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Woman suicide bomber kills 46 in Pak
Peshawar, December 25
Pakistan's first woman suicide bomber today targeted a UN aid distribution centre in the volatile tribal belt in the country's northwest, killing 46 persons and injuring over 70 others.
Rescuers shift an injured to the hospital in Peshawar on Saturday. Rescuers shift an injured to the hospital in Peshawar on Saturday. — AFP

Airport Xmas for Europe’s stranded travellers
Paris, December 25
Hundreds of stranded travellers spent Christmas morning in European airport terminals after sleeping on camp beds overnight as icy weather grounded flights out of Paris and Brussels.


EARLIER STORIES


Members of Berlin ice swimming club ‘Berliner Seehunde’ (Berlin Seals) take a dip in the Orankesee lake as part of their traditional Christmas ice swimming session on Saturday.
Members of Berlin ice swimming club ‘Berliner Seehunde’ (Berlin Seals) take a dip in the Orankesee lake as part of their traditional Christmas ice swimming session on Saturday. — Reuters

6 hurt in Philippines church bombing
Zamboanga, December 25
Six persons were wounded today when a bomb went off in a church during Christmas mass on a southern Philippine island known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, the military said.

Attacks kill 38 in Nigeria
Jos, December 25
A series of unprecedented Christmas Eve bomb blasts and attacks on churches have left at least 38 persons dead in Nigeria as authorities worked today to keep the violence from spreading.

Hefner engaged to 24-yr-old girlfriend
London, December 25
Love knows no age barriers and "Playboy" chief Hugh Hefner proves this. The 84-year-old has apparently got engaged to his 24-year-old girlfriend Crystal Harris.





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Woman suicide bomber kills 46 in Pak

Peshawar, December 25
Pakistan's first woman suicide bomber today targeted a UN aid distribution centre in the volatile tribal belt in the country's northwest, killing 46 persons and injuring over 70 others.

The bomber, who was clad in a burqa, lobbed a grenade and then detonated her explosives when she was stopped at a checkpoint near a World Food Programme centre in Khar, the headquarters of Bajaur tribal region.

Bajaur Agency's tehsildar Sohail Khan confirmed that the attack was carried out by a woman. "The bomber was a woman who detonated her suicide vest when she was stopped by security personnel for a search," Khan said.

Other officials said an examination of the remains had revealed the bomber was a woman. Witnesses said they had heard the woman scream before the explosives went off. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

There have been instances of male bombers disguising themselves in a burqa but no women have been involved in the scores of suicide attacks witnessed across Pakistan over the past three years.

Forty-one people were killed instantly and five more succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in Khar and Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Over 70 persons were injured and those in a serious condition were airlifted to Peshawar. Women, children and aged men were among the dead and injured, officials said.

Hundreds of people displaced or affected by an anti-Taliban operation launched by the army had gathered at the UN food agency's centre in Khar to receive aid at the time of the attack. Most of the victims were members of the Salarzai tribe, which backed the army's offensive against Taliban and formed a 'lashkar' or militia to flush militants out of Bajaur. — PTI

Rescuers shift an injured to the hospital in Peshawar on Saturday. — AFP

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Airport Xmas for Europe’s stranded travellers

A woman covers her face as she walks in the snow in the western German city of Essen on Friday.
A woman covers her face as she walks in the snow in the western German city of Essen on Friday. — AFP

Paris, December 25
Hundreds of stranded travellers spent Christmas morning in European airport terminals after sleeping on camp beds overnight as icy weather grounded flights out of Paris and Brussels.

Flight schedules were returning to normal in Paris, thanks to fresh deliveries of de-icing fluid from Germany and the US to get planes off the ground, but many people were still set to miss Christmas dinners at their destinations.

Airports were mostly back to normal in Britain, Belgium and Germany, although there were cancellations in Frankfurt and Zurich.

Freezing weather and heavy snow have disrupted travel for several days, upsetting year-end travel for hundreds of thousands of people and raising questions about the air industry's lack of preparation for icy weather. Flight delays and cancellations have been compounded by disruption to high-speed trains and clogged road travel from England to Sweden in one of Europe's snowiest Decembers.

At Paris's Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, staff handed out instant coffee and pastries for breakfast on Saturday and Transport Minister Thierry Mariani told passengers he would look into what caused an acute shortage of de-icing fluid.

At least 300 persons slept on military-style beds at Roissy on Friday after some 400 flights were cancelled. Many slept at nearby hotels, where authorities had reserved 3,300 rooms. While some people cried into mobile phones, others prayed at an airport mass to be able to get on their flights. — Reuters

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6 hurt in Philippines church bombing

Zamboanga, December 25
Six persons were wounded today when a bomb went off in a church during Christmas mass on a southern Philippine island known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, the military said.

Military officials would not immediately name any suspects in the blast on Jolo island but the island is a known bastion of the Abu Sayyaf, a group linked to the Al-Qaeda network. “The explosion occurred at around 7:15 in the morning while the mass was going on. Six people were slightly wounded in the explosion," military spokesman Lieutenant Randolph Cabangbang said. Among those wounded was the priest officiating the mass, he added.

Police investigators were searching the site for clues as to who might be responsible, he said. The Abu Sayyaf, a gang of self-styled Islamic militants founded in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's network, has long used the mostly-Muslim island of Jolo as a base, carrying out kidnappings and bombings.

It is believed to have carried out the worst terror attacks in Philippine history including the bombing of a passenger ferry in Manila Bay that killed more than 100 persons in 2004.

It has also kidnapped many foreigners and Filipino Christians, hiding them in the jungles of Jolo and other southern islands. US forces have been deployed in the southern Philippines since 2002 to train local troops in hunting down the Abu Sayyaf. — AFP

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Attacks kill 38 in Nigeria

Jos, December 25
A series of unprecedented Christmas Eve bomb blasts and attacks on churches have left at least 38 persons dead in Nigeria as authorities worked today to keep the violence from spreading.

Seven explosions went off in two different areas of the flashpoint city of Jos in central Nigeria, killing 32 persons and injuring 74 as they were doing their Christmas shopping, the police said.

In the city of Maiduguri in northern Nigeria, suspected members of an Islamist sect that launched an uprising last year attacked three churches, leaving six people dead and one of the churches burnt, an army spokesman said. The police had not determined who was behind the blasts, he said, adding it appeared dynamite was used. — AFP

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Hefner engaged to 24-yr-old girlfriend

Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner 

London, December 25
Love knows no age barriers and "Playboy" chief Hugh Hefner proves this. The 84-year-old has apparently got engaged to his 24-year-old girlfriend Crystal Harris.

Hefner posted on Twitter that he has gifted Harris a ring on Christmas eve, the tmz.com reports.

"After the movie ('The Tourist') tonight (Dec 24), Crystal and I exchanged gifts. I gave Crystal a ring. A truly memorable Christmas Eve," he posted.

Hefner has married twice before. He first tied the knot with Mildred Williams, the marriage lasted from 1949 to 1959, and later with model-actress Kimberly Conrad with whom he split earlier this year. — IANS

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BRIEFLY

On Christmas this year, a nano card
London:
A Christmas greetings card believed to be the world’s smallest and so tiny that more than 8,000 of them could fit on a postal stamp has been created by nantotechnologists at the University of Glasgow. The card, which features a Christmas tree etched on a tiny piece of glass, is invisible to the naked eye. “The card is 200 micro-metres wide and 290 micro-metres tall,” Prof David Cumming, who made the card, quoted as saying by Daily Mail. “To put that into a perspective, a micro-metre is a millionth of a metre; the width of a human hair is about 100 micro-metres,” he added. — PTI

Tsunami alert after quake in Pacific
Wellington:
A 7.6-magnitude quake struckunder the sea near Vanuatu in the western Pacific on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, triggering a tsunami alert for Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.The epicentre was 135 kilometres west of Isangel, on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu USGS said. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. — AFP

Miraculous escape for 36 Indians
Kathmandu:
About 36 Indian pilgrims and their Nepali guide had a lucky escape on Saturday when their bus jumped off the road and fell nearly 15 metres while heading towards a renowned temple, the police said. The group of pilgrims from Gujarat had paid a visit to the hallowed Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu and were going to Janakpur in southern Nepal when the accident occurred, police said. — IANS

Miraculous escape for 36 Indian pilgrims
Kathmandu:
About 36 Indian pilgrims and their Nepali guide had a lucky escape on Saturday when their bus jumped off the road and fell nearly 15 metres while heading towards a renowned temple, the police said. The group of pilgrims from Gujarat had paid a visit to the hallowed Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu and were going to Janakpur in southern Nepal when the accident occurred, police said. — IANS

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