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New turmoil erupted in Lebanon Monday as two vehicles owned by relatives of political figures were heavily damaged in a grenade explosion. There were no injuries, however. One vehicle belonged to the wife of a judge, the other to the family of a pro-Syrian general jailed in connection with the 2005 assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The incidents came one day after parliament announced its 12th postponement of the election for a new national president. The vote, which was to have taken place Monday, was rescheduled for Feb. 11.Skip to next paragraph
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Human rights activists reacted angrily to the appointment of a war-crimes suspect in Sudan to a senior post in government. The Federal Affairs Ministry said Musa Hilal, a clan leader and the alleged coordinator of janjaweed militias in Darfur Province, will serve President Omar al-Bashir as an advisor. Hilal has denied any wrongdoing, but is under financial sanctions and a UN ban on foreign travel. Human Rights Watch called his appointment "a slap in the face" to victims of the atrocities in Darfur. Bashir disputed the allegations and said Hilal "has contributed to peace and stability."
A unlicensed coal mine that authorities had dynamited shut four years ago exploded in China's Shanxi Province Sunday night amid efforts to reopen it secretly. The official Xinhua news agency said at least 20 people died in the blast. They were trying to take advantage of a heavy snowfall to hide their work, the Xinhua account said. The accident was the first of its magnitude to be reported in China this year. Last year, mining accidents there killed almost 3,800 people.
A scale model of the world's first solar-powered, car- and waste-free city was to be unveiled Monday in Abu Dhabi, site of the World Future Energy Summit. Plans call for the city of 50,000 people to be built using traditional Arabic architecture but the most advanced technologies for electricity, refrigeration, transportation, and other systems. Critics say the No. 1 challenge to building the city will be whether enough engineers, scientists, and other manpower can be lured to the oil-rich emirate, where summer temperatures can reach 120 degrees F.