Iraq violence: 9 dead

FALLUJAHL Nine people were killed, including six soldiers and two policemen, in a swathe of bombings and shootings across Iraq on Saturday, ministry and security officials said. In the deadliest attack, four soldiers died and 10 others were wounded when their patrol struck a roadside bomb at around 0900 GMT near a petrol station northeast of Fallujah, 50 kilometres west of Baghdad, said an official from the interior ministry. In the oil-rich and ethnically-mixed northern province of Kirkuk, a roadside bomb in the town of Hawijaa killed two soldiers who were on a military patrol. — AFP

Quake rocks Samoa

APIA: A 5.9-magnitude quake hit off Samoa in the South Pacific late Friday, seismologists said, but there was no tsunami warning and no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The quake struck shortly before 1045 GMT on Saturday at a narrow depth of 10 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said. Its epicentre was 283 kilometres south of the Samoan capital Apia. Samoa was devastated by huge waves that struck on September 29 after an 8.0 magnitude quake smashed into the southern coast of the island Upolu. — AFP

Militants bomb bridge

ZAMBOANGA: An al-Qaida-linked militant group on Saturday bombed a bridge often used by the military on a southern Philippine island where a US-backed offensive against the group has so far failed, a military spokesman said. It was the third bridge bombing in the past month on Jolo island, a poor, predominantly Muslim region in the largely Roman Catholic country. Regional military commander Major General Benjamin Dolorfino blamed the Abu Sayyaf militant group. — AP

Laptop for every pupil

URUGUAY: Uruguay has become the first country to provide a laptop for every child attending state primary school. At a concluding programme, President Tabaré Vázquez presented the final XO model laptops to pupils at a school in Montevideo on 13 October. Over the last two years, more than 362,000 pupils and 18,000 teachers have been involved in the scheme. Uruguay is part of the One Laptop Per Child scheme, an organisation set up by internet pioneer Nicholas Negroponte. — Agencies