Afghan militant threat shuts down public ceremony

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan leaders celebrated Independence Day on Monday with a small ceremony inside a fortified military compound, in marked contrast to the parade and public festivities a year ago and another sign that Taliban militants are bearing down on the government.

The top U.S. general in the country issued a rare public warning that militants planned to attack civilian, military and government targets. Only hours earlier, a suicide bomber killed 10 Afghans outside a U.S. base.

Baby whale lost in Sydney, bonds with yacht

SYDNEY, Australia - Australian media said a lost humpback whale calf has bonded with a yacht it seems to think is its mother.

The 1- to 2-month-old calf was first sighted Sunday in waters off north Sydney and on Monday tried to suckle from a yacht, which it would not leave.

Rescuers towed the yacht out to sea, and the calf finally detached from the boat but still swam nearby, Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Channel 10 television news reported.

The calf appeared exhausted but rescuers hoped it would continue out to sea and search for its mother or another pod of whales.

Russia claims pullback but forces move other way

GORI, Georgia - Russia said Monday it had begun withdrawing from the conflict zone in Georgia, but it held fast to key positions and sent some of its troops in the opposite direction - closer to the Georgian capital.

Russian troops and vehicles roamed freely around the strategically located central city of Gori and Russian forces appeared to blow up the runway at a military base in the western town of Senaki.

UN says 2 dead on Haitian bus

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A U.N. official said two babies were killed when a bus overturned in a rain-swollen river in Haiti. He denied reports of a higher death toll in the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Fay.

U.N. police spokesman Fred Blaise said peacekeepers saw the bodies of two infants who drowned in the Riviere Glace.

- From wire reports