US-led forces in Afghanistan were accused of a new incident in which mistaken intelligence reports resulted in the deaths of civilians. The governor of Nuristan Province said airstrikes hit a tent camp where 14 members of a highway-construction crew were sleeping, killing them all. A NATO spokesman acknowledged that air raids had been carried out against Taliban targets in the province. But he did not say when, adding, "The situation is not clear at all at this stage." President Hamid Karzai repeatedly has implored NATO forces to prevent civilian casualties.

Twenty more policemen were hurt in a third night of rioting by minority youths in France, but authorities said the violence was less intense than that of earlier in the week, with no new reports of shooting. President Nicolas Sarkozy held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss a response to the trouble. He said firing at police is "completely unacceptable" and vowed that the shooters would be found and brought before a court that deals with the most serious crimes.

An Army commander appeared close to becoming Lebanon's president Wednesday after the largest bloc in parliament dropped its opposition to him. Gen. Michel Suleiman (l.) can't accept the post until the Constitution is amended to eliminate a ban on electing military officers on active duty. But he has the respect of both anti- and pro-Syrian political forces in the ongoing struggle to find a compromise successor to President Emile Lahoud, whose term ended last week.

More than 200 militants were arrested in Saudi Arabia for an alleged plot to attack oil installations and assassinate clerics and certain security officials, state TV reported Wednesday. It said 18 of the detainees belonged to a "terrorist" cell led by a foreigner with expertise in missiles. Al Qaeda and its sympathizers have been a persistent threat to the kingdom for the past four years.

Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo pledged to refrain from new violence even though their negotiators failed to agree on the future of the province. The stalemate raises the stakes for both sides, analysts said, since mediators have a Dec. 10 deadline to report to the UN on the talks and the Albanians vow to declare statehood unilaterally if the Security Council hasn't sanctioned it. Serbia's leaders threatened to blockade the province if that happens. Above, Serb Prime Minister Vojoislav Kostunica (l.) and President Boris Tadic discuss the talks at a news conference.

Tamil separatist rebels were blamed for two bombings in Sri Lanka's capital, one of them a rare attack on a civilian target. Sixteen people died when the second blast went off inside a department store in a Colombo suburb. Earlier, an assassination attempt against the government's minister of social services killed one of his aides and critically wounded another. The minister, who also heads a rival Tamil political movement, was unhurt.

Despite daily protests against the impending referendum on changes to Venezuela's Constitution and late opinion polls showing strong opposition, President Hugo Chávez insisted "it cannot fail." The rewritten charter would allow him to seek reelection as often as he likes. Chávez called the referendum "a battle of world proportions" and has said those who vote "no" will be "traitors." One respected polling organization found Tuesday that the referendum likely would result in a tie but that 1 in 3 respondents has yet to decide which way to vote.

A petition drive aimed at persuading Cuban legislators to allow independent universities is halfway to its goal, organizers said Tuesday. Two brothers who head the University Students Without Borders Project began collecting signatures in mid-2006 and now have 5,000, many of them from professors and professionals with college degrees. Because the communist government could expel the signatories, the brothers said they won't present the petition until they have the required 10,000.

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