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Amnesty is offered to Taliban rebels

KABUL -- A senior Afghan official called yesterday on Taliban rebels to give up their fight under a government amnesty that, for the first time, would include wanted criminals and the rebel leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar. The offer was made by Sebaghatullah Mojadeddi, head of a commission seeking to make peace with Taliban-led militants. It came after US forces battled insurgents for five hours Sunday and two Marines and up to 23 rebels were killed. (Reuters)

Washington, D.C.

White House offers incentives to N.Korea

With negotiations sidetracked for nearly a year, the Bush administration offered a couple of incentives yesterday to North Korea, direct talks and recognition of its sovereignty, in a bid to halt its nuclear weapons program. There was no immediate response from Pyongyang. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday that North Korea had enough plutonium to make five or six atomic weapons. (AP)

NEWFOUNDLAND

Diocese plans to sell churches to raise cash

ST. JOHN'S -- A Roman Catholic diocese in eastern Canada plans to sell all its churches and missions to raise the money to pay the victims of sexual assault by a priest who was convicted in 1990, a bishop said yesterday. The Catholic Diocese of St. George's will sell about 150 properties to raise $10.5 million to settle with victims of Rev. Kevin Bennett, who was convicted of hundreds of sexual assaults over three decades. (AP)

UNITED NATIONS

Judge grants halt on oil-for-food subpoenas

The UN won an initial victory in federal court yesterday blocking congressional efforts to obtain documents a former investigator took with him when he quit a UN inquiry on the Iraq oil-for-food program. A US district judge in Washington issued a 10-day restraining order in the bid by a UN panel to quash congressional subpoenas for Robert Parton. The former FBI agent quit the inquiry in April, saying it ignored evidence critical of Secretary General Kofi Annan. (AP)

MEXICO

Mayor says he'll resign to run for president

MEXICO CITY -- Surviving what many saw as a government effort to keep him off next year's presidential ballot, Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said yesterday that he would resign at the end of July to run for president. Last week, the government of President Vicente Fox dropped a controversial land dispute case against Lopez Obrador. Congress had earlier stripped the mayor of immunity against prosecution, blocking his candidacy. (Knight Ridder)

KENYA

Witnesses: Dog saves abandoned newborn

NAIROBI -- A newborn girl abandoned in a Kenyan forest was saved by a stray dog that apparently carried her across a busy road and through a barbed wire fence to a shed where the infant was discovered nestled with the dog's litter of puppies, witnesses said yesterday. The child was named Angel by workers at the hospital where she is responding well to food and care. The dog, which has no name, reportedly found her Friday near the Ngong Forest. (AP)

BELGIUM

Trial begins for 2 over Rwanda genocide role

BRUSSELS -- Belgium began a trial yesterday for two Rwandans accused of playing a role in their country's 1994 genocide. Half-brothers Etienne Nzabonimana and Samuel Ndashyikirwa are accused of helping militias kill some 50,000 people. The court will try them under a universal-jurisdiction law allowing it to try war-crimes suspects even if they are not Belgian and their crimes were committed abroad. (Reuters)

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