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Briefs (left)

Afghan Candidate Shot In Leg;
Two Backers Abducted

By Carlotta Gall


A parliamentary candidate was shot in Nuristan province on Wednesday morning, and two of her supporters were kidnapped, in an attack before the national election on Sunday, local officials said on Thursday.

The candidate, Hawa Alam Nuristani, an anchorwoman on the state-run Afghan Television and Radio in Kabul, was traveling by car to a campaign meeting in Nuristan, her native province, in the east when she was injured.

“They came under attack by unknown people,” the provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Baqi, said by phone. “She received four rounds from a pistol in her leg. Two others with her, supporters filming her campaign, were kidnapped.”

Another woman, the representative of the Women’s Affairs Ministry in Nuristan, was in the car, but was not injured, Mohammad Tamim Nuristani, the governor of the province, said.

New Iran Leader Promises ‘New
Proposals’ to End Nuclear Impasse

By Steven R. Weisman and Warren Hoge

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran told a breakfast gathering on Thursday that his country would present “new proposals” shortly to break the impasse with Western nations over Iran’s nuclear programs. He insisted that Iran would continue to pursue a nuclear energy program for peaceful purposes.

At the United Nations on Thursday evening, the Iranian president met with Secretary General Kofi Annan and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union and told them he would be making the details public in a speech to the General Assembly on Saturday.

Emerging from the evening meeting, Jack Straw, Britain’s foreign secretary, said: “What we are going to do is to listen carefully to what the president says Saturday afternoon and take it from there.”

His Saturday speech is expected to outline a new proposal aimed at resuscitating stalled negotiations with Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union over Iran’s suspected nuclear arms program.

Microsoft And Time Warner Said
To Be in Talks on Internet Pact

By Saul Hansell

Microsoft and Time Warner have explored a variety of possible combinations of the MSN Internet portal with Time Warner’s America Online, including a merger of the two units into a new company that would be jointly owned, according to several people involved in the talks.

The discussions were initiated by Microsoft, which has Google, its new archrival, clearly in its sights. Microsoft is trying to focus its Internet operations on its developing Web search product rather than its Web portal and Internet access business, which it no longer sees as strategically important.

Microsoft offered to sell its MSN Internet portal and dial-up subscriber business both to America Online and to Yahoo, according to several people with knowledge of the talks. While Yahoo considered and quickly rejected the proposal, Time Warner, the parent of America Online, expressed interest. Top executives at Time Warner and Microsoft held discussions on a variety of potential transactions as recently as three weeks ago. Those talks, however, are on hold as Microsoft considers its strategic position, people involved in the discussions said.

Representatives of Time Warner, Microsoft and Yahoo declined to comment.