LAHORE, Pakistan – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looked poised Sunday to return to office with a resounding election victory – a mandate that could make it easier to tackle the country’s daunting problems, including growing power outages, weak economic growth and shaky government finances.
As unofficial returns rolled in Sunday, a day after the election, state TV estimates put Sharif, 63, close to the majority in the national assembly needed to govern outright for the next five years.
Even if he falls short of that threshold, independent candidates almost certain to swing in Sharif’s favor would give his Pakistan Muslim League-N party a ruling majority.
813 beheaded Italians canonized
Pope Francis on Sunday gave the Catholic Church new saints, including hundreds of 15th-century martyrs who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, as he led his first canonization ceremony in a packed St. Peter’s Square.
The Martyrs of Otranto were 813 Italians who were slain in the southern Italian city in 1480 for defying demands to renounce Christianity by Turkish invaders who overran the citadel.
Their approval for sainthood was decided upon by Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, in a decree read at the ceremony in February where the former pontiff announced his retirement.
Mubarak dismayed over plight of poor
In his first comments to the media since he was detained more than two years ago, Egypt’s ousted leader Hosni Mubarak said he is dismayed at the country’s state of affairs and particularly the plight of the poor.
The 85-year old Mubarak said in remarks published Sunday in Al-Watan newspaper that it is also too early to judge his elected successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, because he has a heavy burden to deal with.
The authenticity of the interview could not be immediately verified.
Mexican volcano increasingly active
Seismic activity has increased at the Popocatepetl volcano near Mexico City, leading authorities to alert towns in two central states and the capital.
Mexico’s National Disaster Prevention Center said the white-capped volcano spewed a plume of steam more than a half mile into the sky.
The volcano shook Saturday night, sometimes emitting glowing rock over the crater.
Popocatepetl has put out small eruptions of ash almost daily since 1994.
The eruptions started strengthening two weeks ago.