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Thousands left without water

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- Frustration and fears of disease mounted in Northern Ireland on Wednesday as 36,000 people were left without water, some for more than a week, after a deep freeze and a sudden thaw caused aging pipes to burst.

With reservoirs running low, water supplies were cut off in many towns and cities, and residents turned to emergency water tankers and bottled water for their cooking, cleaning and drinking needs.

"It's been a nightmare," said James Lawson, a resident in Lisburn, near Belfast, who has gone without water for 13 days. "You can't wash, you can't eat because you can't wash your dishes. I think it's a fiasco," he told the BBC. Scotland said it was sending 42,000 gallons of bottled water to help meet demand.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness called the situation "a grave crisis" and said people had been let down by their water supplier. The Northern Ireland government scheduled an emergency meeting for today to discuss the crisis.


Suicide bombers kill top police commander

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Three al-Qaida suicide bombers attacked a police building in Mosul on Wednesday, leveling the building and killing the city's top commander, who had escaped at least five previous assassination attempts, officials said.

The officer, Lt. Col. Shamil al-Jabouri, had relentlessly pursued al-Qaida in the tense northern city that was a former stronghold of the militants, and the group claimed responsibility for killing him while he slept on a couch.

Rescuers worked frantically to clear the rubble of the collapsed building but found no others dead, probably because the attack was early, before most people had arrived for work.

Just ten days ago, al-Jabouri led a raid that ended in the death of the top al-Qaida figure in Mosul, his colleagues said.


Boy critically burned after fall into hot pool

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- An 8-year-old New Zealand boy is fighting for his life after being scalded head to foot when he fell into a geothermal pool that could have been as hot as 212 degrees Fahrenheit, a hospital spokesman said today.

The incident, which happened Sunday, was made public Wednesday.

It occurred at Kuirau Park in the North Island city of Rotorua. The boy was taken to a hospital in the tourist town widely known for its steaming geothermal geysers and hot mud and water pools.

He was later flown by helicopter to Middlemore Hospital in the northern city of Auckland, where he was in "intensive care in a critical condition and causing concern," spokeswoman Lauren Young said.

"He's very extensively burnt," she told the Associated Press, adding he was of Pacific Island ethnicity and believed to be visiting New Zealand with his family. Family members were at the child's bedside.

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