The Daily Planet

Unregistered mobile phones will stop working in Thailand’s insurgency-plagued southernmost provinces by mid-November, in an effort to curb bomb attacks triggered by cell phones. Since May only users of pre-paid mobile services have been required to register with authorities, but Thai communications authorities have expanded that programme to include all cell phones. The plan aims to stop bomb attacks triggered by mobile phones in the three southern provinces bordering Malaysia — Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala — where an insurgency has raged since January 2004 and claimed more than 970 lives. The new ban will also include telephones using roaming services from neighbouring countries, especially in Malaysia and users of such phones also must register with the government. Among 21.5 million pre-paid mobile phones, just eight million, or 37 percent, have registered with the authorities.

Large areas of the Nigerian economic capital Lagos were enveloped in a dense cloud of mysterious fumes, triggering health concerns. Residents in the heavily populated inner city districts of Ikeja, Oregun and Gbagada complained of irritation to their eyes and stomach pains after what appeared to be smoke filled the streets. Lagos is Africa’s largest city; with more than 16 million residents living closely packed in what is often run-down slum accommodation. Pollution is a constant hazard. Television images of the latest leakage showed a dense, fog-like grey cloud lying over the city centre, reducing visibility in some areas to less than 20 meters.

Authorities declared part of the Amazon River a disaster area after a drought left the levels of parts of the river too low for navigation. The government of the jungle state of Amazonas declared the disaster, freeing up money, food and medicine to scores of river communities that now can be reached only by air. Officials said the water levels in areas about 35 miles upstream from Manaus have dropped several feet to about five feet, making it hazardous for river boats and difficult for fishing, a key occupation. Workers have been sent to dig wells to supply isolated communities with drinking water, which previously was drawn from the river.

Hamas’ first female bomb maker (Samar Sabih) is a 22-year-old university graduate who was recruited in Gaza and sent to the West Bank to teach others to assemble explosives, Israeli security officials say, noting a sharp rise in the use of women by militant groups in the past two years. In the past five years, a total of 67 Palestinian women were recruited as suicide bombers, including eight who carried out their mission and 59 who were intercepted and arrested. In all, about 7% of actual suicide bombings were carried out by women.

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