World news in brief 7/26/08

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Unexplained explosions kill 5, wound 20 in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- A powerful explosion ripped through a car on a busy Gaza City beach Friday night, killing a Hamas field commander and three other people, security officials said. It was the third unexplained blast of the day in this coastal territory after a relatively calm period since Israel and the Islamic militants of Hamas agreed on a cease-fire last month. A total of five people died from the explosions, and 23 suffered injuries. No one in Gaza blamed Israel for the violence, indicating it was likely Palestinian infighting. The late night blast killed Amar Musubah, a Hamas military field commander, and another Hamas militant, Eyad Al-Hia, medical officials said. A child and a fourth unknown individual also died. Earlier, unknown assailants set off two bombs in Gaza City, killing one man.

Israeli paper publishes Obama's private prayer

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli newspaper's decision to publish a handwritten prayer left by Barack Obama in the cracks of Jerusalem's Western Wall drew criticism Friday as an invasion of his privacy and his relationship with God. In the note, placed at Judaism's holiest site Thursday, Obama asks God to guide him and guard his family. "Lord -- Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will," read the note published in Maariv. Maariv said the note was removed from the wall by a Jewish seminary student immediately after Obama left. The paper's decision to make the note public brought quick criticism from religious authorities. The rabbi in charge of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitz, called it an intrusion on Obama's intimate relationship with God.

Poland says no to DNA test of Chopin's heart

WARSAW, Poland -- Like a religious relic, the heart of composer Frederic Chopin rests in a Warsaw church, untouched since it was preserved in alcohol after his death in 1849 at age 39. And that's how the Polish government wants to keep it. Scientists want to remove the heart for DNA tests to see if Chopin actually died from cystic fibrosis and not tuberculosis as his death certificate stated. But the government says that's not a good reason to disturb the remains of a revered native son. The heart lies in a jar sealed inside a pillar at Warsaw's Holy Cross Church -- and the only time it has been removed was for safekeeping during World War II. Chopin died in France, where his body is buried, but he asked that his heart be sent to his homeland.

-- From wire reports

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