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Two Killed in Protests Over Venezuela Vote Ruling

Two opposition protesters were killed in clashes with Venezuelan troops on Tuesday as electoral officials ruled foes of President Hugo Chavez had initially failed to collect enough signatures for a recall vote against him. At least six people have been shot dead and dozens wounded in five days of violence in the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter as Chavez opponents press for a vote against a leftist president they accuse of dictatorial rule. National Electoral Council President Francisco Carrasquero said first results showed the opposition had collected only 1.83 million valid pro-referendum signatures — short of the minimum 2.4 million required to trigger a referendum. But officials said opposition voters would have a chance to reconfirm an additional 1.1 million disputed signatures. The referendum could still go ahead if at least 600,000 of the questioned signatures are validated in a complex process criticized by the opposition as a tactic to scuttle the vote. Full Story

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