World briefs (4/19/13)

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Suicide blast in Iraq kills 26

BAGHDAD -- A suicide bomber detonated explosives at a cafe crowded with young people Thursday, killing at least 26 and wounding dozens.

The bomber struck about 9:30 p.m. Police said two children and a woman who were passing by were among the dead. More than 50 people were wounded.

Earlier, a car bomb struck an army convoy in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, killing three soldiers and wounding five. Hours later, a policeman was killed and three others were wounded when gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in western Baghdad.

7 linked to terrorist cell

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Security authorities said Thursday they had arrested seven members of a "terrorist cell" affiliated with al-Qaida accused of plotting attacks in the Emirates and in neighboring oil-producing states, according to the official WAM news agency.

The suspects, all citizens of unspecified Arab countries, had also been "planning to recruit people and to promote the work of al-Qaida, in addition to providing the organization with funds and logistical support to facilitate the extension of their activities to some countries in the region," the news agency said.

Bird flu origin sought

BEIJING -- China is investigating four possible cases of human-to-human transmission of a deadly bird flu that has killed 17 people, but so far there has been "no sustained" evidence of transmission between people, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Three families in Shanghai and two children in Beijing were being examined as possible examples of human-to-human transmission, a WHO spokesman said.

There was mounting concern that the new virus, known as H7N9, may not originate in birds but in other animals and in environmental sources, he said.

Maduro to take power

CARACAS, Venezuela -- When Nicolas Maduro is sworn-in as president today, he's hoping the cheers of his supporters will drown out protesters clanging pots and pans.

Less than a week after winning a contested election by less than 270,000 votes, Mr. Maduro, 50, is being accused of stealing the race by a newly empowered opposition that is demanding a recount.

Human rights lawyer Alfredo Romero charged that National Guard troops beat dozens of opposition supporters for refusing to accept Mr. Maduro's government-certified victory in what he called Venezuela's worst political repression in six years.

IMF director summoned

PARIS -- A French court has ordered Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, to appear at a hearing next month connected to an investigation of her handling of a financial scandal when she was the French finance minister.

The investigation, which has included a police raid of Ms. Lagarde's Paris apartment last month, concerns her decision in 2007 to refer to an arbitration panel a decades-old dispute between a wealthy friend of France's president at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais.

Italy impasse deepens

ROME -- Italy's political deadlock deepened over the selection of the next president, raising the threat of snap elections after Democratic Party lawmakers refused orders to back a compromise candidate.

Party head Pier Luigi Bersani signaled he will abandon his nominee, Franco Marini, after his allies rebelled over the choice, leading to two failed ballots Thursday. Voting resumes today.

-- Compiled from news services



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