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May 20, 2008 at 9:05 AM
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Obama expects pledged delegate majority

WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Sen. Barack Obama was expected to have a majority of pledged delegates after Tuesday's primaries in Oregon and Kentucky, but he says he won't claim victory.

He and his campaign are mindful of the delicacy of the hard-fought primary race against Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who argues she is winning the popular vote if results from Florida and Michigan are counted, The New York Times reported.

Obama's campaign said it anticipates Tuesday's results would allow the candidate to reach a threshold his camp sought to establish as key: win a majority of the delegates awarded in primaries and caucuses, the Times said.

While Obama, D-Ill., praised Clinton for running a "magnificent race," Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe said, "A clear majority of elected delegates will send an unmistakable message -- the people have spoken and they are ready for change."

Clinton said neither candidate will have the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination after Tuesday's primaries.

The Democratic National Committee stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates as punishment for changing their primaries. The DNC rules committee will meet May 31 to consider how -- or whether -- to seat the states' representations.

Ma takes over as Taiwan's president

TAIPEI, Taiwan, May 20 (UPI) -- Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou, who was elected in March on a promise to improve trade relations with mainland China, was sworn in Tuesday.

Ma, 57, urged both China and his country to start "a new chapter of peace" so there can be regional stability, the BBC reported.

Ma succeeds Chen Shui-bian, who had been strong supporter of Taiwan's independence.

With Ma taking over, Chen gave up his presidential immunity, prompting prosecutors to say they have begun a corruption inquiry against the former president, the report said. Chen and his wife have been accused in a $450,000 embezzlement case.

Ma, who represents the Taiwan Nationalist Party, also wants more dialogue with China.

"Seeking cross-strait peace and maintaining regional stability is our goal and Taiwan still strives to become a peacemaker in the world," he said.

China has always claimed the island nation as part of its territory. There have been growing global concerns over China's massive military buildup in recent years and its threat to Taiwan.

Vincent Siew, the new Taiwanese vice president, has met Chinese President Hu Jintao, the report said.

Calm greets Iraqi troops in Sadr City

BAGHDAD, May 20 (UPI) -- There were no reports of violence Tuesday in Baghdad's Sadr City as Iraqi security forces began clearing mines and confiscating weapons, officials said.

Despite the military presence, residents told the Los Angeles Times the district was calm and no shots were fired.

Iraqi troops moved into the neighborhood after reaching an agreement to end weeks of fighting between government forces and militiamen loyal to rebel Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr. The pact is intended to restore stability and clear the area of weapons and outlaws.

Operation Peace and Security began at dawn, said Maj. Gen. Qassim Musawi, a spokesman for the Iraqi military. The Iraqi government plans to provide humanitarian aid and improve services once the military operation ends, he said.

"Our forces have entered into most of Sadr City ... where they will start their inspection," he said. "Fortunately, our army did not face any trouble entering the city."

U.S. forces aren't involved in the operation.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Stover, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said Tuesday's operation was a "turning point where we start seeing the Special Group criminals picked up by the Iraqi security forces and a lasting peace for the Iraqi people."

Tutu pleads for end to violence

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 20 (UPI) -- Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu pleaded for an end to violence against migrants in South Africa, where at least 22 people have been killed in 10 days.

Hundreds of people were injured and thousands more fled as South Africans vented frustrations about unemployment and rising prices, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

"This is not how we behave," Tutu said. "These are our brothers and sisters. Please, please stop."

South African President Thabo Mbeki called for the "shameful and criminal acts" to cease.

Vincent Williams, a Southern African Migration Project analyst, said 1997 and 2006 surveys indicate South Africa was intolerant of migrants. The surveys indicated about one-quarter of South Africans wanted a ban on immigrants and more than one-fifth wanted them sent home.

"Over 10 years anti-foreigner sentiment remained more or less the same, and in some cases increased, particularly from the point of view of resource issues," Williams said.

Paul Graham of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa said the cause for the "outbreak of cleansing" wasn't clear.

"We can see the tinder lying on the ground which could blaze up, but who struck the match is not clear," Graham told the Times.

'Boys crisis' in education a myth

WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- A study Tuesday by a group advocating education and equity for woman dispels the myth that boys suffer academically at the expense of girls in U.S. schools.

A report by the American Association of University Women concludes in its study, "Where the Girls Are: The Facts About Gender Equity in Education," that academic success is linked to family income more than sex of the student.

The report reaches three general conclusions: male students don't suffer educationally if their female counterparts do well, education performance has improved across both sexes and ethnic and economic factors correlate to academic performance.

Proponents argued that male students suffered at the expense of advocacy campaigns for women.

"Perhaps the most compelling argument against a boys crisis," the report says, "is that men continue to outearn women in the workplace."

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