2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 6, 2004
A REVOLUTIONARY STEP FOR DEMOCRACY*
GHAZNI, Afghanistan (AP) -
Watched over by American bodyguards
and sharpshooters, Afghanistan's eter-
nally optimistic interim president told a
campaign rally of 10,000 people yester-
day that this weekend's election is a key
step in their recovery from decades of war
The gathering was one of three big
rallies by leading presidential contenders
on the most active day yet in a campaign
that has mostly been waged behind closed
doors, with the candidates courting the
support of tribal elders who can influence
how whole villages vote.
It was only President Hamid Karzai's
Karzai told his security detail when they
tried to keep the man away. "This is
democracy. This is emotion!"
People in the crowd danced and sang,
while drummers beat out a traditional
Karzai's main rival, former Interior
Minister Yunus Qanooni, addressed more
than 2,000 people at the Kabul sports sta-
dium to appeal for support. Qanooni, an
ethnic Tajik, is expected to finish second
but hopes to hold Karzai below the major-
ity vote needed to avoid a runoff.
In the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif,
Uzbek strongman Abdul Rashid Dostum
told several thousand people that Karzai's '
government had fallen
proud short on promises of
n, a improved security.
ianistan, mounted a brown
horse - his elec-
toral symbol - as
the crowd pressed in
n. around him, chant-
ing his name.
Hamid Karzai In the conserva-
of Afghanistan tive south, about 500
leaders of Karzai's
NEWS IN BRIEF .
Officials prepare for flu shot shortage
Most healthy adults should delay or skip getting flu shots this year so that the
elderly and others most at risk from influenza can get scarce supplies, U.S. health
officials said yesterday as they scrambled to manage a surprise - and record
British regulators abruptly shut down a major flu-shot supplier yesterday, cut-
ting in half the U.S. supply of vaccine just as flu season is about to begin.
The Bush administration urged the public and doctors to begin voluntary
rationing of the roughly 54 million flu shots that will be available this year.
Vaccine should be reserved for groups including babies and toddlers ages 6 to
23 months, people 65 or older, anyone with a chronic condition such as heart or
lung disease and pregnant women.
For everyone else, "take a deep breath. This is not an emergency," said Julie
Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We don't
want people to rush out and look for a vaccine today."
The government cannot impound existing vaccine to enforce the recom-
mendations. It has urged voluntary rationing before, during a shortage in 2000
- but never before has the nation lost half its supply.
trip out of the cap-
ital since an assas-
by Taliban reb-
els last month,
and security was
of Afghan police
lined the road
leading to the
dusty field, and
ing the rally had
to pass through
"We want a
Iran claims missiles' range has increased
Iran said yesterday its missiles now have a range of more than 1,200 miles, a
substantial extension of their previously declared range.
The old version of Iran's Shahab-3 missile had a range of 810 miles, capable of
reaching Israel and various U.S. military bases in the Middle East.
In August, Iran tested a new version of the Shahab-3, and Defense Minister Ali
Shamkhani said the country was trying to improve the range and accuracy of the
missile in response to efforts by Israel to upgrade its missile system.
Several days ago, Iran said it had added a "strategic missile" to its arsenal after
a successful test.
"Today we have the power to fire missiles to a range of 2,000 kilometers" -
about 1,250 miles, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani said yesterday, according
o o to a report by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
"Experts know that a country that possesses this can obtain all subsequent stag-
es" in missile production, Rafsanjani told staff at the Aerospace Research Institute
as U.S. helicopters
Karzai, the overwhelming favorite
among the 18 contenders, said Saturday's
election is an opportunity to build a new
future for a country that has known noth-
ing but war, drought and poverty for a
"Brothers and sisters of Afghanistan, I
ask you to vote for me freely, with no pres-
sure," Karzai told the crowd in Ghazni,
about 75 miles south of Kabul. "We want
a proud Afghanistan, a stable Afghani-
stan, a peaceful Afghanistan."
After the rally, he mingled in the
crowd, shaking hands with an old man
who pressed closer to meet him.
"Don't push him! Don't push him!"
ethnic Pashtun kins-
men joined one of Karzai's brothers at a
tribal council in a village near Kandahar
to endorse the interim leader.
Speakers lauded Karzai as the only
man to stop infighting among Afghan
warlords, keep Taliban rebels at bay and
maintain the world's interest in helping
"He doesn't smoke and nobody ever
heard him use bad language," said Mau-
lawi Obeidullah, a white-bearded cleric.
"He's a Muslim, a holy warrior and a great
The lackluster campaigning has been
in part a product of Afghan-style politics,
and in part due to fears that Taliban and
al-Qaida rebels could attack campaign
Afghan President Hamid Karzai looks out over the crowd during a campaign
stop in Ghazni, Afghanistan, 110 kilometers outside Kabul yesterday.
On Monday, Afghan soldiers and
police raided a hideout where Taliban
militants were suspected of preparing
attacks to disrupt the presidential elec-
tion, prompting a three-hour battle that
killed seven insurgents, officials said
Seven police officers were reported
killed yesterday when their vehicle struck
a land mine close to the Pakistani border,
and police said gunmen shot at a U.N.
vehicle, wounding three Afghan election
The Taliban, which was driven from
power by a U.S.-led coalition in late 2001,
has staged a string of attacks on election
workers, made frequent rocket assaults
on U.S. bases and sprung occasional
But the rebels have not launched the
major assault that many people had feared
in the days leading up to the vote.
Major new Iraq offensive launched
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - More than
3,000 U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a
major operation yesterday against insur-
gent strongholds just south of Baghdad,
their second mission in five days to wrest
control from militants whose attacks
threaten national elections seen as cru-
cial tostabilizing this turbulent country.
The operation in the Babil province
- an area notorious for kidnappings
and ambushes and home to the fabled,
ancient city of Babylon - follows last
week's U.S.-Iraqi drive to oust insurgent
forces from Samarra, about 60 miles
north of Baghdad.
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit
and Iraqi forces went into action after a
string of bombings set off clashes yes-
terday between U.S. troops and gunmen
west of Baghdad and in the northern city
of Mosul, and as the discovery of five
beheaded bodies over two days indicat-
ed the pace of such grisly killings was
The Marines and Iraqis punched their
way across the Euphrates River, round-
ed up 30 suspects, seized a suspected
training camp and took control of a
major bridge, the U.S. command said.
The bridge, spanning the Euphrates, is
believed to be a favored corridor linking
insurgent areas around Baghdad, Fallu-
jah and towns farther south.
The area in which they were oper-
ating was an estimated 40 to 45 miles
northwest of ancient Babylon. The capi-
tal-of Babil province is Hillah, about 65
miles south of Baghdad. The provincial
capital sits near the Euphrates in a belt
of rich agricultural land between that
river and the nearby Tigris.
Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said
the tempo of attacks against insurgent
strongholds would increase but acknowl-
edged that the security challenge was a
"source of worry."
"I don't want to deny the impact of
security situation nor minimize the size
of the challenges we face," Allawi said
during a speech yesterday in Baghdad.
"I believe that many of the Iraqi people
agree with me that we should not let ter-
rorist forces decide our agenda.
"It's true that the security situation in
which the country is living commands
most of your attention and maybe your
questions too. It's true that it is a source
of worry to many who are concerned
The tempo of attacks against insurgent
strongholds will increase, but security
challenges remain a source of concern,
Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said.
about Iraq's future. But it's better than
surrendering to the evil forces or giving
in to their demands."
As part of the campaign, Allawi's
government has been negotiating with
followers of renegade Shiite cleric
Muqtada al-Sadr to halt weeks of fight-
ing with U.S. troops in the Baghdad
district Sadr City. During his speech,
Allawi said the two sides had reached
the basis of a deal and talks were con-
However, clashes between al-Sadr's
militia and American troops continued
despite the talks. Residents of the Shiite
district reported hearing explosions last
U.S. troops also battled gunmen in an
insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad
and in Mosul after a series of bombings.
At least five American soldiers were
wounded - underscoring the role of
homemade explosives as the insurgent
weapon of choice in a country awash in
In Ramadi, about 70 miles west of
Baghdad, American troops and insur-
gents exchanged gunfire after a car
bomb exploded, police Capt. Nassir
Hassan said. The U.S. military had no
report of the incident, but an Associated
Press photographer saw two dead Iraqis
and four wounded at the scene.
Later, a roadside bomb detonated as
a U.S. military convoy was passing near
the Grand Mosque in the eastern section
of Ramadi, wounding one soldier, said
Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert.
He said seven Iraqis were wounded.
However, Diaa al-Haity at Ramadi
General Hospital said four Iraqis were
killed and two wounded.
Sen. Clinton targeted for fundraising violations
The Republican-run Justice Department is setting its sights on Sen. Hillary Rod-
ham Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign in pursuit of possible fundraising violations.
In targeting a rising star in the Democratic Party, prosecutors are trying to gain the
cooperation of an indicted businessman who raised the allegations, interviews and
The FBI has told a U.S. magistrate in Los Angeles it has evidence the former first
lady's campaign deliberately understated its fundraising costs so it would have more
money to spend on elections, and prosecutors allege one of her fundraisers helped
because he wanted a pardon from her husband.
Noel Hillman, the Justice Department's top public corruption attorney and a career
official, has met three times with lawyers for fundraiser Peter Paul to discuss a plea.
Lawmakers may allow foreign-born presidents
It's not about Arnold, lawmakers indicated.
But the California governor certainly was one of the rising stars on many minds
yesterday as a Senate panel talked about amending the Constitution to let immi-
grants occupy the White House.
Measures discussed by the senators would remove the prohibition against for-
eign-born presidents, opening the job to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michigan
Gov. Jennifer Granholm, along with millions of others.
"This restriction has become an anachronism that is decidedly un-American,"
said Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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