World briefs: U.S. won't tally Taliban trends

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S.-led military command in Afghanistan will no longer count and publish the number of Taliban attacks, a statistical measure that it once touted as a gauge of U.S. and allied success but now dismisses as flawed.

The move comes one week after the coalition, known as the International Security Assistance Force, acknowledged in response to inquiries by The Associated Press that it had incorrectly reported a 7 percent drop in Taliban attacks in 2012 compared with 2011. In fact, there was no decline at all, ISAF officials now say.

The mistake, attributed by ISAF officials to a clerical error, called into question the validity of repeated statements by allied officials that the Taliban was in steep decline.

Bank-scandal convictions

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan court Tuesday delivered the first convictions in connection with the near collapse of Kabul Bank.

The bank's founder and its former chief executive were found guilty of charges similar to fraud, sentenced to five years in prison and fined hundreds of millions of dollars. In total, 21 defendants were found guilty Tuesday of crimes for their roles in the failure of the bank, which investigators have described as little more than a Ponzi scheme.

Acid-attack detentions

MOSCOW -- Police detained a dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet on Tuesday in connection with an acid attack in January on the company's artistic director Sergei Filin.

Police also raided the homes of two suspected accomplices, both near a complex of summer cottages outside Moscow used by Bolshoi personnel. By evening, both suspected accomplices had been detained.

The dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko, has danced at the ballet since 2002.

Presidential election

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who is accused of crimes against humanity, led Prime Minister Raila Odinga in a presidential vote Tuesday that both complained was suffering from technical faults and delays.

Mr. Kenyatta, the 51-year-old son of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, had 53 percent of the vote with results from more than two-fifths of polling stations counted, while Mr. Odinga had 42 percent, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's website.

Mr. Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, are accused of instigating the ethnic mobs, following the disputed 2007 presidential election, that rampaged through Kenya's countryside and slums in Nairobi, murdering and pillaging.

Northern Syria targeted

BEIRUT -- Syrian jets bombed opposition-held buildings Tuesday in the strategic northern city of Raqqa, a day after rebels overran the onetime regime stronghold and captured its provincial governor.

The rebels continued to battle pockets of government troops in Raqqa, struggling to crush the remaining resistance in the city of 500,000 people on the Euphrates River.

Also in the world ...

The pro-Western government of Moldova fell Tuesday when Parliament passed a no-confidence motion, shattering a fragile political alliance that had put the former Soviet republic on a path toward integration with the European Union. ... The Pakistani military denied on Tuesday suggestions by U.S. officials quoted in an article in The New York Times that Pakistan had used the CIA drone program as cover for its own military operations in the tribal belt.



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