Mystery blast kills eight at militant base

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - An explosion wrecked a militant compound Monday, killing as many as eight people while Pakistani paramilitary forces pushed deeper into a border region where extremists threaten the city of Peshawar and a key supply line for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Pro-Taliban Militants targeted by the offensive in the Khyber tribal area claimed a missile was fired from nearby Afghanistan, but a Pentagon official said he knew of no cross-border attack and a Pakistani officer said stored explosives blew up.

Saudi charged in Cole bombing

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said it is charging a Saudi Arabian with 'organizing and directing' the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole - and is asking for the death penalty.

Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, legal adviser to the U.S. military tribunal system, said Monday charges are being sworn against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi of Yemeni descent, who has been held at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2006.

Hamas bolstered by prisoner swap

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hamas militants holding an Israeli soldier said Monday they would stick to their tough demands in negotiations over his release, emboldened by the high price Israel is paying in a planned prisoner swap with Hezbollah.

The declaration could complicate Israel's efforts to bring Sgt. Gilad Schalit home after two years in captivity. Israel agreed Sunday to free Samir Kantar, a Lebanese convicted in a grisly 1979 attack, along with other prisoners and bodies of Lebanese fighters, in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.

Israel has balked at Hamas' demands for a large-scale release of Palestinian prisoners, including many convicted in deadly attacks. But the Islamic militants said there was no reason to soften their demands in light of Israel's swap deal with Hezbollah.

US, NATO deaths in Afghanistan pass Iraq toll

KABUL, Afghanistan - Militants killed more U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan in June than in Iraq for the second straight month, a grim milestone capping a run of headline-grabbing insurgent attacks that analysts say underscore the Taliban's growing strength.

The fundamentalist militia in June staged a sophisticated jailbreak that freed 886 prisoners, then briefly infiltrated a strategic valley outside Kandahar. Last week, a Pentagon report forecast the Taliban would maintain or increase its pace of attacks, which are already up 40 percent this year from 2007 where U.S. troops operate along the Pakistan border.

Wave of attacks threatens judges

BAGHDAD - Five Iraqi judges escaped assassination Monday in a series of small bomb attacks that police believe may be part of a Shiite extremist campaign to force them to free jailed militants or reduce their sentences.

Only one of the jurists was wounded in the attacks, which happened four days after senior judge Kamil al-Showaili of the country's Higher Judicial Council was assassinated while driving home in mostly Shiite east Baghdad.

UN: Aid from US arrives in Korea

SEOUL, South Korea - Thousands of tons of food from the U.S. has started flowing into North Korea, the U.N. food agency said Monday, as aid groups warned that the impoverished nation faces food shortages not seen since 2001.

A freighter carrying 37,000 tons of wheat arrived Sunday night after North Korea agreed to open up to greatly expanded international aid. The shipment was the first installment of 500,000 tons in assistance promised by Washington, the World Food Program said.

Giraffe leads breakout from Dutch circus

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Amsterdam police say 15 camels, two zebras and an undetermined number of llamas and potbellied swine briefly escaped from a traveling Dutch circus after a giraffe kicked a hole in their cage.

Police spokesman Arnout Aben says the animals wandered in a group through a nearby neighborhood for several hours after their 5:30 a.m. breakout.

Prince Charles earns more, cuts carbon footprint

LONDON - Prince Charles' income grew last year, while his carbon footprint shrank.

The eco-friendly prince even has an Aston Martin that runs on wine.

An annual review of Charles' accounts released Monday said the prince made more than 16 million pounds ($32 million) from property and investments between April 1, 2007, and March 31 this year, 7 percent more than in 2006-07. Charles paid 3.4 million pounds ($6.8 million) in tax, 5,000 pounds ($10,000) less than the year before.