Wed, Nov 03, 2004 - Page 5 News List

US Election Briefs

AGENCIES

■ MalaysiaBush victory `a disaster'

Malaysia's outspoken former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said it would be "a disaster" if US President George W. Bush was re-elected. Urging US Muslims to back Democrat challenger Senator John Kerry, Mahathir said Kerry was unlikely to repeat Bush's mistake of alienating Muslims if he won. "I feel that if you vote Bush in, then it means you are approving all the things he has done," Mahathir said. "That would be a disaster." At the last US election and while he was still in power, Mahathir told Americans to support Bush against Al Gore, the man he accused of supporting former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim.

■ Japan

Fischer hoping for Kerry win

Bobby Fischer, the US chess legend turned critic of his country, was closely watching yesterday's presidential election from detention in Japan, believing his fight against deportation will get a boost if George W. Bush loses, his lawyer said. The maverick chess giant could be imprisoned for up to 10 years in the US for playing in Yugoslavia in 1992 against Boris Spassky in violation of US sanctions against Belgrade imposed over the Balkan wars. "If Bush wins, things may not change, but things may get better" if John Kerry becomes president, lawyer Masako Suzuki said, calling the Fischer case "very much politically affected."

■ United States

Singers lend weight to Kerry

Motown legend Stevie Wonder on Monday became the latest pop superstar to line up behind Senator John Kerry, on the eve of his showdown at the polls with US President George W. Bush. Wonder played a set before Kerry's rally in Detroit, Michigan, including a rendition of America the Beautiful on his harmonica. Kerry was later due to link up with another superstar backer, Bruce Springsteen in Cleveland, Ohio, and earlier in the day, rocker Bon Jovi opened a gig for him in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

■ JAPAN

Acupuncturist bets on Kerry

A British acupuncturist in Tokyo has promised to treat everyone who walks into his clinic for free today if US President George W. Bush loses the election -- even the would-be ex-president himself. Edward Obaidey, who treats about 20 people a day, said he stood to lose about

?120,000 (US$1,130) if Senator John Kerry wins. Obaidey said he decided to make his offer after hearing widespread anger about Bush from his patients, even ones who tend to be apolitical. Obaidey, who has worked in Tokyo for nearly 20 years, said he would consider making a similar offer when Britain holds its next general election. "If [Prime Minister Tony] Blair is out, maybe I'll do another campaign for that."

■ Australia

Howard stumps for Bush

The government has defended its open support for President George W. Bush in the US election, saying it was inevitable center-right governments would back one another. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer denied Prime Minister John Howard's comment that he was hoping for a Bush win had damaged the allies' close relationship. Downer said the Howard and Bush governments "have been very closely entwined" for four years, a period that included Australia's support and participation in the US-led war in Iraq.

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