Car bomb kills at least 25
A car bomb in a busy market in the southern city of Diwaniya killed at least 25 people and wounded 50 yesterday, police and a provincial council official said, the latest in a series of sectarian attacks. Earlier in the day, two roadside bombs targeting Shiite pilgrims killed four people and wounded 21 near the central city of Kerbala, hospital and police sources said. In Diwaniya, 150km south of Baghdad, police announced a partial curfew and closed all entrances to the city. The bombing took place near a Shiite mosque, where pilgrims gather on their way to Kerbala to celebrate the birthday of one of the most important imams — al-Mahdi — this week. Attacks have increased in recent weeks, raising fears that the nation may slip back into widespread violence between Sunnis and Shiites. Last month at least 237 people were killed and 603 wounded, mainly in bomb attacks, according to a Reuters tally.
Cooper reveals he’s gay
CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, who has been reluctant to talk about his personal life in public, revealed that he is gay in an essay posted online on Monday. Cooper said he had kept his sexual orientation private for personal and professional reasons, but came to think that remaining silent had given some people a mistaken impression that he was ashamed. “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself and proud,” he wrote in a letter to Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast Web site. Cooper, the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, had long been the subject of rumors about his sexual orientation. He said that in a perfect world, it wouldn’t be anyone’s business, but that there is value in “standing up and being counted.”
Strauss-Kahn, wife break up
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife of 20 years, Anne Sinclair, have been separated for a month to six weeks, a source close to the one-time French presidential hopeful confirmed on Monday. The source said on condition of anonymity that the two are now living at two different residences in Paris, adding that Strauss-Kahn is “well” despite this “difficult” period in his life. After three-and-a-half years at the helm of the IMF, Strauss-Kahn resigned on May 18 last year, four days after a Guinean housekeeper at New York’s Sofitel Hotel, Nafissatou Diallo, accused him of sexual abuse. The criminal case was dropped in August last year, after the prosecutor expressed doubts about Diallo’s credibility, but a civil suit is still pending in New York.
Palace employee arrested
An employee at the presidential palace has been arrested and is accused of spreading confidential information, prosecutors said on Monday. Physician Ana Maria Abreu was detained under a court order last week, the public ministry said in a statement. It said the doctor had worked in the palace for 12 years during President Hugo Chavez’s government and had been providing medical care to storm evacuees and other needy people. It was unclear what sort of information the doctor is accused of releasing. The ministry said only that she had been “linked to the dissemination of confidential information between the year 2010 and 2012.” Abreu is a sister-in-law of activist Rocio San Miguel, a government critic who leads an organization that monitors security and defense issues. San Miguel told Globovision TV that the case has a “political tint” and appears to be retaliation against Abreu for being her relative.