AFGHANISTAN

Lead extended as vote count continues

More than a week after ballots were cast in Afghanistan's presidential election, officials are still tabulating the results, but former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah has extended his lead to 11 percentage points over his closest challenger.

On Sunday, the Afghan Independent Election Commission announced the results from 40 percent of the ballots. They show Abdullah leading with 44.4 percent of the vote compared with 33 percent for Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister.

Another former foreign minister, Zalmai Rassoul, regarded as outgoing President Hamid Karzai's favored candidate, had about 10 percent of the vote.

With the United States and NATO scheduled to pull out most of their combat troops by the end of the year, the election is seen as essential to ensuring the stability of Afghanistan. - Washington Post
IRAQ

Attacks kill 18

A series of attacks, including a coordinated assault on a private Shiite college in Baghdad, killed at least 18 people and wounded nearly 50 in Iraq on Sunday, officials said. Less than two weeks ahead of parliamentary elections, Iraq is struggling to keep a lid on a surge in sectarian violence that has sent bloodshed soaring to levels not seen since the country was pushed to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007. - AP

MALAYSIA

Jet forced to return

A Malaysia Airlines flight heading to India with 166 people aboard made an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur early Monday after it was forced to turn back when a tire burst on takeoff, the airline said. The airline said Flight 192 to Bangalore landed safely at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 1:56 a.m. Monday, about four hours after it departed. The airline said no one was injured. - AP