May 29, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: Al-Shabaab thought to be behind blast

From Wire Reports
 

NAIROBI, Kenya – A blast that blew the roof off a downtown building and hurled shards of glass and burned clothing into the streets on Monday apparently was the strongest retaliation yet by al-Qaida-linked forces in Somalia for Kenya’s military foray into that country.

The blast in Nairobi injured 28 people, but 21 of those had already been released from the hospital by evening. There were no deaths reported; the blast was not apparently a suicide bombing.

Kenya’s prime minister suggested the responsibility lay with Somalia’s Islamist rebels, known as al-Shabaab, which formally joined al-Qaida earlier this year. Kenya declared war on al-Shabaab last year and sent troops across the border to fight the militia group.

“Our enemies are going to try to continue every effort to try to scare us,” Prime Minister Raila Odinga said to a crowd of onlookers at the bomb site. “We will not be scared. This is a heinous act. … Kenya will not surrender to terrorists.”

At first officials suggested that the blast was the result of an electrical fault, but Kenya’s national power company struck down that claim, saying its inspection had found that electrical circuits were not to blame.

Qatar mall fire kills 19, including children

DOHA, Qatar – Qatar’s Interior Ministry said 13 children were among 19 people killed in a fire that broke out in one of the country’s fanciest shopping malls late Monday morning, raising questions about building safety in the booming Gulf state.

At least some of the victims died as rescuers struggled to reach a child care center at the Villaggio mall in the capital Doha, according to Qatar Minister of State for Interior Affairs Sheik Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani.

“We tried our best, but when we got there, the children were trapped inside. We are very sorry for what happened. We tried as much as we could to save these people,” Sheik Abdullah told reporters in Doha.

Four of the children killed were Spanish citizens living in the small Arab emirate, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said. It did not identify the children, citing Spanish privacy regulations.

A 3-year-old French child was also among the victims, the deputy minister for overseas French citizens, Yamina Benguigui, said in a statement.

Two-year-old New Zealand triplets, Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, were among the victims, according to New Zealand media reports.

Four teachers and two civil defense officials were among the dead, the Qatari ministry said on its official Twitter page.

Another 17 people were injured, including four children, according to authorities. Most of those hurt were rescuers responding to the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Short-haired bees may make comeback

LONDON – They’ve been away, but now they may be buzzing back to their rightful place in the bucolic British countryside.

Around 50 short-haired bees were released into an English nature reserve Monday, some two decades after they were wiped out from most of rural Britain. Ecologists hope that with the support of farmers who have agreed to grow flowers and plants that help bees flourish, they will zip across the country again.

“Our farmland always used to have wildflower borders. We are just asking farmers to go back to the way things were, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Nicky Gammans, who is leading the ambitious project, told the Associated Press.

The population of short-haired bees – scientific name Bombus subterraneus – has declined dramatically across most of Europe over the last two decades as its habitat was destroyed. The bees were declared extinct in Britain 12 years ago.

But they survived in Skane in southern Sweden, and three years ago Natural England, a UK government-backed conservation project, launched a program to bring the bees back into the wild. They gave farmers grants to plant flower-rich hay meadows on their land and border their fields with wildflowers to attract bees.

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