| 7.6°C Dublin

IN Brief: Al-Qa'ida says it's behind blitz

Al-Qa'ida's front group in Iraq has claimed the latest wave of attacks that killed 46 people in eight cities nationwide.

A statement posted on a militant website said the Islamic State of Iraq wanted to prove how weak the Iraqi government's security plans are ahead of next week's Arab League meeting in Baghdad.

At least 46 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in yesterday's shootings and bombings, which took place over six hours.

Al-Qa'ida says its "Sunni lions" targeted the plan of the "fool government" preparing for the summit.

Bolton player still improving

BoltoN Wanderers are expected to decide today whether the club will play Blackburn in the Premier League on Saturday as footballer Fabrice Muamba took his first steps to recovery.

The 23-year-old footballer remains in intensive care in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match on Saturday.

Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle said he had spoken to the midfielder, whom he described as a "fighter".

Mr Coyle's comments come after doctors said Muamba had started to breathe independently. He was also able to recognise family members and respond to questions.

Greeks sign off on bailout

Greece's parliament has approved a new international bailout deal, which will see the crisis-hit country receive an additional ¤172bn in rescue loans.

Politicians voted 213-79 in favour of the new agreement, with deputies backing the coalition government of socialists and conservatives broadly following party lines.

Estonia battles sex slave trade

Estonia is the only EU country without a law on human trafficking, but legislators are expected to change that in a vote largely prompted by concerns expressed by the US.

The new legislative measures would make human trafficking a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.