Nation & World Briefs 07-15-14 'Afghanistan is not Iraq,' contenders will work for unity, candidate claims


KABUL, Afghanistan -- Declaring his nation "is not Iraq," one of two contestants in Afghanistan's deadlocked presidential election told Associated Press on Monday that both he and his rival are committed to lead their war-ravaged nation inclusively in cooperation with international partners.

Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai credited a U.S.-brokered deal for a full ballot audit with pulling his country back from the brink, putting the rule of law and government legitimacy back on track.

"What happened in the last days should show you our commitment to inclusiveness," Ahmadzai said of the deal for a national unity government, reached late Saturday with his opponent, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

He said there can be no comparison to Iraq, where politicians from the two main Muslim sects and ethnic Kurds have failed to reach a political accord to either keep or replace Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In the meantime, Sunni militants have routed the Iraqi army and seized control of much of the country, even threatening to attack the capital, just 30 months after U.S. forces pulled out.

"I am not Maliki and Afghanistan is not Iraq," Ahmadzai added sharply.

Blast at market kills 38: Mohammad Reza Kharoti, an administration chief in the Urgun district of Paktika province, said a suicide car bomber has killed at least 38 people in eastern Afghanistan. The Afghan official said the attack also wounded more than 40 others. He said the bomber detonated his vehicle full of explosives near a mosque and a market today.

Reviewing assessment: Pentagon leaders are now reviewing the military's initial assessment of Iraq's security forces and it may be some time before decisions are made about what additional assistance the U.S. should provide as the Baghdad government battles Sunni insurgents. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has read the completed assessment. A Pentagon spokesman said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel received it but hadn't reviewed it yet.

Returned to regular Army duty: Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who spent nearly five years as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan, was returned to regular duty Monday with a desk job that makes him available to Army investigators for questioning about his disappearance in 2009. In a brief statement, the Army said Bergdahl is now assigned to U.S. Army North at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas, the same base where he has been decompressing and recuperating from the effects of his lengthy captivity. His exact administrative duties were not immediately disclosed, but a Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, said Bergdahl is not restricted in any way.

Bill would add names to memorial: The ship's bow sank in a few minutes. The battle to add its deceased crew members' names to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has lasted more than a decade. But it could soon be coming to an end. A House-approved bill could clear the way for the names of 74 sailors to be added to the memorial more than four decades after their Long Beach, Calif.-based ship was cut in half in a collision with an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea.

Vetoes teacher gun legislation: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Monday that would have allowed specially trained teachers to carry concealed guns, asserting that the move could jeopardize student safety in public schools. The veto by the Democratic governor sets up a potential showdown with the Republican-led legislature, which could override Nixon if it gets a two-thirds vote of both chambers during a September session.

Shaken by KKK charges: Fruitland Park, Fla., Police Chief Terry Isaacs said his department has been shaken by troubling but unproven allegations that a deputy chief and a former police corporal were associated with the Ku Klux Klan. The allegations, contained in a confidential FBI report provided to Isaacs by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, led to the sudden resignation of Deputy Chief David Borst and Isaacs' decision Friday to dismiss Officer George Hunnewell. Isaacs would not confirm that the report linked the two officers to the KKK, instead describing the group as a "subversive organization."

Octomom pleads no contest: Octomom Nadya Suleman pleaded no contest Monday to a single count of misdemeanor welfare fraud for failing to disclose income she was receiving from videos and personal appearances while collecting more than $26,000 in public assistance funds to care for her 14 children. Suleman was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and two years of probation, and ordered to pay a small fine. Her attorney, Arthur J. LaCilento, said that with financial help from friends, his client has already repaid the county welfare system.

Gaza militants fire three rockets: The Israeli military says Gaza militants have fired three rockets at Israel since the deadline passed for the start of a cease-fire proposed by Egypt. The attack came shortly after Israel this morning accepted the Egyptian truce proposal, which Gaza's Hamas rulers swiftly rejected. The military said three rockets were fired at empty lands near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. The military said they caused no casualties or damage.

Says yes to women bishops: The Church of England ended one of its longest and most divisive disputes Monday with an overwhelming vote in favor of allowing women to become bishops.

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