WASHINGTON. Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday thanked US President George W. Bush for freeing his country from the Taliban for im...
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday thanked US President George W. Bush for freeing his country from the Taliban for improving the quality of life -- and for weathering bouts of yelling.
"I have yelled at times, I've been angry at times, but you've always been smiling and generous, and that's so nice of you," Karzai told his host at the House, thanking him for "your patience with me and some of our habits."
The US president, who laughed in response, said "no question it's difficult" to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan, but emphasized that he saw much "progress and promise and hope".
Karzai noted that Bush leaves office in January, and told him that Afghans grateful for the 2001 US-led toppling of the Taliban regime will remember him fondly.
Thousands of Shiites rallied Friday against a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security pact, while one of Iran's most influential politicians urged Iraq's government and religious leaders to block the deal.
Followers of anti-U.S.cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have held weekly protests against the deal, which critics fear will extend American military, economic and political domination of the country. They got support Friday from former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
"Americans persistently want to impose the agreement, which surely does not support the interests of Iraq and is harmful to the future of Iraq," Rafsanjani said during a sermon in Tehran. "God willing, the Iraqi nation — with the awareness and leadership of clerics and the awareness of the Iraqi government — will not allow such a miserable event to happen."
He had nothing above him but four tanks of kerosene and nothing below him but the cold waters of the English Channel. But Yves Rossy leapt from a plane and into the record books on Friday, crossing the channel on a homemade jet-propelled wing.
Rossy jumped from the plane about 8,200 feet over Calais, France, blasting across the narrow body of water and deploying his parachute over the South Foreland lighthouse, delighting onlookers who dotted Dover's famous white cliffs, cheering and waving as Rossy came into view.
Backed by a gentle breeze, Rossy crossed the Channel in 13 minutes, averaging 125 miles per hour. In a final flourish, he did a figure eight as he came over England, although the wind blew him away from his planned landing spot next to the lighthouse.
“It was perfect. Blue sky, sunny, no clouds, perfect conditions," the Swiss pilot said after touching down in an adjacent field.