In Brief | Nation & World, December 6, 2013


Fighting erupts in Central Africa Republic capital, France sends more troops

BANGUI, Central African Republic — Wielding rifles and machetes, armed Christian fighters who support the Central African Republic’s exiled president assaulted the capital at dawn on Thursday, leaving nearly 100 people dead. Shrouded bodies were lined up in a mosque as dozens of wounded lay on blood-stained hospital floors.

The ambush on Muslim neighborhoods of Bangui came as the United Nations voted to send a contingent of French troops to try to stabilize the country, and French President Francois Hollande announced plans to double the force. The daylong gunbattle touched even the most protected parts of the capital, including the residence of the prime minister, underscoring the volatile mix of arms and ideology facing the arriving French force.

Scores died in Thursday’s attack, including 48 people whose bodies were laid out at a mosque in a northern suburb of Bangui. Separately, a Doctors Without Borders spokeswoman, Amelie Ketoff, said another 50 deaths had been confirmed, bringing the toll to 98.

Some died of bullet wounds, others from what appeared to be machete blows using a weapon known in the local language as a “balaka.” The Christian militia, whose members are believed to have led the attack Thursday, call themselves the “anti-balaka,” reminiscent of the horrific violence once seen in Rwanda.

Rebel leader-turned-president Michel Djotodia appealed for calm, even as his residence was looted and vandalized by the fighters. He announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew in a bid to stem the threat of retaliatory violence against Christians, following the early morning attack on Muslim neighborhoods.

Handwritten Springsteen ‘Born to Run’ manuscript sells for $197,000

NEW YORK — Someone was willing to pay big bucks for an early glimpse of what would become the Boss’ “runaway American dream.”

A handwritten, working lyric sheet for Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 hit “Born to Run” sold at Sotheby’s Thursday for $197,000, well exceeding pre-sale estimates of between $70,000 and $100,000.

The auction house didn’t reveal the identity of either the seller or the telephone bidder who bought the document, which used to be in the collection of Springsteen’s former manager, Mike Appel.

The title track of Springsteen’s 1975 multiplatinum album has revved up generations of fans, from its opening view of “the streets of a runaway American dream” to its high-octane chorus: “tramps like us/baby we were born to run.” Some Springsteen aficionados still refer to themselves as “tramps.”

Most of the lines in this rough 1974 version, written in Long Branch, N.J., are apparently unpublished and unrecorded, but the manuscript does include “a nearly perfected chorus,” the auction house said. It’s one of only two identified manuscripts that include the rock anthem’s most famous lines, according to Sotheby’s.

White House changes story, says president briefly lived with uncle

WASHINGTON ­— The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama briefly lived with an uncle who faced deportation from the United States, correcting its previous statements that the president had never met Onyango Obama.

The 69-year-old, Kenyan-born half-brother of Obama’s estranged father was granted permission this week to stay in the U.S. after ignoring a deportation order two decades ago. The uncle is also known as Omar Obama.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that when the case first arose, officials looked for records of a meeting but never directly asked the president.

“When Omar Obama said the other day, and there were reports that he had said the other day that President Obama, back when he was a law school student, had stayed with him in Cambridge, I thought it was the right thing to do to go ask him,” Carney said. “Nobody had asked him in the past, and the president said that he, in fact, had met Omar Obama when he moved to Cambridge for law school and that he stayed with him for a brief period of time until his — the president’s apartment was ready.”

By wire reports