Afghanistan's Northern Alliance accepted a UN invitation to attend power-sharing talks in Germany with other factions, likely to be held in Berlin Monday. Talks aim to establish a new multiethnic government to replace the Taliban, whose control collapsed after US bombing and attacks by opposition forces. The Northern Alliance now controls Kabul, the capital, and half the country.

In related news:

• Northern Alliance forces yesterday gave the Taliban three days to surrender or face an all-out assault on Kunduz, the Taliban's last remaining stronghold in the north.

• Anti-Taliban militiamen recovered the bodies of four international journalists - an Australian, an Afghan, an Italian, and a Spaniard - who were ambushed as they traveled in a convoy from Jalalabad to Kabul. Witnesses said attackers shouted pro-Taliban slogans.

• Hundreds of Afghan women gathered in Kabul to demand their rights after five years of Taliban rule. They called for the right to work, right to an education, and a political voice.

Beijing police detained three dozen Westerners who chanted slogans and unfurled a banner on Tiananmen Square to protest China's brutal crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement. State media said the 35 were given warnings and would be expelled from China. The men and women are from such countries as Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Israel, and the US.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, will stand trial next July on 85 counts of fraud and theft charges involving about $165,600, a magistrate court ruled. Madikizela-Mandela, a ruling party legislator, was charged last month in an alleged scam to obtain bank loans for nonexistent workers of the African National Congress Women's League, of which she is president.

Israeli forces demolished at least 18 Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, after Secretary of State Colin Powell announced a new US peace mission to end nearly 14 months of violence. The Israeli army denied the area is under Palestinian control. Two US mediators are to arrive in the Middle East Sunday to prod Israelis and Palestinians to begin implementing a plan for peace talks. Above, a Palestinian woman sits amid the rubble that was once her home in the Rafah camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

Investigators picked through the wreckage of a Russian passenger airplane, probing for clues to the cause of a crash that killed all 27 people aboard. The Ilyushin-18 airplane, a charter, went down Monday night near the town of Kalyazin, 90 miles northeast of Moscow. The Moscow-bound flight took off from the Siberian city of Khatanga.

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