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East Timor Votes in Presidential Runoff Updated: 2012-04-17 12:00:00 KST

East Timor Votes in Presidential Runoff
East Timor presidential candidate Francisco Guterres, known as "Lu Olo" casts his ballot.
He faces off against former military commander Taur Matan Ruak for the top job of Asia's newest and poorest nation.
Speaking to media, Lu Olo was confident of his victory and ability to lead.

[Interview : Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo," Presidential candidate]
"I believe I will win and what I promise during the campaign period I will carry out after being elected, and I will be president for all the people of East Timor to ensure peace and prosperity, development and cooperation with other state agencies."
Ruak, too, is confident, but added he would accept any decision by constituents.

[Interview : Taur Matan Ruak, Presidential candidate]
"I hope this election result will be better accepted by the people of East Timor, including both candidates, because it has become a choice of the people."

The elections are slated to help the country return to stability in the wake of a bloody struggle for independence in 2002 and intermittent violence during the 2007 parliamentary vote.
Jessica Gray, Reuters

Retailers got a pleasant surprise from the American consumer in March.
Total retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month, which far exceeded economists forecasts, and that follows up a slightly downwardly revised 1.0 percent gain in February.
The rise defied expectations of a slowdown in spending caused by higher gasoline prices. Some economists note those higher gasoline costs were offset by lower home-heating bills due to unusually warmer temperatures.
A stronger consumer is a positive indicator of economic growth, which gets two-thirds of its strength from shopping activity.
Therefore, economists are fine-tuning expectations as the data suggest the economy may not have slowed down as much as feared in the opening months of the year.
Conway Gittens, Reuters
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