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World Briefs: Gunmen kill general in border attack

- - Monday, August 27, 2012

BAGHDAD — Men fatally shot an Iraqi general Monday, among three people killed and six wounded in nationwide violence, security and medical officials said.

Brig. Gen. Abdul Hussein Mohsen, who commanded border forces, was gunned down by several men in the town of Taji, just north of Baghdad, an interior ministry official said.

A medic at Kadhimiyah hospital in the north of the capital confirmed the facility received Brig. Gen. Mohsen's body, adding that the general died of gunshot wounds.

A bomb blast targeting an army patrol in the town of Haditha, 130 miles west of Baghdad, meanwhile, killed a civilian and wounded three soldiers, according to an army officer and a doctor at Haditha hospital.

In the main northern city of Mosul, a roadside bomb apparently aiming for a police patrol killed one person and wounded another, according to police 2nd Lt. Salam Hamed and Dr. Faiz Tareq of the city's main hospital.

Also in Mosul, which is 220 miles north of the capital, two young boys were wounded by another bomb blast, the officials said.

The latest fatalities bring to 259 the number of people killed in nationwide attacks so far in August, according to reports from security and medical officials.

NIGERIA

Goodluck Jonathan cites bad luck in office

ABUJA — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan defended his record in fighting Islamic terrorism and predicted that he will be vindicated before he leaves office.

"I'm the most criticized president in the whole world. I can tell this noble audience that before I leave, I will also be the most praised president," Mr. Jonathan told a meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association.

The president, who has faced criticism over what has been characterized as a complacent approach to the job in the face of a deadly Islamist insurgency and other issues, said his critics are unfairly blaming him for Nigeria's woes.

He touched on problems such as a lack of adequate electricity supply and other infrastructure issues that predate his tenure in the continent's largest oil producer.

MYANMAR

Cabinet shuffled to promote reform

YANGON — Myanmar's president announced a major Cabinet shuffle Monday, a move analysts see as advancing a reform agenda in the formerly pariah nation.

The shake-up is the biggest since President Thein Sein's government took office from the former military junta in March 2011 and launched a wave of dramatic reforms that have surprised the world and prompted Western powers to ease crippling sanctions.

Rumors have swirled for months about a possible shuffle.

The announcement made late Monday on the president's official website said the overhaul affects nine of several dozen Cabinet posts. Some 15 new deputy ministers are also being appointed.

Among the most prominent changes is the replacement of former Information Minister Kyaw Hsan, widely seen as a hard-liner. He was replaced by Labor and Social Welfare Minister Aung Kyi, who has also acted as a liaison between the government and pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The information ministry oversees local and foreign media and the film industry, and has supervised the approval of visas for foreign correspondents. Kyaw Hsan was kept in government, however, and appointed to head the Cooperatives Ministry.

UGANDA

President promotes son to chief of special forces

KAMPALA — Uganda's president has made his son a one-star general and appointed him commander of the country's special forces, leading some Ugandans to conclude that the son is being groomed to succeed his father.

In changes announced Monday, Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba was named a brigadier general, the latest promotion in the 38-year-old's quick rise through the ranks. Some Ugandans have long believed that President Yoweri Museveni, who took power by force in 1986, is nurturing his son to take over from him when he retires. Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a political historian at Uganda's Makerere University, said the promotion gives that suspicion credence.

In his new role Brig. Gen. Kainerugaba, who received some military training at the elite Sandhurst British academy, will be the chief protector of his father and resources such as oil wells.

ISRAEL

Military develops safer grenades

JERUSALEM — Israel Military Industries says it has developed a unique grenade that does not explode when hit by shrapnel, bullets or even if exposed to fire.

Moshe Elert, a senior official with the state-owned defense company, said Monday the new mechanism could save soldiers' lives. He would not elaborate on how it works.

He said it was developed after two soldiers were killed in 2010 when a grenade one was carrying was hit by a bullet and exploded. Mr. Elert said there have been many similar cases around the world and the new technology is being sold to other friendly armies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports