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IRAN: 2,000 protest in South

About 2,000 demonstrators attacked government offices in a southern province, ripping up pavement stones to hurl at a regional council headquarters in a protest over shoddy public services, officials said. It was among the most dramatic demonstrations since Iraqis began venting their anger about dysfunctional government at all levels in relatively small protests across the country. Unlike protesters in other countries demanding democracy or regime change, those in Iraq have focused on unemployment, corruption and a lack of electricity. The top medical official in Wasit province, Diaa al-Aboudi, said 55 people were injured in the protests in the city of Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. He said some were shot by police. Kut police denied firing on the protesters and blamed the governor's bodyguards and private security guards at one of the buildings.


ITALY: Berlusconi seems unruffled

Premier Silvio Berlusconi has shown aplomb in the face of charges that could end his political career, saying he isn't worried about his impending prostitution trial or calls for his resignation. Wednesday's public comment was the first by the 74-year-old leader since he was indicted Tuesday on charges he paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl and used his influence to cover it up. He spoke shortly before talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, his first international meeting since the indictment.


TANZANIA: Ammo blasts rock capital

Explosions rocked the night sky Wednesday in the capital, Dar es Salaam, after an accident at an ammunition dump at the Gongola Mboto military base, officials said. Britain's Foreign Office said it believed the nearby international airport had been closed and said the explosions rained debris across the city. Residents reported loud booms that shook buildings over several hours. Photos sent to social networking sites showed huge orange explosions lighting up the sky. "Of course there might be injuries and deaths but it's not yet confirmed," military spokesman Lt. Col. Kapambala Mgawe said. "We are not allowed to go closer."

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