March 19, 2005 in Nation/World

Car bomb rocks Christian area

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Beirut, Lebanon A car bomb rocked a predominantly Christian neighborhood in northern Beirut early Saturday, destroying part of a building and wounding at least seven people, police said.

The explosive left a seven-foot-deep crater in the roadway and shattered windows for several blocks in the New Jdeideh neighborhood.

The target of the attack wasn’t immediately clear, but it came amid political turmoil in Lebanon in the wake of the Feb. 14 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the subsequent withdrawal of Syrian troops to east Lebanon and Syria.

At least seven people were treated for injuries as ambulances and fire trucks converged on the scene.

Pakistan test-fires long range missile

Islamabad, Pakistan Pakistan successfully test-fired its longest-range, nuclear-capable missile Saturday.

The test comes two days after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Pakistan to encourage its peace process with neighboring India. There was no immediate reaction from New Delhi.

The Shaheen II missile has a range of 1,250 miles and it successfully hit the target, said Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, a spokesman for the Pakistan army.

He did not say where the test was conducted.

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf witnessed the test and congratulated the missile’s developers, the military said in a statement.

“This missile, which incorporates an advanced two-stage solid motor technology, can carry all types of conventional and nuclear warheads,” the statement said.

South Asia’s nuclear rivals Pakistan and India routinely test-fire their missiles.

Measles epidemic kills hundreds of kids

Lagos, Nigeria Hundreds of children have died from an upsurge in measles cases in Nigeria, despite a series of local vaccination campaigns aimed at combating the disease, health authorities said Friday.

At least 589 have died from measles so far this year in Nigeria – one of the three countries most affected by the disease worldwide, along with India and Pakistan.

Most of the victims this year have been children under five in northern states, according to figures from the World Health Organization and the Nigerian Red Cross.

Measles epidemics typically peak in Nigeria in March, said WHO spokeswoman Melissa Corkum from the capital Abuja, meaning the death toll could increase.

Corkum said that, despite the recent deaths, increased immunizations are steadily lowering the effects of the disease in Nigeria.

Police admit mistakes in hunt for fugitive

Atlanta The city’s embattled police department acknowledged Friday that it made mistakes just after last week’s deadly courthouse rampage, and the chief revealed that the suspect spent as many as 12 hours undetected outside a busy mall.

Police Chief Richard Pennington said he will oversee a full review of his department’s response to the attacks, communication problems between agencies, and their ill-fated focus on searching for a stolen car they believed suspect Brian Nichols was using to flee.

The car later turned up in the same parking garage from where it was taken.

“We should have gone through the entire building,” Pennington told a news conference. “We didn’t, based on the information we had at the time.”

Authorities say that while the 33-year-old Nichols was in the Fulton County Courthouse last Friday for his rape retrial, he attacked a deputy and retrieved her gun from a lock box, then moved on to the courtroom and killed a judge and a court reporter. Authorities say he later murdered a deputy and a federal agent before surrendering.

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