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UPI NewsTrack TopNews

  |   March 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Kenyan court: Kenyatta is election winner

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 30 (UPI) -- Kenya's top court has upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president, calling the voting free and fair.

Justices rejected several petitions challenging the vote, including an appeal by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Kenyatta's main rival, the BBC reported.

The official tally said Kenyatta beat Odinga by 8,100 votes, 50.07 percent to 43.28 percent, avoiding a runoff. Odinga's lawyers had argued the election was riddled with vote manipulation, as well as problems with an electronic vote counting machine and voter registration.

Despite those issues, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared the vote credible. International observers said the commission had conducted the election in an open and transparent manner.

An estimated 1,200 people died following a contested election in 2007, leading outgoing President Mwai Kibaki to urge Kenyans to remain calm and accept the court's decision.

Kenyatta's win complicates diplomatic ties with the West, CNN reported. He and his running mate, William Ruto, are accused by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity stemming from violence in the 2007 election.


Karzai in Qatar on two-day state visit

DOHA, Qatar, March 30 (UPI) -- Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Qatar Saturday where officials say he will discuss the initial steps to begin peace talks with the Taliban.

Those preliminary moves include the possibility of the Taliban opening a political office in the Persian Gulf nation, the BBC reported.

The establishment of an office in Qatar would allow Afghanistan to create a formal way to initiate peace talks with the militant group.

A high-level delegation accompanied Karzai, including his foreign minister, national security adviser and the chairman of the peace council, Khaama Press reported.

During his two-day state visit, the president will meet with the Emir of Qatar and senior Qatari officials about enhancing cooperation between the two countries and Afghanistan's peace process, said a statement from a Karzai spokesman


U.S. turns commando base over to Afghans

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 30 (UPI) -- Afghanistan declined to confirm media reports a U.S. special forces base in Warkdak province has been turned over the Afghan military.

President Hamid Karzai had specifically called on the United States to turn the camp over to his national army after allegations that Afghan forces in the area committed human rights abuses, Afghanistan's Khaama Press said Saturday.

The base is located in an important strategic area that could be used as a staging area for insurgent attacks on the capital Kabul.

Despite the changeover, U.S. forces will remain operational in Warkdak, U.S. commanders said.


Tanzania building collapse kills 17

DAAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, March 30 (UPI) -- At least 17 people were killed when a building collapsed in Daar es Salaam, Tanzania, and as many as 30 were feared trapped in the rubble, the Red Cross said.

Police officers and search dogs combed the site after the collapse Friday, and heavy equipment was brought in late in the day to remove debris, a resident of the area told CNN.

Ali Jawad Bhimani told CNN the building had been under construction next to a mosque and a small field where some neighborhood kids were playing soccer in the Tanzanian capital.

"The building fell right on top (of the field), but 10 to 15 of the boys playing got away safely and are unharmed," he said.

The report said 14 people had been treated at hospitals for injuries.


Gorbachev: 'My career was successful'

MOSCOW, March 30 (UPI) -- Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, said in a speech Saturday in Moscow his political career "was successful."

The talk at the office of the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti was Gorbachev's first in several years in Russia.

He titled the speech with a question: "Does the individual change history or does history change the individual?"

"I would say -- my career was successful," Gorbachev said. "But I mean career in the good sense. Not in the sense of 'careerist.'"

Gorbachev, 82, the son of Ukrainian peasants, rose through the ranks of the Communist Party after graduating from Moscow State University in 1955. In 1985, he reached what was then the country's leadership post, general secretary of the Politburo.

From 1988 to 1991, Gorbachev was the Soviet Union's first and last president. As the Soviet Union disintegrated, he lost a political struggle with Boris Yeltsin.

In his speech, Gorbachev looked back to his younger days and said he had always been involved in politics.

"When I was young, it was community work with school, and through university, and from August 1955 -- it was already professional political activity" he said.

Gorbachev said one transformative moment was a visit to Czechoslovakia, where he said he realized how angry the Czechs still were over the 1968 Soviet invasion.

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