Shiite gunmen clash in Karbala

n BAGHDAD - Fighting erupted Tuesday between rival Shiite militias in Karbala during a religious festival, claiming 51 lives and forcing officials to abort the celebrations and order up to 1 million Shiite pilgrims to leave the southern city.

Security officials said Mahdi Army gunmen loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr fired on guards around two shrines protected by the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.

Residents of Karbala contacted by telephone said snipers were firing on Iraqi security forces from rooftops.

Taliban agree to free 19 hostages

n GHAZNI, Afghanistan - Taliban militants agreed Tuesday to release 19 South Korean church volunteers held hostage for six weeks after Seoul reaffirmed a pledge to withdraw its troops by year's end and prevent Christian missionaries from working in Afghanistan.

The militants apparently backed away from demands for a prisoner exchange. But the Taliban, who killed two South Korean hostages last month, could emerge with enhanced political legitimacy for negotiating successfully with a foreign government.

S. Korean public figures busted for fake degrees

n SEOUL, South Korea - She was an up-and-coming South Korean curator nicknamed the 'art world's Cinderella' with a doctorate from Yale on her resume.

That was before Shin Jeong-ah's academic credentials were revealed as false, sending her into hiding and sparking a wave of revelations of faked diplomas that are shaking up South Koreans in all walks of life - professors, actresses, a cartoonist and even a Buddhist priest.

Prosecutors are investigating and universities and companies are running sweeping background checks, while other public figures are hastily correcting 'slip-ups' on their resumes.

More wildfires erupt in Greece

n ATHENS, Greece - More wildfires broke out and others rekindled Tuesday as anger rose over the government's handling of catastrophic blazes that have laid waste to vast stretches of the Greek countryside and killed at least 64 people.

The fires are dominating political debate ahead of parliamentary elections set for Sept. 16. Criticism that the government failed to respond quickly enough - and its suggestions that the fires resulted from an organized attack - could hurt Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.