U.S. casualties lowest in eight months as Iraqi death toll rises

n BAGHDAD - American military deaths for July rose to 73 on Tuesday with the report of a Marine killed in combat, but the toll was still the lowest in eight months as the U.S. said it was gaining control of former militant strongholds.

By contrast, July was the second-deadliest month for Iraqis so far this year, according to an Associated Press tally.

U.S. military officials, while saying they were heartened by the downturn in American deaths, cautioned it was too early to predict a sustained trend.

Afghanistan says it will not free prisoners to meet Taliban demands

n GHAZNI, Afghanistan - South Korea and relatives of 21 kidnapped Koreans appealed for U.S. help Tuesday, but Afghanistan said for the first time it will not release insurgent prisoners - the Taliban's key demand to free the captives.

Afghan police found the body of the second hostage slain since the Christian church group was seized nearly two weeks ago; the group's pastor was killed last week.

Retired general censured over Tillman death

n WASHINGTON - The Army on Tuesday censured a retired three-star general for a 'perfect storm of mistakes, misjudgments and a failure of leadership' after the 2004 friendly-fire death in Afghanistan of Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

Army Secretary Pete Geren asked an Army review panel to decide whether Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger should also have his rank reduced.

Geren told a Pentagon news conference that, while Kensinger was 'guilty of deception' in misleading investigators, there was no intentional Pentagon cover-up of circumstances surrounding the former pro football player's death - at first categorized by the military as being from enemy fire.

200,000 dollar bill unveiled in Zimbabwe

n HARARE, Zimbabwe - The central bank unveiled a new 200,000 Zimbabwe dollar note Tuesday, double the face value of what had been the highest denomination bill in a country where bundles of notes are needed for the simplest transactions.

The Reserve Bank said in a statement circulation of the new 200,000 Zimbabwe dollar bill from Wednesday was for 'convenience' in business and individual transactions.