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BRIEFS: Wave of violence kills 58 in Iraq

– A wave of car bombings and other attacks in Iraq killed at least 58 people in mostly Shiite-majority cities Sunday, another bloody reminder of the government’s failure to stem the surge of violence that is feeding sectarian tensions.

Iraq is experiencing its deadliest bout of violence since 2008, raising fears the country is returning to a period of widespread killing such as that which pushed it to the brink of civil war following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. More than 4,000 people have been killed in attacks since the start of April, including 804 just in August, according to United Nations figures.

Sunday’s deadliest attack was in the city of Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, where a car bomb near an outdoor market killed nine civilians and wounded 15 others, a police officer said. A few minutes later, another car bomb went off nearby, killing six civilians and wounding 14, he added.

Nation

Mother charged in children’s deaths

Two children found dead in a Southern California hotel room after their suicidal mother crashed her car outside a shopping complex were a 13-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, a police spokesman said Sunday.

The children’s mother, Marilyn Edge, 42, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was arrested Saturday and booked on suspicion of murder in the deaths, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. She was expected in court Tuesday for an arraignment hearing.

Further information, including the names of the children, the motive and the cause of death, was not being released, he said. The children’s father lives out-of-state and was not notified of their deaths until Sunday.

World’s oldest man, 112, dies in NY

The world’s oldest man, a 112-year-old self-taught musician, coal miner and gin rummy aficionado from western New York, has died. He was 112.

Salustiano Sanchez-Blazquez, who was born in Spain, died Friday at a nursing home in Grand Island, according to Robert Young, senior gerontology consultant with Guinness World Records.

Guinness says the world’s oldest person is a woman, 115-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan. Arturo Licata, 111, of Italy, is the leading candidate to be officially recognized by Guinness as the current world’s oldest man, according to Young.

World

24 dead in collapse of Afghan coal mine

At least 24 Afghan miners were killed Saturday when a coal mine collapsed in northern Afghanistan, local officials said.

The miners had been complaining about dangerous working conditions on the morning of the incident, said Sediq Azizi, a spokesman for the governor of Samangan province, where the mine is located. The mine’s supervisor did not heed the workers’ concerns, Azizi said, and fled after the men were killed.

Capsized cruise ship to be pulled upright

Authorities have given the final go-ahead for a daring attempt today to pull upright the crippled Costa Concordia cruise liner from the waters off Tuscany, a make-or-break engineering feat that has never before been tried in such conditions.

If the operation succeeds, the Concordia will be towed away and broken up for scrap.

The ship capsized there 20 months ago after striking a reef. Thirty-two of the 4,200 passengers and crew members died. The bodies of two of the dead have never been recovered, and may lie beneath the wreckage.

Chinese blogger renounced on TV

Chinese state television on Sunday broadcast a startling video of a famous blogger in handcuffs, renouncing his Web posts and saying how dangerous the Internet would be if left uncontrolled by the government.

The 10-minute news segment featuring Charles Xue – a Chinese-American businessman and one of China’s most popular bloggers – was the latest step in what appears to be a systematic campaign to intimidate online opinion leaders against speaking too critically of the government.

Japan’s last reactor offline for repairs

Japan is without atomic energy as its only operating nuclear reactor went offline Sunday for refueling and maintenance.

Nearly 50 other plants remain closed for intensified safety checks following the 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-stricken plant in Fukushima. Four nuclear plant operators have applied to restart a dozen reactors under revised safety guidelines, with the first expected to come online early next year at the earliest.

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