World briefs – May 27

A suicide bomber in a pickup truck detonated his explosives near several government offices in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 32 people, in the latest violence to hit the country since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Suicide truck bomb kills 32 in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A suicide bomber in a pickup truck detonated his explosives near several government offices in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 32 people, in the latest violence to hit the country since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Its devastation was likely to add to criticism of the government, already under fire over the unilateral U.S. operation to kill the al-Qaida chief and the mounting bloodshed since.

The attack came as Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, landed in Pakistan for talks with top military and civilian leaders. Earlier Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stressed the importance of strengthening Washington-Islamabad ties, which have frayed badly since the bin Laden raid.


Explosions in south China city kill 3

BEIJING — Homemade bombs exploded at three government buildings in a south China city within a half hour Thursday, killing three people and wounding at least nine others in what state media said was a revenge attack by a middle-aged jobless man.

The first bomb was in a car parked outside the prosecutor’s office in Fuzhou city. That was followed by an explosion at a district government building and then another car bomb outside the drug administration office.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the bombs were apparently set by an unemployed 52-year-old city resident, Qian Mingqi, who was killed in one of the explosions. Provincial and city officials said they could not confirm the report.


Tunisia vote delay urged

TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia’s electoral commission said Thursday it wants the first national election since the toppling of the country’s longtime strongman delayed for three months.

The commission proposed holding the vote for a constituent assembly on Oct. 16 instead of in July to allow organizers more time.

The electoral commission pointed to “numerous shortcomings and deficiencies” in the organization of the election. It noted in particular that about 3 million Tunisians aren’t included on the electoral database.

The constituent assembly’s main job will be to write a new constitution for the North African country after President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali fled the country following a popular uprising.


First name of missing in Joplin is alive

JOPLIN, Mo. — As emergency workers in Joplin searched Thursday for more than 230 people listed as missing after a tornado tore through the city, one was sitting in a wooden chair outside the wreckage of her home, cuddling her cat.

Sally Adams, 75, said neighbours rescued her Sunday after the storm destroyed her house and took her to a friend’s home. When The Associated Press told Adams she was on the missing list, she laughed and said “Get me off of there!”

Missouri officials had said they believed many of the missing were safe and alive but simply hadn’t been in touch with friends and family. Cell phone service in the city remains spotty.


Jury convicts pharmacist once called

a hero for killing robbery suspect

OKLAHOMA CITY — A jury convicted an Oklahoma City pharmacist of first-degree murder on Thursday, saying he went too far when he pumped six bullets into a teenager who tried to rob the drug store where he worked, and suggested he spend the rest of his life in prison.

Jerome Ersland, 59, had been hailed as a hero for protecting two co-workers during the May 19, 2009, robbery attempt at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in a crime-ridden neighbourhood in south Oklahoma City.

A prosecutor, however, said that after Ersland shot Antwun Parker in the head, knocking the 16-year-old to the ground, Ersland made himself “judge, jury, executioner” by getting a second handgun and shooting the boy five times in the abdomen. A coroner’s report said the latter shots killed Parker.

“This defendant was absolutely not defending himself or anyone else,” Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Chance told jurors during closing arguments Thursday.

Defence attorney Irven Box asked jurors what they would do in the same situation, and told them Ersland had to take action to end a threat.

“He eliminated the armed robber,” Box said.

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