KABUL, Afghanistan – The front-runner in Afghanistan’s presidential contest picked up a major endorsement Sunday as he sought to consolidate his support ahead of an expected runoff next month.
Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister who was the top vote-getter in the election April 5, appeared in Kabul with the third-place finisher, Zalmay Rassoul.
Rassoul, who was thought to be outgoing President Hamid Karzai’s favored candidate, told reporters he was supporting Abdullah to send a message to Afghans that it was time to unite behind one candidate.
According to preliminary returns, Abdullah received 44.9 percent of the vote, compared with former finance minister Ashraf Ghani’s 31.5 percent and Rassoul’s 11.5 percent. Only the top two vote-getters will move on to the runoff.
Both Abdullah and Ghani are viewed as moderates with pro-Western views.
Militants in Iraq attack barracks
Militants in Iraq launched an audacious attack on a military barracks in a remote area in the country’s north and killed 20 soldiers overnight, including some who had been bound and shot at close range, authorities said Sunday as other attacks killed 18.
The killings at the military barracks in the village of Ayn al-Jahish outside of Mosul mirrored two previous assaults this year in the area targeting security forces.
Gunmen staged the assault late Saturday night, two police officers said, shooting some at short range while others died fighting the insurgents when they stormed the barracks.
A medical official, who confirmed the causality number, said 11 soldiers had their hands tied behind their backs and suffered close-range gunshots to the head.
London home to most billionaires
A study of the super-rich finds that London has become the capital of the world’s wealthiest, with more billionaires than any other city.
The Sunday Times, which published the list, said London has 72 residents whose fortunes exceed $1.6 billion. That number is well ahead of Moscow, at 48, New York, at 43, San Francisco at 42, Los Angeles at 38 or Hong Kong at 34.
The newspaper reported that Britain also has more per-capita billionaires than any other country. The nation has one billionaire for every 607,000 Britons as opposed to one for every 1 million or so Americans.