In the World

Villagers stand in front of the graves of those killedin Sunday's explosion in Afghanistan.
Villagers stand in front of the graves of those killedin Sunday's explosion in Afghanistan. (Associated Press)
Posted: January 14, 2013

France expands fight in Mali

BAMAKO, Mali - French fighter jets bombed rebel targets in a major city in Mali's north Sunday, pounding the airport and training camps, warehouses, and buildings used by the al-Qaeda-linked Islamists, officials and residents said.

The three-day-old French-led effort to take back Mali's north from extremists began with air strikes in the town of Konna. It has grown into a coordinated attack by fighter jets that have bombarded five towns; Gao, hit Sunday, is the largest.

More than 400 French troops have been deployed in the effort to win back the territory from the rebels, who seized nine months ago. The French offensive has grown to include seven other countries, including logistical support from the U.S. and Europe. - AP

Blast kills 7 in Afghan village

KABUL, Afghanistan - An explosion killed seven Afghan villagers Sunday as they tried to pull bodies of insurgents killed from the rubble of a village mosque after a night raid by NATO and Afghan troops in the country's east, officials said.

The predawn operation in Sayedabad district was aimed at capturing a Taliban fighter who had holed up in a village, said Wardak province spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.

The international and Afghan forces captured their target but came under attack from insurgents, sparking a two-hour gunfight during which at least one large blast sounded, he said. Four insurgents were dead by the time fighting ended around 4:30 a.m. About 6 a.m., residents came out to find the local mosque damaged and started digging through the rubble to uncover bodies. Shahid says something exploded as they dug, killing seven civilians. - AP

Serbia may ease grip on Kosovo

BELGRADE, Serbia - Serbia on Sunday adopted guidelines for reconciliation talks with the leaders of Kosovo, in a strong signal it is loosening its claim to its former province in hopes of getting closer to European Union membership.

In a resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority in Parliament, Serbia maintained it will never recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence. But in a big shift in policy, the document called for wide autonomy for minority Serbs within Kosovo, indirectly recognizing Kosovo's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

While outlining a government plan for the talks with Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders, Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said "Serbia's sovereignty over Kosovo practically does not exist" since NATO's 1999 bombing campaign chased Serbian troops out of the region. Kosovo is recognized by 90 countries including the United States. - AP

Elsewhere:

Buildings disappeared into Beijing's murky skyline Sunday as the air quality in China's polluted capital went off the index. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center recommended that children and the elderly stay indoors.

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