AFGHANISTAN

NATO chief may try to circumvent Karzai

NATO's chief said Wednesday that President Hamid Karzai isn't the only Afghan government official who can sign a security pact so that thousands of coalition troops can stay in Afghanistan after 2014.

Karzai has balked at signing the bilateral security agreement with the United States. The deal would allow NATO to follow suit for plans for a far smaller assistance mission set to replace its longtime combat role after the end of next year.

In a sign that alliance leaders might be looking for a way to circumvent Karzai, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after a meeting with two top Afghan envoys at NATO's Brussels headquarters that "everyone who is authorized to represent respective governments would be able to sign such an agreement."
- AP
CANADA

Ford offer for video?

New court documents released Wednesday suggest Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may have offered $5,000 and a car to suspected drug dealers in exchange for a video that appears to show him smoking crack. The information is contained in police wiretaps of alleged gang members who spoke about delivering drugs to Ford and having pictures of him using drugs. One alleged gang member is heard telling another that he rejected the offer for the tape and planned to meet the mayor and ask for "150," meaning $150,000. - AP
ARGENTINA

Police sit-in ends

A sit-in by police seeking pay raises in Argentina's second- largest city prompted looting, robberies, and vigilante mobs trying to protect neighborhoods before the provincial government agreed to the demands and peace returned to the streets Wednesday. Three deaths were reported amid the violence in Cordoba. - AP