Afghan airstrikes target Taliban, killing 14 and wounding 10

Airstrikes targeted a convoy of suspected Taliban militants who had left a meeting in western Afghanistan, killing 14 and wounding 10, a provincial governor said yesterday.

The Taliban had met Thursday to appoint a leader in western Farah province, Gov. Muhaidin Baluch said. As they left the meeting in Bakwa district, airstrikes hit seven of their vehicles, he said. NATO's International Security Assistance Force and the U.S.-led coalition said they had looked into the report, but had no information about it.

Mexican drug-cartel rampage kills 7 near Arizona border

Police and Mexican army troops found a body in the search yesterday for members of a drug cartel assault force that overran the town of Cananea, near the Arizona border, and killed seven people, including five police officers. Wednesday's invasion by a heavily armed caravan showed the brashness and power of Mexico's ruthless organized crime gangs.

After the attack, about 50 assailants fled to the hills pursued by police and army troops. The ensuing gunbattles in the rugged desert mountains outside the nearby town of Arizpe left 16 gunmen dead.

Jury awards $11.4M damages to victims of priest rapist

A jury found the nation's sixth-largest Roman Catholic diocese and a church parish, in Rockville Centre, N.Y., negligent yesterday in a case involving a youth minister who repeatedly raped and sodomized teenagers in his care.

The jury awarded two victims a combined $11.4 million in damages in one of the rare civil cases to go to trial in the wake of the nationwide sex abuse scandal that erupted five years ago.

Pill expected to stop women's monthly bleeding, period

Women looking for a simple way to avoid their menstrual period could soon have access to the first birth-control pill designed to let women suppress monthly bleeding indefinitely. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce approval Tuesday for Lybrel, a drug from Wyeth.

Gynecologists say they've been seeing a steady increase in women asking how to limit and even stop monthly bleeding.

Man who claimed war crimes charged with being a fake

A man who tried to position himself as a leader of the anti-war movement by claiming to have participated in war crimes while serving in Iraq is facing federal charges of falsifying his record.

Jesse Adam Macbeth, 23, formerly of Phoenix, garnered attention on blogs and in some alternative media after he began claiming in 2005 to have been awarded a Purple Heart for his service, which he said included slaughtering innocents in a Fallujah mosque. His story was contradicted by his discharge form, showing that he was kicked out of the Army after six weeks at Fort Benning, Ga., in 2003 because of his "entry level performance and conduct."

Live long and prosper -

if you're in Japan, San Marino

Sierra Leone registered the shortest male life expectancy in the world at 37 years - the same as that of girls in Swaziland, who were at the bottom of the female list, according to the World Health Organization's "World Health Statistics 2007."

Females in Japan, who traditionally lead the world tables, have a life expectancy of 86 years. Men in San Marino, a tiny kingdom surrounded by Italy, have a life expectancy of 80. Men in the United States have a 75-year life expectancy; U.S. women could reach 80.

'Ominous new level' in fighting between Hamas, Fatah in Gaza

Israeli warplanes pummeled Hamas targets yesterday in a stepped-up campaign against militants firing rockets into southern Israel, while Palestinian factions battled with automatic weapons and grenades at a Gaza university. A Hamas-Fatah truce agreement late Thursday enjoyed no more success than previous cease-fires declared this week.

With the political leaders of the factions seemingly not in control of their gunmen, Hamas militiamen raised the internal strife to an ominous new level by widening their targets beyond armed rivals and seizing aides to two Fatah officials.

SUV goes airborne in Okla., killing 7 illegal immigrants

A sports utility vehicle went airborne for 109 feet and struck an embankment on an Oklahoma highway yesterday, killing seven people inside. Police said the driver may have fallen asleep. A male passenger who was wearing his seat belt survived. All the victims were believed to be illegal immigrants. *

- Daily News wire services