Continued from page 1

A suicide bomber rammed his car into a convoy of NATO troops in Tirin Kot, capital of the central province of Uruzgan, killing five Afghan children playing nearby, a government official said.

Another foreign soldier, belonging to a U.S.-led coalition force, also died in combat in eastern Paktika province yesterday.

COLOMBIA

Congress passes gay-rights bill

BOGOTA — Colombia’s Congress approved a bill late Thursday granting same-sex couples rights similar to their straight counterparts, a move seen as the biggest advance for homosexuals in this Roman Catholic country.

The measure, supported by President Alvaro Uribe but opposed by the church, grants same-sex couples living together for more than two years the same social security and estate inheritance guarantees as heterosexuals in common law marriages.

LEBANON

4 soldiers killed in camp fighting

BEIRUT — Lebanese troops raided an Islamist militant position inside a besieged Palestinian refugee camp, sparking a battle that killed at least four soldiers yesterday.

Troops unleashed artillery barrages into the Nahr el-Bared camp on the outskirts of the northern city of Tripoli as they stepped up their four-week assault against Fatah Islam, the al Qaeda-inspired militant group barricaded inside.

From wire dispatches and staff reports