- - Tuesday, August 14, 2012

KABUL — Suicide bombers launched multiple attacks in a remote corner of southwestern Afghanistan near the Iranian border Tuesday, killing policemen and shoppers buying food to break their daily Ramadan fast.

A market bombing in northern Afghanistan brought the overall toll to 46 in the deadliest day for civilians this year.

There were no claims of responsibility, but the attacks on opposite ends of the country — the provinces of Nimroz in the southwest and Kunduz in the north — came as Taliban insurgents and their allies step up attacks while international troops hand over security responsibility to Afghan forces.

NATO plans to withdraw most of its troops by the end of 2014.

There have been relatively few insurgent attacks in Nimroz over the past year.

Tuesday’s bombings took place in the provincial capital, Zaranj, where three men wearing suicide vests detonated their explosives in different neighborhoods, provincial police Chief Musa Rasouli said. At least 25 civilians and 11 police were killed, he said.


Ex-president faces trialon bribery charges

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina is putting a former president on trial for bribery.

Fernando de la Rua is accused of paying $5 million to a group of senators in exchange for their votes to remove worker protections in the year 2000, when the International Monetary Fund was making workforce flexibility a requirement for extending loans to Argentina.

The law was overturned long ago, and the case is coming to trial after 12 years of preparation.

A three-judge panel has accepted the bribery as fact; now prosecutors must prove Mr. de la Rua himself ordered the payments.

The trial is expected to stretch well into 2013 with more than 300 witnesses lined up, including President Cristina Fernandez, who was a senator at the time but is not accused of taking a bribe.


Think tank: N. Korea maycomplete reactor in 2013

North Korea may finish work by late 2013 on a light-water reactor that could be used to support its nuclear weapons program, a think tank in Washington, D.C., said Tuesday.

The Institute for Science and International Security published satellite images taken in May and June of the Yongbyon nuclear complex showing cranes and metal beams that could be used to bring heavy components into the reactor.

An expert who reviewed the photographs “estimated that the reactor could be completed in the second half of 2013,” the think tank said in a report.

Most major external work appears to be complete except for covering the reactor with a dome, which has been seen lying next to the site since November, the think tank said.

A separate assessment of earlier satellite imagery, released in May by Johns Hopkins University’s U.S.-Korea Institute, also described advances but doubted the facility would be operational before 2014 or 2015.


Iran seeks foreign helpfor quake-hit area

TEHRAN — In a change of heart, Iran said Tuesday it now welcomes foreign aid for victims of the deadly twin earthquakes that hit the country’s northwest over the weekend.

The remarks indicated authorities were struggling to cope with the quakes’ aftermath. Critics charged they failed to react quickly enough to help the region along the borders with Azerbaijan and Armenia, where the 6.4 and 6.3 magnitude quakes Saturday killed 306 people and injured more than 3,000.

“We would welcome help by any country,” said Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, during his visit to the earthquake-stricken area on Tuesday.

Iran’s government said it has provided shelter for about 50,000 people who lost their homes during the quakes, which have been followed by scores of aftershocks.


Gunmen kill eightin gang-war town

MONTERREY — Gunmen killed eight people in an attack on a bar in the northern Mexico city of Monterrey, police said Tuesday.

Four victims died at the scene of the attack late Monday, and four others died of their wounds at local hospitals. Another person was being treated for wound suffered in the shooting.

Some of the victims of the attack at the Matehuala bar were employees of the establishment. The attackers fled the scene, and authorities are investigating possible motives in the attack.

Monterrey has been the scene of bloody turf battles between the Zetas gang and the Gulf drug cartel.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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