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Afghan high court extends Karzai's term 3 months

Afghanistan

Court says Karzai should stay

Afghanistan's Supreme Court announced Sunday that President Hamid Karzai should remain in office until a new leader is chosen in a late summer election, a decision that effectively extends his term more than three months, state TV said.

Afghanistan's constitution says Karzai's term expires May 21, and a vote should be held 30 to 60 days before that. However, the country's election commission pushed back the vote until Aug. 20 because of security fears, lingering mountain snows, and logistical problems such as ballot distribution.

Confusion surrounded the announcement, however. The spokesman for the Supreme Court and even a court justice, Bahuddin Baha, said they were not aware of any decision.

A spokesman for Karzai's office, Waheed Omer, said that "we think it has happened," but that palace officials didn't yet know any details.

Opposition leaders have said parliament won't accept Karzai as president after May 21, and warned that an extension of Karzai's term could trigger nationwide demonstrations.

West Bank

Concert for Jewish survivors condemned

Palestinian political activists from the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank on Sunday condemned a camp youth orchestra's performance for Holocaust survivors in Israel last week, and said they were banning the orchestra's director, an Israeli Arab woman, from entering the camp.

In an unusual, almost surreal encounter, a group of 13 musicians from the Jenin camp, ages 12 to 17, played Wednesday for about 30 Holocaust survivors at a social club in the Israeli town of Holon.

Adnan al-Hindi, the leader of the camp's Popular Committee, a grass roots group representing the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the young musicians had been exploited by the orchestra director, Wafaa Younis, for the purpose of "normalizing" ties with Israel.

Younis has been traveling to Jenin every week for several years to teach music in the camp. Hindi said that the house she rented as a studio had been sealed, and that she was barred by the Popular Committee from all activity in the camp.

Jewish suffering under the Nazis is a volatile subject in Palestinian society, where there is widespread ignorance of the details of the Holocaust and a feeling that Palestinians paid a price for it, viewing it as a main catalyst for the establishment of the Jewish state.

Elsewhere

Ivory Coast: A stampede at a World Cup qualifying soccer match in the Ivory Coast killed at least 22 people and wounded 132 Sunday, authorities said. Fans pushed against each other shortly before the game between Ivory Coast and Malawi, setting off a panic that led to the stampede.

Pakistan: Militants fired rockets at police chasing them after a kidnapping, killing a senior police official and five other people in Pakistan's northwest Sunday, a government official said. Elsewhere in the region, militants kidnapped 11 police officers, another official said.

England: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith apologized Sunday for putting five pay-per-view movies on her parliamentary expense account — including two X-rated ones screened by her husband. Smith attributed the mistake to not being careful with a service package that included both Internet and TV.

Turkey: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-oriented party emerged as the leading party in Turkey's local elections Sunday but saw a slide in its support compared with a landslide victory two years ago.

Mayotte: The mostly Muslim Indian Ocean island overwhelmingly voted Sunday to integrate fully with France, a move that will bring financial benefits to residents but also outlaw practices like polygamy and early marriages.

Times wires

Afghan high court extends Karzai's term 3 months 03/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:49pm]

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