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WORLD BRIEFS: Twin blasts kill 40 Shiite pilgrims in Iraq

Twin blasts kill 40 Shiite pilgrims in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- A car bomb ripped through a crowd of Shiite pilgrims outside the holy city of Karbala Friday, sending many fleeing into the path of a suicide attacker who detonated a second bomb in coordinated blasts that killed at least 40 people and wounded 150.

The twin bombing came on the final day of an annual Shiite religious observance, which has been the target of three large-scale attacks in Iraq this week alone. In Pakistan, two bombs targeting Shiites observing the same holy day Friday killed at least 25 people and wounded around 100 more.

The bloodshed in Iraq is likely to further stoke tensions between the Shiite-led government and Sunnis over the push to ban some candidates from March 7 parliamentary elections. The U.S. is concerned the ban could destabilize Iraq, crippling efforts to reconcile majority Shiites and Sunnis who dominated Iraq until Saddam Hussein's ouster in 2003.

Bus, hospital bombed in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Suspected Sunni militants bombed a bus carrying Shiite worshippers and two hours later attacked a hospital treating the victims, killing 25 people and wounding 100 on Friday in a strike on Pakistan's largest city.

The blasts in the southern city of Karachi were the latest sign of the instability tearing at the nuclear-armed nation, which the United States regards as key to its hopes of defeating a related Taliban insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appealed for calm in the city, which is the country's commercial heart. It has a history of religious violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and has been tense in recent weeks due to clashes between rival political parties that have left dozens dead.

Lawyer seeks release of US missionaries

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Ten U.S. Baptist missionaries charged with child kidnapping should be allowed to leave the country pending the outcome of their case, their Haitian lawyer argued before a judge Friday.

Prior to the closed hearing, defense attorney Edwin Coq told reporters that he would ask the judge to grant the missionaries ''provisional release,'' a type of bail without money posted. He said they should be allowed to leave Haiti until their trial.