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Dec. 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM
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Pakistani politician killed in bomb attack

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack that claimed the lives of eight people, including a top politician in the area.

The attack killed Bashir Ahmad Bilour, a senior minister in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, The New York Times reported.

Eight people were killed in the attack, including Bilour's secretary and a police officer, and more than 15 others were injured, local officials said.

The Pakistani Taliban on Saturday claimed responsibility for the attack.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf expressed shock, calling Bilour's death "a national loss."

Six die from norovirus breakout in Japan

NICHINAN, Japan, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- A norovirus outbreak at a hospital in southwestern Japan has killed six patients, hospital officials said Sunday.

The victims, all males in their 70s and 80s, all died after showing signs of virus-caused gastroenteritis symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea, vomiting and diarrhea, Kyodo reported.

About 44 patients and doctors at Shunkokaihigashi hospital in Nichinan, Miyazaki prefecture, have shown symptoms of gastroenteritis caused by the norovirus, officials said.

Health ministry officials have advised local governments to pay attention to the norovirus epidemic. Norovirus can be passed through person-to-person contact, eating contaminated food or inhaling particles in the air.

Storms, floods rake Scotland, Cornwall

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The British supermarket chain Tesco said it chartered a cargo plane to bring supplies to its stores in the Shetland Islands, still cut off by bad weather.

Tesco said the C-130 Hercules that flew in from Norway was needed to restock shelves emptied by islanders who have been without ferry service for two days and likely won't be able to reach the Scottish mainland until Monday at the earliest.

Additional aerial supply runs were expected Sunday.

The wet and wild weather across Scotland continued this weekend and prompted more than 30 flood warnings and advisories, The Scotsman said Sunday. Things should clear out Christmas Day, although temperatures were expected to be on the chilly side.

Britain's The Sunday Telegraph said scattered flooding was occurring in England as well, including severe flood warnings in Cornwall.

South Africans praying for Nelson Mandela

PRETORIA, South Africa, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- South African President Jacob Zuma urged citizens to pray for the health of former President Nelson Mandela, who underwent surgery to have gallstones removed.

Zuma visited Mandela Saturday at the Pretoria hospital where he is being treated, the South African Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said: "President Zuma assured him of the love and support of all South Africans, young and old, and the whole world. We urge South Africans to continue praying for our beloved Madiba during this period. Our hearts are with the whole family and relatives."

"Madiba" is Mandela's clan name, meaning "father."

Mandela was first admitted to the hospital two weeks ago for treatment of a recurring lung infection. He later underwent a procedure to remove gallstones.

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