Blasts targeting Shiites kill nearly 50
Militant bombings in Pakistan killed dozens of people across the country in attacks that overshadowed a visit by the British prime minister and underscored the array of threats facing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s new government. In the city of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province and the center of a violent campaign by Sunni militants against the Shiite Hazara minority, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near a mosque on Sunday evening, killing at least 28 people, officials said. No specific group claimed responsibility, though officials attributed the attack to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an outlawed group that has killed hundreds of Hazaras there in recent years. Nine women and several children were among the dead in the mosque blast, said the city police chief. Initial reports indicated a hand grenade caused the first blast, forcing people to run in the direction of the mosque, where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives, another officer said.
Protesters converge on soccer stadium
More than 5,000 anti-government protesters marched near the Maracana stadium before a major international match, venting their anger about the billions of dollars the government is spending on major sporting events rather than public services. About a half-hour before the match started, small clashes between police and protesters who massed at security blockades broke out.
Battered economy and all, nation joins E.U.
Croatia joined the European Union at midnight Sunday as the bloc’s 28th member and the second from the once war-torn former Yugoslavia. “We are here on this historic night. It was your desire to join E.U., and your hard work has made this possible,” the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, told thousands of revelers in central Zagreb. With its battered economy, Croatia has joined the European Union with concerns over whether it is fully prepared to face the competition of the open market.
U.S. toll in Afghanistan lowest in five years
The shift to Afghan security forces leading in combat and the ongoing reduction of U.S. troops here drove American combat deaths to their lowest number in five years for the first half of 2013. In the first six months of the year, 72 Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan, according to iCasualties.org., a website that tracks military deaths. The last year when the number of dead was for the comparable period was 2008. The worst year for U.S. troops was 2010, when 499 Americans died.