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Obama calls Afghan candidates as vote ...

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Afghanistan's presidential candidates Abdullah and Ghani smile together after announcing a deal for the auditing of all Afghan election votes at the United Nations Compound in Kabul') top left no-repeat;President Barack Obama on Friday called Afghanistan's presidential candidates who are fighting over who won a June 14 election and urged them to maintain national unity during a vote recount and transition, the White House said. Preliminary results from the runoff election put Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank official, well ahead. The two candidates agreed to a recount after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brokered a deal, but the process is moving slowly, bogged down by frequent disagreements. (full story)

Army War College probes plagiarism claims ...

The U.S. Army War College has opened an inquiry into accusations that Senator John Walsh, a Montana Democrat now facing a tough election challenge, plagiarized parts of a research paper tied to a master’s degree he earned from the school. Walsh's campaign has said he inadvertently misused citations in what was a research paper, rather than a thesis. A preliminary analysis of the paper in question led the college to determine that a more thorough examination was warranted by faculty members of an academic review board, which handles cases of suspected plagiarism or misconduct, the school said in a statement. The college has previously revoked the graduate status of eight former students since 1990, six for plagiarism and two for other types of misconduct, the college said. (full story)

Iraq parliament elects senior Kurdish ...

Fouad Masoum, Iraq's newly elected president, smiles during news conference in Baghdad') top left no-repeat;Iraq's parliament elected senior Kurdish lawmaker Fouad Masoum as president on Thursday, a long-awaited step in creating a new government capable of countering a Sunni Muslim insurgency. Iraq's politicians have been in deadlock over forming a new government since an election in April. Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ruled since the election in a caretaker capacity, defying demands from the Sunnis and Kurds that he step aside for a less divisive figure. Critics say Maliki is a polarising figure who has stirred up sectarian tensions that have worsened since Sunni insurgents swept through north and west Iraq last month, seizing large swathes of territory and declaring a "caliphate". (full story)

Iraq postpones vote for president, ...

Salim al-Jabouri, new speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, and deputy speakers address a news conference in Baghdad') top left no-repeat;By Isra' al-Rubei'i and Maggie Fick BAGHDAD - Iraq's parliament, which had been due to elect the country's president on Wednesday, postponed the vote by a day, delaying the formation of a power-sharing government urgently needed to confront a Sunni Muslim insurgency. The advance by Sunni Islamist militants who seized swathes of northern Iraq last month has put the OPEC oil producer's survival in jeopardy. Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that is leading the insurgency, claimed responsibility for an overnight suicide bombing in a Shi'ite district of Baghdad that killed 33 people, one of the deadliest recent attacks in the capital. The bloodshed highlighted the need for Iraq's politicians to form a united front against the militants, who want to march on the capital. (full story)

Indonesian president-elect Jokowi calls ...

Indonesian presidential candidate Jokowi and his running mate Jusuf celebrate ahead of the official results announcement in South Jakarta') top left no-repeat;By Jonathan Thatcher and Kanupriya Kapoor JAKARTA - Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was declared the winner of Indonesia's presidential election on Tuesday, bringing the promise of major reforms to the world's third largest democracy. The Elections Commission, known as KPU, said the Jakarta governor had won by just over six percentage points, with 53.15 percent of the nearly 130 million votes cast on July 9. It was the closest and most bitterly fought election in Indonesia's history, pitting Jokowi against former general Prabowo Subianto, whose promise of strong leadership brought echoes of decades under autocratic rule. "This victory is a victory for all the people of Indonesia," the president-elect told hundreds of supporters gathered at a port on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta, chosen to emphasize his commitment to Indonesia's maritime potential. (full story)
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