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Stampede kills 61

ABIDJAN -- A crowd stampeded after leaving a New Year's fireworks show early Tuesday in Ivory Coast's main city, killing 61 people -- many of them children and teenagers -- and injuring more than 200, rescue workers said.

Thousands had gathered at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan's Plateau district to see the fireworks. It was only the second New Year's Eve fireworks display since peace returned to this West African nation after a bloody upheaval over presidential elections put the nation on the brink of civil war and turned this city into a battle zone.

With 2013 showing greater promise, people were in the mood to celebrate on New Year's Eve.

Families brought children and they watched the rockets burst in the nighttime sky.

But only an hour into the new year, as the crowds poured onto the Boulevard de la Republic after the show, something caused a stampede, said Col. Issa Sako of the fire department rescue team.

Hefner weds again

LOS ANGELES -- Hugh Hefner is celebrating the new year as a married man once again.

The 86-year-old Playboy magazine founder exchanged vows with his "runaway bride," Crystal Harris, at a private Playboy Mansion ceremony on New Year's Eve. Harris, a 26-year-old Playmate of the Month in 2009, broke off a previous engagement to Hefner just before they were to be married in 2011.

Playboy said on Tuesday the couple celebrated at a New Year's Eve party at the mansion with guests that included comic Jon Lovitz and Gene Simmons of KISS.

Hefner has been married twice before but lived the single life between 1959 and 1989.

Seven killed in attack

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Gunmen on motorcycles sprayed a van carrying employees from a community centre with bullets Tuesday, killing five female teachers and two aid workers, but sparing a child they took out of the vehicle before opening fire.

The director of the group the seven worked for said he suspects it may have been the latest in a series of attacks targeting anti-polio efforts in Pakistan.

Some militants oppose the vaccination campaigns, accusing health workers of acting as spies for the U.S. and alleging the vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile.

Last month, nine people working on an anti-polio vaccination campaign were shot and killed.

Four of those shootings were in the northwest where Tuesday's attack took place.

The attack was another reminder of the risks to female educators and aid workers from Islamic militants who oppose their work.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2013 A11

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