Carnival mishap toll 69:

SAO PAULO: At least 69 people died in road accidents during Carnival weekend in Brazil, while some 762 people were injured, police said on Monday. The toll was an improvement over 2004, however, when 96 died and 793 were injured during the same three-day period. — AFP

Officials suspended:

LONDON: The head of the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq and a senior UN official who dealt with contracts for the programme have been suspended following an independent investigation that accused them of misconduct, a UN spokesman said on Monday. Benon Sevan, who was in charge of the $64bn humanitarian programme, and Joseph Stephanides, who heads the UN security council affairs division, were informed on Friday that they had been suspended with pay. — The Guardian

Priest convicted:

MASSACHUSETTS: Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, the most notorious figure in the sex scandal that rocked the Boston Archdiocese, was convicted of repeatedly raping and fondling a boy at his Roman Catholic church during the 1980s. Shanley, 74, could get life in prison for two counts each of child rape and indecent assault and battery on a child when he is sentenced February 15. — AP

Oppn party leaders quit:

BANGKOK: The leaders of Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party stepped down en masse on Tuesday, accepting responsibility for a humiliating election defeat to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s party. “I have informed executives that as leader I should take responsibility by resigning, along with the secretary general and the 17 other executives who also decided to resign,” Democrat leader Banyat Bantadtan said. — AFP

P’pine clash toll 50:

ZAMBOANGA: Over 30 Muslim rebels and 16 soldiers have been killed in two days of fierce gunbattles in the southern Philippine island of Jolo, the military said on Tuesday.

Fighting between followers of Nur Misuari, a jailed politician and former separatist guerrilla leader, and troops was concentrated in four towns in Jolo, a stronghold of Islamic militants. — AFP

Poll candidate killed:

SRINAGAR: Suspected Islamic rebels abducted and killed a candidate for municipal office in Kashmir on Tuesday, a police officer said. Ghulam Mohiuddin Mir was kidnapped on Tuesday outside his village, Beerwah, southwest of Srinagar. Residents of a neighbouring village later heard gunshots and found Mir’s body, said Javed Makhdoomi, the inspector-general of police. — AP