- - Wednesday, June 16, 2010

AFGHANISTAN

Roadside bomb kills two U.S. troops

KABUL | A roadside bombing killed two U.S. service members in northern Afghanistan Wednesday, officials said, pushing the death toll among American troops so far this month to 30.

The attack occurred in the Baghi Shirkat area, about 19 miles west of Kunduz city, said Kunduz provincial government spokesman Muhbobullah Sayedi. The troops were in a vehicle that hit a roadside bomb, he said.

U.S. forces spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph T. Breasseale confirmed the deaths.

U.S. and Afghan forces conducted an operation early Wednesday in Baghi Shirkat in which 12 militants were killed, including two local Taliban commanders, Mr. Sayedi said.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly nine-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

FRANCE

At least 18 killed in Riviera flooding

DRAGUIGNAN | At least 18 people were killed when flash floods hit the backhills of the French Riviera, the local administration said Wednesday.

The death toll was preliminary, the Var region prefecture said.

Officials earlier said that 15 people died in the flooding that turned streets into yard-high brown rivers, and 12 more were missing.

The floods swept away cars, trees and parts of houses in a downpour that devastated the picturesque region in the hills behind a portion of the Riviera.

SOUTH KOREA

North warns U.N.: Handle sinking fairly

SEOUL | North Korea urged the U.N. Security Council to impartially handle the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on the secretive state, warning Wednesday ongoing tension over the incident could trigger nuclear war.

The threat came hours after the country’s U.N. ambassador told reporters at a rare news conference in New York that its military will respond if the world body questions or condemns North Korea over the sinking. Sin Son Ho repeated his regime’s position that it had nothing to do with the sinking that killed 46 South Korean sailors.

“The U.N. Security Council must fulfill its responsibilities by bringing to light the truth of the incident impartially and objectively,” the North’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary Wednesday.

FRANCE

Country to raise retirement age

PARIS | France will raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 in 2018 in an effort to get the country’s spiraling public finances under control, the labor minister said Wednesday.

Eric Woerth called the measure — already strongly opposed by the opposition Socialist Party and labor unions — a “real moral obligation,” given France’s burgeoning deficit and its aging population, which he said threatens the viability of the money-losing pension system.

The proposed changes come as countries across Europe struggle to overhaul generous social-welfare systems in the face of a global economic crunch.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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