Zawahiri Urges Muslims

To Help Victims of Quake

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman Zawahiri, urged Muslims in a video broadcast Sunday to help Pakistan's earthquake victims even though its government was an "agent" of the United States.

"I call on all Muslims and Islamic charity organizations in particular to go to Pakistan and give a helping hand to the victims there," a bespectacled Zawahiri said in the tape aired on the al-Jazeera satellite television network. Wearing a white turban and seated beside an assault rifle, Zawahiri denounced Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

"We all know that Musharraf's government is an agent of the United States, but despite that I call on all Muslims to run to the help of their brothers in Pakistan," he said.

"We all know the United States is against the activities of Islamic charities," said Zawahiri, the Egyptian lieutenant to Osama bin Laden.

U.S. officials have accused several Islamic charities of funneling funds to Muslim militants. The tape appeared to have been recorded on Oct. 9, as Zawahiri said the earthquake had occurred the day before.


* LONDON -- The British government said a quarantined parrot imported from South America was killed by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu that has plagued Asia and recently spread to Europe. Debby Reynolds, chief veterinarian for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the parrot was likely infected while housed in quarantine with birds from Taiwan. In response, the European Union considered a ban on the import of live wild birds.


* KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Heavy gunfire in West Darfur's main town kept aid staff locked in their homes in the latest violence in the remote region bordering Chad, sources in the aid community and U.N. officials said. Aid workers have been confined to Geneina since clashes and armed looters closed all the roads leading out of the town to U.N. staff.


* KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Two Afghan mine-clearing experts were killed and six others were hurt after a blast hit their truck in the southern city of Kandahar, a mine-clearing official said. In a separate incident outside Kandahar, eight Afghans, including three soldiers, were wounded by a roadside bomb.

* KABUL, Afghanistan -- An earthquake destroyed homes and killed five people near Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. Pakistan's seismological center said two quakes were registered, one with a magnitude of 5.2 and another with a magnitude of 4.9.


* BUENOS AIRES -- Argentine President Nestor Kirchner strengthened his support in Congress during legislative elections, while his wife scored a resounding victory in an important Senate race.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner defeated her opponent, the wife of former president Eduardo Duhalde, by some 25 points, exit polls showed, helping to expand the left-of-center president's political base in the country's largest province, Buenos Aires. Many candidates backed by Kirchner were also headed for wins, exit polls indicated.

The result was victory for the president, who had described the balloting as a plebiscite on his rule.

-- From News Services