Police fire tear gas to disperse protesting lawyers in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Police fired tear gas Monday to disperse scores of attorneys demanding that President Pervez Musharraf reinstate the chief justice, who has been under house arrest since a sweeping crackdown last year.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, meanwhile, arrived in Islamabad for talks with Musharraf and the military leadership. It was the second visit in a month by Adm. Mike Mullen, reflecting U.S. concerns over a growing insurgency by al-Qaida and Taliban militants in the tribal region near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

The police fired several tear gas canisters at about 200 lawyers and other demonstrators, who were shouting slogans outside the residence of ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.

US airstrike hits Somali town

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The U.S. Navy fired at least one missile into a southern Somali town before dawn Monday, targeting a terrorism suspect as an Islamic group with links to al-Qaida appears to be gathering sway again in this lawless African nation.

Residents and police in Dobley said at least eight people, including four children, were seriously injured when a home was destroyed. The attack was confirmed by U.S. officials, who said only that the target was a 'known al-Qaida terrorist.'

Colombian police: Dead rebel's laptop shows Venezuela backing guerrillas

BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombia's police chief on Monday said documents found on a slain rebel's laptop computer suggest Venezuela recently paid $300 million to Colombia's largest guerrilla group, perhaps in exchange for the release of six hostages.

Other documents show the rebels had appeared interested in buying uranium, Gen. Oscar Naranjo said at an explosive news conference where he lashed out at Venezuela and Ecuador for the financial and political support they have provided to Colombia's leftist rebels.

Charges dropped against officials accused of killings

BAGHDAD - An Iraqi court dropped charges Monday against two former Health Ministry officials accused of allowing Shiite death squads to use ambulances and government hospitals to carry out kidnappings and killings.

The three-judge panel cited a lack of evidence in its decision, which came despite serious reports of witness intimidation.

Minority Sunnis have viewed the case as a major test of the judiciary in this Shiite-dominated country, and the ruling was likely to hurt U.S. efforts to promote national reconciliation between the Muslim sects.

Suicide bomber attacks US base in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan - A suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, collapsing a guard post with American soldiers inside, an Afghan official said. Three NATO soldiers were wounded, a U.S. military official said.

Two Afghan policemen also were wounded in the attack, said Lutfullah Babakarheil, a district chief.

U.N. helicopter crashes in Nepal, killing at least 10

KATMANDU, Nepal - A United Nations helicopter crashed Monday while flying in bad weather in Nepal's mountainous east, killing at least 10 people, officials said.

Home Ministry spokesman Modraj Dotel confirmed the helicopter was carrying U.N. personnel.

Mohan Adhikari, chief of the air rescue unit at Katmandu airport, said rescuers have pulled 10 bodies from the wreckage but still did not know how many people were on board.

'We have conflicting reports that there were either 11 or 15 people on board but even the U.N. representatives are not sure how many were there on the helicopter,' Adhikari said.

Israeli troops leave northern Gaza town

JERUSALEM - Israeli troops withdrew from northern Gaza on Monday, but Israel's leaders warned that a broad offensive against Islamic militants would continue as Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian rocket attacks persisted into the night.

Hamas proclaimed the Israeli pullback a victory for its fighters. Yet, while defiant in public, the movement's leaders signaled they were trying to work out a truce after nearly a week of escalating combat.

- From wire reports