QUETTA, Pakistan

Shiite death toll reaches 65 as wounded die in hospital

The death toll from a Pakistani Taliban suicide attack on a Shiite Muslim procession rose to 65 Saturday as critically wounded people died in hospitals, while a suspected U.S. missile strike killed seven insurgents in a restive tribal area.

About 150 people were wounded after the bombing Friday in the southwestern city of Quetta, police official Mohammed Sultan said.

The attack was the second in a week against Shiites for which the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. A triple suicide bombing Wednesday killed 35 people at a Shiite ceremony in the city of Lahore.

“Our war is against American and Pakistani security forces, but Shiites are also our target because they, too, are our enemies,” Pakistani Taliban commander Qari Hussain Mehsud said.


Thousands protest expulsion of Gypsies and other policies

Thousands of people marched in Paris and around France on Saturday to protest expulsions of Gypsies and other new security measures adopted by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government.

Protesters blew whistles and beat drums in the capital, the largest demonstration among those in at least 135 cities and towns across France and elsewhere in Europe. Human rights and anti-racism groups, labor unions and leftist political parties were taking part in the protests.

They accuse the conservative Sarkozy of stigmatizing minority groups like Gypsies and seeking political gain with a security crackdown.

Sarkozy announced new measures to fight crime in late July.

Sarkozy said Gypsy camps would be “systematically evacuated.” His interior minister and other officials said recently that about 1,000 Roma have been given small stipends and flown home since then.

Sarkozy has linked Roma to crime, saying their camps are sources of prostitution and child exploitation. His latest moves came after violence between police and youth in a suburban Grenoble housing project and other clashes in the Loire Valley.