World and Nation

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Bomb Attacks in India Kill At Least 64

A series of apparently synchronized explosions tore through four towns in the troubled state of Assam in northeastern India on Thursday, killing at least 64 people and leaving more than 210 wounded, according to witnesses and the police.

The bombs were aimed at crowded markets and government buildings like courts and police stations, witnesses said. The attacks, among the bloodiest in recent months, left streets littered with bodies and the wreckage of cars and motorcycles, according to witnesses and photographers at the scene.

There were no immediate reports that any group had taken responsibility for the bombings.

For many years, Assam state has been riven by a separatist insurgency led by the United Liberation Front of Assam, which demands independence for the region of some 26 million people and is often blamed by the authorities for bombings. Last month, ethnic clashes left 57 people dead in the area when indigenous Bodos fought with Bengali-speaking Muslims.

According to witnesses and the police, at least nine blasts rocked the four towns attacked on Thursday, including three in the state capital, Guwahati. One of the bombs there had been left in the parking lot of the district court.

With 58 Percent Jump in Profit, A Record Quarter for Exxon

In what may prove to be a high-water mark for corporate profits, the oil giant Exxon Mobil reported another blowout quarter on Thursday, thanks to record oil prices this summer and gasoline prices that rose above $4 a gallon.

With nearly $15 billion in profits, Exxon once more set a record for most profitable American corporation, during the three-months ending in September, when prices were at their highest.

Oil prices have dropped sharply in recent weeks, falling more than 50 percent from their peak just three months ago, as oil consumption slows amid the economic downturn.

Exxon’s report came as the Commerce Department said the economy shrank on an annual basis by 0.3 percent in the third quarter. The contraction, as consumers curbed their spending, signaled that the United States was probably in a recession. Still, the last quarter extended a staggering run for Exxon, which has routinely set records only to beat them. Exxon’s profits have exceeded $10 billion in 9 of the last 12 quarters. The third quarter was no exception as Exxon’s profit rose 58 percent to $14.8 billion, exceeding its previous quarterly record by more than $3 billion.