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Rowling sales not magical

SALES for JK Rowling's first adult novel were hardly magical during its first six days in the US, but the publisher is not complaining.

Little, Brown and Company announced that The Casual Vacancy has sold 375,000 copies so far.

That makes Rowling's novel one of the fastest selling new releases of the year, although her last Potter book, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, sold more than eight million copies in the US alone in 24 hours.

Tribesmen cut electricity lines

Yemen's electricity company said protesting tribesmen blew up main pylons, cutting off power to the capital, Sanaa.

Officials said they are protesting against a death sentence against one of their members convicted of belonging to al-Qa'ida and killing security agents.

Power outages are common in Yemen, where the cash-strapped government struggles with resources. Repair teams have still not been able to reach the damaged pylons in Marib.

President faces plunder charge

THE Philippine anti-corruption court has issued an order to arrest former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on charges of plunder, for allegedly misusing state lottery funds.

Ms Arroyo's defence lawyers questioned the charges. It was not clear if she will be immediately arrested.

Her lawyer, Anacleto Diaz, said the witnesses against her had no personal knowledge of the alleged diversion of US$8.8m from the lottery from 2008 to 2010.

Protester steps down in Rome

AN ITALIAN man has given up his protest on top of St Peter's Basilica after more than 24 hours perched on the 426-foot high dome to demonstrate against government reforms.

Two firefighters helped pull Marcello De Finizio inside the basilica.

In a surreal contrast, Pope Benedict XVI's regular papal audience -- which draws tens of thousands of pilgrims on Wednesdays -- went on as scheduled despite the protest taking place on the dome above.