and repression.

The uprising inspired similar rebellions across the Arab world. The autocratic rulers of Egypt and Libya have fallen since.


Impact point unknown for defunct satellite

BERLIN -- A defunct German research satellite crashed into Earth somewhere in Southeast Asia on Sunday, a U.S. scientist said -- but no one is still quite sure where.

Most parts of the minivan-sized ROSAT research satellite were expected to burn up as they hit the atmosphere at speeds up to 280 mph, but up to 30 fragments weighing a total of 1.87 tons could have crashed, the German Aerospace Center said.

Calculations based on U.S. military data indicate that satellite debris must have crashed somewhere east of Sri Lanka over the Indian Ocean, or over the Andaman Sea off the coast of Myanmar, or further inland in Myanmar or as far inland as China, said Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.


Tibet monk's attempt at suicide is shown

BEIJING (AP) -- Exiled Tibetans have released amateur video that they say shows the failed suicide attempt of a Tibetan monk in southwest China last month.

The monk is one of at least 10 Tibetans in their late teens and 20s who have set themselves on fire since March to protest China's rule over Tibet, with five or more of them dying from their injuries.

They said the man in the video is Lobsang Konchok, a teenage monk who tried to set himself on fire Sept. 26 at Kirti Monastery in Sichuan province's Aba prefecture, where tensions between monks and the authorities have been high for months.

Chinese state media confirmed at the time that Lobsang and a second monk both tried to self-immolate but were rescued by police after suffering superficial burns and were in stable condition after the incident.


President's re-election indicated by exit polls

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- President Cristina Fernandez, buoyed by Argentina's booming economy, was re-elected by a landslide Sunday, according to exit polls.

The polls said Fernandez won 54 to 55 percent of the votes cast -- the widest victory margin for any Argentine president since democracy was restored three decades ago.

Victory would make Fernandez the first woman re-elected as president in Latin America.