PAKISTAN

Deadly blast hits crowded market

A bomb ripped through a congested market near the Afghanistan border on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and wounding 40 others, witnesses said.

Local officials confirmed the deaths in the explosion in Parachinar, administrative headquarters of Pakistan's Kurram tribal agency. They said the toll could rise.

Amjad Ali Khan, a senior police official, said a bomb was planted in a secondhand market where people were shopping for winter clothes. It was detonated by remote control, two officials told the Associated Press.

Officials declared a state of emergency in the area.

The explosion occurred a day after the Pakistani army said it had "broken" the backbone of Islamist militants in the country's tribal region after a more than year-long military offensive based in the north Waziristan tribal area. - L.A. Times
RUSSIA

23 die in fire at home for mental patients

A fire swept through a home for people with mental illnesses, killing 23 patients and injuring another 23, many of whom were on medication or otherwise unable to walk, the emergency services said Sunday.

The remaining 24 patients were safely evacuated, including some who had to be carried out of the building, and the four medical personnel working at the home were unhurt, they said.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire, which broke out late Saturday in Alferovka, a village about 350 miles south of Moscow. The fire in the one-story brick building was extinguished shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday. - AP
BRAZIL

Antigovernment protests fall off

Tens of thousands of Brazilians protested corruption and called for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in demonstrations across the country on Sunday. But the numbers were down from nationwide protests three other times this year.

This brought slight relief for Brazil's embattled president as she struggles with a 10 percent approval rating, an economy expected to contract 4 percent this year, and a corruption scandal in which billions of dollars were paid in bribes on contracts with Petrobras, the state-run oil company. - Washington Post
SYRIA

Military and rebel attacks kill 45

Tit-for-tat attacks by the Syrian regime and rebels killed at least 45 people in and around the capital Damascus on Sunday, activists reported.

Ten children and four women were among the dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Dozens were injured, including some who suffered severe wounds.

Four towns came under attack, including rebel-held Douma and Saqab in the region of Eastern Ghouta. The region has seen some of the worst fighting in the nearly five-year Syrian conflict.

Most of the victims who died Sunday were killed in airstrikes and rocket attacks targeting the two towns, the observatory said. - Deutsche Presse-Agentur