afghans will hold elections in april 2014
The Afghan government said Wednesday presidential and provincial elections will be held on April 5, 2014, a critical step demanded by an international community eager for signs of stability in Afghanistan. The date was hailed as proof the country is committed to a democratic path and would avoid a slide into civil war as international troops leave the same year. The declaration by the Independent Election Commission went a long way toward dispelling fears that Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is not allowed to run for a third term, might attempt to postpone elections indefinitely. U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham applauded the announcement. Election officials urged the Taliban and other extremist groups to put down arms and participate in the process.
Police search for interstate gunman
Police agencies and federal agents in southeast Michigan are searching for a man who has shot at two dozen vehicles along a busy interstate and nearby roads. Officials with a task force said Wednesday more than 2,200 tips have been received in the case that started with shootings Oct. 16 in Wixom, about 25 miles northwest of Detroit, and have occurred in Oakland, Livingston, Ingham and Shiawassee counties. One motorist has been wounded. A reward was increased Monday to $102,000.
New austerity steps outlined
Greece's government on Wednesday outlined the new austerity measures it intends to take over the next two years, a series of painful spending cuts and tax hikes that its international bailout creditors are demanding in exchange for rescue loans. A revised draft budget also was submitted for 2013, with figures predicting the debt load will increase sharply as the recession deepens into a sixth year. Unions responded by announcing a 48-hour strike for next week, when Parliament is expected to vote on the measures.
Louisville, Ky.: Flames from a derailed train car sent people fleeing neighborhoods and the entire town of West Point on Wednesday as firefighters tried to douse the chemical blaze that badly burned three workers.
India: More than 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes Wednesday as a tropical storm slammed into southern India from the Bay of Bengal.