February 18, 2006 [LINK]

Preval declared winner in Haiti

After several days of riots by poor people complaining that their votes had been stolen, election officials in Haiti changed their rules and declared former President Rene Preval to be the winner. By excluding blank ballots (which are a common sign of protest in Latin American countries, where voting is mandatory), Preval received 51.5 percent of the votes counted, meaning that no second round is necessary. It was an expedient decision, but it also gives the distinct impression of caving in to mob violence. See CNN.com.

Stones rock Rio

The Rolling Stones performed a free concert at the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro this evening, and about two million cariocas (residents of Rio) showed up. This is part of the buildup to Carnival, the world class hedonistic celebration that gives Brazil its very identity. See the BBC.