BAGHDAD – A coordinated wave of car bombings tore through mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 66 people and maiming nearly 200 as insurgents step up the bloodshed roiling Iraq.
The attacks in markets and other areas frequented by civilians are the latest sign of a rapid deterioration in security as sectarian tensions are exacerbated by anti-government protests and the war in neighboring Syria grinds on.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday’s bombings, but they bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida’s Iraqi arm, which frequently uses car bombs and coordinated blasts against Shiites to undermine Iraqis’ confidence in the Shiite-led government.
Fire on board ends Caribbean cruise
A fire that broke out aboard a Royal Caribbean ship Monday did enough damage that the rest of the cruise was canceled and the company said the more than 2,200 passengers will be flown from the Bahamas back to Baltimore where the trip began.
The fire that began at 2:50 a.m. Monday was extinguished about two hours later with no injuries reported. A cause wasn’t immediately known. The Grandeur of the Seas, which left Baltimore on Friday, never lost power and was able to sail into port in Freeport, Bahamas, Monday afternoon. It had been planned to be a seven-night cruise.
Abandoned vehicle closes NYC bridge
An abandoned SUV on the Brooklyn Bridge brought traffic to a halt for about an hour at the tail end of the Memorial Day long weekend as New York City police temporarily shut down the roadway to determine whether the vehicle was a threat.
Authorities said a call about the car, a Dodge Durango with no license plates on the Manhattan-bound lanes, came in around 5:15 p.m. Monday. The New York Police Department’s bomb squad and other investigators headed to the area to check out the car.
10th suspect held in British street attack
British police arrested a 10th suspect Monday in connection with the vicious street killing of a soldier in London, an apparent Islamic extremist attack that has horrified the country and heightened racial tensions.
The 50-year-old man was detained in Welling, east of London, on suspicion of conspiring to murder 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby, Scotland Yard said. Police gave no further information about the suspect’s identity.
The latest arrest came as around 1,000 supporters of a far-right group marched through central London protesting the killing, clashing with a smaller group of anti-fascist demonstrators.
Suu Kyi decries limit on Muslim children
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Islamic leaders expressed dismay over decisions by authorities in western Myanmar to restore a two-child limit on Muslim Rohingya families, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists and follows accusations of ethnic cleansing.
Authorities in strife-torn Rakhine state said last weekend they were restoring a measure imposed during past military rule that banned Rohingya families from having more than two children.
If true, this is against the law, said Suu Kyi, the opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Suu Kyi has faced criticism for failing to defend the Rohingya after two waves of deadly sectarian violence last year. She told reporters Monday that she had not heard details of the latest measure but, if it exists, It is discriminatory and also violates human rights.
Osaka mayor sorry for sex comments
An outspoken Japanese politician apologized Monday for saying U.S. troops should patronize adult entertainment businesses as a way to reduce sex crimes, but defended another inflammatory remark about Japan’s use of sex slaves before and during World War II.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said his remarks two weeks ago rose from a sense of crisis about sexual assaults by U.S. military personnel on Japanese civilians in Okinawa, where U.S. troops are based.
Hashimoto also said he did not condone the system of so-called comfort women, but meant to say military authorities at the time, in Japan and many other countries, considered it necessary.