Calls for Lebanon's leader to resign grow

BEIRUT, Lebanon - A judge questioned three of four pro-Syrian generals Friday named by the United Nations as suspects in the slaying of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and calls for Lebanon's president to resign reached Cabinet level.

The four generals were among the most powerful men in Lebanon during Syria's long domination, and three are close to President Emile Lahoud. They led Lebanon's security services when Hariri and 20 others were killed by a bomb in Beirut on Feb. 14.

Russian diplomat at U.N. charged

NEW YORK - A Russian diplomat who chairs a powerful U.N. budget committee was accused in an indictment Friday of helping hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts from companies seeking U.N. contracts.

The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering against Vladimir Kuznetsov was contained in a grand jury indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Aruban judge orders release of two in missing teen case

ORANJESTAD, Aruba - A judge on Friday ordered the conditional release of two Surinamese brothers held in the disappearance of an Alabama teenager, their lawyers said. The two will be freed Saturday along with another suspect.

The judge ruled that Deepak, 18, and Satish Kalpoe, 21, could go free on condition that they not leave Aruba and remain available to police, said attorneys Ruud Oomen and David Kock.

Police clear two Paris buildings in fire safety sweep

PARIS - Police evicted about 140 mainly African squatters, some sobbing or screaming, from two dilapidated buildings Friday as authorities began a sweep of dwellings deemed fire hazards following two deadly blazes.

The evacuations, ordered by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, followed two recent fires that killed dozens of African immigrants in the French capital and put the issue of substandard housing on the national agenda. Police opened an arson investigation Friday into one of the fires, which killed 17 people, 14 of them children, a week ago.

Taliban commander, U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan clash

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - U.S. and Afghan forces killed a regional Taliban commander in a clash that also left an American soldier and an Afghan interpreter dead, the military said Friday as violence spiraled ahead of this month's elections.

The Taliban commander - identified by Afghan officials as Thor Mullah Manan - was killed with another rebel fighter in a firefight Thursday with coalition and Afghan forces in Daychopan district of southern Zabul province, the U.S. military said.

Official says trial of Saddam Hussein set to begin Oct. 19

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi authorities have set Oct. 19 as the date for the start of the trial of Saddam Hussein, an official said Friday. A Western diplomat discounted the report as ''posturing.''

The Iraqi official said authorities wanted the trial to start soon after Iraqis finish the referendum on the new constitution Oct. 15.

Top aide to Brazil's finance minister resigns in scandal

SAO PAULO, Brazil - The top aide to the architect of Brazil's market-friendly economic policy resigned after denying involvement in a corruption scandal shaking the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.

Juscelino Dourado, chief of staff to Finance Minister Antonio Palocci, submitted his resignation Thursday night.

London suicide bomber appears in farewell tape

CAIRO, Egypt - One of the four suicide attackers who bombed London's transit system on July 7 made a dramatic farewell in a videotape that also included al-Qaida's No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri calling the subway attack ''a slap to the face'' of Britain and warning of more bloodshed.

Mohammad Sidique Khan, a Briton of Pakistani ancestry, said in the tape broadcast on Thursday that Westerners

had failed to heed previous warnings.

- From wire reports