Chatter: Bus bomb explodes in Tel Aviv, Israel blames terrorists




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Need to know:
At least 10 people are injured after an explosion on a bus in Tel Aviv.

Israel is calling it a "terrorist attack" and has launched a manhunt for the suspected bomber, who is believed to have escaped before the blast. In Gaza, meanwhile, mosque loudspeakers relayed a message purportedly from Hamas claiming responsibility for the bomb, and celebratory gunfire rang out in Gaza City.

Tellingly, several of the people hospitalized are said to be suffering from panic attacks. Today's explosion, the first such in Tel Aviv in six years, has brought back memories of the dark days when suicide bombings were regular occurrences.

It has also made a cease-fire, on this, the eighth day of hostilities, look that bit further away. The truce that was rumored to be imminent yesterday never came; now, with Israel already said to have stepped up its air strikes on Gaza, it seems like too much to hope for.

Want to know:
As of this morning, none of the men who carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks are still alive.

The only gunman known to have survived the city-wide shootings and bombings, Pakistani national Ajmal Amir Kasab, was hanged at Yerwada jail in Pune early today. The execution, which was not announced in advance, came two weeks after Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his final plea for mercy – and four years almost to the day since Kasab and at least nine accomplices killed 166 people and injured 300.

Amid celebrations on the streets of Mumbai, Maharashtra home minister RR Patil called Kasab's death "a true tribute to the victims and martyrs" of 26/11.

Dull but important:
Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have promised to "liberate" the country from its government.

The M23 rebels have already claimed the regional capital of eastern Congo, Goma, and confirmed today that their ambitions didn't stop there. The fighters vowed to march south to Bukavu, and from there to the national capital, Kinshasa.

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously condemned M23's advance. Which is all very well, but UN peacekeepers reportedly stood back and looked on as the rebels seized Goma.

DRC president Joseph Kabila has urged the Congolese people to "resist" the rebels. He's due to meet his counterparts in Rwanda and Uganda – the two not-entirely-disinterested neighbors who stand accused of backing the rebellion – later today.

Just because:
So, you know what we said about there being hope for Twinkies? Yeah, not so much.

Hostess announced last night that its much-hyped mediation talks with its biggest labor union failed to produce an agreement. So back to bankruptcy court it is.

With up to 30 percent of its workforce on strike, the company has applied to shutter its operations and start selling off its assets. Three of its plants have been closed since last week. It has another court hearing today to decide whether liquidation can proceed.

As you were, snack stockpilers, as you were.

Strange but true:
Miss Russia has some things to say about her country, and they're not what you might expect. Natalia Pereverzeva, Russia's contestant for Miss Earth, describes her homeland as "a beggar."

"The 'chosen' few people are draining away its wealth... From it, bleeding, like from a sinking ship, engineers, doctors, teachers are fleeing, because they have nothing to live on. My Russia – it is an endless Caucasian war."

Gracious. For a native of a country that recently banned an opposition protest against political repression because "there is no such thing," that's a bold thing to say – even (especially?) in a swimsuit.

Miss "Endless Caucasian War," we salute you. But with all that's going down, we almost wish you'd just said you wanted world peace.