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Zambian leader dies after stroke

The Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, right, died in a French hospital yesterday after suffering a stroke several weeks ago, Vice-President Rupiah Banda said.

The Zambian leader, 59, was a favourite with Western donors for tackling corruption and he had been one of the strongest critics in the region of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mwanawasa was credited with turning copper-rich Zambia into an African success story. Mr Banda is expected to take over as acting president according to Zambia's constitution and elections would be called.