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Rush-hour bombing kills 10, wounds 34

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A series of bombs in and around the Iraqi capital killed 10 people on Sunday, and an intelligence official warned of a campaign to undermine security before a much-anticipated meeting of Arab heads of state in March.

The senior Iraqi official also said insurgents appeared to be taking advantage of the government's delay in appointing a new interior minister, who runs the nation's security forces.

The three-hour drumbeat of explosions began at around 7 a.m. in Baghdad's rush hour at the start of the local workweek. Besides the dead, 34 people were wounded. The attacks appeared to involve roadside bombs, suicide bombers and car bombs.

No group immediately claimed responsibility.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is still weighing who to name to the nation's top defense, interior and national security posts, saying he wants to ensure they are filled by apolitical candidates.

Police said at least two of Sunday's attacks in the capital involved car bombs that apparently targeted police patrols, killing two policemen and a bystander, while two other people were killed when the offices of the government sewage department in downtown was bombed.


Over-voting suspected for southern secession

JUBA, Sudan (AP) -- An election official in Southern Sudan said some ballots from this month's independence referendum are being quarantined because of over-voting.

Preliminary results from Southern Sudan's independence referendum indicate a landslide vote in favor of secession, but voter turnout exceeded 100 percent in several areas.

Justice Chan Reec Madut, a referendum commission official, said Sunday that results from stations that recorded more than 105 percent turnout would be quarantined. But he said that even if the commission throws out votes from counties where over-votes were recorded, "the trend is clear," meaning that the south has voted for secession.

Current tallies show 98.8 percent of southerners voted for secession in the Jan. 9-15 vote.


President re-elected amid financial crisis

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Official figures show Portugal has elected its conservative president to a second term, delivering a harsh political setback to the minority Socialist government which is struggling to contain a financial crisis.

Anibal Cavaco Silva, who is supported by the main opposition Social Democratic Party, collected 53 percent compared with 20 percent for second-placed Socialist Party candidate Manuel Alegre after 98 percent of districts reported in Sunday's ballot.

The embattled government has enacted deeply unpopular austerity measures amid fears that the financial crisis spells economic disaster for Portugal.

The president possesses the power -- known as his "atomic bomb" -- to call an early general election if he feels the government is on the wrong path.

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