Protest, clashes roilCairo, 2 other cities

Clashes erupted Friday in two cities in northern Egypt, and protesters rallied in Cairo in the latest demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi, who claims the recent wave of anti-government unrest is the work of conspirators.

In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, hundreds of unidentified assailants threw stones and fire bombs at protesters rallying against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails. The protesters hurled stones back at their assailants during the clash in a square that used to be home to the Brotherhood’s office before it was stormed weeks ago by demonstrators.

Morsi’s opponents say the elected president has defied legal norms to force through his agenda and trampled on the judiciary’s independence in a bid to consolidate his power.

Separately, protesters and riot police clashed in the president’s home province of Sharqiya in the Nile River Delta. Police fired tear gas and engaged in stone-throwing with demonstrators who tried to torch a Brotherhood office in the city of Zagazig, 50 miles north of Cairo.

In the capital, hundreds of
anti-Morsi protesters rallied outside the office of embattled prosecutor general Talaat Abdullah.

— Associated Press

Deadly bombingshit Shiite mosques

A string of car bombings in Iraq struck five Shiite mosques as worshipers were emerging from Friday prayers, killing at least 22 people, officials said.

The attacks — four in Baghdad and one in the northern city of Kirkuk — were the latest spectacular assaults staged by insurgents seeking to undermine the Shiite-led government’s efforts to achieve security.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the bombings bore the hallmarks of al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch.

Also Friday, a roadside bomb struck a joint patrol in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, killing an army officer and a police officer, police said.

— Associated Press

WHO: Many childrenmiss anti-polio drive

Some 240,000 children have missed U.N.-backed vaccinations against polio because of security concerns in Pakistan’s tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, a top official with the World Health Organization said Friday.

Nima Saeed Abid, the acting WHO chief in Pakistan, said health workers have not been able to immunize children in the North and South Waziristan regions — Taliban strongholds — since July 2012, when Pakistani militant groups began a violent anti-vaccination campaign.

The groups accuse the vaccination workers of spying for the United States.

Pakistan is one of the few remaining countries, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio is rampant. As many as 58 cases were reported in Pakistan in 2012, although that number was down from 198 the year before.

— Associated Press

Suicide blast in Pakistan kills 7: A blast set off by a suicide bomber killed at least seven other people, including a soldier and six civilians, in the northwestern city of Peshawar in an attack that appeared to target a top Pakistani paramilitary official, police said. The official, Abdul Majeed Marwat, heads Pakistan’s Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary police force. He was not hurt in the explosion, which occurred in a heavily guarded area of the city not far from the U.S. Consulate.

Chinese dissident’s in-law detained: Police have arrested the brother-in-law of China’s jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo on fraud charges in what the family said is the latest act of official retaliation. Beijing police detained Liu Hui on Jan. 31 and formally charged him two weeks ago over a real estate dispute, lawyer Mo Shaoping said, adding that the criminal charges were unwarranted in a business dispute that has since been resolved.

Ousted African leader seeks exile in Benin: Central African Republic President Francois Bozize is requesting exile in the tiny West African nation of Benin days after rebels invaded and overthrew his government of a decade, officials said. Bozize lived in exile Benin during the 1980s and has visited there privately over the years.

Landslide buries 83 mineworkers in Tibet: A massive landslide engulfed a gold mining area in mountainous Tibet early Friday, burying 83 workers thought to have been asleep, Chinese state news media said. The workers were employees of a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corp., a state-owned enterprise.

— From news services