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TAPA SHAIDAN MOUNTAIN — A Pakistani-owned plane carrying cargo for the U.S.-led coalition crashed into mountains near Afghanistan's capital Friday, killing at least eight people, officials said. A police commander at the crash site said there were no survivors, but officials differed on how many people had been on board.


LONDON — A British couple and an Australian man held in Iran for 13 days after their sailboat apparently strayed into Iranian waters were released Friday, the Foreign Office said.

LONDON — The son of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has accepted a settlement from a British newspaper that claimed he was involved in selling Iraqi oil during Saddam Hussein's rule, his lawyer said Friday.


BEIJING — A cartoon panda and Tibetan antelope are the newest Olympic players. They were among five mascots unveiled Friday for the 2008 Summer Games, opening a marketing blitz expected to reap record profits. Joining the antelope and panda were cartoon depictions of a fish, swallow and the Olympic flame, each a color of one of the Olympic rings.


BOGOTA — Colombia's highest court approved a law Friday that clears the way for President Alvaro Uribe to run for a second term next year.

Czech Republic

PRAGUE — Former President Bill Clinton praised former members of the Soviet bloc in the Baltic states and eastern Europe for moving to democracy but said "we're going through a critical period" on the future of Kosovo.


BERLIN — Germany's biggest political parties reached a deal Friday to form a coalition government, sealing an accord that would make Angela Merkel the nation's first woman chancellor.


JAKARTA — A police raid on a house used by Noordin Mohamad Top, the purported ringleader of an al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asia terrorist network, turned up a bomb-making and recruitment video, police said Friday.


ROME — Italian prosecutors have requested the extradition of 22 purported CIA operatives in the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in 2003, prosecutors said Friday.


KUWAIT CITY — A flamingo found on a Kuwaiti beach had the strain of bird flu that has devastated poultry stocks and killed more than 60 people in Asia — the first known case of the deadly bird flu in the Arab world. Also Friday, Thailand reported an 18-month-old boy was suffering from bird flu, and China reported two new outbreaks in poultry.


BEIRUT — U.N. investigators interviewed Lebanon's president on Friday about the assassination of a former prime minister — the first time the U.N. commission has received testimony from a head of state since it began collecting evidence in June.


MOSCOW — Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Russia, the European Union and the United States were working closely to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program but declined to comment on reports that a compromise proposal had been reached.


GENEVA — An inoculation campaign has eradicated polio in 10 African countries where the deadly disease was reintroduced after 2003, when a vaccine boycott in Nigeria was blamed for an outbreak across Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia, the U.N. health agency said Friday.

United Nations

Two U.N. legal experts are heading to North Korea next week to conduct a training session for lawyers to help improve their understanding of U.N. treaties, refugees and stateless people.


VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has waded into the evolution debate in the United States, saying the universe was made by an "intelligent project" and criticizing those who in the name of science say its creation was without direction or order.