World

A suicide car bomb exploded in central Baqouba on Wednesday, killing 68 Iraqis. The attack is the deadliest bombing to date, culminating the surge of violence over the past 24 hours which has killed at least 111 people, including 35 insurgents and seven Iraqi police killed in clashes southeast of Baghdad, a US soldier killed in a bomb attack, and an assassinated police officer. Iraqi officials, who said they expected attacks to intensify, fear a key national conference this Saturday may be a major target for attack.

The second wave in the biggest mass defection of North Koreans to South Korea arrived Wednesday on a flight from an unidentified Southeast Asian country, bringing the total in the two-day airlift to nearly 460. The group of 227 North Koreans arrived on a chartered Korean Air plane arranged by the South Korean government, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.

Muslims and Hindus burned buildings and clashed with police Wednesday in a third day of sectarian riots in Veraval, India, a coastal western town. The unrest has left two dead and more than a dozen wounded. Police patrol the streets, hoping to keep religious violence from escalating. More than 1,000 people were killed in three months of Hindu-Muslim rioting two years ago in the Gujarat state.

A bomb exploded Wednesday in a mosque where Afghans were registering for upcoming elections, killing six people, including two UN staffers, the US military said. The new violence came as relief group Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors without Borders, said it is pulling out of Afghanistan. The group cited three reasons: dangers on the ground, disappointment that the investigation into the slayings of five of its workers in June has not achieved any results, and the US military's use of humanitarian aid "for political and military motives." MSF had already suspended most of its work and recalled all foreign staff.

Police won't charge militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir in the 2002 Bali bombings, officials said Wednesday, after Indonesia's constitutional court curbed the use of a tough antiterror law. Prosecutors still plan to charge Bashir with heading Jemaah Islamiyah, the Al Qaeda-linked terror group blamed for the Oct. 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people. Bashir will also be charged with the bombing of the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta last year.

The Israeli government is engaged in compensation talks with Jewish settlers to leave their homes, a government lawyer said Wednesday, as Israel moved forward with its plan to dismantle settlements and withdraw from the Gaza Strip next year.

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