CARACAS, Venezuela

Electoral council sets date for presidential election

Venezuela’s electoral council has set a presidential election for April 14 to choose the successor to President Hugo Chavez.

Acting President Nicolas Maduro will run as the ruling party candidate. Henrique Capriles is expected to run again for the opposition.

Capriles lost to Chavez in an October election. Chavez later anointed Maduro as his chosen successor before undergoing surgery in December for the cancer that led to his death Tuesday.

JOHANNESBURG

Mandela hospitalization called no cause for alarm

Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and anti-apartheid leader, was admitted to a hospital Saturday for a scheduled medical check-up and doctors say there is no cause for “alarm,” the president’s office said.

Officials have used similarly soothing language to explain previous hospital stays for 94-year-old Mandela, but in those cases he later turned out to have more serious conditions.

The intense privacy surrounding the health of Mandela reflects in part the official reverence for a man who is seen as one of the great unifying figures of the 20th century for helping to avert race-driven chaos in South Africa’s tense transition from apartheid to democracy.

Mandela’s hospitalization comes as South Africa is enduring a series of setbacks that serve as a reminder of how it has fallen short of the kind of harmonious society that he envisioned, but could not realize during his five years as the country’s first black president.

LONDON

Stonehenge may have been burial ground for families

British researchers have proposed a new theory for the origins of Stonehenge: It may have started as a giant burial ground for elite families around 3,000 B.C.

New studies of cremated human remains excavated from the site suggest that about 500 years before the Stonehenge we know today was built, a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a community graveyard, researchers said Saturday.

“These were men, women, children, so presumably family groups,” said University College London professor Mike Parker Pearson, who led the team. “We’d thought that maybe it was a place where a dynasty of kings was buried, but this seemed to be much more of a community, a different kind of power structure.”

Parker Pearson said archeologists studied the cremated bones of 63 individuals, and believed that they were buried around 3,000 B.C. The location of many of the cremated bodies was originally marked by bluestones, he said. That earlier circular enclosure, which measured around 300 feet across, could have been the burial ground for about 200 more people, Parker Pearson said.

The team, which included academics from more than a dozen British universities, also put forth some theories about the purpose of the second Stonehenge — the monument still standing in the countryside in southern England today.

Various theories have been proposed about Stonehenge, including that it was a place for Druid worship, an observatory for astronomical studies, or a place of healing, built by early inhabitants of Britain who roamed around with their herds.