Death toll from Quetta reaches 80
QUETTA, Pakistan, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The death toll from a bombing in Quetta, Pakistan, has risen to 80, with more expected to succumb to their injuries, officials said.
The bombing happened on Kerani Road in Quetta on Saturday when alleged terrorists set off an improvised explosive device that was planted in a water tank was armed with between 1,750 and 2,200 pounds of high-grade explosives, Geo News reported.
The death toll reached 80 people Sunday, with 173 people injured, police said. More casualties are feared as many of the injured were in critical condition. A large number of women and children are among the victims of the bombing.
The governments of Sindh and Balochistan held a day of mourning Sunday for the Quetta bombing, Geo News said.
Meanwhile, Karachi Goods Transporters Association and the Oil Tankers Association announced they plan to halt supply of goods across the country following the bombing.
President Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Balochistan Gov. Zulfiqar Magsi and asked him to monitor the relief operation in Quetta and provide stronger security to the Hazara community, the report said.
U.S. may shift more drones away from CIA
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Obama administration officials say they are considering shifting some of the CIA's covert drone operations to the U.S. military.
John Brennan, Obama's nominee to be CIA director, told the Senate Intelligence Committee in written comments he favors having the Pentagon handle the bulk of drone missions.
The Los Angeles Times said Sunday the military operates under a more-transparent set of rules, which in some cases could mean more public disclosure about missions.
Drone operations have become a source of some friction between Washington and foreign governments. CIA flights are classified unless the president specifically de-classifies them. The military, however, could release information more freely, the Times said.
The newspaper said some CIA officials favor the proposal. Turning over a large chunk of its missions to the military will allow the agency to focus more energy on pure intelligence-gathering flights.
Pope makes post-resignation appearance
VATICAN CITY, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Thousands of people showed up in St. Peter's Square in Rome to see Pope Benedict XVI make one of his final public appearances Sunday.
Benedict appeared at his study window overlooking St. Peter's Square at 11 local time -- the first of such appearances since he announced his resignation on Monday, the BBC reported.
During the appearance, Benedict urged followers to "renew" and "refocus" on God.
"The church calls on all its members to renew themselves ... which constitutes a fight, a spiritual battle, because the evil spirit wants us to deviate from the road towards God," he said.
Benedict will step down from his role on Feb. 28. Between now and then, he is scheduled to make very few public appearances.
The pope plans to spend this week at a Lenten prayer retreat, closeted inside the Apostolic Palace with senior cardinals and bishops.
Brothers win lottery, blow up house
WICHITA, Kan., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Police said two brothers who were celebrating their $75,000 winning lottery ticket in Kansas purchased drugs and then accidentally blew up their house.
One brother, 27, was sent to the hospital following the explosion Friday, The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle said.
He has second-degree burns on his hands, arms and chest and is in serious, but stable condition.
Police said the other brother was sent to jail.
The Eagle said one of the brothers went to the kitchen to refuel the butane torches they used to light their bongs, when he leaked butane into the air.
"The butane vapor reached the pilot light in the furnace, and as you might expect, ka-boom," Sgt. Bruce Watts of the Wichita Police Department said.
The victim's girlfriend put her boyfriend and some children in the car, dropped him off at the emergency room and left, The Eagle said.
Officers entered the home with a warrant and the other brother allegedly admitted to having marijuana and methamphetamine, the newspaper said.