BAGHDAD

Car bombings, fighting claim 20 lives across Iraq

Violence across Iraq, including a series of car bombings and fighting between militants and government troops over control of the country’s contested Anbar province, killed at least 20 people Saturday, officials said.

Medical officials confirmed the death tolls for the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year, particularly since late last month after authorities dismantled an anti-government Sunni protest camp and arrested a Sunni lawmaker on terrorism charges in Anbar province. To alleviate the tension, the army pulled back, but that allowed al-Qaida militants to seize control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the provincial capital.

ISTANBUL

Police fire water cannons at hundreds of protesters

Riot police in Istanbul have used water cannons against hundreds of people protesting a government plan to expand controls over the public’s use of Internet.

Police did that Saturday to prevent a protest march down a main street to denounce the draft bill that would allow Turkey’s telecommunications authority to block websites accused of privacy violations without a court decision.

Critics say that would expand the government’s already tight grip on the Internet. The government rejects accusations of censorship, saying the move aims to protect privacy.

The measure comes as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is fighting a corruption probe targeting people close to him.

BOGOTA, Colombia

Cocaine expertly disguised as asphalt, tests reveal

Colombian officials say tests reveal a seized shipment of asphalt turned out to be expertly disguised cocaine.

Gen. Ricardo Restrepo said in a press conference Saturday that officials are still trying to determine how the cocaine was mixed with the asphalt. He said the process required “very expert” knowledge.

Police last month seized the shipment of 12 sacks of what appeared to be asphalt on a road leading to the city of Maicao some 480 miles northeast of the capital of Bogota.

The first tests failed to determine what the material was, but subsequent tests determined the small black rocks in the shipment were nearly 700 pounds of cocaine.

Colombian authorities have in the past found cocaine hidden in creative ways, including mixed with coffee and stashed inside lemons and bananas.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina

Carnivorous fish attack, injure at least 10 bathers

Attacks by a school of carnivorous fish have injured at least 10 people bathing in an Argentine river since Thursday.

The attacks took place in the Parana River in Rosario some 186 miles northeast of Buenos Aires. Seventy people who were cooling off from high temperatures were also injured there in late December by the same piranha-like fish. They’ve been described by the local director of lifeguards as “a type of piranha, big, voracious and with sharp teeth that can really bite.”

– From news service reports