US death toll hits all-time low

BAGHDAD - The monthly U.S. toll in Iraq fell to its lowest point since the war began, with 10 American deaths as July drew to a close Thursday after the departure of the last surge brigade.

Iraqis also are dying in dramatically lower numbers with the war in its sixth year. July saw the lowest civilian toll since December 2005, though a series of suicide bombings this week and rising ethnic tensions in northern Iraq reflect the fragility of the security successes.

An Associated Press tally shows that at least 510 Iraqi civilians and security force members were killed in July, a 75 percent drop from the 2,021 deaths in the same period last year as the U.S. troop buildup aimed at quelling rampant Sunni-Shiite violence was nearing its peak.

Suspect spars with UN war crimes court

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic had his first skirmishes with the U.N. war crimes tribunal Thursday: He was cut short by the judge when he tried to protest his arrest, and put on notice that the prosecution will object to his demand to represent himself.

During the initial session, Karadzic also claimed his seizure and trial violated a deal he made with the United States in 1996 that the case against him would be scrapped if he left politics and did not undermine the peace agreement that ended the Bosnian war.

Karadzic appeared at a plea hearing one day after he was extradited from Serbia to answer genocide and war crimes charges for the murder of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats and for directing a reign of terror during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Mortar kills 7 in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A mortar shell hit a house in a valley where Pakistani security forces are battling Islamic militants, killing a family of seven, and militants torched a nearby girls school, police said Thursday.

Government officials struck a peace deal with militants in the northern Swat valley in May, hoping to curb the growing influence of militant groups through negotiations.

But U.S. and NATO officials complain that cease-fires and talks across Pakistan's wild border zone have allowed Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents based there to focus on attacks in Afghanistan.