World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Once-Maligned Colts Defense Shuts Bears Down

In the week before the AFC championship game two weeks ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy joked that one outstanding defensive performance might be considered an accident, and two might be a coincidence. Three, he said, would be a trend.

Does a fourth mean dominance?

It does mean a Super Bowl title for the Colts, who were supposed to have a finesse defense that could not stop the run and ended up with a championship defense that shut down all four playoff opponents. That defense held the Chicago Bears to 265 yards and forced five turnovers, helping the Colts to a 29-17 victory on Sunday night.

Little more than a month ago, such a turnaround seemed like a pipe dream for an injury-riddled defense derided as the Colts’ weak link.

And it was hard to imagine that the Colts would play better defense than the Bears, whose franchise identity is built on punishing hits, especially on the slower track of a rain-soaked field like the one on which the Super Bowl was played Sunday night.

After Major Flooding, Indonesia Braces For Disease

Much of this capital city was underwater on Tuesday, and the authorities warned of the possible spread of disease after torrential rains, overflowing rivers, and clogged sewers brought widespread flooding over the weekend.

At least 29 people were reported to have died from drowning, electrocution, or disease. An estimated 340,000 people were driven from their homes, and hundreds of thousands remained without electricity or clean water in the worst flooding in Jakarta in years.

The skies cleared on Monday, but meteorologists said more rain was possible in the days ahead, along with renewed flooding if rivers overflowed their banks again.

Across lower-lying parts of Jakarta that are populated mostly by the poor, water that had risen as high as 12 feet still engulfed entire houses.

Officials estimated that 40 percent to 70 percent of this city of 12 million people was submerged. From the air, it appeared in places that red tile roofs were floating on the brown water.

Iran Diplomat Kidnapped By Iraqis With Official ID

An Iranian diplomat was abducted Sunday evening when his convoy was stopped by men with official Defense Ministry identification in the Karrada neighborhood here, senior Iraqi and U.S. officials said Monday.

Iraqi security forces captured several suspects after pursuing their vehicles through the streets of Baghdad, two of the Iraqi officials said.

The vehicle with the diplomat was not caught, though.

Bombings killed at least 29 people and wounded 90 more in Baghdad as preparations for the latest attempt to secure the city were under way. Those preparations are part of the U.S.-led troop buildup that some U.S. and Iraqi officials view as a last-ditch effort to keep violence in the capital from degenerating into an all-out sectarian war between Shiite and Sunni Arabs.

The abduction of the Iranian took place in a largely Shiite section of the city not far from where a horrific truck bomb killed at least 135 people on Saturday and where residents have complained that the slow pace of the increase in U.S. troops has left them open to attacks.