France's First Couple splits

PARIS - France's glamorous First Couple is no more.

President Nicolas Sarkozy and his elegant but enigmatic wife, Cecilia, called it quits and abruptly announced their divorce Thursday after months of speculation about their marriage.

The split - a first for France - spelled the end of a seemingly passionate but deeply political power couple who had challenged the traditional role of president and first lady.

Coalition troops ambushed by Taliban forces

KABUL, Afghanistan - Taliban used heavy machine guns and rocket propelled grenades to ambush a U.S.-led coalition patrol in southern Afghanistan that wounded nine troops, a coalition statement said Thursday.

The insurgents attacked the patrol near Kandahar city Wednesday, the statement said.

'The coalition forces repelled the attempted ambush using small arms fire to counterattack the enemy,' it said.

None of the wounds sustained by coalition troops were serious, the statement said. There were no reports of insurgent casualties.

Iraqi officials fear backlash over execution orders for regime chiefs

BAGHDAD - Iraq's leaders grappled Thursday over the death sentences for three former Saddam Hussein regime heavyweights - including the notorious enforcer known as 'Chemical Ali' - amid warnings the hangings could enflame sectarian violence and derail efforts at reconciliation.

But any serious delays in carrying out the executions also risk backlash from the victims of Saddam's attacks, including Kurds who faced a brutal crackdown in the 1980s that led to the death sentences.

British lawmakers call for swimming pool to stay fit

LONDON - Weight-concious lawmakers called on British authorities Thursday to replace Parliament's shooting gallery with a swimming pool, saying it would help them keep in shape.

'Do you agree that there are too many fat members of Parliament?' lawmaker Richard Bacon asked in a House of Commons debate. 'Speaking as one of them, may I say how much I welcome reports about proposals to (replace) the shooting range with a swimming pool.'

Legislators have urged officials considering renovations to the Palace of Westminster, home to Britain's Parliament, to clear out the rifle range to make way for better sports facilities.