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Karzai loses bid for early election

Thu., March 5, 2009

The Afghan election commission rejected President Hamid Karzai’s request to move the presidential elections to the spring, saying the country won’t be safe enough or have enough money by then to hold a vote.

The commission’s decision came Wednesday as a car bomb exploded outside the main U.S. base at Bagram, underscoring the shaky security situation the country faces as a resurgent Taliban militia increases its attacks.

Karzai had asked the commission to move the elections from Aug. 20.

The president last week asked the commission to re-examine the date to see if it could be held in line with the Afghan constitution, which says Karzai must step down on May 22 and that elections must be held 30 to 60 days before that.

A late-summer vote means the country will face a three-month gap between the end of Karzai’s term and the election.


At least 20 dead in prison fight

A fight between gangs at a state prison in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez left at least 20 prisoners dead and seven others injured on Wednesday, police said.

Some gunshot wounds were reported and police were investigating how a firearm entered the prison, said Victor Valencia, the Chihuahua state governor’s representative.

The fight broke out shortly after 6 a.m. as visitors were leaving after an evening of conjugal visits, said Marco Antonio Moreno, state police spokesman in the city across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

From wire reports

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