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Royal, her partner are reported to split

PARIS -- Ségolène Royal, defeated last month in French presidential elections, is separating from her partner, Socialist party leader François Hollande, French media said. The relationship between Royal and Hollande has fascinated France after Royal's speedy rise to become the party's presidential candidate last year -- a position traditionally reserved for the party head. Since losing the presidential election last month she has made clear she wants to replace Hollande as Socialist secretary general. During the election campaign, the two Socialists, who have four children but never married, frequently denied rumors they were splitting up, and Royal said earlier this year that she had wanted a romantic wedding with Hollande in 2006. (Reuters)


Poll indicates most support protests
CARACAS -- A majority of Venezuelans support student protests over the closure of an opposition television channel, a poll indicated yesterday, despite President Hugo Chávez insisting the demonstrations were part of a US plot to topple him. Chávez replaced RCTV, the country's oldest broadcaster, with a state network last month. Since then, there have been regular protests by thousands of students accusing the president of undermining democracy. A Datos poll of 600 Venezuelans across social classes found that 56.2 percent supported the students, with only 23.8 percent opposed to them. (Reuters)


Suspected outbreak of avian flu probed
LOME -- Authorities in Togo are investigating a suspected outbreak of avian flu after the sudden mass death of poultry on a farm, the government of the small West African state said yesterday. An agriculture ministry statement cited by state media said test samples had been sent to a regional laboratory to determine whether the outbreak involved the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, which was reported in neighboring Ghana in May. (Reuters)