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KANDAHAR — U.S. forces in Afghanistan fought militants on the ground and aircraft bombed them in a clash that left 25 rebels dead early Saturday before the nation's landmark elections, officials said.


DHAKA — Scientists estimate there are nearly 700 highly endangered tigers in the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest that straddles the border of India and Bangladesh, officials said Saturday.


SAO PAULO — An electoral court fined Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva $18,000 for using a public works project to promote a mayoral candidate from his party.


PARIS — World-renowned thinker Jacques Derrida, a charismatic philosopher who founded the school known as deconstructionism, has died, the French president's office said Saturday. He was 74.


PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitians demanding the return of ousted President Jean Bertrand-Aristide wounded a U.N. peacekeeper during a gunbattle on Saturday, and protesters in a northwestern city accused the interim government of not doing enough to help flood survivors.


SRINAGAR — A suicide car bomber rammed into an army convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Saturday, triggering an explosion that left four people dead and 22 wounded, the army said.


JAKARTA — Police have arrested the wife of one of Southeast Asia's most wanted terror suspects and plan to charge her in last year's suicide bombing at the J.W. Marriott hotel in the Indonesian capital, police said Saturday.


TOKYO — A powerful typhoon raked Japan's Pacific coastline Saturday, killing at least two people and leaving at least five others missing in the most powerful storm to hit the nation in a decade, officials said. Ma-on, which means horse saddle in Cantonese, was the record eighth typhoon to reach Japan's shores this year.


BEIRUT — President Bashar al-Assad of Syria made a rare, often confrontational foreign policy speech on Saturday, suggesting that the attempt by the United States and France to force his country to relinquish its hold over Lebanon would push the Middle East toward even greater chaos.


ABUJA — Plainclothes police detained a prominent Nigerian labor leader Saturday, bundling him into a car at an airport in an apparent effort to stop a threatened nationwide strike by oil-industry workers in Africa's largest petroleum exporter, his union said.


KARACHI — Unidentified gunmen killed two prominent Sunni Muslim clerics in an attack on their vehicle in this southern Pakistan city Saturday, police said.


ROSTOV-ON-DON — Whatever happened to chocolate, vanilla and strawberry? A court in southern Russia has banned the sale of Ukrainian ice cream that hit the shelves under names alluding to drugs, such as "Your Hemp Dose" and "Poppy Fun," a drug control official said Friday.

Saudi Arabia

KUWAIT CITY — Saudi Arabia's interior minister appealed to regional news media Saturday to help combat "improper ideas" that lead young people to support extremist movements. Speaking before a meeting with his counterparts from Persian Gulf nations, Prince Nayef said Arab journalists need to confront Islamic militancy.


NAIROBI, Kenya — Somali clan leaders debated the virtues of 28 presidential candidates Saturday, the day before an election intended to bring stability to a country that has had no government for more than a decade, has no money in its treasury and is run by warlords.


TAIPEI — Taiwan's leader on Saturday promised to make an "important announcement" today in his National Day speech that will improve icy relations with rival China and strengthen ties with the United States.