AFGHANISTAN: NATO kills 5 Afghan soldiers

A botched NATO airstrike killed five Afghan soldiers early Wednesday, mistaking them for insurgents. An Afghan defense official condemned the "friendly fire" deaths in eastern Ghazni province. Meanwhile, three American troops were killed in the south and Britain announced it would turn over control of a violence-plagued southern district to U.S. forces. Gen. David Petraeus issued personal condolences to the families of the dead Afghans, a spokesman said. They were ambushing insurgents when the aircraft fired on them, Afghan defense officials said.

BAHAMAS: Thief continues rampage

A wily thief who hopscotched his way across the United States and escaped in a stolen plane to the Bahamas lived up to his legend Wednesday, eluding a manhunt after allegedly committing a series of break-ins on a normally quiet island. Bahamian police interviewed burglary victims while searching for Colton Harris-Moore, 19, on Great Abaco Island days after the fugitive who has been dubbed the "Barefoot Bandit" crash-landed the plane and made his way to shore. Harris-Moore is a suspect in the burglary of seven homes and businesses on Great Abaco, police said.

CUBA: 52 dissidents to be freed

The government will free 52 political prisoners, Catholic officials in Havana said Wednesday, the largest release of dissidents in decades. The scheduled release of those arrested in a March 2003 crackdown against pro-democracy activists was brokered by the Cuban archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, with help from Spanish diplomats.

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