- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 4, 2004


Karzai pledges to rein in warlords

KABUL — Hamid Karzai pledged yesterday to use his five-year term as Afghanistan’s first elected president to crack down on warlords and the country’s booming drug economy.

Accepting his victory in the historic Oct. 9 ballot, he also offered an olive branch to the Taliban, even as an offshoot of the former ruling militia threatened to kill three kidnapped workers of the United Nations who helped organize the vote.

Election officials declared Mr. Karzai the winner Wednesday after more than three weeks of laborious counting and arguments about whether he had cheated his way to victory.

Former Education Minister Younus Qanooni, who finished second with 16 percent, compared with Mr. Karzai’s 55 percent, accepted the result just hours before Mr. Karzai made his televised acceptance speech.


Order to arrest rebel leaders lifted

BOGOTA — Colombia has lifted arrest orders on three far-right paramilitary leaders, one wanted in the United States for drug trafficking, to allow them to coordinate the demobilization of 3,000 of their troops.

A presidential resolution signed late Wednesday says the move is part of the country’s peace process under which the 20,000-strong United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, says it will partially disband before the end of the year.

One of the three leaders is AUC chief Salvatore Mancuso, who the United States wants to extradite for cocaine smuggling. The others are Ivan Roberto Duque and Ever Veloza.


Legislator criticized for anti-Bush remark

OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin condemned a legislator from his own Liberal Party yesterday for calling President Bush a “war-like man” and saying she was “dumbfounded” by his election win.

The comments by Carolyn Parrish came at an awkward time for Mr. Martin, who leads a fragile minority government and is trying to forge a good relationship with Mr. Bush, who is disliked by most Canadians.

Mr. Parrish told the Canadian Press that the election result showed that the United States was out of step with the rest of the world.


18 arrested in people smuggling

LONDON — Police yesterday arrested 18 members of a gang suspected of smuggling hundreds of people from Turkey to Britain, authorities said. In Germany, five others were held after raids in Hamburg and Cologne.

The arrests in southern London and Surrey were part of a yearlong investigation coordinated with authorities in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, where more suspects were being arrested, police said.

The gang’s suspected ringleader, is thought to own 10 fast-food restaurants in London.


Fireworks kill 1, destroy 20 homes

COPENHAGEN — Hundreds of firefighters contained a huge blaze at a fireworks factory yesterday, a day after it broke out, setting off at least one explosion as powerful as an earthquake. One firefighter was killed and at least 20 homes were destroyed.

As many as 350 buildings, including private homes and small businesses, may have been damaged by the fire at the N.P. Johnsens fireworks factory in Kolding in western Denmark.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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