Bush: Good intelligence will help U.S. forces find al-Qaida in Pakistan

n CAMP DAVID, Md. - President Bush said Monday the U.S. and Pakistan, if armed with good intelligence, can track and kill al-Qaida leaders. He stopped short of saying whether he would ask the Pakistani president before dispatching U.S. troops into that nation.

While Bush hails Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf as a trusted ally against terrorism, Pakistan has objected to the U.S. taking any unilateral action within its borders.

Bush also said he thinks Iran is playing a destabilizing role in neighboring Afghanistan where the Taliban have staged a comeback.

'I would be very cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence in Afghanistan is a positive force,' Bush said at the Camp David presidential retreat after a two-day meeting with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

Taliban warns of more kidnappings, says fate of hostages rests with U.S., Afghan leaders

n GHAZNI, Afghanistan - The Taliban will keep kidnapping foreigners in Afghanistan, a purported spokesman for the group said Monday, as the Afghan and U.S. presidents ruled out making any concessions for the release of 21 South Korean hostages.

Qari Yousef Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, said the lives of the 21 hostages rests in the hands of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Bush, who met at Camp David on Monday.

'Karzai and Bush will have responsibility for whatever happens to the hostages,' Ahmadi said.

More Sunnis quit Iraqi Cabinet; bomber kills 28

n BAGHDAD - Iraq's political crisis worsened Monday as five more ministers announced a boycott of Cabinet meetings - leaving the embattled prime minister's unity government with no members affiliated with Sunni political factions.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber killed at least 28 people in a northern city, including 19 children, some playing hopscotch and marbles in front of their homes.

Flood victims fight for food; Indian air force brings aid

n NEW DELHI - Starving flood victims fought each other for scarce food supplies Monday as the Indian air force stepped up airlifts of provisions to some 2 million stranded people.

Water receded across northern India and Bangladesh after three days without significant rainfall, but the death toll from the recent flooding still surged past 360, including at least 15 people who died when heavy currents sank their boat on the flood-swollen Ganges River. About 30 more people were missing.

Israeli, Palestinian leaders hold meetings in Jericho

n JERICHO, West Bank - In their first meeting on Palestinian soil, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday he hopes to launch negotiations 'soon' on establishing a Palestinian state, his clearest promise yet to tackle a final peace deal.

The trappings of the three-hour session were perhaps as important as the content.

Olmert became the first Israeli leader to visit a Palestinian town after seven years of bloody fighting, and Israeli and Palestinian security forces worked together to protect him, blocking all access to the five-star hotel in the biblical oasis of Jericho where the meeting took place.

British farmers brace for foot-and-mouth epidemic

n LONDON - Michael Fordham remembers all too well the ravages of the foot-and-mouth epidemic that swept Britain in 2001 - millions of cattle destroyed and a personal financial burden almost impossible to bear.

Six years later, government measures to contain a new outbreak of the highly contagious disease are threatening Fordham's farm of 90 head of cattle near the town of Uckfield in southern England.

'I couldn't believe it, it was absolutely staggering to think it could happen again,' he said Monday. 'And on top of all the flooding and bad weather.'

Severe floods in June and July had already proved costly for farmers, and authorities were looking into the possibility that the flooding helped spread the virus.

Iran shuts down reformist newspaper for second time

n TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's leading reformist newspaper was shut down Monday for the second time in a year after publishing an interview with a poet who called for greater gender equality, authorities said.

The daily Shargh, or East, was founded in 2003 and first shut in September 2006 for publishing a cartoon deemed to have made fun of Iranian government hard-liners. It was allowed to reopen in June.