World briefs 5/7/05

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Explosion rocks Christian port city near Beirut

JOUNIEH, Lebanon -- An explosion ravaged a shopping area and set off a fire near a Christian religious radio station and a church in the port city of Jounieh north of Beirut late Friday, reportedly killing at least one person. Witnesses in Jounieh said the explosion occurred near the main square, near the office of Sawt al-Mahabba, a Christian religious radio station, and a Maronite Catholic church at the entrance.

Hard-liners triumph in Northern Ireland election

BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Hard-liners triumphed in elections for Northern Ireland's seats in the British parliament, as David Trimble, the Nobel Peace laureate who tried to steer Protestants toward compromise, suffered a crushing defeat. The opposite poles of Northern Ireland politics -- the British Protestants of the Democratic Unionists, and the Irish Catholics of Sinn Fein -- won the lion's share of 18 seats in this divided corner of the United Kingdom.

Blair's new Cabinet keeps many longtime allies

LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair unveiled his Cabinet on Friday, changing leadership in defense and health but keeping mostly familiar faces as he put his Labour government back in business after a third-term victory dampened by a reduced majority in Parliament caused by the anti-war vote. As expected, Blair kept his powerful Treasury chief Gordon Brown as chancellor of the Exchequer, along with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett. John Reid, Blair's gritty, tough-talking health minister, was moved to defense, replacing Geoff Hoon, who becomes the government's leader in the House of Commons. No policy changes were expected at defense. Political observers keenly watched the appointments for signs of Blair's authority waning or Brown's influence increasing. But the new Cabinet gave no clear indication of whose power is in the ascendance.

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