Robert MacPherson

Robert MacPherson

    Bombs killed a police officer and wounded five other people on Wednesday on the eve of parliamentary elections in Algeria, prompting fears of renewed Islamist extremism. The blasts came 48 hours after the North Africa branch of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network called on Algerians to boycott Thursday's polls.

    On the eve of only its third multiparty parliamentary election, there is concern in Algeria that too few citizens will bother to go out Thursday to cast their ballots. The outcome is forecast to favour a trio of political parties in the 389-seat National People's Assembly allied with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who since 1999 has wielded real power in North Africa's biggest nation.

    Every morning a mild-mannered British servant catches his commuter train to London, whips open his laptop and helps change the way people travel around the world. Mark Smith is the man behind The Man in Seat, an independent website that's riding a wave of global popularity as more and more travellers give up on chaotic air travel and embrace the romance of railways.

    Britain fell silent for two minutes on Friday in memory of the victims of the London bombings, as its top police officer warned that the threat of more outrages has "palpably increased" in the year since then. It was the worst terrorist to date attack on British soil, as well as Europe's first experience with a suicide bombing.

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair sacked his home secretary and moved other key ministers in a sweeping Cabinet reshuffle on Friday after voters punished his scandal-hit Labour Party in local elections. Blair also stripped Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott of many of his responsibilities.