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British prime minister visits Kabul


British prime minister visits Kabul

British Prime Minister David Cameron made a surprise visit to Kabul on Friday, pledging to support Afghanistan's new coalition government as it seeks to enact reforms and prevent the Taliban from resurging as most foreign troops prepare to leave by year's end.

Cameron, the first top Western leader to visit since an electoral crisis was resolved, said Britain was committed to working with the new government to rid Afghanistan of al-Qaeda, which he said was in the interests of both nations. Britain, like many Western countries, is concerned about terrorist plots on its soil by jihadists trained in Afghanistan and other militant havens.

"We all share a common goal, which is a more secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan," Cameron told reporters at a news conference with Afghanistan's new president, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.


Fighting rages for control of airport

Pro-Russian rebels pressed Friday to seize a key airport in eastern Ukraine despite fierce resistance by government forces.

An Associated Press reporter on Friday saw three rebel tanks firing their cannons at the main terminal of Donetsk airport, where government forces have holed up. Sniper shots rang around the area.

Rebels have made some gains in the area near the airport, seizing some buildings on its fringes and using them to target the main terminal.

Fighting for the airport has intensified this week, threatening to derail the truce declared Sept. 5. A follow-up deal which called for both parties to pull back their artillery to create a buffer zone hasn't been implemented.


Judge orders release of Gitmo videotapes

A federal judge on Friday ordered the public release of 28 videotapes of a hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay prisoner being forcibly removed from his cell and force-fed.

Lawyers for the prisoner, Abu Wa'el Dhiab, have challenged his treatment as abusive. Numerous news media outlets, including the Associated Press, had asked the court to unseal the tapes.

U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler granted the news media's request, although Kessler said the tapes will remain sealed until some information on them is redacted. The material to be removed includes identifying information of everyone on the tapes except for the prisoner.


Shark attack closes beaches at air base

Three beaches along coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base in California have been closed through the weekend after a 28-year-old surfer survived an attack by a shark, authorities said Friday.

The man, whose name was not released, was surfing Thursday afternoon in an area called Jacks Point when he was bitten on the knee, said Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson, a base spokeswoman.

The surfer was taken to a hospital emergency room, Lawson said in an email. She didn't elaborate on the extent of his injury or his condition.

Lawson said the surfer is a civilian employee who works at Vandenberg.


Kansas City, Mo.: Missouri must recognize the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states, a state judge ruled Friday, saying the state's Constitution and laws banning the unions are unconstitutional. Same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Britain: A former news editor at Britain's News of the World has pleaded guilty to conspiring to hack the phones of celebrities, politicians and royals. Ian Edmondson is the eighth person convicted over illegal eavesdropping at the now-defunct tabloid.

Mali: Men on motorbikes ambushed a convoy of U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali on Friday, U.N. officials said, killing nine in the deadliest attack yet on the force in the country.

Times wires