World Briefs: President’s rivals cement lead in parliament

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TEHRAN — Conservative rivals of Iran’s president cemented their control on parliament as the count from last week’s voting moved into the final stages.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s political opponents clearly had the upper hand Sunday, with more than two-thirds of the seats decided in the 290-member parliament. The full tallies are not expected until Tuesday.

Friday’s election highlighted Mr. Ahmadinejad’s political tumble after attempts to challenge the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to make all key policy decisions, though their views are similar.

Parliament has no direct sway over critical issues such as Iran’s nuclear program, but control by Khamenei loyalists gives the leadership a more united front in the escalating showdowns with the West.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Official: 136 killed in explosions

BRAZZAVILLE — A morgue in the capital of the Republic of Congo has taken in 136 bodies of those killed in blasts caused by arms depot fire in the capital.

More bodies were coming into the morgue Sunday afternoon. A local hospital reported at least 237 wounded people.

Sunday’s blasts flattened many buildings in Brazzaville and sent more than 2,000 fleeing their homes.

Didier Boutsindi of the presidential office said untold numbers of people were trapped in a church that collapsed.

The explosions shook houses in Brazzaville and echoed across the Congo River to the capital of the neighboring country.

The Republic of Congo is often overshadowed by its much larger neighbor, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

YEMEN

Fighting kills 30 troops, 14 militants

SANAA — Intense clashes erupted Sunday between Yemeni soldiers and al Qaeda fighters in the southern province of Abyan, killing at least 30 government troops and 14 of the militants, military officials said.

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