World

A suicide bomb tore through a mosque in southern Afghanistan Wednesday at the funeral of a Muslim cleric who spoke out against the Taliban, killing at least 20 people in Kandahar, a stronghold of the Taliban, including Kabul's police chief, and wounding dozens, officials said. The attack - which came on the heels of a major upsurge in rebel violence in recent months - further raised concerns that militants here are copying the tactics of insurgents in Iraq.

The Netherlands voted in a referendum on the European Constitution on Wednesday, with polls pointing to a resounding "No" that would compound a crisis in the bloc triggered by France's rejection on Sunday. Most mainstream parties campaigned for a "Yes" vote, but voter surveys point to a solid "No" majority, with opposition rising in most polls since the French shunned the charter three days ago.

About 200 people, some throwing stones, broke into Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court on Wednesday and evicted activists who had occupied the building for more than a month in a protest on behalf of five losing parliamentary candidates. Witnesses said the crowd moved to evict the activists because they had blocked court proceedings since their protest began April 22.

Paul Wolfowitz, the former No. 2 Pentagon official, became World Bank president Wednesday and said his agenda would focus on Africa and making poor countries feel less sidelined in the bank's decisions. He said the bank's role in Africa was especially important given that a dozen or so countries were growing at unprecedented rates of 5 percent annually. Speaking at the bank's headquarters in Washington, he also said he would carry on with the campaign of departing bank President James Wolfensohn to clean up corruption in World Bank projects and borrower countries.

Twenty years after he organized the landmark Live Aid concerts, Bob Geldof announced plans Tuesday for the Live 8 concerts to raise money to fight poverty in Africa. They will take place July 2, just days before leaders of the world's richest countries, the G8, meet in Britain. Musicians including Madonna and Paul McCartney will grace stages in London, Philadelphia, Berlin, Paris, and Rome.

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