Bombing in crowded shopping area kills 53

BAGHDAD

Two bombs went off within minutes of each other in a crowded shopping district in the capital yesterday, killing at least 53 people and wounding 130 – a reminder that deadly attacks are a daily threat even though violence is down.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility. But back-to-back bombings – designed to maximize carnage – became the hallmark of attacks on civilians by al-Qaida in Iraq during the worst of the violence in Baghdad in 2006.

Like in previous such attacks, the tactic seeks to draw in the people with the first blast – especially security and medical workers – before a second bomb detonates.

Iraqis were enjoying a pleasant spring evening when a roadside bomb hidden under a vendor stall detonated in the primarily Shiite, middle-class Baghdad neighborhood of Karradah. Five minutes later, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt detonated, Mohammed al-Rubaie, the head of the Karradah municipality, told the state-run Al-Iraqiya TV.

NEW YORK CITY

Homeowner equity for Americans hits all-time low

Americans’ percentage of equity in their homes fell below 50 percent for the first time on record since 1945, the Federal Reserve said yesterday.

Homeowners’ portion of equity slipped to downwardly revised 49.6 percent in the second quarter of 2007, the central bank reported in its quarterly U.S. Flow of Funds Accounts, and declined further to 47.9 percent in the fourth quarter – the third straight quarter it was under 50 percent.

That marks the first time homeowners’ debt on their houses exceeds their equity since the Fed started tracking the data in 1945.

BANGKOK, Thailand

Thai police arrest Russian arms dealer

A Russian arms dealer accused of breaking U.N. arms embargoes by supplying weapons to African war zones was arrested yesterday in Bangkok, Thai police said.

Viktor Bout was arrested in the heart of the capital city on a warrant issued by a Thai court, said Police Lt. Gen. Pongpat Chayapan, head of the Crime Suppression Bureau. The warrant stemmed from an earlier one issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, he said.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman “congratulated” Thai police for the arrest but could not provide details about the role U.S. officials played in it. Details of the charges against Bout were also not immediately available.

DETROIT

Kilpatrick to ask for petition recall

The Wayne County Elections Commission was expected to be asked to reconsider its decision approving the language of a recall petition aimed at Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick attorney Alan Canady said yesterday that the man filing for the recall does not live in Detroit.

“We believe that his voter registration is invalid,” Canady said. “That would preclude him from filing the petition. We have evidence that he doesn’t live at the address that he has listed.”

The language on one of Douglas Johnson’s six recall petitions to remove Kilpatrick from office was approved Wednesday by the elections commission.

On that petition, the 42-year-old Johnson listed an Evergreen address on the city’s northwest side as his home.

Compiled from Daily wire reports

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