Nation briefs 2/4/08

Monday, February 4, 2008

Police: Carnival driver runs over, kills brother

MARKSVILLE, La. -- A driver towing a float in a Carnival parade ran over his 16-year-old brother, killing him, state police said. Clay Michael Sayer was standing between Kain N. Sayer's pickup truck and the float behind it, talking to riders on the float during a brief stop around 5 p.m. Saturday, Trooper Scott Moreau said. The teen was pinned by the float when the truck started moving again, Moreau said. Kain Sayer, 21, was booked with vehicular homicide, drunken driving and careless driving, state police said. The accident occurred north of Marksville, a town about 75 miles northwest of Baton Rouge.

18-year-old charged with killing parents in Ga.

LOGANVILLE, Ga. -- Police have charged an 18-year-old college student with killing his parents. Darryl Spearman, 55, and Cherri Spearman 52, were found dead in their Loganville home by relatives Friday. Investigators said they were beaten to death. Their son, Joshua Spearman, was charged with two counts of murder on Saturday. Spearman, a freshman at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, was being held without bail. Darryl Spearman was an assistant principal at Stone Mountain Middle School, authorities said.

Pro-Western incumbent is new Serbian president

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Serbia's pro-Western president narrowly defeated an ally of late autocrat Slobodan Milosevic in a closely contested election Sunday, only days before an expected declaration of independence by the breakaway Kosovo province. President Boris Tadic won 51 percent of the vote, while Tomislav Nikolic, who ruled with Milosevic during the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s, had 47 percent, according to the state electoral commission. The outcome indicated that a majority of Serbians want the country to stay on its path of pro-Western reform and closer ties with the European Union, instead of heading back to the nationalism and isolation that characterized the Milosevic era.

Earthquakes in Rwanda, Congo kill 39

KIGALI, Rwanda -- Two earthquakes struck hours apart Sunday in Rwanda and neighboring Congo, killing at least 39 people including some who were in a church that collapsed, officials said. Nearly 400 people were injured. A magnitude-6.0 quake struck Congo early, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The second quake, which registered 5.0, hit a few hours later near the countries' border in Rwanda's rural Rusizi District. The area where the quakes hit is part of Africa's Great Rift Valley, which includes a seismically active fault line.

Fighting rages in Chadian capital Sunday

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Tanks rolled through Chad's capital on Sunday, turning the streets into a battle zone between the government and rebels littered with bodies. Fighting also raged in an area where some 420,000 refugees live near the border with Darfur. Chad and its former colonizer, France, accused Sudan of masterminding the coup attempt in the oil-rich Central African nation. Sudan has repeatedly denied any involvement in the fighting. Hundreds of rebels penetrated the capital of Chad on Saturday. The violence has endangered a $300 million global aid operation supporting millions of people in Chad, a country about three times the size of California.

Iraqi police: Senior official survives bomb attack

BAGHDAD -- A senior Interior Ministry official and his bodyguard were wounded and his driver was killed Sunday by a bomb planted on his car, police said. Lt. Col. Mohammed Ibrahim, director of Iraq's police commandos, an elite special forces group, was heading to work when the bomb exploded around 10 a.m. in the Mansour neighborhood, an officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media. Ibrahim and his bodyguard both survived but his driver was killed, the officer said.

-- From wire reports

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