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Allied forces kill 3 Taliban leaders

KABUL, Afghanistan - Two NATO service members died Friday in roadside bombings in southern Afghanistan, while allied and Afghan forces killed three senior Taliban figures and captured 11 fighters and sympathizers, the alliance said.

The continuing bloodshed comes despite tentative efforts by the Obama administration and other governments to establish a peace process with the Taliban. A senior administration official said that Washington plans to continue a series of secret meetings with Taliban representatives.

A NATO statement said an operation earlier this week in Bakwah district in Farah province resulted in the killing of a senior Taliban leader and two of his commanders, as well as a "number of additional insurgents."

Early on Friday, NATO and Afghan troops captured 11 Taliban fighters or sympathizers who provided logistical support and weapons to insurgents in five separate operations across the country, it said. - AP

Myanmar sets vote for April 1

YANGON, Myanmar - Myanmar set parliamentary by-elections for April 1, scheduling a highly anticipated vote that will return pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party to mainstream politics after two decades.

Before state media reported the date late Friday, Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy had said they planned to run in every seat in the by-election. Allowing Suu Kyi's party back into the political fold will likely give the government greater legitimacy at home and abroad.

Her party boycotted last year's general elections because of restrictive rules that among other things prevented Suu Kyi from being a candidate. The government has since lifted many of those restrictions. - AP

French implants banned in Brazil

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Faulty French-made PIP breast implants will be permanently banned in Latin America's biggest country, Brazil's Health Ministry said Friday.

The Health Ministry's National Agency for Sanitary Vigilance said in a statement that its decision is based on tests conducted in France showing that women who got the implants could experience harmful leaks of cheap, industrial-grade silicone, not the medical-grade gel that higher-quality implants use.

The statement said that sales of implants made by the now-defunct Poly Implant Prothese have been banned in Brazil since April 2010. The new decision makes that ban permanent. The agency said that Brazil imported 34,631 of the implants and 24,534 were sold. The remaining implants will be destroyed. - AP


Ukrainian authorities shifted opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to a prison camp about 300 miles east of the capital Friday, a move that her supporters suspect is intended to cut off her access to the press and the public. Tymoshenko, 51, a former prime minister who helped drive the pro-West Orange Revolution, was sentenced to seven years this fall on charges that she harmed Ukraine's interests by agreeing to pay Russia a high price for natural gas.