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News Briefs

Vaccine Helps Children Fight Malaria, Test Shows

By Donald G. Mcneil Jr.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

For the first time, researchers say, a vaccine against malaria has shown that it can save children from infection or death. The vaccine, tested on thousands of children in Mozambique, was hardly perfect: it protected them from catching the disease only about 30 percent of the time and prevented it from becoming life-threatening only about 58 percent of the time.

But because malaria kills more than a million people a year, 700,000 of them children, even partial protection would be a public health victory. The disease, caused by a parasite carried by mosquitoes, is found in 90 countries, and drug-resistant strains are spreading.

Dr. Allan Schapira, strategy coordinator for the Roll Back Malaria campaign at the World Health Organization, said the trial was “good news, and definitely of great interest for malaria control.”

Dr. Melinda Moree, director of the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, said the product tried in Mozambique was now its leading candidate and had proved that the concept worked. It was made by GlaxoSmithKline.

Sept. 11 Panel’s Chief Wants Help From Bush

By Philip Shenon

THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON, DC

The chairman of the independent Sept. 11 commission called on President Bush on Thursday to become personally involved in pressuring Congress to overhaul the nation’s intelligence community, warning that the legislation recommended by the panel might die in Congress without Bush’s intervention before the election next month.

“I’m very worried,” said the chairman, Thomas H. Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey. “I think it’s a 50-50 situation now. We’ve come a long way; we’re right up to the finish line. But we have some powerful adversaries.”

“I would certainly urge the president to do everything in his power to get a final bill to his desk before the election,” Kean said in a telephone interview, a week after the House and Senate produced sharply different versions of a bill to enact the commission’s major recommendations, including creation of the job of national intelligence director.

Counting Begins In Afghan Presidential Election

By Carlotta Gall

THE NEW YORK TIMES KABUL, Afghanistan

Election workers began counting ballots on Thursday, five days after the country’s first presidential election was marred by accusations of fraud and calls for a boycott by 15 candidates ranged against President Hamid Karzai.

An initial tally of 25,671 votes from five central and northern provinces gave Karzai 58 percent of the vote, followed by his main rival Muhammad Yunus Qanooni, with 17 percent of the vote, election officials said.

Reginald Austin, the chief technical adviser to a joint Afghan-U.N. elections board, cautioned that the number of votes counted represented less than 1 percent of an estimated 7 million to 8 million votes cast. He said no counting would occur on Friday, due to the start of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.

In response to the accusations from Karzai’s rivals, a panel of international election experts, appointed to examine complaints from the candidates, recommended isolating about 50 to 100 ballot boxes for further investigation, Austin said. The board quarantined boxes from 21 polling sites.