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UNITED NATIONSAfghan candidate may quit runoff

Talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah have broken down, and Abdullah is likely to pull out of next week's presidential runoff, a person with knowledge of the talks told the Associated Press on Friday.

An announcement could come as early as today but more likely Sunday, said the person, a Westerner who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private.

Abdullah, who was once Karzai's foreign minister, put forward several conditions for the Nov. 7 election to be credible, but talks between the two men and their supporters over the past few days broke down Friday, the person said.

The runoff became necessary after widespread fraud in the first-round of voting in August resulted in thousands of Karzai's ballots being invalidated.


Typhoon hits capital, forcing 100,000 to flee

A powerful typhoon crashed into Manila today with pounding rain and strong winds, causing a massive power outage, downing trees and bringing fresh floods to areas still partially submerged from a recent deadly storm.

More than 100,000 people sought shelter in five provinces east and south of Manila in the path of Typhoon Mirinae on the main Luzon Island. There were no immediate reports of casualties.


President says don't forget Stalin's horror

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Friday that Russians had lost their sense of horror over Stalin's purges, and called for the construction of museums and memorial centers devoted to the atrocities, as well as further efforts to unearth the dead.

He cited a poll that showed that 90 percent of young people could not name victims of the purges. Millions of people were killed under Stalin as a result of forced collectivization, deportation, imprisonment and party purges.


U.S. to expand use of military bases

The U.S. ambassador and three Colombian ministers on Friday signed a pact in Bogota giving U.S. personnel expanded access to military bases in the drug-producing country, a deal that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has called a threat to the region's security.

Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said the 10-year deal restricts U.S. military operations to Colombia — alluding to fears expressed by leftist leaders that it would make Colombia a base for asserting U.S. power in South America.


Man receives death in torture slayings

The convicted ringleader in the 2007 carjacking and torture slayings of a young Tennessee couple was sentenced to death Friday.

Memphis native Lemaricus Davidson, 28, was convicted Wednesday for the slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23. Davidson showed no reaction after jurors concluded four hours of deliberations and announced the sentence in a case that raised racial tensions and inflamed Internet bloggers because the victims were white and the defendants are black.

Davidson's brother, Letalvis Cobbins, 26, of Lebanon, Ky., was convicted in August for the same attack and is serving life in prison without parole. Two other defendants from Kentucky are awaiting trial.


Denver: James Dobson, 73, the voice of conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, will no longer host its flagship radio broadcast and is cutting formal ties with the organization that he founded more than 30 years ago, the evangelical group said Friday.

Atlanta: The Rev. Bernice King was named Friday as the first woman to head the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights organization co-founded by her father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

France: Former President Jacques Chirac, 76, was ordered Friday to stand trial on corruption charges dating to his time as mayor of Paris.

Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday cautiously endorsed the U.S.-backed efforts to limit Iran's nuclear program through shipments abroad of its enriched uranium.

Times wires

UNITED NATIONSAfghan candidate may quit runoff 10/30/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 30, 2009 11:32pm]
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[TImes file photo]
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