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World in brief

Karzai running mate escapes deadly blast

By wire services
Published October 7, 2004

KABUL, Afghanistan - A roadside bomb exploded Wednesday afternoon under a convoy carrying one of President Hamid Karzai's two running mates in the upcoming presidential election. The attack, in remote Badakshan province, killed one man and injured five others, including a former Badakshan governor.

Officials said they had no idea who had carried out the attack on Ahmed Zia Massoud's convoy, which occurred in a relatively peaceful area of far northeastern Afghanistan. They said a bomb or mine was detonated as the vehicles were passing. A similar incident occurred in northern Kunduz province last month, when a bomb exploded under a convoy carrying Vice President Nemayatullah Shahrani.

Massoud was unharmed in Wednesday's attack, but the incident cast a pall over what was otherwise a lively and upbeat final day of the monthlong presidential campaign. The vote is scheduled for Saturday.

Karzai, already heavily favored to win the most votes, picked up several important endorsements Wednesday, including those of Ishak Gailani, a rival candidate from a prominent religious family, and Ahmed Wali Massoud, a politician who is the brother of both Ahmed Zia Massoud and the guerrilla leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated in 2001.

Turkey closer to EU

BRUSSELS - In a historic move that could extend Europe's borders to the edge of the volatile Middle East, the European Union recommended Wednesday setting mostly Muslim Turkey on a course for full membership in the prosperous 25-nation bloc.

Reflecting widespread misgivings, however, the 30-member EU executive commission set tough conditions to prevent Turkey from backtracking on sweeping democratic and human rights reforms.

French President Jacques Chirac said talks with Turkey could last 10-15 years "at a minimum."

Such caution reflected unease throughout a prosperous and mostly Christian continent about union with a poorer Muslim nation that could be a source of unwelcome migrants.

It is now up to the EU's 25 leaders to approve the recommendation at a summit in December, paving the way for the start of entry talks as early as next year.

If that happens, Turkey would not actually join the union until around 2015.

Powell visits Grenada

ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada - Secretary of State Colin Powell flew into Grenada on Wednesday to see the devastation left by Hurricane Ivan as islanders complained the United States should be doing more to help.

Ivan's 130 mph winds struck the country Sept. 7, killing at least 39 and leaving 90 percent of homes damaged or destroyed.

Fear weighs on Russians

MOSCOW - With fear running high after a series of deadly terror attacks, many Russians would agree to significant limitations on their rights and freedoms to ensure security, pollsters and analysts said Wednesday.

Opinion polls in the wake of the stunning attacks that killed more than 430 in August and September suggest that despite skepticism about President Vladimir Putin's reform, he will have little trouble tightening Kremlin control.

In a poll, 60 percent of those surveyed would accept a temporary suspension of the right to travel abroad and move freely within Russia, and 59 percent would agree to the closure of organizations and publications that criticize Putin's policy on terror.

[Last modified October 7, 2004, 00:30:24]


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