DUBLIN, Ireland

Protestant militants wound 56 officers at IRA parade

Northern Ireland’s police chief vowed Saturday to hunt down and imprison scores of Protestant militants after they attacked and wounded 56 officers protecting a parade by Irish Republican Army supporters.

Friday night’s outbreak of violence in downtown Belfast could be the first in a tense weekend involving disputed parades by both the Irish Catholic and British Protestant extremes of society.

Senior police said Protestant extremists encouraged by social-media messages rallied to block the parade on Royal Avenue, Belfast’s major shopping boulevard. Some wore British flags as capes or masks, and tore up scaffolding and pavement stones to attack police girded in full riot gear.

Police responded by striking rioters with water cannons and 26 plastic bullets – blunt-nosed cylinders designed to deal punishing blows without penetrating the flesh. Several protesters could be seen staggering away from the confrontation zone with bloodied faces.

Protestant politicians said security officials should never have authorized what they called a deliberately provocative march by Irish republican hard-liners opposed to Northern Ireland’s peace process.

BAGHDAD, Iraq

Car bombs kill 40 people celebrating Ramadan’s end

A wave of car bombings targeting cafes and markets around the Iraqi capital of Baghdad killed 40 people Saturday out celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, officials said.

Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April, and attacks against civilians and security forces notably spiked during Ramadan. The surge of attacks has sparked fears that the country could spiral into a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

Police said the deadliest of Saturday’s attacks took place when a car bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Baghdad’s southeastern suburbs of Jisr Diyala shortly before sunset, killing seven people and wounding 20.

NEW DELHI, India

Reactor on first nuclear sub built in India is activated

India on Saturday activated the atomic reactor aboard its first indigenously designed and built nuclear submarine, paving the way for its deployment by the navy in the next two years.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the development represented a giant stride in the progress of India’s indigenous technological capabilities.

The vessel is the first ballistic missile submarine to be built outside the five recognized nuclear powers — the United States, France, Russia, Britain and China.

Rahul Bedi, an analyst for the independent Jane’s Information Group, said the submarine would now undergo sea trials. The vessel has been undergoing harbor trials in eastern India.

Last year, India acquired a Russian Nerpa nuclear submarine for its navy on a 10-year lease from Russia at a total cost of nearly $1 billion.

MAUMERE, Indonesia

Volcano erupts, killing 6 in East Nusa Tenggara

Hot lava from an erupting volcano killed six people sleeping in a beach village on a small island in eastern Indonesia on Saturday, after ash and smoke from the volcano shot about a mile into the air.

Mount Rokatenda in East Nusa Tenggara province erupted early Saturday morning, and nearly 3,000 people have been evacuated from the area on Palue island, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. The volcano has been rumbling since last October.

The victims who died included three adults and two children, said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, adding that the age of the sixth person killed was unclear. He said that the adults’ bodies were recovered from Ponge beach in Rokirole village, but the children’s remains had not been found.

Video footage on Indonesia’s TVOne showed giant plumes of smoke and ash belching from the volcano into a sunny blue sky. Prior to Saturday’s eruption, many residents had already been moved to safer areas.

–From news service reports