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Attacks in Nigeria blamed on sect

LAGOS, Nigeria - Three bomb attacks blamed on a feared radical sect killed one person and wounded 11 others in a volatile central Nigerian city, an official said Sunday.

The bombs exploded Saturday night in three locations in Jos, where people had gathered to view a televised soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, Plateau state spokesman Pam Ayuba said.

Authorities suspect a radical Muslim sect locally known as Boko Haram, which has launched similar simultaneous attacks in northern Nigeria, he said. The sophistication of these latest attacks suggests the work of Boko Haram, Ayuba said. The blast killed a barber, Ayuba said. A fourth unexploded bomb was found in one of the viewing centers, he said.

The attacks took place in heavily militarized areas of a city that sits in Nigeria's "middle belt," where dozens of ethnic groups vie for power. - AP

Indian state to probe fatal fire

MUMBAI, India - India's West Bengal state ordered a probe led by a judge into the nation's worst fire accident in seven years that killed at least 91 people.

"Since people have faith in the judicial system and a tragedy of huge dimension has occurred, we have taken this decision," Press Trust of India quoted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as saying. "We have nothing to hide."

Television images of the blaze that engulfed the seven- story AMRI Hospitals on Friday showed firefighters smashing window panes and rescuing trapped victims with ropes tied around them. - Bloomberg News

S. Korea allows Christmas towers

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea will allow Christians to light two more Christmas tree-shaped towers near the tense border with North Korea despite strong opposition from Pyongyang, an official said Sunday.

The South Korean government allowed a Christian group to light a massive steel Christmas tree near the border last year for the first time in seven years as tensions flared after two deadly attacks blamed on the North.

That tree will be lit again this month, while South Korea has also decided to allow other Christian groups to light two other front-line Christmas trees, a Defense Ministry official said.

Earlier on Sunday, North Korea's state-run Uriminzokkiri website said that lighting the first tree was a form of psychological warfare and would trigger an "unexpected consequence." - AP

Brazilians reject division of state

RIO DE JANEIRO - Voters in a northern Brazilian state have rejected a proposal that would have broken it into three new states.

The state in the Amazon region is about the size of Peru. It's the wealthiest and most populous of northern Brazil.

Proponents of the division said the interests of people living far from the state capital aren't well represented. Opponents said creating two more state governments would be too costly. - AP