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The World in Brief

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | February 22, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.

Afghan roadside bombs kill 3 people

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two roadside bomb explosions in Afghanistan killed at least three people, including a child, and wounded 20 others on Sunday, Afghan officials said.

Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz said that a roadside bomb explosion targeted a police car, killing the driver and a nearby child as well as wounding five other civilians, including children.

The majority of bomb attacks in the capital, Kabul, in recent months have been sticky bombs -- explosive devices with magnets that are attached to vehicles and detonated by remote control or timer.

The second explosion was caused by a bomb placed in a crowded market in southern Helmand province, killing one civilian and wounding 15 others, including two police officers, said provincial police spokesman Mohammad Zaman Hamdard.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks. Afghan police officials says that an investigation was underway.

Nigerian military plane crashes; toll 7

LAGOS, Nigeria -- A military plane crashed in Nigeria on Sunday, killing all seven people on board, said officials.

The King Air 350 plane had just taken off from the airport in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, when it reported engine failure and tried to return, said Ibikunle Daramola, a spokesman for the Nigerian air force in a tweet.

"First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash," he said.

Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, also tweeted that the crash "appears to be fatal," and urged calm as an investigation by the military is carried out.

The plane was headed to Minna, about 62 miles northwest of Abuja.

Witnesses at the site said the crash was terrifying.

"Everybody there was screaming full of disbelief," Olugbenga Alaade, a government employee who said he has worked at the airport for nine years and who saw the crash, told The Associated Press by phone. It's been at least a decade since a plane has crashed at that airport, he said

Photos of the crash site show black clouds of smoke over parts of the shattered plane. Witnesses told local media they saw the plane struggling to turn around and get back to the airport before the plane exploded.

Lasso, Arauz to vie in Ecuador runoff

QUITO, Ecuador -- Final results from a Feb. 7 presidential election in Ecuador confirmed that former banker Guillermo Lasso came in second behind leading candidate Andres Arauz, meaning the two will contest a runoff vote in April, election officials said Sunday.

Lasso, who had lost the last two presidential contests, won 19.74% of votes in the election while Indigenous candidate Yaku Perez came third with 19.38% after all votes were counted, the National Electoral Council said. Just 32,600 votes separated the two candidates.

Perez alleged fraud after the results that indicated he had fallen just short of defeating Lasso and making it to the runoff. The attorney general's office has said it is investigating the allegations.

"Democracy has triumphed," Lasso tweeted after the final results. He has had a long career in business, banking and government and favors free-market policies and Ecuador's rapprochement with international organizations.

Arauz led with 32.72%, a front-runner status that became clear in partial results and only left open the question of who he would face in the April 11 runoff after the tight race for second place.

Tar globs force Israel to shut beaches

JERUSALEM -- Israel closed all its Mediterranean beaches until further notice Sunday, days after an offshore oil spill deposited tons of tar across more than 100 miles of coastline in what officials are calling one of the country's worst ecological disasters.

Activists began reporting globs of black tar on Israel's coast last week after a heavy storm. The deposits have wreaked havoc on local wildlife, and the Israeli Agriculture Ministry determined Sunday that a dead young fin whale that washed up on a beach in southern Israel died from ingesting the viscous black liquid, according to Kan, Israel's public broadcaster.

Israel's Nature and Parks Authority has called the spill "one of the most serious ecological disasters" in the country's history. In 2014, a crude-oil spill in the Arava Desert caused extensive damage to one of the country's delicate ecosystems.

The Environmental Protection Ministry and activists estimate that at least 1,000 tons of tar, a product of an oil spill from a ship in the eastern Mediterranean earlier this month, have already washed up on shore. The ministry is trying to determine who is responsible. It declined commenting on details of the investigation because it was ongoing.

The Environmental Protection, Health and Interior ministries issued a joint statement Sunday warning the public not to visit the entire length of the country's 120-mile Mediterranean coastline, cautioning that "exposure to tar can be harmful to public health."

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

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