Suicide truck bomb kills 132 people

Stunned Iraqis loaded coffins onto minivans and picked through the rubble of buildings yesterday after a suicide truck bomber obliterated a Baghdad market in a mainly Shiite area, killing at least 132 people in the deadliest single strike by a suicide bomber since the war started.

The explosion Saturday was fifth major bombing in less than a month targeting predominantly Shiite districts in Baghdad and the southern Shiite city of Hillah. It also was the worst in the capital since a series of car bombs and mortars killed at least 215 people in the Shiite district of Sadr City on Nov. 23.

Hospital officials said 132 people were killed and 305 were wounded in the thunderous explosion that sent a column of smoke into the sky on the east bank of the Tigris River. Heavily bandaged women, children and men filled hospital beds, while several bloodied bodies were piled onto blankets on the floor of the morgue, which was filled to capacity.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Floods worsen, killing 20, leaving 340,000 homeless

Boats ferried supplies to desperate residents of Indonesia’s flood-stricken capital yesterday as rivers burst their banks following days of rain. At least 20 people have been killed and almost 340,000 forced from their homes, officials said.

Hundreds of people scrambled to the second floors of their houses to escape the rising waters. Some found themselves trapped, while others refused to leave despite warnings that the muddy flood waters – running more than 13 feet deep in places – may rise further in the coming days.

“Jakarta is now on the highest alert level,” said Sihar Simanjuntak, an official who monitors the many rivers that crisscross this city of 12 million people. “The floods are getting worse.”

Indonesia’s meteorological agency is forecasting two weeks of rain.


States take on national driver’s license standards

A revolt against a national driver’s license, begun in Maine last month, is quickly spreading to other states.

The Maine Legislature on Jan. 26 overwhelmingly passed a resolution objecting to the Real ID Act of 2005. The federal law sets a national standard for driver’s licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases.

Within a week of Maine’s action, lawmakers in Georgia, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state also balked at Real ID. They are expected soon to pass laws or adopt resolutions declining to participate in the federal identification network.


McCain says Iraq support of troop hike isn’t hurting White House hopes

Arizona Sen. John McCain says only Washington insiders believe his 2008 presidential campaign may be suffering because he supports President Bush’s decision to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

“Well, I think there’s that, maybe, perception inside the Beltway. But outside, a lot of Republicans are rallying to this belief that we need to have a strategy that can win, and realize the consequences of failure,” McCain said yesterday.

“Many people trust my judgment because they’ve known me for many years,” he said. “Looks, it’s of secondary importance, but I think we’re doing just fine, and I think polls indicate that.”

McCain pledged to respond to any negative attacks against him during the race.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

Notable Number

0.33 Blood alcohol content of a Maryland prison inmate who got drunk off of Purell hand sanitizer in October, according the Washington Post. Purell is 70 percent alcohol. The inmate’s blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit for intoxication in Maryland.

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