News in brief: 16 people killed in suicide bombing as northwest Pakistan unrest continues
A suicide bomber killed 16 people yesterday at a police checkpoint in a northwest Pakistani tribal area where the military declared victory over the Taliban and al-Qaeda last year, highlighting the difficulty Islamabad has in holding regions once the battle phase of its army offensives end.
Fourteen civilians and two police officers died in the suicide attack in the Bajur tribal region, while 20 people were wounded, local government official Bakhat Pacha said. The attacker, on foot, struck a market area in the region's main town, Khar, he said.
The attack came just a day after officials said that security forces had killed 44 militants in a series of battles on the outskirts of Khar.
Putin declares €1.3bn Libya arms deal
Libya has signed a deal with Russia to buy weapons worth €1.3bn, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin announced.
"Only yesterday we signed a contract worth €1.3bn. And it's not only small arms," Mr Putin said, according to the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.
The deal was reportedly signed after talks with a senior Libyan military official in Moscow.
Mother accused of murdering children
The mother of two toddlers whose bodies were found in hold-alls in the boot of her car was remanded in custody after being charged with their murders yesterday.
Three-year-old Harry and Elise Donnison, 2, were found by officers after their mother, Fiona Donnison, visited Heathfield police station in East Sussex in a distressed state on Wednesday.
The 43-year-old Ms Donnison is accused of carrying out the double murder between January 25 and 28. No application was made and no plea has yet been entered. Ms Donnison is due to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on February 12.
Gandhi ashes scattered off SA coast
Six decades after his death, some of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes have been scattered off South Africa's coast. An early morning service in a harbour in the eastern city of Durban on the anniversary of Gandhi's death included the laying of flowers and candles on the water's surface.
After Gandhi was killed by a Hindu hard-liner in 1948 in New Delhi, his ashes were divided, stored in steel urns and sent around the world for memorial services. It was not unusual for some of the ashes to have been preserved instead of scattered as intended. In 1997, ashes that had been found in a bank vault in northern India were immersed at the holy spot where India's Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet.
'Pay €2.5m, recover €100m in taxes'
An informant has offered to sell the German government data on 1,500 possible tax evaders with bank accounts in Switzerland, a local newspaper reported.
The informant is asking for €2.5m for the confidential data, which tax investigators believe could rake in €100m for Germany's state coffers, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine. German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is considering whether to go ahead with the transaction, the paper added. A ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report.
Security at 9/11 trials to cost €200m
THE White House is proposing a $200m (€144m) fund to pay for security costs of cities hosting trials of accused terrorists, such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
The Obama administration said late last year that the trials would take place in federal courts located in lower Manhattan -- near where the World Trade Centre once stood. But there's growing opposition from New York City, and it now seems likely that the White House will decide to hold the trial elsewhere. New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg has put the cost of tighter security at $216m (€155m) -- and that for just the first year of the hearings.
Republicans have led the opposition to hosting Guantanamo detainee trials in the US. But some states such as Illinois would welcome detainees, since holding them is a source of federally funded jobs.