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World in brief: Bomber strikes bus; at least five killed

A suicide bomber on a motorcycle attacked a bus carrying Pakistan air force employees today, killing at least five people and wounding about 40, officials said.

The attack occurred near Sargodha, a city in eastern Punjab province, said Hamid Mukhtar Gondal, the district police chief.

Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the spokesman for the Pakistan army, said the attacker was on a motorcycle when he rammed into the bus. “The targeted bus was carrying employees from the Pakistan air force,” he said.

Pakistan is a key ally of the U.S. in the war on terror and has witnessed scores of bombings targeting civilians and security forces since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

PIEDRA BLANCA, Dominican Republic

Storm triggers fatal slides, floods

Tropical Storm Noel triggered mudslides and floods in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, pushing the death toll to 81 on Wednesday and forcing some parents to choose which of their children to save from the surging waters.

The storm was slowly moving away from the north coast of Cuba and was projected to skirt Florida and batter the Bahamas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

A tropical storm watch was issued for parts of southeast Florida’s coast, which was already being buffeted by strong winds and high surf. Forecasters warned that gusty winds would continue hitting Florida through today.

With rain still falling two days after the storm hit, rescuers were struggling to reach communities cut off by flooding. As they did, they found at least 56 dead in the Dominican Republic, 24 in Haiti and one in Jamaica.

YANGON, Myanmar

Monks renew protest of regime

More than 100 Buddhist monks marched peacefully Wednesday in a northern Myanmar town noted for its defiance of the country’s military rulers, the first large protest since the junta violently crushed a wave of anti-government demonstrations.

The monks marched for nearly an hour in the town of Pakokku, chanting a Buddhist prayer that has come to be associated with the pro-democracy cause. They did not carry signs or shout slogans, but their action was clearly in defiance of the military government, as one monk spelled out in a radio interview.

“We are continuing our protest from last month as we have not yet achieved any of the demands we asked for,” the monk told the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based short-wave radio station and Web site run by dissident journalists.

Up to 100,000 people eventually took part in the largest pro-democracy demonstrations in Yangon that were crushed when troops fired on protesters on Sept. 26-27, leaving at least 10 people dead by the government’s count. Opposition groups say as many as 200 people may have been killed.


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