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    Wochit Headline News

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    President Nicolas Maduro was due to host Venezuelan opposition leaders on Thursday night at the start of mediated talks intended to stem violent protests in which dozens of people have died in the OPEC nation's worst unrest for years. Some hardline opposition groups, including the party of jailed protest leader Leopoldo Lopez, are boycotting the dialogue while demonstrators remain in jail. The meeting, brokered by foreign ministers from the Unasur bloc of South American governments, was expected to start at 8 p.m. at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas and be broadcast live on state TV. Both sides have also asked the Roman Catholic Church to attend as a "good faith" witness.
    Reflecting on the unique power of the office he holds, President Barack Obama on Thursday honored Lyndon B. Johnson as leader who seized the presidency's influence over the "currents of history" to fulfill America's founding promises of equality. Obama's 30-minute remarks at the Johnson presidential library came at the end of a three-day summit commemorating the law that ended racial discrimination in public places. The anniversary has led to a renaissance of sorts for Johnson's domestic agenda, which also included creation of Medicare, Medicaid and the Voting Rights Act and renewed appreciation for the 36th president's mastery of congressional dealmaking.
    Up to 71.36 percent of the electorate voted Thursday in Lakshadweep in peaceful polling for the lone Lok Sabha seat. India's smallest union territory Lakshadweep is a group of 36 islands, and has an electorate of less than 50,000. An official of the Lakshadweep chief electoral office said, "There was 71.36 percent voting till 5 p.m. and the voting is going on even after 6 p.m." The Congress has dominated Lakshadweep ever since its first Lok Sabha elections in 1967, except for the 2004 polls when the Janata Dal won.
    Californians' approval of their state legislature fell significantly in the days following the arrest of a prominent state senator on corruption and gun-trafficking conspiracy charges, a new poll shows, a toll that may cast a shadow on upcoming elections. Leland Yee of San Francisco was the third senate Democrat since January to face criminal charges in an ongoing spate of embarrassments for the party, which dominates politics in the most populous U.S. state. The Field Research Corporation said on Thursday the Yee scandal had caused a three-point decline, to 43 percent, in the number of voters who approved of the job lawmakers were doing.