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In brief: Karzai lead grows as count continues

Workers count ballots at the Independent Election Commission in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Workers count ballots at the Independent Election Commission in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Kabul, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai widened his lead over his main challenger in election returns released Saturday, creeping toward the 50 percent mark that would enable him to avoid a runoff in the divisive presidential contest.

Karzai’s top challenger Abdullah Abdullah stepped up his fraud charges, raising doubts whether the former foreign minister’s followers would accept the incumbent if he wins in the first round.

Figures released Saturday show Karzai with 46.2 percent of the votes against Abdullah’s 31.4 percent. The results are based on 35 percent of the country’s polling stations, meaning the percentages could still change dramatically.

Drug figure lawyer ambushed, killed

Mexico City – A Mexican lawyer who has represented some of the country’s best-known drug suspects was shot dead outside his home, authorities said Saturday.

Americo Delgado was ambushed Friday evening by at least three men in the city of Toluca, about an hour outside Mexico City, police said. Authorities did not identify a possible motive.

Delgado’s slaying was the second this month of an attorney who has represented high-profile drug suspects. Silvia Raquenel Villanueva, a lawyer in the northern city of Monterrey, was gunned down Aug. 9 at a crowded market there, in what appeared to be an execution-style attack.

Attack on camp for bombers kills 6

Islamabad, Pakistan – Helicopter gunships destroyed a training camp for suicide bombers in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley, killing six Taliban fighters in an area the government had already declared clear of militants, an official said Saturday.

The camp’s trainees – including teenagers – were responsible for at least three attacks in recent weeks, an army spokesman said.

Pakistan’s army said it is restoring security in Swat and surrounding areas after a three-month offensive wrested the valley back from Taliban control, but suicide attacks and skirmishes continue, with reports Saturday of scattered violence killing at least 12 more suspected militants.

Left-tilting premier named U.S. envoy

Toronto – Canada’s prime minister has named a provincial premier from a leftist opposition party as the country’s new ambassador to the United States.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday appointed Manitoba Premier Gary Doer as ambassador-designate of Canada to Washington.

Doer is known for being a pragmatic leader of Manitoba’s leftist New Democrats, a union-backed party with socialist roots. Harper is the leader of Canada’s Conservative Party.

Asked if his political views are closer to Obama than Harper, Doer smiled and said: “I am working for the Canadian prime minister, the Canadian people and the Canadian minister of foreign affairs.”


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Police: Man killed deputy, stole his car and robbed store

new  NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine – A gunman in Maine killed a sheriff’s deputy, stole his cruiser and robbed a convenience store early Wednesday, triggering an intensive manhunt in a heavily wooded rural town, officials said. Somerset County Cpl. Eugene Cole was killed around 1:45 a.m. on U.S. Route 2 in Norridgewock, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Bangor, state police said. His cruiser was driven to a Cumberland Farms store, which was robbed.