Ireland's leaders call for alcohol restraint during St. Patrick's Day

DUBLIN, Ireland - Irish politicians and police urged the nation Monday to have fun during St. Patrick's Day festivities - but not too much fun.

Prime Minister Bertie Ahern called on celebrants to drink moderately 'and not to get behind the wheel after doing it.'

Police said a record 650,000 revelers gathered up to 20 deep on the sidewalks of central Dublin for the annual parade, the biggest event in Ireland's five-day St. Patrick's Festival.

Putin, Medvedev set positive tone in defense talks

MOSCOW - Outgoing President Vladimir Putin, in talks with President Bush's two top foreign policy aides, embraced on Monday a U.S. proposal to set a broad agenda for the future - not just on the thorny issue of missile defense but on a range of problems the next U.S. and Russian leaders will face.

Putin, whose hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, is due to take office May 7, told Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that his nation is ready to accept portions of a proposed new framework for often-troubled U.S.-Russian relations. He did not provide details.

Cheney visits Iraq, pushes for political unity

BAGHDAD - Vice President Dick Cheney, marking five years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq with an overnight stay in the war-torn nation, warned on Monday against large drawdowns of American troops that could jeopardize recent security gains.

At a news conference with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, Cheney said that given the nearly 4,000 U.S. troop deaths and billions of dollars spent on the war, it is very important that 'we not quit before the job is done.'

In deciding whether to draw back more than the 30,000 before he leaves office, Cheney said Bush will weigh whether the U.S. can continue on a track toward political reconciliation and stability in Iraq.

Bomb attack kills 3 NATO soldiers

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A suicide car bomber attacked a group of international troops at a bazaar in southern Afghanistan on Monday, killing three NATO soldiers and four Afghans, officials said.

Two Danish troops, a Czech special forces soldier and an Afghan translator were killed in the attack in the Gereshk district of Helmand province.