- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2008

ALGERIA

Al Qaeda claims suicide bombing

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Al Qaeda’s North African branch claimed responsibility yesterday for the suicide bombing of a police station in eastern Algeria that killed four persons a day earlier.

“A lion’s cub of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, valiant martyr Hamza Abu Abderrahman, drove a vehicle laden with at least [1,430 pounds] of explosives against the ramparts of the apostates: the judicial police station in Thenia,” said a statement on a Web site routinely used by al Qaeda.

The attack in Thenia, 30 miles east of Algiers, also left 20 persons wounded.

UGANDA

Workers killed in school collapse

KAMPALA — A six-story school under construction in the capital collapsed yesterday, killing at least 15 workers, police said.

More than 30 workers were buried when the school caved in, police spokesman Gabriel Tibayungwa said.

The school, St. Peter’s Secondary School, is in Kampala’s outskirts.

SOUTH AFRICA

Assurances issued on power crisis

CAPE TOWN — South Africa’s crippling electric power crisis will not put off investors, nor limit its ability to stage the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said yesterday.

Rolling blackouts have plagued homes, businesses and the crucial mining industry in South Africa for weeks and are likely to continue for about five years, according to state power utility Eskom.

Economists have warned that the power crunch could severely crimp growth in Africa’s richest economy and threaten a multibillion-dollar infrastructure plan, partly aimed at preparing for the soccer tournament.

ZAMBIA

Bribes returned by former soldier

LUSAKA — A Zambian ex-military commander has returned about $30,000 he purportedly received in bribes from a British firm to ensure that it won a tender for army uniforms, an official said yesterday.

Wilford Funjika, who was given a two-month jail sentence late last year for corruption, theft and abuse of authority, has paid back the money to the state, said a spokesman for the task force on corruption, Victor Makayi.

MALAWI

Floods devastate crops, livestock

BLANTYRE — Rising floodwaters devastating the crops, livestock and infrastructure across half the county and menacing more than 73,000 Malawians will get worse, government officials said yesterday.

“It’s getting worse in Malawi because it is raining every day,” said Lilian Ng’oma, a senior official in the disaster management ministry. At least three persons have died in the floods, she said. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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