World briefs: Attacks kill 29 in Iraq

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BAGHDAD -- Three car bombs exploded at outdoor markets and on a street full of shops near Iraq's capital, the deadliest of a series of attacks across the country that killed at least 29 people Thursday, officials said.

The deadliest attack took place in Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, when three separate car bombings struck two outdoor markets and a line of shops, killing nine people and wounding 21, police said. Authorities said that all the blasts happened in a five-minute period.

In Najaf, about 100 miles south of Baghdad, police said a car bombing killed seven people and wounded 12. And in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad, a car bomb ripped through a commercial area, killing five civilians and wounding 14, a police officer said.

A suicide bomber attacked a police checkpoint in Samarra, 60 miles north of the capital, killing three officers, authorities said. The blast wounded four officers and five civilians.

Drone strike angers Karzai

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai erupted in anger at the United States on Thursday over what he said was a drone strike in southern Afghanistan that killed a child and wounded two women.

Mr. Karzai, already locked in a bitter dispute with the U.S. over American ground raids on Afghan homes, repeated that he will not sign a proposed security agreement between the two nations unless all such raids are ended immediately.

Mr. Karzai said a drone attack "by American forces" struck a house in the village of Faqiran, in the Garmsir district of Helmand province. Taliban insurgents control much of the southern province.

Activist arrested in Egypt

CAIRO -- Egyptian security forces arrested a prominent political activist Thursday night over inciting a demonstration in defiance of a new law heavily restricting protests in the country, his family said.

The arrest of Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a blogger who rose to prominence in Egypt's 2011 revolution, quickly dominated social media. His previous detention sparked protests against the military, which appeared likely again as recently quiet liberal and secular groups have expressed increasing alarm over the military-backed government since it enacted the new protest law this week.

Former Putin ally charged

MOSCOW -- Russian investigators on Thursday charged a former minister of defense, Anatoly E. Serdyukov, with negligence for ordering the Russian military to build a road from a village to a private country residence in the south.

The charges, though seemingly slight, point to movement on one of the deeper and more insidious rifts within the usually tight coterie of officials around President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Putin dismissed Mr. Serdyukov as minister of defense in 2012 as investigators looked into whether he had misallocated ministry funds and allowed fraudulent contracting.

Also in the world ...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a trade accord between the European Union and Ukraine won't be signed at a summit that began Thursday in Vilnius, hours after a senior Ukrainian official predicted a "positive result." ... Two Mexican federal police officers were killed and nine injured in an ambush Wednesday night in a drug cartel-dominated section of Michoacan state, authorities said. The attack, by unknown assailants, occurred a few hours after Mexico's finance minister, Luis Videgaray, declared that "the rule of law" was under threat in the troubled state.

-- Compiled from news services

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