Top security official, 7 others killed in Beirut car bomb, Lebanon’s deadliest attack in years
BEIRUT (AP) -- A car bomb ripped through Beirut on Friday, killing a top security official and seven others, shearing the balconies off apartment buildings and sending bloodied residents staggering into the streets in the most serious blast the Lebanese capital has seen in four years.
Dozens of people were wounded in the attack, which the state-run news agency said targeted the convoy of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan, the head of the intelligence division of Lebanon’s domestic security forces.
Many Lebanese quickly raised the possibility the violence was connected to the civil war in neighboring Syria, which has sent destabilizing ripples through Lebanon for the past 19 months. Al-Hassan led an investigation over the summer that implicated a pro-Syrian Lebanese politician and one of the highest aides to Syrian President Bashar Assad in plots to carry out bombings in Lebanon.
Friday’s blast was also a reminder of Lebanon’s grim history, when the 1975-1990 civil war made the country notorious for kidnappings, car bombs and political assassinations. Even since the war’s end, Lebanon has been a proxy battleground for regional conflict, and the Mediterranean seaside capital has been prey to sudden, surprising and often unexplained violence shattering periods of calm.
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Medicare says compounded drugs a risk but didn’t use its power to block payment
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Medicare is coming under scrutiny in the meningitis outbreak that has rekindled doubts about the safety of the nation’s drug supply.
The giant health insurance program for seniors long ago flagged compounded drugs produced for the mass market without oversight from the Food and Drug Administration as safety risks. In 2007, Medicare revoked coverage of compounded inhaler drugs for lung disease.
But Medicare doesn’t seem to have consistently used its own legal power to deny payment, and critics say that has enabled the compounding business to flourish.
Now program officials are scrambling to find out how many Medicare beneficiaries are among the more than 270 people sickened in 16 states in a still-growing outbreak that has claimed 21 lives.
The illnesses have been linked to an injectable steroid used to treat back pain, made by the New England Compounding Center, a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy. The medication was contaminated with a fungus.
Doctors: 15-year-old Pakistani shooting victim now able to stand with help
LONDON (AP) -- The British hospital treating a 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban raised hopes for her recovery Friday when doctors said she was able to stand with some help and to write.
Malala Yousufzai appeared with her eyes open and alert as she lay in a hospital bed, in the first photographs released by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham since she arrived from Pakistan on Monday.
It was a series of positive developments since the shooting, which was a brazen bid by the Taliban to silence the girl, who has been an outspoken advocate for girls’ right to education.
Still, doctors said she shows signs of infection and faces a long, difficult recovery with uncertain prospects.
"She is not out of the woods yet," hospital medical director Dr. Dave Rosser said. "Having said that, she’s doing very well. In fact, she was standing with some help for the first time this morning when I went in to see her."
Roadside bomb in Afghanistan kills 19
en route to wedding celebration in minibus
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A roadside bomb tore through a minibus carrying people to a wedding celebration in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 19 people and wounding 16, authorities said.
The blast underscored the heavy toll the war has taken on civilians who are frequently caught up in the fighting between insurgents and Afghan and foreign security forces.
The bus was taking guests to a wedding celebration in the Dawlat Abad district of the northern Balkh province, about 450 kilometers (270 miles) northwest of the capital, Kabul, police spokesman Shir Jan Durani said.
District police commander Bismullah Muslimyar gave the death toll and said six children and seven women were among those killed in the 6 a.m. blast. He said a police patrol had passed through the area during the night.
Muslimyar said the wedding had occurred Thursday, and the party was heading to the groom’s home to congratulate the newlyweds according to tradition.
1 dead, 11 injured in series of hit and runs in United Kingdom
LONDON (AP) -- A series of hit-and-run incidents in the Welsh city of Cardiff killed a woman Friday and injured 11 other pedestrians, including seven children. Witnesses described a motorist deliberately driving into families walking home from school.
South Wales Police said a 32-year-old woman had been killed, and other victims were taken to hospital for treatment. An unidentified 31-year-old man has been arrested and a van has been seized.
Authorities said that there had been at least five separate hit-and-run collisions across the city.
Ramesh Patel, who runs a store close to the site where the woman was killed, said customers had described how the van driver appeared to target pedestrians. "Customers have said a white van purposely drove at people," Patel said.
The incidents took place as parents were collecting children from nearby schools and walking home.
Spray-on sunscreen recalled after reports of users catching on fire
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The maker of Banana Boat sunscreen is recalling some half-million bottles of spray-on lotion after reports that a handful of people have caught on fire after applying the product and coming in contact with an open flame.
Energizer Holdings said Friday that it is pulling 23 varieties of UltraMist sunscreen off store shelves due to the risk of the lotion igniting when exposed to fire.
The recall includes aerosol products like UltraMist Sport, UltraMist Ultra Defense and UltraMist Kids.
A company spokesman said there have been five reports of people suffering burns after using the sunscreen in the last year. Four burn cases were reported in the U.S. and one in Canada.
More than 20 million units have been sold since UltraMist launched in 2010, the spokesman said.
UN Security Council plans sanctions
on Congo rebels
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council says it intends to impose sanctions on the leaders of the M23 rebel movement in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Guatemala U.N. Ambassador Gert Rosenthal, the current Security Council president, read a statement approved Friday saying targeted sanctions would be applied to M23 leaders and others who are breaking the arms embargo in Congo.
The rebels attacked the Congolese army Friday, ending a lull in fighting that had lasted a couple of months.
The M23 rebels have a stronghold on the border with Uganda and Rwanda, which has fueled allegations that Uganda and Rwanda are backing the rebellion as arms are easily smuggled into their territory.
On Tuesday, a leaked U.N. experts panel report accused both Uganda and Rwanda of supporting the rebellion, which both countries strongly deny.
Sandusky accuser tells of abuse in new book
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A young man whose sexual-abuse claims triggered the investigation of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky says in a new book Sandusky’s wife once called down to the basement while he was being attacked and Sandusky told her he was busy.
Aaron Fisher writes in "Silent No More" that Dottie Sandusky asked her husband to fix a table upstairs. He says Jerry Sandusky told her he was fixing an air hockey table and she dropped the subject.
The Associated Press bought an early copy of the book, being published next week.
Dottie Sandusky maintains she never saw her husband behave inappropriately with children.
Fisher was described in court records as Victim 1. He’s speaking out on television Friday.
Jerry Sandusky was convicted in June of abusing 10 boys, including Fisher. He says he’s innocent.
Canadian terror suspect to be extradited to the U.S.
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- A judge has ruled a Canadian man can be extradited to the United States to face charges that he helped coordinate Tunisian jihadists believed responsible for separate suicide attacks in Iraq in 2009 that killed five American soldiers outside a U.S. base and seven people at an Iraqi police complex.
Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, who holds dual Canadian/Iraqi citizenship, was arrested in 2011 on a U.S. warrant and has been fighting extradition to New York.
The prosecution said evidence from intercepted Internet and phone conversations shows that Sharif was involved in supporting the suicide bombings.
Sharif, 40, never left Canada as part of the alleged conspiracy. He was born in Iraq but moved to Toronto as a refugee in 1993. He has also gone by other names, including Faruq Muhammad’Isa.