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El Universal, Dec. 7, 2015

CARACAS — Venezuelans congratulated themselves for what several officials described as an "exemplary" election, without violence or widespread accusations of fraud. The ballot Sunday saw the liberal opposition to President Nicolas Maduro took 99 of 167 parliamentary seats in a provisional vote count, with the ruling, socialist PSUV party winning 46 seats.

Opposition daily El Universal called it a "democratic party."

The provisional tally exceeded a simple majority of 84 seats, and opposition politicians were hoping they could finally win more than 110 seats in the next legislature, allowing them to make sweeping political changes, El Universal reported Monday.

In spite of fears he might defy results of a defeat, President Nicolás Maduro recognized the "adverse results" and attributed it to a "perfect" electoral system; he said the elections were a "triumph" of the country's democracy.

The opposition coalition's Executive Secretary, Jesús Torrealba, said their victory was "thunderous" and a new "cycle" of "unity" was starting for Venezuela.

"We won't persecute those who think differently from us. The constitution will be our ... compass," another opposition daily El Nacional reported him as saying. At the rally in Caracas where Torrealba spoke, crowds were chanting "Yes we did," (Sí se pudo), reminiscent of President Barack Obama's Yes We Can slogan.

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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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