WORLD IN BRIEF: Islamist rebels attack Somali hotel, killing 32

Islamist rebels attack Somali hotel, killing 32

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Islamist militants wearing Somali military uniforms stormed a hotel favored by lawmakers in the war-battered capital Tuesday, firing indiscriminately and killing 32 people, including six parliamentarians.

A suicide bomber and one of the gunmen also was killed in the brazen attack just a half-mile from the presidential palace. The attack showed the insurgent group al-Shabab, which controls wide areas of Somalia, can penetrate even the few blocks of the capital under the control of the government and African Union troops.

Experts spot smallest planet outside system

GENEVA -- Scientists said they've discovered five, six, or maybe seven planets orbiting a sun-like star more than 100 light-years away.

It's the richest planetary system so far discovered and may contain at least one planet nearly as small as Earth -- which would make it the smallest planet found outside the solar system. One astronomer said it's part of a growing body of evidence that the universe is full of planets -- and that a bunch of them could be similar to our own.

''The really nice thing about finding systems like this is that it shows that there are many more out there,'' said Alan Boss, of the Washington-based Carnegie Institution for Science, who wasn't involved with the find. ''Mother Nature really had fun making planets.''

UN: 800,000 cut off by Pakistan floods

ISLAMABAD -- About 800,000 people have been cut off by floods in Pakistan and are only reachable by air, the United Nations said Tuesday, adding it needs at least 40 more helicopters to ferry lifesaving aid to increasingly desperate people.

The appeal was an indication of the massive problems facing the relief effort in Pakistan more than three weeks after the floods hit the country, affecting more than 17 million people and raising concerns about possible social unrest and political instability.