Beijing acting to ease traffic

BEIJING - The city of Beijing, ranked in a survey this year as having some of the world's worst traffic, introduced measures Thursday to ease the congestion, including limiting the number of new passenger vehicles allowed in the Chinese capital.

The government said it will issue 240,000 new-vehicle license places through a lottery next year, with 88 percent allocated to individual buyers.

"There are serious traffic jams in some areas of central Beijing at some time slots," said Zhou Zhengyu, deputy secretary-general of Beijing's municipal government. Tax cuts and subsidies aimed at spurring auto sales have fueled a surge in traffic. China surpassed the United States last year as the world's biggest car market.

Officials are looking to allay residents' concerns after Beijing tied with Mexico as having the world's worst traffic in a survey by International Business Machines Corp. - AP

Slain American is eulogized

JERUSALEM - Dozens of people attended a memorial service Thursday for an American tourist found stabbed to death in a forest near Jerusalem, remembering her as a devout Christian who made great sacrifices for her faith.

Attendees recalled the life of Kristine Luken, 44, who left a job with the U.S. Department of Education to work with a religious outreach group in Israel.

"There is a world to come," said the Rev. David Pileggi of Christ Church in Jerusalem's walled Old City. Pileggi said none of Luken's family was present for the ceremony. Her body was to be flown home later Thursday, he said. She lived in northern Virginia.

Luken was killed Saturday while hiking with a friend, who said two Arab men attacked them with a bread knife. The friend said she escaped to a nearby parking lot after playing dead. - AP

A NATO attack strikes innocents

KABUL, Afghanistan - A NATO helicopter opened fire on a convoy of cars heading to an event hosted by the head of a local council Thursday, killing a police officer and the brother of a former lawmaker, provincial officials in northern Afghanistan said.

The chief of police, the governor, and the head of the provincial council of Faryab province all said the helicopter strafed one car in the convoy, killing a policeman and Mohammad Aminuddin, the brother of former parliament member Sarajuddin Mozafari.

Police Chief Khalil Andarabi said two policemen and a civilian were wounded.

"While we take extraordinary care . . . to avoid civilian casualties, unfortunately in this instance it appears innocent men were mistakenly targeted," U.S. Air Force Col. James Dawkins said in a coalition statement, adding that "we deeply regret this incident." - AP

Elsewhere:

Romania's government survived a no-confidence motion in Parliament in a session overshadowed by a man who flung himself from the chamber's balcony, apparently in protest over the government austerity measures. His injuries were not life-threatening.