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In Brief: Roadside bomb kills at least 35 in Nigeria

From Wire Reports

A roadside bomb detonated at a crowded bus station in northeastern Nigeria on Thursday, killing at least 35 people, including five soldiers, the Naij.com website reported.

Government forces had recaptured the busy Marabi-Mubi junction in Adamawa state near the Cameroon border from Boko Haram militants two weeks ago. Many of the victims of the blast were thought to be people returning from places of refuge during the extremists’ monthlong occupation, the website said.

No claim of responsibility was immediately issued after the blast, but suspicion fell on the Boko Haram insurgency. The Islamic militants are attempting to establish a Muslim caliphate in the area.

Nigerian news agencies said the blast prompted the army to reimpose a “no-go” order on the Mubi area.

Hong Kong protest leader banned from cleared site

HONG KONG – A Hong Kong court on Thursday banned a high-profile student leader from going near a recently cleared protest site, constraining the pro-democracy movement as it enters a third month.

Joshua Wong, an 18-year-old who has become the most prominent of Hong Kong’s protest leaders, was also given bail and his case adjourned until Jan. 14. Wong was among a group of protesters arrested during an operation by authorities the day before to finish clearing the protest site in the volatile Mong Kok neighborhood.

Police and court officers moved swiftly to shut down the camp on a busy road, arresting more than 150 people. The site had been one of three across the city occupied by protesters demanding greater democratic reforms than those allowed by Beijing.

Egypt braces for violence ahead of major protest

CAIRO – Egyptians are bracing for potential violence ahead of a planned major protest today by Islamists calling for the toppling of the government and the defense of their religion, with security forces vowing to confront any unrest with “lethal force.”

The Islamists’ call for nationwide rallies today is the first attempt in months to hold large protests in the face of an overwhelming crackdown since the military’s ouster last year of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The call also takes a starkly different tone. While past demonstrations by Morsi supporters have played down their Islamist nature, trying to rally broader support, the ultraconservative Salafis organizing today’s rallies have cast them in stark religious terms. They warn of a war against Islam and have urged protesters to raise Qurans in the air.

While many believe the protests won’t succeed in gathering large numbers, security officials have voiced concerns over possible attacks, especially after Egypt’s main militant organization recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Irish Republican Army vet arrested over 1972 killing

BELFAST, Northern Ireland – A prominent Irish Republican Army veteran has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the IRA’s 1972 abduction, killing and secret burial of a widowed mother of 10, one of the outlawed group’s most notorious slayings.

The Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party said its Northern Ireland chairman, Bobby Storey, was arrested Thursday. Police said he is being interrogated about the killing of Jean McConville, 38.

Storey is one of Belfast’s most high-profile IRA veterans. The physically imposing 58-year-old spent two decades in prison on a wide range of charges and convictions. Six months ago, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was arrested for alleged involvement in McConville’s killing but released without charge.

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