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Chatter: Venezuela chooses Chavez's heir

Venezuelans vote in the president chosen for them by the late Hugo Chavez, a string of bombings kills 20 across Iraq, North Korea celebrates Kim Il Sung's birthday, and Psy tackles the difficult second single.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

El Comandante is dead, long live el Comandante. Hugo Chavez's chosen heir, Nicolas Maduro, has won the presidential election Venezuela was forced to call following its late leader's death.

Maduro clinched the victory with barely 1 percent more than his opponent, Henrique Capriles, a far narrower margin than predicted. Capriles has demanded a recount — and though Maduro said he would consent to any audit, the election council says the results are "irreversible." The outcome is proof that Chavez "continues to be invincible," according to Maduro. Invincible, and more divisive than ever.

It's been a deadly morning in Iraq. At least 20 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in bomb attacks across the country timed to coincide with the morning rush hour. A total of seven cities were targeted, including Baghdad, where two car bombs went off near the airport, and Kirkuk, where six car bombs were detonated at the same time.

The attacks come just five days before Iraq is due to hold provincial elections, its first since 2010. No one has yet claimed responsibility, though the obvious suspects are Sunni Islamist insurgents, notably Al Qaeda's Iraqi wing.

WANT TO KNOW

What do you get for the founding father who has everything? Hopefully not a nuclear missile launch. In North Korea, celebrations are in full swing for the 101st birthday of Kim Il Sung, the nation's late, revered founder and grandfather of its current leader, Kim Jong Un.

The rest of the world is watching nervously, meanwhile, knowing North Korea's propensity for celebrating in explosive fashion. (Even the flower displays are rocket-themed.) The US is clearly getting fed up with the nail-biting. "We cannot continue this charade," said Secretary of State John Kerry at the close of his visit to Asia today, "and we cannot have a policy of rhetoric about denuclearization. There have to be real steps here."

You've gotta be kidney-ing us. American scientists say they've created the first ever "lab-grown" kidney, and it works. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital took a real kidney from a rat, stripped out its living cells with detergent, then pumped in new cells from other animals to rebuild the organ. When transplanted into a live rat, the kidney successfully filtered the blood and produced urine.

The technique is still a long way from being ready to use on humans, but scientists say they hope synthetic kidneys will one day be available to the hundreds of thousands of people in need of transplants each year.

This is one hospital you really don't want to be in. Israel's Western Galilee Hospital can be sealed off in stages. Why? Because it's perhaps the world's most elaborately equipped medical center prepared to withstand bombs and chemical and biological contamination. Almost within shouting distance of the Lebanese border and Syria, today it's used to treat wounded Syrians.

GlobalPost takes a tour of the hospital straight out of a horror movie.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

How do you follow the most-watched YouTube video of all time? After the perfect storm of catchy hooks, gratifyingly copyable dance moves and insane-o bottom-themed video that was 'Gangnam Style,' we would have forgiven Psy if he'd rested comfortably on those laurels and lived out his days on royalties. But that's not the K-poppet we know and love, or at least can't seem to get out of our heads.

Psy's feverishly awaited new video dropped this weekend, and has since destroyed the YouTube record for most views in a single day. But is it any good? GlobalPost says: Meh. You'll find our review here. And now, if you'll excuse us, we've got to perfect the art of swaying bow-legged on the spot.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-venezuela-chooses-chavezs-heir

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