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SUDAN

South accuses north of army base attack

KHARTOUM | Sudan's south accused the northern army of carrying out an airstrike on an army base in southern Sudan on Wednesday in an attempt to derail a Jan. 9 referendum on southern independence.

"Today SAF [northern army] helicopter gunships attacked our position, injuring four soldiers and two civilians," southern army spokesman Philip Aguer said.

"The SAF is trying to drag Sudan back into war again and to disrupt or prevent the referendum," he added.

KENYA

Scouts mark 100 years, oldest in Africa

NAIROBI | The Kenya Scouts Association, the oldest scouting organization in Africa, marked its 100th anniversary on Wednesday, joining the Boy Scouts of America as a 100-year-old organization.

Kenya was the second home of Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the scout movement in Britain in 1907. Powell organized the first scout meeting in Africa at a church in Nairobi on Nov. 24, 1910.

"We are very, very happy with the 100 years and what scouting has been able to do in this country," said Miriti Mangu, the chief executive of the Kenya Scouts Association. "It has been able to produce many leaders of high rank."

President Mwai Kibaki presided over a celebration at the presidential state house.

Mr. Kibaki is the patron of the Kenya Scouts Association. The country's vice president is a former scout and heads the organization's executive committee. Kenya's chief scout is a former speaker of parliament.

There are 400,000 scouts in Kenya and 28 million worldwide. The scout movement began in England in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th anniversary in February.

EGYPT

Police clash with Christian rioters

CAIRO | Hundreds of Christians smashed cars and windows and tried to assault a municipal building in Cairo on Wednesday after police violently stopped the construction of a church that left one person dead and underscored Egypt's sectarian tensions.

Police clashed with Christians first at the church construction site in the early hours of the morning and then several hours later when a mob of hundreds assaulted the local governor's office.

The slain Christian was shot in the thigh and died after arriving at a nearby hospital, according to Egypt's official Middle East News Agency. Thirty people were injured in the clashes and 93 were arrested. Two priests were summoned by the general prosecutor for interrogation.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 80 million. They complain frequently of discrimination, though they generally live in peace with the Muslim majority with occasional flare-ups of tension and violence, especially over limits on church building.

SOMALIA

Report: 2,100 Somalis killed this year

MOGADISHU | More than 2,100 civilians have been killed this year in violence between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces in Somalia's capital, the city's main ambulance service said Wednesday.

About 80 percent of the victims died as a result of indiscriminate shelling by African Union forces into the capital's largest market, Bakara, said Ali Muse, the director of the Lifeline Africa Ambulance Service.

"All of those victims are civilians, killed either by stray bullets or hit by mortars or by artillery shells," Mr. Muse told the Associated Press.

The ambulance service said 2,171 civilians were killed between January and October this year, and that 5,814 were wounded during the same period. Among the wounded were 2,903 women and 1,146 children.

The group said 2,089 civilians were killed in the capital in 2009.

EGYPT

Blogger says jail won't stop activism

CAIRO | An Egyptian blogger, released after four years in prison for insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak, said on Wednesday he had no regrets and that his jail time would not deter him from activism in the future.

"If I went back in time, I would not change a thing," Abdel Kareem Nabil, 26, known as Kareem Amer, told a news conference.

Mr. Amer, the first Egyptian blogger to have been jailed for opinions expressed online, was arrested in 2006. He also was expelled from the state-run religious al-Azhar University.

The activist said he had been freed on Nov. 5 and then rearrested, held for 11 days and beaten. An Interior Ministry official has confirmed he had been rearrested.

Mr. Amer, who was denied visitors for one of his years in an Alexandria prison, said he was hoping to resume his studies, but not at al-Azhar. His prison experience would not silence him.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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