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Afghan Insurgents Hang 15-Year-Old Accused as Spy

Taliban insurgents in the southern province of Helmand kidnapped a 15-year-old key maker, accused him of being a spy for the Afghan and foreign authorities, beat him severely, then hanged him from an electrical utility pole, Afghan officials said Monday.

In a final insult, the fighters took five $1 bills they found in the boy’s pocket and stuffed them into his mouth, the officials said. Dollars are commonly used in Afghanistan as a parallel currency to the afghani.

The attackers left a note with the body warning that if anyone else was caught spying, they would suffer the same treatment, said Wali Muhammad, the police chief of Sangin, a district in Helmand where the killing occurred Sunday night.

Muhammad said relatives of the boy retrieved the body on Monday morning and told the police that he had been falsely accused.

“He was a poor boy working for his family,” said Izatullah Mujahid, the top civilian administrator in Sangin. “He was not working for any organization.” The boy’s relatives told Mujahid that he had been on his way home from his job making keys in the Sangin bazaar when he was abducted and killed.

Democratic Hopefuls Raise More Money Than Republicans

The Democratic presidential candidates continued to raise significantly more money during the last three months than their Republican counterparts, according to official and unofficial third-quarter fundraising tallies that were released Monday.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., raised at least $20 million over the summer, more than $19 million of which could be spent on the primary — showing that he continued to be a formidable fundraiser. It was unclear whether he still led in fundraising, as he had this spring, because Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton did not release her tally. (Her aides had said that they expected to raise a similar amount.) John Edwards raised $7 million, and Gov. Bill Richardson raised $5.2 million.

By comparison, Mitt Romney, who has been one of the strongest Republican fundraisers this election, raised only about half of what Obama raised this summer, according to a senior adviser who was granted anonymity to discuss the campaign’s finances. The adviser said that Romney brought in about $10 million from donors, and that he used more than $6 million of his own money for his campaign.

Shares Soar Over Confidence About Credit

Blue-chip stocks pushed into record territory Monday as investors seemed to shrug off this summer’s problems with subprime mortgage lending. At least for now.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared more than 200 points in midafternoon trading, putting the index above the previous high, set on July 19. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 191.92 points, or 1.4 percent, to 14,087.55.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index jumped 20.29 points, or 1.3 percent to 1,547.04, trading just beneath record levels.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 39.49 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,740.99, its highest level in about six and a half years.

“We’re beginning to know what we didn’t know a few weeks ago, and with some uncertainty being removed, that gives investors a little more confidence to dip their toe into the market,” said Todd Salamone, director of trading at Schaeffer’s Investment Research.