Nation/World Briefly

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A 13-year-old boy wearing an explosives-packed vest blew himself up Sunday among a group of tribal leaders in the western province of Anbar, becoming one of the youngest suicide bombers since the U.S.-led invasion, Iraqi police said.

The explosion killed at least three people and wounded eight in the city of Fallujah, according to local police Capt. Jasim Faiyadh. A tribal chief, Hadi Hussein al-Isawi, was among those killed, police and Fallujah hospital officials said.

Faiyadh said the boy was the son of one of the five most-wanted leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq, a Sunni insurgent group that U.S. officials say is led by foreigners.

England: McCann suspect search

Madeleine McCann’s parents on Sunday released a new sketch of a man they say could have been involved in their daughter’s disappearance last year during a family vacation in Portugal. The illustrations are based on descriptions a British vacationer gave of a man acting suspiciously at the holiday resort where the girl went missing in Praia da Luz. Madeleine disappeared in May, days before her fourth birthday. Her parents say they believe she was abducted from their holiday apartment as they had dinner with friends. Her parents were named suspects in the case; no one has been charged.

Cuba: Castro wins election

Cubans ratified a slate of parliamentary candidates on Sunday including Fidel Castro, the ailing 81-year-old leader who has not been seen in public for nearly 18 months. Only one choice appeared for each post and there was no campaigning. The Communist Party is the only party allowed. Castro, Cuba’s unchallenged “Maximum Leader” since 1959, provisionally ceded power in July 2006 after emergency intestinal surgeries. But he has remained head of the Council of State, the island’s governing body, and re-election to parliament makes him eligible to be named to the post again.

Ethiopia: American in custody

Officials have held an American citizen in custody for more than a year in Ethiopia’s Somali region, the region’s top security official said Sunday. Mohammed Farah Hassan has seen no American officials since being jailed in the regional capital of Jijiga, Somali regional security chief Abdi Mohammed Umar said. He said an Ethiopian court had sentenced the man, but did not say for how long or on what charges.

Afghanistan: Violence kills 11

A roadside bomb probably intended for Afghan or NATO forces killed five civilians in Kandahar province, while militants killed six Afghans driving a convoy of trucks to a NATO base in Helmand province, officials said Sunday.

Pakistan: Assassination arrests

Authorities arrested two more alleged militants Sunday in connection with the recent assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. One of those arrested Sunday was identified as Mohammed Akram. Authorities said videotape taken on the day Bhutto was slain showed Akram standing in front of her vehicle moments before she was killed, said an investigator who asked not to be identified. However, a spokesman for the Pakistani Interior Ministry denied that any suspects had been taken into custody Sunday.

Serbia: Milosevic ally leads vote

An ally of late autocrat Slobodan Milosevic edged ahead of the pro-Western incumbent in Serbia’s presidential election Sunday, but failed to win an outright majority, according to independent monitors. Radical Party leader Tomislav Nikolic and incumbent Boris Tadic’s campaigns said they were preparing for a Feb. 3 runoff.

Turkey: YouTube access blocked

A Turkish court has again blocked access to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube because of clips allegedly insulting the country’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, according to reports Sunday. It is illegal in Turkey to insult the revered figure.

California: Small planes collide

Two private planes flying about a mile from a Corona airport collided Sunday, killing at least four people and raining debris down on car dealerships below, authorities said. Three of the dead were from the planes and the fourth was in a car hit by debris on the ground, an FAA spokesman said.

Teen athletes’ photos on porn site

A gay porn Web site, as well as other sites, have posted photographs of teenage water polo players from several high schools in Southern California, a newspaper reported. Some of the pictures were displayed next to photos of nude young men and graphic sexual content, an Orange County Register investigation found. It was not clear if posting the pictures constituted an offense.

From Herald news services

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