Taliban ends militant push in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Taliban militants packed up their grenade launchers Friday and vacated a district they overran outside the country's capital last week. The move did little, however, to quell the alarm of the U.S. and Western allies.

U.S. officials are concerned that Pakistan is unable or unwilling to forcefully deal with militants slowly expanding into the heart of the country from lawless areas close to the Afghan border.

The retreat from Buner, just 60 miles from Islamabad, came after talks between the militants and authorities, who had threatened to attack them and reconsider the peace agreement in the adjoining Swat Valley region that critics say has given Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants a safe haven.

66 killed in bombing at Iraqi shrine

BAGHDAD - Two female suicide bombers hiding explosives in their purses struck worshippers streaming into Baghdad's most important Shiite shrine for Friday prayers, killing at least 66 people a day after Iraq's most deadly violence in more than a year.

Dozens of Iranian pilgrims were again said to be among the dead.

The two days of attacks - both against civilian targets - marked a troubling twist to what had already been a recent rise in suicide blasts, many of them against security forces. The bombings, typical of Sunni extremists linked with al-Qaida in Iraq, are raising fresh concerns about the ability of Iraqis to take the lead role in protecting the capital and nearby areas as the Americans shift their focus and resources to Afghanistan.

60 Mexico flu deaths raise epidemic fears

MEXICO CITY - Mexico shut down schools, museums, libraries and state-run theaters across its overcrowded capital Friday in hopes of containing a swine flu outbreak that authorities say killed at least 20 people - and perhaps dozens more. World health authorities worried openly that the strange new virus could become a global epidemic.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said tests show some of the Mexico victims died from the same new strain of swine flu that sickened eight people in Texas and California.