UK: Taxi rapist jailed for 8 years

LONDON - A London taxi cab driver who systematically drugged and sexually assaulted female passengers was sentenced to at least eight years in prison Tuesday.

Prosecutors said that John Worboys, 51, targeted women who had been out late drinking, telling them he'd won some cash while gambling and inviting them to join him in a celebratory glass of champagne. Secreted inside the drinks were sedatives, and those who joined him in a drink often remembered little of what happened next.

However, one woman told the court that what should have been a 40-minute trip home took three hours. Some were left with semen stains on their clothes, and items or DNA from other victims was found by police at Worboys' home.

The 18-month campaign of sexual assaults was particularly troubling because it happened inside one of London's iconic black cabs, whose drivers undergo a rigorous testing process and are touted by transport officials as a safe alternative to unregulated cabs.

High-level Syrians visit Iraq for first time in decades

BAGHDAD - The prime ministers of Syria and Iraq discussed ways to prevent militants from crossing the porous border between the two countries Tuesday during the highest level Syrian visit to Iraq in almost three decades, an Iraqi government spokesman said.

Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari's two-day visit to Baghdad is aimed at easing long-standing tensions between the two neighbors that flared last year when U.S. forces raided a Syrian village over the border from Iraq in an operation that targeted militants.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said al-Otari's discussions with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki showed 'great optimism' and focused on preventing militants from operating in either country.

Afghanistan: No breakthrough in militant talks

KABUL - The Afghan government has held 'good discussions' with Taliban militants as it seeks a way to end an increasingly the bloody insurgency against Afghan, U.S. and NATO forces, the president's spokesman said Tuesday.

The spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said there have been 'some developments' in the talks, giving the government hope they could lead toward peace but cautioned there would not be a quick outcome.

Karzai's spokesman offered no specifics on progress made in the negotiations.