Pakistan’s supreme court ruled Tuesday that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the nation’s most popular politician, can participate in elections despite an earlier ban.
The ruling is likely to ease political tensions in the short term but could ultimately pose a challenge for President Asif Ali Zardari, who is Sharif’s main rival and whose own popularity has plummeted. Although elections are not due until 2013, Sharif is now in position to reclaim the office he held twice in the 1990s.
Sharif and his brother Shahbaz had been banned from electoral politics because of previous criminal convictions that they claim were politically motivated.
Roadside bomb kills 3 Americans
Three Americans were killed Memorial Day in a roadside bombing near the town of Fallujah in Iraq’s Anbar province, the U.S. military said Tuesday.
The dead included a U.S. soldier, a Department of Defense contractor and a civilian State Department employee. They were returning from a visit to a waste-water treatment plant under construction in the town when their car drove over an improvised explosive device, U.S. officials said.
Two others in the convoy were wounded.
It is relatively rare these days for U.S. civilians to be killed in Iraq, but Monday’s deaths bring to five the number who have died since Friday, when two defense contractors died in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone.
Canada looking at record deficit
Canada’s finance minister said Tuesday the federal deficit will soar to a record $44 billion this fiscal year because the deep recession is wreaking havoc on the government treasury.
Finance Minster Jim Flaherty said Tuesday that the revised budget will exceed the financial shortfall originally forecast in January for the 2009-2010 fiscal year of $30 billion.
The recession has hurt government revenues from personal and corporate taxes and raised spending requirements, he said.
“Our deficits are affordable but they will remain short-term,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Parliament.
Canada’s central bank has projected that then country’s gross domestic product fell 7.3 percent in the first three months of 2009, dropping at the steepest pace in decades.
Canada has avoided bank bailouts and none of its major financial institutions have failed. However, Canada and its economically hard-hit neighbor, the United States, have the largest trading relationship in the world and the financial crisis and the global sell-off of commodities have hit Canada hard since last fall.
From wire reports
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