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C. Africa president asks France to stay till polls

The leader of the strife-torn Central African Republic asked French troops Monday to stay until polls due in early 2015, as unabated sectarian violence wrecked Paris's hope of a quick exit. Interim President Catherine Samba Panza's appeal to the former colonial power came three days after France's decision to boost its contingent to 2,000 and on the eve of a review of the CAR's deadly sectarian conflict by the UN Security Council.

Pakistan Shiites bury dead after protest

Shiite Muslims in Pakistan's troubled southwest Friday buried the victims of a recent bomb attack after ending a protest following government assurances that the perpetrators would be hunted down. Relatives had refused to bury the dead from a roadside blast earlier this week that killed 24 Shiite pilgrims on a bus around 60 kilometres (40 miles) west of Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province.

Pakistan Shiites bury dead after protest

Shiite Muslims in Pakistan's troubled southwest Friday buried the victims of a recent bomb attack after ending a protest following government assurances that the perpetrators would be hunted down. Relatives had refused to bury the dead from a roadside blast earlier this week that killed 24 Shiite pilgrims in a bus around 60 kilometres (40 miles) west of Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province.

World Bank to raise $100 mn for Central African Republic

The World Bank announced Thursday it was mobilizing $100 million for the Central African Republic, hours after the country's new interim president took office facing a massive humanitarian crisis. The Bank said the funds will help restore key government services and provide food, healthcare, and other crucial supplies in the wake of sectarian violence that has displaced more than 25 percent of the population. pmh/jm

Bus bombing kills 24 Shiites in southwest Pakistan

At least 24 Shiite pilgrims returning from Iran were killed and 31 others wounded when a bomb hit a bus in the southwest Pakistan province of Baluchistan Tuesday, officials said. The attack took place at Dringhar village on the Pakistan-Iran highway some 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Quetta, Baluchistan's capital. "At least 24 people were killed and 31 others were wounded," provincial home secretary Asad Gilani told AFP. Gilani said it was not immediately clear what type of bomb was used or whether it was a suicide attack.

Bus bombing kills 22 pilgrims in southwest Pakistan

At least 22 Shiite pilgrims returning from Iran were killed and 20 others wounded when a bomb hit a bus in the southwest Pakistan province of Baluchistan Tuesday, officials said. The attack took place at Dringhar village on the Pakistan-Iran highway some 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of Quetta, Baluchistan's capital. "At least 22 people were killed and 20 others were wounded," local government official Shafqat Shahwani told AFP. He said 51 passengers had been on board at the time of the blast and that nine passengers were still unaccounted for.

Suicide car bomb kills two, injures 17 in Pakistan

A suicide car bomb attack targeting a passenger bus carrying Shiite pilgrims killed two people and wounded at least 17 in southwest Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said. The attack took place in Akhtarabad, on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province which borders Iran and Afghanistan. "An explosive laden car which was parked along the roadside blew up as the bus passed by it, killing two people and wounding 17 people," Quetta city police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema told AFP. He said that the 17 injured included four policemen.

Baghdad market blast kills seven

A bomb exploded in a crowded market in the Iraqi capital on Thursday, killing at least seven people and wounding 15, officials said. The blast in the Dura area of south Baghdad marks the latest in a spate of attacks at markets, which are frequently targeted by militants seeking to cause maximum casualties. Iraq is witnessing the worst violence since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict.

Myanmar police: 42 arrested for sectarian unrest

Police in Myanmar say at least 42 people have been arrested and may face trial for their roles in an outbreak of sectarian violence last month. Police officer Kyi Shein says 30 Buddhists are among those who have been detained for alleged links to unrest that hit the central town of Meikhtila for several days.Kyi Shein said Thursday by phone from Meikhtila that no trial dates have been set because investigations are continuing.

Myanmar rebukes UN over religious violence claim

Myanmar on Friday strongly rejected comments by a senior United Nations official linking the state with recent anti-Muslim riots that have left at least 40 people dead and seen mosques razed in several towns. The UN's Special Rapporteur on Myanmar human rights Tomas Ojea Quintana on Thursday said he had "received reports of State involvement in some of the acts of violence", prompting the rebuttal from Myanmar's presidential spokesman.
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