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Chatter: Wen Jiabao takes a bow

China's premier prepares to retire, Kenya counts its votes, Hugo Chavez goes from bad to worse, and Batman is a Chinese-takeout delivery man.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Take a bow, Wen Jiabao. China's premier has given the final major political address of his career, as he prepares to make way for a new generation of leaders. Wen opened the first session of the new Chinese parliament in Beijing with a promise to maintain economic growth at 7.5 percent this year and create more than nine million new jobs in China's cities.

Responsibility for achieving those targets will fall to his successor, Li Keqiang, and incoming president Xi Jinping, who are due to replace Wen and Hu Jintao this year as part of China's once-a-decade reshuffle.

Kenya counts. The millions of Kenyans who voted in their presidential election yesterday are waiting to learn the outcome. Partial results give Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta the edge over his main rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga – but more than half of polling stations have yet to report, and the game could yet change.

Full results aren't due for another 24 hours at least. The country's election commission has urged Kenyans to await the final tally patiently, and accept its consequences peacefully.

The rebels have Raqqa. Syrian activists say rebel forces have captured first the capital of northern Raqqa province and now its governor, who they are reportedly holding prisoner in his mansion. If confirmed, and if they can hold on to it, the victory may just be their biggest yet.

The regime won't let them have it easily, though: tanks and warplanes have already attacked the city, and further reinforcements are said to be on the way.

WANT TO KNOW

Hugo Chavez goes from bad to worse. The Venezuelan goverment has announced that the president is suffering from a "new and severe" respiratory infection, even as he undergoes intensive chemotherapy for cancer. Information Minister Ernesto Villegas says Chavez is "clinging to Christ and to life."

The government doesn't care for its opponents' increasingly vocal speculation that Chavez might be about to lose his grip on both. But each new complication it reveals hardly puts the rumors to rest.

New sanctions for North Korea? Diplomats say the US, Russia and even China have signed off on a draft UN Security Council resolution that will punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test. No one will comment on what the draft contains, but it's expected to call for a tougher and more extensive version of the sanctions already in place.

The council is due to discuss the issue at a meeting today, and could vote on the resolution before the week's out.

Mexicans are missing, by the thousands. More than 26,000 people have vanished in the six years of criminal hyper-violence that have battered much of the country. Victims' advocacy groups blame security forces, often working with the gangsters, for many of the disappearances.

But now, under sustained pressure from those groups, President Enrique Peña Nieto's new administration has promised to focus on tracking down those lost and prosecuting their tormentors. GlobalPost meets some of the families allowing themselves to hope that the missing might one day be found.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

The Dark Knight rises... in Bradford. Police in northern England were bewildered, if grateful, when someone looking a lot like Batman delivered a crime suspect to their door, then vanished. CCTV video of the incident quickly went viral – and led to wild speculation as to who the, ahem, chubby caped crusader could be.

It turns out it's neither the reclusive billionaire nor even the mild-mannered reporter: the man behind the mask is one Stan Worby, a Chinese takeout delivery man, who accompanied a guilty friend to the police station still in the costume he'd donned to watch a soccer match. Bat-Stan, we salute you.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-wen-jiabao-takes-bow

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