Two US troops were killed and three wounded by a mine detonated by remote control in Afghanistan's south-central province of Uruzgan, the US military said yesterday. \n"We had five casualties, two killed in action and three injured in action," US military spokesman Scott Nelson told reporters, adding the troops were all US nationals. \nThey had been on a routine patrol Thursday in the Deh Rawood district in the south of the province when the mine was detonated as they passed by, he said. \nA remote-controlled bomb also killed five people in the east of the violence-plagued country, an Afghan official said. \nThe five, who included a policeman, were killed in eastern Kunar province late Friday after the bomb exploded near a truck supplying food to US bases. \nThe truck had been stopped and set on fire by suspected loyalists of the ousted Taliban regime and the blast happened after a crowd had gathered, provincial governor Saeed Fazel Akbar Agha told reporters. \nThe explosion was on the main road in Dap area of Asmar district of Kunar province some 125km east of capital Kabul. \n"The incident occurred after a truck supplying food to US bases in Kunar was stopped and set on fire by enemies of Afghanistan," the governor said. \n"District police went to the site and villagers were there as well when the remote control bomb went off." \nMeanwhile, vote counting in Afghanistan's landmark election resumed yesterday after a break for a religious holiday, with early results showing interim leader Hamid Karzai ahead in the vote for this country's first democratically elected president. \nThe count was put on hold for a day on Friday as Muslims marked the start of the fasting month of Ramadan. \nElection spokeswoman Silvana Puizina said counting had resumed at 9am in the capital, Kabul, and in other counting centers across the country. \n"We should see a full day's counting. It seems to be moving along quite nicely," she said. \nEarlier, however, a preacher at Kabul's main mosque warned that Afghans won't stand for arrogance in whomever wins. \n"If the president becomes too arrogant, we will cut him down. Isn't that right?" Mullah Obeid-ul Rahman said to hundreds of worshippers, drawing cries of "God is great!" \nKarzai, who has led this predominantly Muslim country since the US-led forces ousted the Taliban regime in late 2001, is widely expected to win the Oct. 9 vote. \nThe UN-backed election, which cost about US$200 million to stage, has generated huge interest among Afghans, who are aching for peace after conflicts spanning the Soviet occupation of the 1980s, a murderous civil war in the early 1990s and then the Taliban's tyrannical rule. \nMany see Karzai as a bridge to the country's international backers and a leader untainted by the fighting. But they are impatient for him to deliver on pledges to rebuild their impoverished country. \nOf 35,986 valid votes tallied in six northern and central provinces during the first day of counting on Thursday, Karzai won 20,213, or 56.2 percent of the total, according to the official election Web site. If he keeps that up, he'll secure the simple majority needed to avoid a run-off vote with his closest rival. \nFormer Education Minister Yunus Qanooni, expected to be Karzai's closest challenger, was running at 17.2 percent, ahead of ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum with 15 percent. No other candidate mustered more than 2.5 percent. \nThe tally represented only a tiny fraction of the estimated 8 million votes cast. Counting hasn't started yet in the Pashtun-dominated south, where Karzai is expected to make his strongest showing. \nFinal results are due at the end of October, although it should be clear who has won after about a week. \nCounting had been delayed for five days while a panel of foreign experts probed allegations of electoral fraud, including multiple voting, ballot-box stuffing and voter intimidation. And on Friday, the 1,000 Afghan counting staff were off work to celebrate the start of Ramadan. Counting was to resume yesterday.
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The water service in Odessa, a port city in southern Ukraine, was suddenly overrun this week with calls from worried residents with a peculiar concern. Were officials really planning to run an antiseptic solution through the city’s taps instead of water? The calls were sparked by a message on social media claiming that: “Today, from 11pm until the morning, antiseptic will be distributed” in the water system. The antiseptic supposedly included several different whiskies — a brand for each district. However outlandish the claim, Odessa’s water agency, Infoxvodokanal, still issued a clarification. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, false news stories have spiked in