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WORLD IN BRIEF

Wednesday, April 20, 2005; Page A21

Attacks Across Iraq Kill 12, Wound Over 60

BAGHDAD -- At least a dozen Iraqis were killed and more than 60 were wounded in a series of attacks Tuesday, including two that targeted army soldiers and recruits.

The insurgent group al Qaeda in Iraq asserted responsibility for the deadliest attack, a suicide bombing near an army recruitment center in Baghdad that police said killed at least six Iraqis and wounded 44. In western Baghdad, a car bombing apparently targeting a U.S. patrol wounded seven Iraqis, police officers and hospital officials said. Elsewhere in the capital, masked men shot and killed a professor, Fuad Ibrahim Mohamed Bayati, as he left home for the University of Baghdad, police said.

In the town of in Khaldiyah, 75 miles west of the capital, insurgents opened fire on Iraqi soldiers, killing four and wounding seven, police and hospital officials said.

THE MIDDLE EAST

KUWAIT CITY -- In a major step toward granting political rights to women in Kuwait, lawmakers agreed to permit them to vote and run in local council elections, although the measure requires further legislative action before it becomes law. The bill passed on a 26-to-20 vote, with three abstentions. A second vote, expected in two weeks, is required. Then it needs the signature of Kuwait's ruler, who has said that he supports political rights for women. Municipal elections are expected to be held in the second half of the year.

CAIRO -- Joining a growing Egyptian protest movement, academics at Cairo University marched to demand the security services keep out of the school's affairs. About 100 academics, dressed in black gowns, said the government's security services meddled in the choice of lecturers, travel abroad by faculty and contacts with foreign scholars.

EUROPE

ROME -- Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi put his political future on the line by submitting his government to a confidence vote in parliament, and ministers of the top ally in his coalition warned they had their resignation letters ready. Berlusconi is struggling with the worst crisis of his four-year government, triggered by a crushing defeat in regional elections this month. The billionaire media mogul's popularity has fallen in the face of sluggish economic growth and Italy's unpopular military mission in Iraq. The vote is scheduled for Thursday.

PARIS -- A night watchman's girlfriend who placed candles on the floor to set the scene for a romantic tryst but then left in a rage over his drunken state may have accidentally caused last week's hotel fire that killed 24 people, prosecutors said.

The woman, who was detained Monday, told police she placed a dozen burning candles on the floor of the breakfast room of the Paris-Opera hotel, then threw piles of clothes on the floor and left after she became angry that her boyfriend was drunk.

MAKHACHKALA, Russia -- A car exploded in the troubled southern Russian region of Dagestan, killing two people in what investigators believe was a botched attempt to kill a local prosecutor.

The men were preparing an attack in the neighborhood where a local prosecutor lives, the Interfax news agency reported. The two have been identified as residents of Dagestan and are suspected of a number of crimes.

ASIA

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Police in Uzbekistan said they had arrested a journalist at the independent newspaper Hurriyat, and charged him with anti-constitutional activity, which carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.


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