- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 6, 2008

CANADA

Prime minister to call Oct. 14 election

TORONTO | Canadian Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper plans to dissolve Parliament on Sunday and call early elections in hopes of strengthening his minority government’s hold on power.

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the prime minister, announced Mr. Harper’s plans Friday, saying voting would be held Oct. 14. It will be Canada’s third national ballot in four years.

Mr. Harper’s Conservative Party needs to win an additional 28 seats to have a majority in Parliament, and although he has played down that possibility, polls in recent days indicate that the right-of-center bloc has a chance to do so.

The Conservatives unseated the Liberal Party in 2006 after nearly 13 years in power, but as a minority government, the Conservatives have had a tenuous hold on power and have been forced to rely on opposition lawmakers to pass legislation and adopt budgets.

CUBA

U.S. offers aid with condition

LA PALMA | The United States has offered Cuba $100,000 in emergency aid for the victims of Hurricane Gustav and is willing to send far more if a U.S.-approved disaster assessment team is allowed to tour the hardest-hit areas.

All aid would be provided through international relief organizations, with none going directly to the communist government, said Gregory Adams, a spokesman for the U.S. Interests Section in the Cuban capital.

The Cuban government has not commented on the offer. Gustav damaged 100,000 homes, so the initial U.S. offer works out to only about $1 per home in need of repair. Russian planes carried tents, floor tiles, pipes and food to Havana, and several Latin American countries have pledged to send aid.

IRAQ

2 die in car bomb aimed at Chalabi

BAGHDAD | A suicide car bomber targeting the convoy of influential Shi’ite politician Ahmed Chalabi killed two people and wounded 17 others on Friday, Iraqi police said.

His office said Mr. Chalabi, a key adviser to Washington in the buildup to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, was in the convoy but was unharmed.

Five of his bodyguards were wounded, police said. The other wounded were civilians. The convoy was traveling to one of Mr. Chalabi’s offices.

ANGOLA

Opposition decries voting delay

LUANDA | Angola’s opposition parties demanded a re-run of Friday’s parliamentary election because of widespread delays at polling stations, describing the country’s first vote in 16 years as a “mess.”

Isaias Samakuva, leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, met with the head of the electoral commission in the capital Luanda, where many of the polling problems occurred. His criticism was echoed by Ngola Kabangu, the leader of the National Front for the Liberation of Angola opposition party.

Earlier, voters and a European Union observer mission complained of disorganization in the election, in which the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola was expected to extend its run of more than three decades in power in the oil-producing southern African state.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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