IRAQ
Suicide bombers hit Baghdad mosque

Two suicide bombers targeted a Shiite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday, one blowing himself up at a nearby checkpoint while the other slipped inside during prayers. The blasts killed 29 people, Iraqi officials said.

The coordinated bombings were the latest in a string of attacks to hit Iraq, reviving fears of a return of the widespread sectarian bloodshed that brought the country close to civil war in 2006 and 2007.

The attack, which officials said wounded 55 people, took place in the northern Qahira neighborhood, a middle-class, Shiite-majority area. Most of the casualties were students from the nearby Imam al-Sadiq University for Islamic Studies.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings and attacks against Shiite worshipers are frequently the work of al-
Qaeda’s Iraq arm.

Tuesday’s bombings follow a string of attacks on Sunni mosques that killed more than 100 worshipers between mid-April and May.

— Associated Press

PAKISTAN
Bomb at funeral in northwest kills 29

More than two dozen people were killed Tuesday when at least one suicide bomber detonated explosives at a funeral packed with prominent local officials in northwestern Pakistan, the latest in a string of gruesome attacks across the country.

No group claimed responsibility for the blast, which occurred as the funeral for a local businessman was ending in a remote village in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Some of the dozens of local and provincial figures present were aligned with the anti-Taliban Awani National Party, which has sought to root out Pakistan’s Taliban from areas in the northwest bordering Afghanistan.

The party had been influential in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but was resoundingly rejected in provincial elections May 11. Party members were known for cooperating with Pakistani anti-terrorism officials, but they have paid a steep price for that over the years, with hundreds killed in suspected attacks by Pakistan’s Taliban.

Police said the blast killed 29 people and wounded at least 57.

Haq Nawaz Khan

GREECE
Broadcaster still
shut despite ruling

State TV channels in Greece remained off the air Tuesday as the political storm over the future of public broadcaster Hellenic Broadcasting Corp., or ERT, raged on despite a court ruling that the prime minister’s decision to pull the plug was wrong.

The threat of a snap general election was averted late Monday after a meeting between Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his center-left coalition partners, who strongly oppose his June 11 decision to close ERT and fire all of its nearly 2,700 employees.

The three-party talks came as Greece’s high court ruled that the government should not have switched off the public TV signal despite conceding that it had the right to restructure the broadcaster. Samaras had indicated that he wants a leaner and more efficient replacement by late August.

But he offered coalition partners a plan to start programming sooner under a transition broadcaster, and the three leaders agreed to continue negotiations Wednesday.

— Associated Press

Swiss lawmakers reject deal to end U.S. tax dispute: Switzerland’s lower house voted down a government-backed banking bill intended to end a legal standoff with the United States over suspected American tax cheats. The bill, which the government had presented as a way for Swiss banks to disclose client information to U.S. authorities without breaking Switzerland’s strict client secrecy laws, was passed by the upper house last week.

Egypt, Ethiopia agree to talks on Nile dam: Egypt and Ethiopia agreed to start consultations aimed at resolving their conflict over Ethiopia’s huge dam on the Blue Nile River, their foreign ministers said in a joint statement, noting that the talks would be conducted “at the technical and political levels” and in “a spirit of brotherly relations and mutual understanding.” Sudan will also participate.

Clashes spread in Egypt over Islamist appointments: Clashes erupted across Egypt between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood over Morsi’s appointment Sunday of 17 new Islamist governors, some in areas where the opposition is strong. Demonstrators sealed off gates of governors’ offices around the country.

— From news services