A car bombing killed 28 coast guard officers in Algeria on Saturday, just days after a blast ripped through a crowd waiting for the president. Both suspected al-Qaida-linked attacks targeted symbols of the government as it tries to wipe out an Islamic insurgency.
Although there was no claim of responsibility in either attack, al-Qaida’s North African affiliate has carried out a spate of recent bombings that have shattered the Algerian government’s efforts – successful until recently – to restore calm after a 15-year Islamist insurgency.
The government has responded by intensifying military crackdowns on Islamic militants hiding out in remote scrubland.
In Saturday’s blast, explosives planted in a van ripped through barracks in the northern coastal town of Dellys, about 30 miles from the capital, Algiers. The bombing appeared timed to kill as many officers as possible, when they were grouped together to raise the flag.
Paisley quitting church leadership
The Rev. Ian Paisley said Saturday he is stepping down as leader of the hard-line Protestant church he founded 56 years ago, a decision his opponents say was inevitable after he angered many by cooperating with Sinn Fein to form a Northern Ireland government.
The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster said Paisley would step down rather than face possible ouster following the church’s annual meeting, which began Friday night.
Paisley, 81, has been re-elected for decades unopposed to the position of Free Presbyterian moderator but was expected to face a challenger when his current term expires in January. He will serve in the post through December, then vacate it.
Japanese wins air guitar title
A Japanese man out-“played” challengers to win the Air Guitar World Championship for the second consecutive year at a contest in northern Finland.
Ochi Yosuke received the highest score from a panel of judges in the final late Friday at the Teatria rock club in Oulu, near the Arctic Circle. Apart from the glory, he received a custom-made Flying Finn electric guitar worth $3,400.
The talent on display was variable at best. One of the favorites for the title was American Andrew “William Ocean” Litz, whose act ends in a spectacular backflip onto an empty beer can. He finished 11th.