World

Choosing their words carefully, senior government officials in France and Germany pledged to work with a second Bush administration because "we have lots to do on current crises" and "we all have to contribute to ensuring that the situation in Iraq stabilizes." But Russian President Vladimir Putin and foreign leaders whose nations support the US in combating terrorism expressed clear approval of his reelection. Putin said he "can only feel joy that the American people ... made the most sensible decision." Similar sentiments came from Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. Italy's Silvio Berlusconi said a "continuation of Bush ... makes things easier for us." Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom spoke of Bush's "friendliness" toward his country as being "very great." Leaders of Islamic nations withheld immediate comment, but across the Middle East most people who were asked for their views expressed disappointment and dismay.

Terrorists kidnapped another American civilian contractor in Iraq - the second this week - along with four truck drivers identified as Jordanians. They also left the headless remains of three men believed to be members of the Iraqi National Guard beneath a bridge in Baghdad and assassinated a senior Oil Ministry official. Meanwhile, a videotape showed hostage Margaret Hassan weeping as she pleads for her life. The CARE International director's captors gave the British government 48 hours to pull its troops out of Iraq or she'd be handed over to terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

As expected, interim leader Hamid Karzai officially was declared the winner of Afghan-istan's Oct. 9 presidential election after an investigation of voting irregularities found no problems serious enough to overturn his victory. Runner-up Yunus Qanooni, however, was refusing to concede defeat. Meanwhile, terrorists holding three UN elections organizers extended until Friday their deadline for executing them because of ongoing negotiations with Karzai's government for the release of Taliban prisoners in US custody. Above, women in Kabul pass a portrait of Karzai.

By a 64-to-44 vote, members of Israel's parliament OK'd Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's proposal for compensating Jewish settlers who will be evacuated from the Gaza Strip. Each settler family is expected to receive $500,000 in compensation from the government. Passage of the measure means affected families can begin filing claims for the payment immediately, although it still must survive two more votes before becoming law.

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