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IRAQ: Iraqi officials say three car bomb blasts rocked central Baghdad Sunday, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 40 others.
Iraqi officials say two of the explosions were near the Iranian and Egyptian embassies. A security spokesman told the French news agency the near-simultaneous blasts were suicide car bombings. The blasts shook buildings and shattered windows, sending a column of smoke across the Iraqi capital. Gunfire was heard after the explosions as helicopters flew over the city. On Saturday, Iraqi military officials imposed a curfew in the village of Bou Saifi near Baghdad, where gunmen wearing military uniforms killed at least 24 people a day earlier. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has blamed al-Qaida for the slaying of men and women who reportedly had connections to the pro-U.S. Awakening movement, that helped U.S. and Iraqi forces fight al-Qaida.
THAILAND PROTESTS: Thousands of red-shirted, anti-government
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protesters are occupying the commercial heart of Bangkok for a second day Sunday, in defiance of a government ban. The government had ordered the so-called Red Shirts to end their demonstration by Saturday evening, but eventually conceded that negotiations would have to continue into Sunday as the deadline passed. In a live television broadcast Sunday morning, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva called on the protesters to abide by the constitution and return to their main protest venue at Phan Fa Bridge. But, the mainly poor, rural protesters have vowed to continue their mass protest until new elections are called. The rally of about 55,000 caused several department stores and malls to close their doors Saturday for security concerns.
SAF - POLITICS - CRIME: Police in South Africa say a white supremacist leader who advocated for a separate homeland for whites has been bludgeoned to death. Police say 69-year-old Eugene Terreblanche was killed on his farm (in the town of Ventersdorp) Saturday in an apparent dispute over wages.
A police spokeswoman (Adele Myburgh) says Terreblanche was attacked by a 21-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy who worked for him. She said the two told police that they argued with Terreblanche because he did not pay them for work they had done.
The spokeswoman said the alleged attackers have been arrested and charged with murder. Terreblanche was the leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement that had a Nazi-like insignia and advocated for the creation of a white homeland.
EASTER: Hundreds of millions of Christians around the world are celebrating Easter Sunday with church services, prayers and music ranging from rock to ancient and traditional hymns. Easter is the most sacred date on the Christian calendar and commemorates the Christian belief of the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death. Pilgrims from around the world converged on holy places in Jerusalem to celebrate Easter Sunday. It was a bigger turnout than usual, because for the first time in years, Eastern Orthodox and Western churches are celebrating Easter at the same time. During his traditional Easter message Sunday morning in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict urged humanity to undergo a "spiritual and moral conversion." The Roman Catholic leader also decried the suffering of Christians in Iraq and elsewhere because of religious persecution.The pope did not refer to the clergy abuse cover-up scandals.
SOKOR - SHIP: South Korea's military began salvage operations Sunday on a warship that sank following an unexplained explosion more than a week ago.
Operations to rescue 45 sailors were called off Saturday at the request of relatives of the missing. Military officials say work to recover the 1,200-ton Cheonan may take weeks. The decision came after divers recovered the body of a sailor from the dining hall of the ship Saturday. Efforts to locate more of the missing have been hampered by bad weather and strong currents.
The Cheonan broke in half and sank March 26 after an explosion during a patrol along the tense maritime border with North Korea.
No cause has been determined for the blast.