BAGHDAD – Iraqi authorities suspended the operating licenses of pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera and nine Iraqi TV channels on Sunday after accusing them of escalating sectarian tension. The move signaled the Shiite-led government’s mounting worries over deteriorating security amid Sunni unrest and clashes that have left more than 180 people dead in less than a week.
The suspensions, which took effect immediately, appeared to target mainly Sunni channels known for criticizing Prime Minister Nouri al-Malik’s government. Apart from Al-Jazeera, the decision affected eight Sunni and one Shiite channels.
11 killed by Taliban bombs in Pakistan
Taliban bombs targeting politicians in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday killed 11 people, the latest in a series of attacks meant to disrupt next month’s parliamentary election, police said.
The wave of political violence has killed at least 60 people in recent weeks, and many of the attacks have been directed at candidates from secular parties opposed to the Taliban.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the three attacks,
Housing complex in France explodes
A possible gas explosion ripped off the side of a five-story residential building in France’s Champagne country on Sunday, killing at least three people and injuring 14 others, officials said.
More than 100 rescue workers, firefighters, sniffer-dog squads and bomb and gas experts were deployed to the gutted building in a subsidized housing complex in the city of Reims, east of Paris, officials said. Heaps of debris spilled out of the building onto a grassy esplanade below.
Cyberattack suspect arrested in Spain
A Dutch citizen arrested last week in northeast Spain on suspicion of launching what is described as the biggest cyberattack in Internet history operated from a bunker and had a van capable of hacking into networks anywhere in the country, officials said Sunday.
The suspect traveled in Spain using his van as a mobile computing office, equipped with various antennas to scan frequencies, an Interior Ministry statement said.
He is accused of attacking the Swiss-British anti-spam watchdog group Spamhaus whose main task is to halt ads for counterfeit Viagra and bogus weight-loss pills reaching the world’s inboxes.
The 35-year-old, whose birthplace was given as the western Dutch city of Alkmaar, was identified only by his initials: S.K.
Actress Mirren honored in London
Helen Mirren was crowned queen of the London stage at the Olivier Awards Sunday, while compelling teen drama The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time emerged as best in show with seven trophies.
Mirren, 67, was a popular and expected best actress choice for her regal yet vulnerable Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, Peter Morgan’s behind-palace-doors drama about the relationship between Britain’s queen and its prime ministers.