15th April; 07:00

Iraq

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Twin suicide car bombings killed at least 11 people in an attack on a police convoy in Baghdad, while a bomber killed four policemen when he blew himself up in a marketplace south of the Iraqi capital.

Mideast

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas accused Israel of violating a ceasefire agreement after undercover troops shot dead a militant during an arrest operation in the northern West Bank.

US

Outgoing World Bank chief James Wolfensohn was named special envoy of the Middle East "quartet," with the job of smoothing the way for Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

US

The European Union, at the urging of the United States, apparently will keep a 16-year-old arms embargo against China, US officials said Thursday, adding that talks next week will seek to sway holdout countries.

US

US prosecutors charged three people, including a Texas businessman, with scheming to pay millions of dollars in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime out of UN oil-for-food program funds.

France

At least 13 people died and more than 50 were injured when fire swept through a hotel in central Paris, a fire service spokesman said. Some guests leapt from windows to escape the blaze.

Bangladesh

Rescuers pulled another 15 bodies from the rubble of a collapsed factory in Bangladesh overnight, bringing the death toll to 47 with more than 100 still missing, an official said.

Vatican

A German cardinal seen as a front-runner to be the next pope has run into opposition from his fellow prelates, leaving them split just four days before a secret conclave to elect the successor to Pope John Paul II.

Japan

Japan's foreign minister said he would demand China end what Tokyo believes is official backing for mass anti-Japanese protests, as Chinese activists urged even bigger rallies this weekend.

India

A top Indian police official has told a tribunal that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi ordered him to "eliminate persons"

belonging to the Muslim community during riots in 2002.

Monaco

Residents of the tiny Mediterranean principality of Monaco were to bid farewell to their long-time ruler Prince Rainier III, who will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife Grace after a funeral attended by royalty and political leaders from around the world.

Russia

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft blasted off from Baikonour in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan with a replacement crew for the International Space Station, the European Space Agency said.

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