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AFGHANISTAN: Holder meets with Karzai

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder met with President Hamid Karzai and other senior officials in Kabul on Wednesday amid rising concerns in Washington over the toll corruption is taking on the U.S.-led war effort. Afghanistan's attorney general disputed that his office's anti-corruption efforts are systematically stymied by political meddling from Karzai's office. Meanwhile, U.S. and Afghan troops repelled an attack Wednesday on one of the biggest NATO bases in eastern Afghanistan by militants who used a suicide car bomb and rocket-propelled grenades to try to breach the defenses. Eight militants were killed in the attack at the airport base on the outskirts of Jalalabad, 75 miles east of Kabul.


GERMANY: Lukewarm support for Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel's candidate was elected German president Wednesday in a lackluster victory that took three rounds of voting and dashed hopes of a strong show of support from her governing coalition. Christian Wulff, 51, a deputy leader of Merkel's conservative party, won 625 votes in a special parliamentary assembly against 494 for Joachim Gauck; 121 delegates abstained - mostly from the Left Party, which had withdrawn its own candidate in the final round. Wulff, a former state governor, was unable to garner an absolute majority in the first two rounds as members of Merkel's own coalition broke ranks to support Gauck. Wulff needed only a simple majority in the third round.

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PHILIPPINES: New President Aquino sworn in

Benigno Aquino III, sworn in Wednesday as the Philippines' 15th president, promised to prosecute the corrupt and banish poverty as he urged Filipinos to help him in a job he likened to a biblical burden. The son of two democracy icons, Aquino, 50, succeeds Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose nine-year rule was rocked by four coup attempts and allegations of corruption and human rights abuses. Aquino, called "Noynoy" by his supporters, is the son of Corazon Aquino, the former president who died last year, and her husband, Benigno II, who was assassinated.


MEXICO: Former cop seized in ambush try

Authorities announced Wednesday the arrest of Miguel Ortiz Miranda, alias "El Tyson," a key suspect in the attempted assassination of Minerva Bautista, security chief for the state of Michoacan whose convoy was attacked with grenades and 2,000 rounds of ammunition. Miranda until recently was a police commander and a member of the notorious drug cartel known as La Familia, authorities said. Two bodyguards were killed, but Bautista survived the April 24 attack.

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