Activist found slain in Moscow

MOSCOW - A well-known Russian rights activist was found slain execution-style on Wednesday, hours after being kidnapped in Chechnya - the latest in a series of brazen murders targeting critics of the Kremlin's violent policies in the war-torn North Caucasus.

The daylight slaying of Natalya Estemirova follows the killings in recent years of reporters, lawyers and activists, and appeared to indicate that Russia remains a place where political murders are committed with impunity.

Bomber kills 11 in Iraq

BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber on Wednesday killed six people, including an Iraqi policeman, in an attack on security forces in a former insurgent stronghold in Iraq's western Anbar province, police said. A Baghdad bombing killed five other people.

The attacks highlighted the security challenges still facing Iraq despite a sharp drop in violence, and the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities at the end of last month. The pullout signals the growing confidence of Iraqi forces to handle security on their own, though tension among the country's factions remains a threat to stability.

July deadliest month for US-led forces

KABUL - July is shaping up as the deadliest month of the Afghan war for U.S.-led international forces.

Halfway through the month, at least 46 international troopers have died in Afghanistan.

That matches the full-month totals for what had been the two deadliest months, which were June 2008 and August 2008.

The 46 dead include 24 Americans and 15 British soldiers. Four Canadians, two Turks and one Italian have also died in Afghanistan this month. By comparison, only two American service members have died this month in Iraq - both from non-hostile causes.

France votes on Sunday work bill

PARIS - France's lower house of parliament on Wednesday approved a divisive bill to allow more stores to stay open - and more people to work - on Sundays.

The bill, passed in a 282-238 vote Wednesday, now goes to the Senate for debate.