WORLD IN BRIEF: Suicide bomber in ambulance kills 7 in Iraq

Suicide bomber in ambulance kills 7 in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber driving an ambulance blasted a police compound northeast of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least seven people in the second major attack against Iraq’s security forces in as many days.

The blast in the eastern city of Baqouba occurred one day after a suicide bomber killed 65 people in a crowd of police recruits in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. The attacks shattered the relative calm following last month’s formation of a new government by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Although violence has dropped sharply since the highpoint of the war three years ago, the country is still plagued by smallscale attacks that have kept the country on edge and raised doubts about the capabilities of the security forces as American troops prepare to withdraw at the end of this year.

Berlusconi never touched her, teen says

MILAN — Silvio Berlusconi and the Moroccan teenager at the center of an underage prostitution probe targeting the Italian premier both denied any sexual contact in separate comments Wednesday.

Berlusconi taped a video message — the second time in a few days — to defend himself from the probe by Milan prosecutors into his encounters with the teenager, nicknamed Ruby Rubacuori (Ruby the Heart-Stealer).

The 74-year-old leader charged that the prosecutors used methods worthy of a Mafia criminal and said he would not respond to a summons by the prosecutors this weekend because he does not want to give credence to an investigation he called illegitimate and politically driven.

Prosecutors allege Berlusconi paid for sex with the girl, then a minor, and used his office to cover it up.

Afghan writer sprayed in the face with acid

KABUL, Afghanistan — An unknown assailant sprayed acid in the face of a prominent Afghan journalist and author, apparently in retaliation for his politically charged writing, the victim and officials said Wednesday.

Razaq Mamoon was not critically injured, but his face was splotchy with red and black patches as he spoke to an Afghan television station from his hospital bed in the capital.