- The Washington Times - Monday, May 17, 2004

INDIA

Gandhi swearing-in expected Wednesday

NEW DELHI — Prime Minister-elect Sonia Gandhi and her new government are likely to be sworn in Wednesday after a hectic weekend sealing deals with allies and new partners, officials in her Congress party said.

Italian-born Mrs. Gandhi will meet with President Abdul Kalam today or tomorrow armed with letters of support from several parties to stake her claim to government.

A Congress official said the allies unanimously endorsed Mrs. Gandhi, 57, as their choice for prime minister last night.

KUWAIT

Women gain vote in new draft law

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait’s Cabinet approved a draft law yesterday allowing women to vote and run in parliamentary elections, moving them a step closer to the full political rights they have sought for decades.

The draft needs parliament’s approval to pass into law. A decree issued by Emir Sheik Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah giving women a vote was defeated narrowly in the 50-member house in 1999 by an alliance of Islamic and tribal legislators.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. soldier killed as threats mount

KANDAHAR — Suspected Taliban fighters ambushed a U.S. patrol in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier, the military said yesterday, while Afghan forces seized rebel weapons in a neighboring province.

U.S. troops defused a bomb targeting a bridge, not far from where the patrol was attacked Saturday in Helmand province, a district police chief said.

The flurry of incidents over the weekend underscored the security threats to Afghanistan as it plans to hold U.N.-sponsored general elections in September. About 20,000 U.S. forces, up from 11,000 a few months ago, are in Afghanistan.

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