Suicide bomb in Iraq kills 6, wounds 21




BAGHDAD &

A suicide bomber rammed his car into a police patrol today in northern Iraq, killing six people and wounding more than 20 &

many of them children walking to school, police said.




The explosion happened around 8 a.m. in Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed city 180 miles north of Baghdad, said police Brig. Sarhad Qadir.




The city has seen a rise in violence in recent months, ahead of a planned census and referendum to determine the future of the city &

whether it will join the semi-autonomous Kurdish region on its border, or remain under Baghdad's control.




The bomber's apparent target was the six-car convoy of a senior Kurdish police officer, Brig. Gen. Khattab Omar, who heads the city police department's quick response force, Qadir said.




Three of Omar's officers were killed, along with three civilians, but the commander survived with serious injuries to his chest and head, Qadir said. Omar was being evacuated to a larger hospital, he said.




Major quake kills 2 in northern Chile




TOCOPILLA, Chile &

Chile's government promised to deliver hundreds of portable houses today for people left homeless by a powerful earthquake that hammered the country's north, killing at least two people and injuring more than 150.




The 7.7 magnitude quake, centered near the desert village of Quillagua in the foothills of the Andes, was so strong it shook the capital Santiago, 780 miles away, and was felt on the other side of the continent in Sao Paulo, Brazil &

1,400 miles to the east.




It damaged thousands of houses, blocked roads, crushed cars and knocked out power across northern Chile.




"It was incredible. I thought my last day had come when I saw the mountain shaking under a large cloud of dust," said Maria Ines Palete, a resident of Quillagua.




The quake, which struck around midday Wednesday, was followed by several aftershocks, including three larger than magnitude 5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.




Cyclone approaches Bangladesh




BARISAL, Bangladesh &

Ten of thousands of coastal villagers took shelter inland today as a cyclone rapidly approached Bangladesh's southwestern shores, spawning cold drizzles, strong winds and high waves, a weather official said.




Tropical cyclone Sidr was expected to make landfall late today along the Khulna-Barisal coast, said Shahjahan Alam, an official at the Meteorological Department in the capital, Dhaka.




At noon local time (1 a.m. EST), it was centered in the Bay of Bengal about 260 miles south of Mongla port.




"" The Associated Press




"It is likely to intensify and move in a northerly direction, and may cross the Khulna-Barisal coast by Thursday evening," the Meteorological Department warned in a special bulletin.




The coastal area borders eastern India and is famous for the mangrove forests of Sundarbans, a world heritage site that is home to rare Royal Bengal tigers.