World Briefs: U.S. adoptions deal valid until 2014, Kremlin says

MOSCOW — The Kremlin says an adoption deal with the U.S. will remain valid until 2014, despite a new Russian law banning the practice.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children, part of a harsh response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be violating human rights.

Although some top Russian officials, including the foreign minister, openly opposed the bill, the parliament overwhelmingly passed it.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the adoptions agreement will remain in force until Jan. 1.

SYRIA

Rebels seize parts of strategic air base

BEIRUT — Hundreds of Islamic militants fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad seized parts of a strategic northwestern air base Thursday after weeks of battling government troops for control of the sprawling facility.

At stake is the biggest field for helicopters used to bomb rebel-held areas in the north and deliver supplies for regime forces.

Opposition fighters and activists said rebels broke into Taftanaz air base in the northern Idlib province Wednesday night and by Thursday had seized control of more than half of it. Intense battles were still raging, and one activist said rebels had suffered losses.

FRANCE

3 Kurds killed in Paris a ‘political assassination’?

PARIS — Three Kurdish women, including one of the founders of a militant group battling Turkish troops since 1984, were slain in Paris, French officials said Thursday.

Angry Kurds immediately flooded the area, with some claiming the killings were a “political assassination.”

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who visited the pro-Kurdish center in Paris, where the bodies were found, said the deaths were “without doubt an execution.” He called it a “totally intolerable act.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killings.

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