World Briefs / Bombs kill 11 in Pakistan

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PARACHINAR, Pakistan -- Taliban bombs targeting politicians in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday killed 11 people, the latest in a series of attacks meant to disrupt May's parliamentary election, police said.

The wave of political violence has killed at least 60 people in recent weeks, and many of the attacks have been directed at candidates from secular parties opposed to the Taliban. That has raised concern the violence could benefit hard-line Islamic candidates and others who are more sympathetic to the Taliban because they are able to campaign more freely without fear of being of being attacked.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the three attacks.

Iceland leans center-right

REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- Five years after Iceland's economic collapse, early returns signaled that austerity-weary voters are favoring the return of a center-right, Euroskeptic government, widely blamed for the nation's financial woes.

Icelanders appeared to be opting for the Progressive and Independence parties, who are promising to ease Icelanders' economic pain, shunning the Social Democrat-led coalition that has spent the last four years trying to turn the country around after the crash.

Iraq revokes TV licenses

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi authorities announced Sunday that they had revoked the operating licenses of pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera and nine other satellite TV channels, alleging that they are promoting a sectarian agenda as the country grapples with a wave of violence.

The move, effective immediately, comes as Baghdad tries to quell rising unrest in the country following clashes at a protest camp last week.

Gunmen storm ministry

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Libya's prime minister warned of a perilous security situation Sunday after armed men stormed the Interior Ministry and a state-owned television station after blocking access to the Foreign Ministry.

About 200 armed men surrounded the Foreign Ministry building in Tripoli, demanding the ministry hire former fighters who helped overthrow Moammar Gadhafi. The men allege that many supporters of the old regime are still holding senior positions in the ministry and its missions abroad.

About 38 trucks, some with machine guns, surrounded the ministry all day.

Taliban offensive begins

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Taliban insurgents marked the start of their spring offensive on Sunday by claiming responsibility for a remote-controlled roadside bomb blast that killed three police officers.

In past years, spring has marked a significant upsurge in fighting between the Taliban and NATO forces along with their local allies. This fighting season is a key test, as the international coalition is scheduled to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces next year.

Emergency bill passes

ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's Parliament approved an emergency bill Sunday to pave the way for thousands of public sector layoffs and free up $11.5 billion in international rescue loans.

The bill, which passed in a 168-123 vote, will allow for the first civil service layoffs in more than a century. About 2,000 civil servants will be laid off by the end of May, with another 2,000 following by the end of the year and a further 11,500 by end-2014, for a total of 15,500.

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