Bhutto makes first trip outside Karachi since attempt on life

GARHI KHUDA BAKSH, Pakistan - Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto went to her ancestral village Saturday amid tight security and sprinkled flower petals on her father's tomb on her first trip to provincial Pakistan since the bloody assassination attempt against her nine days ago.

She vowed to fight Islamic extremism - a call that came as pro-Taliban militants in another corner of the country executed 13 captives in response to a military assault against their leader.

Bhutto returned on Oct. 18 from an eight-year exile to a massive welcome rally in Karachi, shattered by a suicide bombing that killed 143 people. She has since been largely confined to her residence in that city, but eager to start her campaign for parliamentary elections slated for January.

Sudan declares cease-fire in Darfur; rebels not on board

SIRTE, Libya - The Sudanese government committed to an immediate cease-fire in Darfur at the opening of peace talks Saturday, but the expected announcement was not met by similar pledges from rebels, who largely boycotted the U.N.-brokered negotiations.

""The government of Sudan is proclaiming as of now a unilateral cease-fire in Darfur,' said Nafie Ali Nafie, who was heading an important Sudanese delegation to the talks in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte. ""We shall not be the first ones to fire arms.'

Turkish commander has harsh words for Kurdish rebels

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's top military commander promised Saturday to make Iraq-based Kurdish rebels ""grieve with an intensity that they cannot imagine,' while the prime minister said his nation would fight ""when needed,' regardless of international pressure.

The military chief, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, said Friday that Turkey would wait until Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Bush in Washington on Nov. 5 before deciding on any cross-border offensive.

But Erdogan said his country could not be pinned down by dates in deciding whether to attack.

Argentine leader's wife poised to take over his position

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - President Nestor Kirchner and his wife are poised to launch a new political dynasty today in an election that promises to replace him with her.

Argentines are grateful to Kirchner for engineering a recovery from a 2001 economic crisis that savaged the middle class and that has translated into such broad support for his wife, Sen. Cristina Fernandez, that she will likely avoid a second round.

Argentine law prevents more than two consecutive terms, but a husband-and-wife team could alternate in power for as long as their support continues.

Seven dead after heavy fighting in Somali capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Insurgents and government-allied forces battled with machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades Saturday in the heaviest fighting to hit Somalia's capital for months, leaving at least seven people dead and dozens others wounded, witnesses and health officials said.

Islamic fighters briefly occupied a police station in south Mogadishu, before heading back out of the area, chanting ""God is great,' witnesses said. Witnesses said at least seven people, including a woman, had died in the heavy fighting between insurgents, government troops and government-allied Ethiopian forces.

U.S. preparing to order diplomats to Embassy in Iraq

WASHINGTON - In the largest call-up of U.S. diplomats since the Vietnam War, the State Department is planning to order some of its personnel to serve at the American Embassy in Iraq because of a lack of volunteers.

Those designated ""prime candidates' - from 200 to 300 diplomats - will be notified Monday that they have been selected for one-year postings to fill the 40 to 50 vacancies expected next year.

A spokesman for the union that represents U.S. diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday that ""assigning unarmed civilians into a combat zone should be done on a voluntary basis.'

Five Afghans die in suicide attack

KABUL, Afghanistan - A suicide bomber wearing an Afghan security uniform detonated his explosives at the entrance to a combined U.S.-Afghan base on Saturday, killing four Afghan soldiers and a civilian, officials said.

The bomber walked up to a security gate for Afghan soldiers outside Forward Operating Base Bermel in the eastern province of Paktika, near the border with Pakistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.