News in Brief

Bomb kills 63 in Pakistan market

A bomb ripped through a crowded vegetable market in a mostly Shiite neighborhood in a southern Pakistani city Saturday, killing at least 63 people and wounding some 180, some critically, in a horrific attack on the country’s minority Muslim sect. Police raised the death toll several times and said many of those wounded in the explosion in Quetta remain in critical condition. The blast left many victims buried under rubble, but police said they did not know how many. It was the deadliest incident since bombings in the same city killed 86 people earlier this year. ‏(AP‏)

Vatican considering choosing pope early

The Vatican raised the possibility on Saturday that the conclave to elect the next pope might start sooner than March 15, the earliest date possible under current rules that require a 15-20 day waiting period after the papacy becomes vacant. Vatican spokesman The Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the Vatican rules on papal succession are open to interpretation. The 15-20 day rule is in place to allow for the arrival of “all those ‏(cardinals‏) who are absent” after a pope dies. But in this case, the cardinals already know that this pontificate will end on Feb. 28, Lombardi said. In order to have a new pope in place for Holy Week, he would need to be installed by March 17. ‏(AP‏)

Thousands in Tunisia rally behind Islamists

Thousands of supporters of the ruling Islamist party marched in Tunisia’s capital in response to rising criticism about the country’s direction two years after its revolution. Demonstrators expressed support for the moderate Islamist Ennahda party. Tensions have mounted between the governing coalition and opposition after leftist politician Chokri Belaid was killed February 6. At the rally, banners bore phrases like “we are here by the people’s will, only bayonets will make us leave” and “the revolution continues.” ‏(AP‏)