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Suicide bomb kills nine and wounds dozens in Syrian military compound

A suicide vehicle bomb tore through the car park of a military compound in an eastern Syrian city yesterday, killing nine people, it was reported. It was the latest in a series of blasts in recent months targeting security installations.

The state-run news agency SANA said the explosion in Deir al-Zour also wounded dozens, and TV footage showed damaged buildings, smouldering cars and trucks turned upside down. Debris filled a street that was stained with blood.

The state TV report said the vehicle was rigged with 1,000kg of explosives and did heavy damage to buildings up to 100 yards away. It added that the blast left a crater five metres wide and two-and-a-half metres deep.

Dozens killed in US-backed offensive

AT least 22 al Qaeda-linked militants and 12 Yemeni soldiers were killed in clashes and air strikes overnight during a US-backed offensive against insurgents in the south of the country, officials said yesterday.

Benghazi's first election post Gaddafi

Residents of Benghazi -- the eastern Libyan city that served as the cradle of the uprising that toppled Moammar Gaddafi -- voted for a local council yesterday in the city's first elections since the dictator's killing last year.

More than 400 people were running for the 41 seats up for grabs on the local council of Libya's second-largest city.

Movie planned of Rebekah Brooks' life

The story of Rebekah Brooks, the former News International boss who is to face criminal charges over the phone-hacking scandal, is to be made into a film. Details of the picture focusing on the ex-chief executive were announced in Cannes during this year's film festival, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The movie is in development as one of the first projects of BiteSize Entertainment, a multi-platform entertainment studio unveiled by Ron Bloom, chief executive of online video site Mevio, and producer Gene Kirkwood.

Production company Kirkwood-Elliot has optioned the rights to the Vanity Fair article 'Untangling Rebekah Brooks' by Suzanna Andrews and is now developing the film based around the story.

Mr Kirkwood said: "We will make a film and also use it as a porthole into (Rupert) Murdoch's world. She's got a great story. "Her rise . . . is almost like Great Expectations -- with a moral." See Ruth Dudley Edwards, below

Kashmir rebels target police stations

Suspected rebels exploded grenades at two police stations in the disputed region of Kashmir, injuring at least 14 people, police said yesterday.

A militant is believed to have set off a grenade outside a police patrol post in Sopore town, north-east of Srinagar, the region's largest city, wounding four officers and at least 10 civilians. Police said no one was injured by a second grenade that exploded at a police station in Srinagar.

Indian forces have largely suppressed an insurgency in the region that erupted in 1989. About 68,000 people were killed in the uprising and subsequent crackdowns.

'Blue road' will lead to ex-Man City site

A road leading to a new housing development on the site of Manchester City's former ground is to be painted blue. Blue Moon Way will consist of sky blue tarmac to reflect the team colours connected to the demolished Maine Road football stadium.

Tunnel blast kills 19 workers in China

A tunnel blast has killed 19 workers at a central Chinese highway construction site, authorities said. Two officials from Hunan province's work safety bureau said yesterday's explosion killed 19 and injured one person.

The blast occurred when a vehicle was unloading explosives in the tunnel of the highway that is being built between Yanling and Rucheng in Hunan province.

Christians protest at Lady Gaga gigs

Christian young people in the Philippines protested yesterday against upcoming concerts by Lady Gaga despite organisers' assurances that her performances would not threaten morality.

About 200 Christian youths marched in Manila for the second day in a row, holding placards urging the pop singer to "respect our faith, stop the blasphemy".

The Biblemode Youth Philippines members plan to hold a vigil starting today near the concert venue. They said they were offended by Lady Gaga's music, particularly her song 'Judas', which they said mocks Jesus Christ.

Authorities in the conservative, majority Catholic country approved the concerts, set for tomorrow and Tuesday, but said they wouldn't allow nudity or lewd acts.

Will Smith slaps reporter over 'kiss'

Hollywood star Will Smith slapped a male TV reporter who tried to kiss him before the Moscow premiere of Men in Black III. The reporter from the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 approached Smith on the red carpet, put his hand on the actor's shoulder and tried to kiss him.

Smith pushed him away and then slapped him lightly across the cheek with the back of his left hand. It was not clear whether reporter Vitalii Sediuk intended to kiss Smith on the cheek or on the lips. Smith appeared shocked by the journalist's behaviour at last Friday night's premiere in the Russian capital.

Sunday Independent