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In brief: Pakistan death toll hits 93 after five days of ethnic and political violence

Gunshots were still rattling last night in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, where the death toll after five days of political and ethnic violence has reached 93.

The government has ordered security forces to shoot gunmen on sight. Authorities are also sending hundreds more troops to restore the peace. Senior police official Saood Mirza said that more than 150 people have been detained on suspicion of having had a role in the attacks across several Karachi neighbourhoods.

Former US First Lady Betty Ford dies

Betty Ford, the former first lady whose triumph over drug and alcohol addiction became a beacon of hope for addicts and the inspiration for her Betty Ford Centre in California, has died at age 93, a family friend said.

Her death on Friday was confirmed by Marty Allen, chairman emeritus of the Ford Foundation. A family spokeswoman said later that the former first lady died at the Eisenhower Medical Centre in Rancho Mirage. Ford's husband, former President Gerald R Ford, died in December 2006.

Three hurt at bull-running festival

THREE people were hurt, including one man who was gored in the leg, on the third day of the San Fermin 'bull running' festival in Pamplona, Spain, yesterday.

Navarra Hospital reported one man was gored in his left leg, another bruised his right leg and one had a slight face injury as runners jostled, tripped and fell alongside the bulls on their way to the bullring.

Amish girl dies in tractor-trailer crash

Authorities said a tractor-trailer crashed into a horse-drawn buggy in southern Kentucky, killing a young Amish girl and injuring three members of her family.

Hopkinsville police spokesman Paul Ray said that the tractor-trailer was behind the two-horse buggy when the driver attempted to shift lanes at about 8.30pm on Friday night. He said the tractor-trailer struck the buggy, flattening it and knocking off its wheels.

One girl died and three other victims from the buggy were taken to hospital. One horse was killed and another broke free and fled. According to local reports, the driver sat sobbing outside his vehicle following the accident.

Police officer killed halting car chase

A suspect involved in a car chase struck a patrol car and killed an officer who was standing behind it, police in the US said yesterday.

Officer Veronica Payton, of the Beaumont Police Department in Texas, said that the officer stopped his patrol car at about 10.45pm on Friday and had gone to the back of his car to retrieve spike strips to stop the suspect. The suspect swerved and struck the front of the officer's vehicle, pushing the car into the officer.

The officer was pronounced dead at a hospital. The suspect's condition is stable. They said the suspect had earlier threatened two members of his family with a gun.

'Civilians die' as troops fight al-Qaeda

A leading rights group says Yemeni troops may have killed dozens of civilians caught in the crossfire as government troops battle al-Qaeda-linked militants in the country's restive south.

Human Rights Watch cites accounts from several residents who fled the fighting in the southern Abyan province where the government is battling Islamic militants after losing control over the provincial capital, Zinjibar, and another town.

In a statement yesterday, the New York-based group also said the militants "may have unlawfully placed civilians at risk by deploying in densely populated areas and engaging in looting and other abuses".

Israel to send home Palestine activists

Pro-Palestinian activists detained at Israel's international airport will be sent home soon, the government said yesterday.

Israel's interior ministry said it had questioned over 400 activists who landed over the past two days in what activists described as a peaceful mission to highlight what they perceive as Palestinian suffering in the West Bank.

US death linked to E Coli in Europe

US health officials have confirmed that the recent death of an Arizona resident was linked to an E Coli outbreak that has killed more than 40 people in Europe. The Arizona man, who was over age 65 and had recently travelled to Germany, is the first person in the US to die as a result of the outbreak, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ketamine abuse is 'pain in bladder'

A NEW study has found that long-term regular use of the club drug ketamine, sometimes called Special K, can alter bladder function, leading to bothersome symptoms such as urgency and pelvic pain. Symptoms may persist for up to a year or more after a person stops using ketamine, according to Dr Siu-king Mak from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The findings were published in the latest issue of the 'Journal of Urology', which is available online.

Oscar organisers cool on Oprah

Oscar organisers have downplayed speculation that former talk show queen and Oscar nominee Oprah Winfrey might be hosting Hollywood's top film honours next year. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Winfrey, who ended the Oprah Winfrey Show in May to run her own cable TV network, has emerged as a top candidate to host the Academy Awards in February.

Fire cuts short Rihanna concert

POP singer Rihanna cut short a Dallas concert on Friday after a fire broke out near the stage, the artist said in a post on Twitter, and video of the incident showed sparks falling down from above. "DALLAS!!! We set the stage on FYAH TONIGHT!!! LITERALLY!!!" Rihanna wrote on Twitter.

Kidnap victim to join ABC News

Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart will join ABC News as a contributor on stories about missing persons, the network has said. Smart, now 23, who was abducted in 2002 from her Salt Lake City home and held for nine months, will appear across all ABC News programmes and platforms. She could be on the air within the next few weeks, ABC News spokeswoman Julie Townsend said.

Heat is on for Japan's power industry

TWO months of baking heat will test Japan's resolve to wean itself off nuclear power and show whether an energy-saving drive set off by meltdowns at the Fukushima plant will bring lasting efficiency gains the way the Seventies oil crisis did. There are some signs that there is no going back to the pre-March 11 status quo as businesses and consumers change behaviour in ways that will last beyond the summer electricity crunch.

Rogue stem cells found in liver cancer

LIVER cancers are embedded with a type of super cancer stem cells that make them resistant to chemotherapy, spread to other body parts and stage a comeback even after they are surgically removed, researchers in Hong Kong reported last Thursday. The discovery, published this week in the journal 'Cell Stem Cell', is important because it means experts can target these stem cells in their fight against liver cancer, a major blight in China and south-east Asia.

Sunday Independent