2A -The Michigan Daily -Thursday, September 8, 2005
Charges of fraud could discredit NEWS IN BRIEFt
first multi-party Egyptian elections
CAIRO (AP) - For the first time
Egyptian voters had a choice of candi-
dates for president yesterday in an elec-
tion the United States hopes will be a
key step toward democracy across the
But the ballot was marred by charg-
es of fraud and the near-certainty
the vote would merely give longtime
President Hosni Mubarak another six
years of power.
Opposition party members, human
rights monitors and citizens told The
Associated Press that election workers at
polling places in Luxor and other towns
instructed voters to choose Mubarak. In
Cairo and Alexandria, supporters of the
ruling National Democratic Party prom-
ised food or money to poor people if they
voted for Mubarak, voters said.
The leading opposition candidate,
Ayman Nour, charged the elections "are
not fair at all," and vowed to reject rigged
However, a top official in another major
opposition party, El-Sayed el-Badawy,
said that while fraud and intimidation
were apparent, "This is the first time for
and Noaman Gomaa of the Wafd - and
the president was expected to win handily.
Final results were not due until Saturday.
El-Badawy and several independent
monitoring groups said turnout was low,
contrary to government predictions of
high turnout. The number of voters might
indicate whether recent calls for reform
have shaken Egyptians out of an apathy
generated by years of stagnation.
In Washington, State Department
spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S.
government was following the election
closely and called the vote "a beginning."
"These elections really mark a his-
toric departure for Egypt, in the fact
that you have multicandidate presi-
dential elections. I think it's safe to
say that Egyptians have not seen a
presidential election like the one they
have just seen in their lifetimes," he
In one clear sign of the changes sweep-
ing Egypt, more than 3,000 people
marched through downtown Cairo at
mid-afternoon to protest against Mubarak
- by far the largest crowd ever drawn by
the group Kifaya, or "Enough" in Arabic.
Report criticizes Annan's role in oil-for-food
In a devastating assessment of the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, investigators
strongly criticized Secretary-General Kofi Annan, his deputy and the Security Coun-
cil for allowing Saddam Hussein to bilk $10.2 billion from the giant humanitarian
operation and oil smuggling operations.
Annan said he took personal responsibility for the lapses but he stressed he had no plans
to resign. "The report is critical of me personally, and I accept the criticism,"he said.
The Independent Inquiry Committee's report on the oil-for-food program said
those managing the program failed the ideals of the United Nations, ignoring clear
evidence of corruption and waste that flourished after it was created in 1996 to help
"The inescapable conclusion from the committee's work is that the United
Nations organization needs thorough reform-and it needs it urgently," the
GAZA CITY, Gaza
Gunmen kill former Palestinian security chief
About 100 masked militants stormed the heavily guarded home of Gaza's for-
mer-security chief early yesterday, dragged him out in his pajamas and killed him
in a burst of gunfire - a brazen challenge to the Palestinian Authority days before
Israel was to hand over Gaza.
Moussa Arafat, a cousin of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was killed
after a 30-minute gun battle between the assailants and dozens of bodyguards. The
fighting with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles raged just a block from
the headquarters of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service. The gunmen also
kidnapped Arafat's son, Manhal.
The Popular Resistance Committees, a violent group made up largely of for-
mer members of the Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, later
A government supporter bares a t-shirt with the face of President Hosni Mubarak.
a president to reach out to the citizens
and ask for their support. This is a
Osama Attawiya, spokesman for the
country's election commission, said the
panel had received no major complaints
or reports of problems.
Nine candidates ran against Mubarak
this time, but only two were considered
significant - Nour of the al-Ghad Party
rej ect s Iran's Roadside bomb kills convoy of American guards
offer to provide 20m
barrels. of crude oil
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran
offered to send the United States 20
million barrels of crude oil in the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina if
Washington waived trade sanctions,
but a State Department official said
yesterday that offer was rejected.
In a gesture that mirrors Ameri-
can aid offers after a devastating
2003 earthquake in Iran, Tehran's
envoy to the Organization of Petro-
leum Exporting Countries said his
government would ship up to 20
million barrels of oil, state radio
reported late Tuesday.
"If U.S. sanctions are lifted, Iran
is prepared to send that quantity of
oil to America," the radio quoted
Hossein Kazempour as saying.
In Washington, the State Depart-
ment's executive secretary, Harry
K. Thomas Jr., said the offer was
rejected because it was conditional.
Last week, the Iranian Foreign
Ministry offered to send relief sup-
plies to the American Red Cross;
Iranian newspapers reported that no
response had been received.
Iran's offers reciprocates the
goodwill that the United States
displayed after an earthquake flat-
tened the southeastern Iranian city
of Bam in 2003, killing more than
The United States flew in emer-
gency supplies, which were grate-
fully unloaded at an Iranian
The Bam gesture did not, howev-
er, lead to an improvement in rela-
The. United States and Iran have
had no diplomatic relations since
militants stormed the U.S. Embassy
in Tehran and held its occupants
hostage in 1979.
Washington then imposed a range
of sanctions on Iran.
The United States accuses Iran of
sponsoring terrorism and secretly
trying to build nuclear bombs.
Hurricane Katrina has severely
disrupted U.S. oil rigs in the Gulf
of Mexico and reduced the coun-
try's refining capacity by more than
Thomas said the United States
has accepted offers of nearly $1
billion in assistance from some 95
countries after Hurricane Katrina.
Cuba offered to send medical
personnel. Washington and Havana
do not have diplomatic relations,
and the United States has had trade
sanctions on Cuba since 1963.
State Department spokesman
Sean McCormack said earlier that
the offer was being considered.
A roadside bomb struck a convoy of American security guards yesterday in the
southern city of Basra, killing four U.S. contractors, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said.
Three of the contractors were killed instantly and a fourth died after British troops
took him to a military hospital after the bombing in Basra, said Peter Mitchell, a U.S.
Embassy spokesman in Baghdad.
"All four individuals worked for a private security firm supporting the regional U.S.
Embassy office in.Basra," Mitchell said in a statement.
Initial reports had indicated that the target of the attack was a British diplomatic
convoy, but officials in London said no British personnel were involved.
AP Television News videotape showed an overturned white SUV in a ravine next to
a busy highway. Six British Army Land Rovers, with Iraqi police cars and two civilian
ambulances were parked nearby. British soldiers were seen loading a body from the
SUV into a military ambulance.
President, otherjustices mourn loss of Rehnquist
President Bush led the nation in a final tribute to William Rehnquist yesterday,
remembering the 16th chief justice as the Supreme Court's steady presence and a
man of lifetime integrity.
The president told hundreds assembled at Rehnquist's private funeral -
family, former clerks, lawmakers and Cabinet members - that the justice
was a kind soul who accomplished much in a life that included 33 years on
the high court.
"We remember the integrity and the sense of duty that he brought to every task
before him," Bush told the audience at historic St. Matthew's Cathedral. Rehnquist
was a steady, guiding presence on the court, Bush said.
Despite battling thyroid cancer, Rehnquist managed to attend Bush's second
inauguration in January and administer the oath of office to -the president - a
gesture Bush recalled with appreciation. -
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