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It's unanimous: McCain is GOP nominee

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Delegates to the Republican National Convention officially nominated Sen. John McCain as the party's presidential candidate Wednesday in St. Paul, Minn.

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McCain's state, Arizona, initially passed in declaring its vote. Then, with 1,170 votes for McCain, state after state passed until the RNC secretary called Arizona's name again. This time, the state cast all 53 votes for the 72-year-old Vietnam War hero, putting him over the 1,191 threshold.

Alaska, home to vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, split its votes: 24 for McCain and 5 for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who dropped out of the Republican presidential primary.

When Wyoming cast its 14 votes, McCain captured 2,372 votes, Paul received five and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got two.

On a motion from a Virginia delegate, the delegates by voice vote agreed to make the vote for McCain unanimous.

"This convention's unanimous choice for the office of the president of the United States is Sen. John McCain," said House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and permanent convention chairman.

McCain will deliver his acceptance speech Thursday to close the convention.


New Hurricane Ike 'extremely dangerous'

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MIAMI, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. forecasters described Hurricane Ike as "extremely dangerous" as it spun over the Atlantic Ocean Thursday tracking towards the Caribbean.

At 5 a.m., the storm was a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 mph, about 550 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported.

"It is too early to determine what land areas might eventually be affected by Ike," the report said. "This is an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale."

The forecasters said the strength was likely to remain high for the next two days.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center, while tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles, the report said.


Pakistan condemns coalition assault

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Pakistan strongly condemned an operation by coalition forces from Afghanistan in a Pakistani tribal area, saying it resulted in many civilian deaths.

The operation, described by some Western media as the first ground raid by U.S.-led forces on Pakistani territory, occurred Wednesday near Angoor Adda in South Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan.

"The government of Pakistan strongly condemns the assault by coalition ... troops on a village near Angoor Adda inside Pakistani territory, which has resulted in immense loss of civilian life," the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan quoted Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Muhammad Sadiq as saying.

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The International Herald Tribune, quoting U.S. officials, said the assault was against al-Qaida militants, making it the first publicly acknowledged U.S. ground raid on Pakistani soil.

CNN quoted a senior U.S. official as saying a small number of U.S. helicopters landed troops in an area where Taliban and al-Qaida fighters had found refuge over the years, seeking targets linked to recent attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

A separate APP report, quoting the provincial government, said the shelling of Angoor Adda killed at least "20 innocent people," including women and children.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was quoted as saying no external forces could be allowed to launch an attack in Pakistan's territory.

Pakistan's Dawn reported U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson was summoned to the foreign office to receive Pakistan's protest.


Cheney supports Georgia for NATO

TBILISI, Georgia, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday he assured the leaders of Georgia they can lean on the United States as a solid ally in conflicts with Russia.

"In their hearts, the Georgian people have great courage, and in America, they have a sturdy and faithful friend," Cheney said, adding the United States firmly supports NATO membership for Georgia, CNN reported.

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Cheney's stop in Tbilisi for talks with President Mikhail Saakashvili followed Wednesday's announcement of a $1 billion U.S. aid package for Georgia to help with humanitarian aid and reconstruction after last month's military conflict with Russia, The New York Times reported.

In Tbilisi, Cheney issued a strong condemnation of Russia's continuing military presence in Georgia warning Georgia has the "right to build stronger ties to friends in Europe and across the Atlantic."

Cheney was speaking on the second leg of a tour of the region which began in Azerbaijan Wednesday. He was scheduled to fly to Ukraine Thursday and then on to Italy before returning home to Washington this weekend.


Dubai helicopter crash kills seven

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Authorities say seven people died when a helicopter crashed in the Persian Gulf while en route from Dubai to an offshore oil platform.

The dead from Wednesday's crash included American, a Briton, a Pakistani, a Filipino, a Venezuelan and two Indians, reported Sky News.

Aviation authorities from the United Arab Emirates are investigating the cause of the crash, Iran's Press TV reported.

The Bell 212 helicopter was about 50 nautical miles from Dubai when it broke apart and fell into the sea, forcing the closure of the Rashid oil field, a major oil field

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The United Arab Emirates, a seven-member federation including Dubai, is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter.

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