Dozens Dead After Blasts in Iraq

Reports say at least 36 people have died in separate bombings in Iraq.

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BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.

(Soundbite of music)

KORVA COLEMAN, host:

And good morning, everybody.

Reports from Iraq say at least 36 people have died in separate bombings. Three car bombs went off in succession today in the southern Iraqi city of Amarah. One hospital official says at least 100 people have been hurt. Nobody's claimed responsibility for these bombings. Amarah is about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad. Iraqi troops took over security responsibility from the city from British troops last April.

The death toll from yesterday's bombings in Algiers has now reached at least 30 people. The United Nations says it believes one of the bombs was aimed at its offices dealing with refugees. An al-Qaida splinter group has claimed responsibility. As many as 11 U.N. workers may be among the dead. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants an immediate review of U.N. security in Algeria, and in other countries as well. In 2003, you'll remember, 22 people died in a bombing in Baghdad, and that included U.N.'s top diplomat to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

One of Lebanon's top army generals has been murdered. Lebanese Brigadier General Francois Hajj was killed today in a suspected car bombing, along with his bodyguard. Reporter Zeina Karam says Hajj's death is untimely because he was seen as a possible contender for Lebanon's presidency.

Ms. ZEINA KARAM (Reporter, Associated Press): Lebanon has been without a president for two weeks. And basically, this is seen as an attack against the army, which is one of the forces that can hold the country together at this time.

COLEMAN: Lebanese political leaders have delayed a presidential vote eight times. They're trying to come up with a compromised presidential candidate.

The powerful winter storm that has cut power to tens of thousands of Midwesterners is now lumbering toward New England. Ice now cakes power lines and roads in several states, including Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Andrea Chancellor is a spokeswoman for Public Service Company of Oklahoma. She is saying thousands of Oklahomans don't have power, and it could be days or longer before they see it again.

Ms. ANDREA CHANCELLOR (General Manager, Corporate Communication, Public Service Company of Oklahoma): In many situations, individual homes and businesses would need some repairs before we can provide service. The electric lines have actually been ripped away from the side of the structure, and they will need to have an electrician come and give some repairs before we can actually provide power.

COLEMAN: At least 24 people have died because of the bad weather. The National Weather Service is warning a new weather system could pour a wintery mix on the Midwest and lay new ice on top of what's already there. Regions farther north could see less trouble. Forecasters are predicting only rain is going to fall.

And the coach of football's Atlanta Falcons quit his job and instantly turned up as the new head coach of collegiate team the Arkansas Razorbacks. Bobby Petrino left college football in January to take over a team in Atlanta featuring star quarterback Michael Vick.

On Monday, Vick was sentenced to nearly two years in jail on federal dog fighting charges. The Falcons lost their 10th game of the season, and Petrino quit his job in the middle of the season. He's to succeed Houston Nutt in Arkansas. Nutt's moved to take coaching duties at Mississippi.

Remember, the news is always online at npr.org.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

COLEMAN: Alison and Luke, back to you.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

If there was ever a human being born to coach college football in the South, I think it would have to be Houston Nutt.

(Soundbite of laughter)

COLEMAN: That's a great name.

BURBANK: That is. That is. Thank you, Korva.

COLEMAN: Houston Nutt. You're welcome.

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