N. Korea: US must cancel military drill with South

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea demanded Monday that the U.S. call off its annual military exercises with South Korea, a report said as rare talks between the North and U.N. forces ended without clear progress on defusing tensions.

A report by South Korea's Uonhap news agency said the U.N. Command insisted that the exercise - involving 26,000 American troops, an unspecified number of South Korean soldiers and a U.S. aircraft carrier - is purely defensive and not preparation for an invasion as the North claims.

Chinese man bids but won't pay for looted bronzes

BEIJING - A Chinese art collector revealed himself Monday as the man behind the winning bids for two imperial bronzes auctioned at Christie's over Beijing's objections, then announced he had no intention of paying the $36 million.

The audacious act of commercial sabotage exposes the tensions China and other countries, such as Greece and Egypt, face in trying to recover cultural objects plundered in war or stolen.

Bangladesh deploys army to hunt mutineers

DHAKA, Bangladesh - Bangladesh's government deployed soldiers nationwide Monday to hunt down over 1,000 border guards wielding stolen weapons who fled after a bloody mutiny left scores of army officers dead.

The two-day mutiny last week left the border guards' compound in the capital, Dhaka, littered with the corpses of dozens of army officers. Rescuers have recovered 77 bodies, while 71 officers were still unaccounted for and presumed dead.

Former Iranian president promises help for Iraq

BAGHDAD - One of Iran's most powerful political and religious figures - former President Hashemi Rafsanjani - promised Monday to assist in Iraq's reconstruction after nearly six years of war that has involved Shiite militias with suspected links to Tehran.

Iran, a predominantly Shiite country, has close ties with Iraq's Shiite-led government and seeks to expand its commercial links as Iraq looks ahead to projects to rebuild roads and core services such as electrical networks and sewers.