15th April; 11:20

Iraq

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A suicide car bomb hit a US military convoy in Baghdad's upmarket Mansur street killing the bomber and wounding five others, police said, as the murder of a prisoner at a US-run Iraqi prison triggered a second riot there in two weeks that left 12 people injured.

France

At least 17 people died and more than 50 were injured when fire swept through a hotel in central Paris. Some guests leapt from windows to escape the blaze and rescue services set up a temporary morgue in the make-up section of a nearby department store.

Mideast

Palestinian chief Mahmud Abbas welcomed the appointment of outgoing World Bank head James Wolfensohn as a special envoy of the Middle East "quartet" and said Palestinians would do what they could to help his mission.

Monaco

Residents of the tiny principality of Monaco gathered in front of the royal palace to bid farewell to Prince Rainier III, before he was laid to rest beside his beloved wife Grace after a funeral attended by royalty and world leaders.

Kyrgyzstan

Tensions rose in Kyrgyzstan as ousted president Askar Akayev's daughter returned to the country and impoverished residents who have seized land around the capital faced off with furious land-owners.

Norea

North Korea marked the birthday of its founding father, the late Kim Il-Sung, with fond recollections of his military prowess and a chilling threat to use nuclear weapons to settle a standoff with the outside world.

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, adding that talks next week will seek to sway holdout countries.

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.

Czech

The Czech government was in disarray after a fragile deal between the three ruling coalition partners collapsed overnight, raising the prospect of early elections to resolve the crisis.

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

Major Chinese cities were gearing up for possible large-scale anti-Japanese protests this weekend as Japan's diplomatic missions issued urgent alerts for its citizens to adopt caution.

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.

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