Bhutto's 19-year-old son, husband to lead her party

NAUDERO, Pakistan — Benazir Bhutto's 19-year-old son — a student with no political experience — was named symbolic leader of her party yesterday, while her husband took effective control, extending Pakistan's most enduring political dynasty.

The major parties appeared to agree that elections should take place as scheduled Jan. 8 despite street violence and political turmoil triggered by the assassination of Bhutto. The Election Commission is to discuss the timing today.

A successful vote would bolster U.S.-backed plans to restore democracy to the nuclear-armed country as it battles Islamic extremism.

Rioting subsided yesterday after destruction that left at least 44 dead and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage, but bitterness remained over the government's response to the gun and suicide attack that killed Bhutto.

The appointment of Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was not without its own complications. A former Cabinet minister who spent eight years in prison on corruption accusations, he is known as "Mr. 10 Percent" for allegedly taking kickbacks and is viewed with suspicion by many Pakistanis.

At a news conference yesterday, Zardari said the opposition party — Pakistan's largest — had no confidence in the government's ability to bring the killers to justice and urged the United Nations to establish a committee like the one probing the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The eldest of Bhutto's three children, Bilawal Zardari, accepted the party's leadership, but said he would remain at Oxford University.

He said his father, who was officially designated co-chairman, would be the effective party leader.

Kenya's prez declared winner of vote marred by violence

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki won a second term yesterday amid allegations that the government stole the vote, sparking deadly riots that lit up the night sky as youths torched homes and shouted "Kibaki must go!"

Soon after the results were announced, the government suspended live television broadcasts and the slums, home to tens of thousands of opposition supporters, exploded into fresh violence. At least 15 people were killed in fighting across the country, police and witnesses said, although the tally was likely higher.

"This country is going to turn into a war zone," said Elisha Kayugira, who ran through the Kibera shantytown searching for his sister as columns of black smoke curled above the maze of shacks and winding dirt roads.

Others were waving machetes in the air as buses and shops burned.

Raila Odinga, the firebrand opposition candidate who had been leading early results and public-opinion polls, said the dispute could trigger a political crisis. He compared the country to Ivory Coast — the once-stable West African nation where a 2002 coup sparked a civil war.

Elections chief Samuel Kivuitu, who read the results on live television after other media were expelled from the main vote headquarters yesterday, said Kibaki beat Odinga by 231,728 votes in the closest race in Kenya's history.

Israeli premier: No peace till Palestinians rein in militants

JERUSALEM — Furious over the killing of two Israelis hiking in the West Bank, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said yesterday that no peace will come until Palestinians crack down on militants, a declaration that clouds a coming visit by President Bush.

The two sides had just agreed to paper over another spat: Israel's plan to build 307 apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem, the section claimed by the Palestinians.

But that was before the shooting of two off-duty Israeli soldiers Friday in a valley near the West Bank city of Hebron. There were two claims of responsibility: one from Hamas and Islamic Jihad; the other from Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which has ties to Abbas' Fatah movement.

Meanwhile, the number of people killed in Israeli-Palestinian violence dropped dramatically in 2007, according to the Israeli human-rights group B'Tselem.

Rainfall saves Atlanta from driest-year title

ATLANTA — Rain fell for a fourth straight day yesterday, ensuring — with 31.85 inches — that 2007 would not be the driest year on record for the Atlanta area.

The most arid year ever recorded for Atlanta was 1954, when only 31.80 inches of rain fell.

— Associated Press