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May 30, 2013

News briefs

The Daily Star

---- — Bomb blasts kill 30 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AP) — Bomb blasts tore through two Baghdad neighborhoods Wednesday evening, killing at least 30 people including several members of a wedding party, and extending a relentless wave of bloodshed roiling Iraq.

The attacks come as the country is experiencing its most sustained bout of violence since the 2011 U.S. military withdrawal. More than 500 people have been killed since the start of May.

Mobs spread fear in Myanmar

LASHIO, Myanmar (AP) — It was a terrifying sight: hundreds of angry, armed men on motorcycles advancing up a dusty street with no one to stop them.

Shouting at the top of their lungs, clutching machetes and iron pipes and long bamboo poles, they thrust their fists repeatedly into the air.

The object of their rage: Myanmar’s embattled minority Muslim community.

Residents gaping at the spectacle backed away as the Buddhist mob passed.

Worried business owners turned away customers and retreated indoors. And three armed soldiers standing in green fatigues on a corner watched quietly, doing nothing despite an emergency government ordinance banning groups of more than five from gathering.

Within a few hours on Wednesday, at least one person was dead and four injured as this region of Myanmar became the latest to fall prey to the country’s swelling tide of anti-Muslim unrest.


Terror remains despite gang truce 

ILOPANGO, El Salvador (AP) — Young men come around once a week to collect $20 from store owner Carlos Tevez, the “tax” he pays to continue operating his business and to keep his family safe.

The routine hasn’t changed, despite a truce between Salvadoran street gangs that officials say has caused a dramatic drop in killings in the country.

While there may be more peace for gang members, average Salvadorans such as Tevez still live under a reign of terror. It’s a cautionary example for people in neighboring Honduras, where a similar truce was announced on Tuesday.

“They still come to collect rent, demand things without paying,” said Tevez, who runs a small convenience store in the town outside of the capital of San Salvador. “All of a sudden they’ve started asking for rice, beans, whatever they feel like. If I don’t give it to them, they will kill me.”

Officials say murders have dropped 52 percent in El Salvador, where an average of 14 people a day were killed before the March 2012 truce. The same gangs announced a similar agreement on Tuesday in Honduras, where an estimated 20 people die daily in what is called the most dangerous country in the world. The experience of their neighbors gives Hondurans little hope that their everyday lives will suddenly change.