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MEXICO/Drug cartel leader killed

The Mexican army says one of the top three leaders of Mexico's most powerful drug cartel has been killed in a clash with soldiers. The death of Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel is the biggest strike yet against the Sinaloa cartel since President Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against drug traffickers in late 2006. The army says Coronel opened fire on soldiers and was killed Thursday. Coronel was believed to be "the forerunner in producing massive amounts of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories in Mexico, then smuggling it into the U.S.," according to the FBI.

France/Mom charged with killing newborns

A French woman who admitted suffocating eight of her newborns and concealing their corpses in the garden and garage of her home has been charged with manslaughter, a prosecutor said yesterday. Dominique Cottrez, a 46-year-old nurse's aide with two grown daughters, said that after a bad experience with her first pregnancy she never again wanted to see a doctor. She admitted delivering the babies herself and placing the corpses in plastic bags. She buried two of the newborns in the garden and hid the other bodies in the garage, prosecutor Eric Vaillant said. Cottrez's husband, who was not charged, was in a state of shock but the family remained united behind the mother, attorney Pierre-Jean Gribouva said.

RUSSIA/Fires burn during heat wave

Raging forest fires encircled a southern Russian city and tore through provincial villages Thursday, forcing mass evacuations as Moscow suffered through a record, weeks-long heat wave and smog cloud caused by peat-bog fires. Some 212,506 acres were burning nationwide, and flames all but encircled the city of Voronezh, 300 miles southeast of Moscow. There were no reports of casualties. The mercury hit 100 Thursday, beating by a fraction a record set on Monday, the country's news agencies reported.

BRITAIN/Churchill's dentures sell for $23G

A partial set of dentures used by former British leader Winston Churchill - described as the teeth that saved the world - sold at auction Thursday for $23,723. The upper dentures, one of several sets specially made for the wartime prime minister, were crucial for maintaining his distinctively slurred speaking style famous from World War II-era radio broadcasts. "The dentures wouldn't quite connect with the top of the mouth, but that was on purpose," said Jane Hughes, who is head of learning at London's Hunterian Museum.

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