A Taliban attack killed three American soldiers and a military dog in southern Afghanistan on Friday, officials said, in the latest sign of the insurgents' capability as the coalition winds down operations. NATO's International Security Assistance Force will end its combat mission later this year, leaving the Afghan police and army to take on full responsibility for battling the resilient Taliban insurgency. "Three ISAF service members and one ISAF canine died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today," the NATO force said in a statement. The attack occurred in the volatile Nad Ali district of Helmand province, according to Afghan officials.
The nearly 1.9 million member Presbyterian Church USA voted Friday after a contentious debate to divest from three companies that provide supplies to Israeli forces and settlers in the occupied West Bank. The 310 to 303 vote at the influential Protestant denomination's meeting in Detroit, Michigan, means the group will pull any financial investments out of Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, according to the church's official news service. The measure also included a reaffirmation of Israel's right to exist, an endorsement of a two-state solution and encouraged interfaith dialogue, The New York Times reported. The close vote came after a week of intense lobbying and "most contentious debate of this assembly," the church's news service said, noting that divestment has historically been seen as a "last resort" after "other engagement tools have failed."
By Mike McDonald GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Central American leaders on Friday pressed visiting U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden to improve migrant rights, even as the United States committed tens of millions of dollars in extra aid to the region in a bid to stem a surge of illegal immigration. The White House said the United States would launch a $40 million program to improve security in Guatemala to reduce pressures fueling migration to the United States and a $25 million program to provide services to youth in El Salvador who are vulnerable to organized-crime pressure. ...
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner signaled her willingness to enter negotiations on the country's debt, as the country faces a potential default at the end of the month. Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof has proposed that Argentina initiate steps to carry out a debt exchange inside the country. Four days after the US Supreme Court decided against Argentina in its fight against hedge fund bond holders, Kirchner said her country has "the right and the need to participate in a negotiation that is just and equitable." Most creditors accepted large writedowns of the bonds, but the court ruling means Argentina now must pay the holdouts 100 percent of the debt's face value -- $15 billion in total.