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The town is believed to be a safe haven for Taliban fighters and drug smugglers, as well as a conduit for foreign fighters arriving from neighboring Pakistan, NATO said

No other details about the attacks on the U.S. troops were given by NATO and the identities of those killed were not immediately released.

A total of 55 foreign troops have been killed in Afghanistan this month, including 35 Americans, according to a count by The Associated Press. July was the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion, with 66 killed.

Afghanistan: The Road Ahead

U.S. troops make up about 100,000 of the 120,000-strong foreign military contingent in Afghanistan, most in the south and east where the Taliban is most deeply entrenched.

Meanwhile, a police official said three Afghan policemen and two civilians were killed and 15 civilians wounded in Thursday evening’s bombing in Kunduz province’s Archi town. The blast went off as residents shopped for food in anticipation of the breaking of the dawn-to-dusk fast observed during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but deputy provincial police chief Abdul Rahman Aqtash said civilians appeared to be the target.

«This was a cruel act of the enemy. There was nothing to link these people to the coalition or to politics,» Aqtash said.

Kunduz, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, has not traditionally been a Taliban stronghold. However, insurgents have steadily built their presence there since 2007, mostly among ethnic Pashtuns who are a minority in the area. Attacks on a key coalition supply line running south from Tajikistan are a constant menace, along with ambushes of German forces who help provide security.

In establishing a northern foothold, Afghan authorities believe the Taliban use veterans from southern battlefields to help organize local groups, sometimes with help from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which provides recruits from among the Uzbek minority.

«The situation is very bad and dangerous in Kunduz but unfortunately the security officials keep saying things are all right,» Mabubullah Mabub, chairman of the Kunduz provincial council, told AP Thursday. «Over the last two years, the situation has been getting worse.»

Farther east in Badakhshan province, Afghan army commandos aided by U.S. special forces discovered a major weapons cache in the remote village of Nawci on Wednesday, 구리출장안마 NATO reported. It said weapons found included 78 rockets with launchers, 47 mortar rounds, more than 9,000 rounds of ammunition, and 24 rocket-propelled grenades. All were destroyed.

The town is believed to be a safe haven for Taliban fighters and drug smugglers, as well as a conduit for foreign fighters arriving from neighboring Pakistan, NATO said.

Meanwhile, Afghan, French and U.S. troops wrapped up a weeklong offensive against insurgents in the Uzbeen valley northeast of Kabul, NATO said. Backed by air power, the combined force killed about 40 Taliban fighters and captured several key Taliban operatives, it said.

Another three insurgents were killed and three detained in eastern Paktiya province by Afghan and coalition forces pursuing a Taliban sub-commander — part of an expanding number of operations targeting the insurgents’ leadership.

While the Taliban sub-commander was not captured, the coalition claimed to have nabbed two key operatives with the Haqqani network, an Islamist militant group with deep links to al Qaeda. NATO also said its forces in Kunduz were chasing a militant affiliated with a number of groups including al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Taliban.

NATO said the militant was recently forced to leave a safe haven in Pakistan and moved across the border accompanied by several al Qaeda members.

Afghanistan routinely complains that Pakistan hasn’t done enough to drive out extremists and President Hamid Karzai on Thursday told a visiting U.S. Congressional delegation the fight against terrorism cannot succeed as long as the Taliban and their allies maintain sanctuaries in Pakistan.

A statement by Karzai’s office said the Afghan leader told the U.S. delegation that significant progress had been made in rebuilding the country after decades of war. But he said the campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda had faltered because of ongoing civilian casualties during NATO military operations and a lack of focus on «destroying the terrorists’ refuge» across the border.

Karzai also said President Barack Obama’s announcement that he would begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan in July 2011 has given «the enemy a morale boost» because they believe they can simply hold out until the Americans leave.

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Archuleta, who won the coin toss prior to the show, had decided to go second in front of the 7,000 people at the Nokia Live Theater in Los Angeles

In Cowell’s opinion — and judge Randy Jackson concurred — Archuleta’s opponent David Cook stumbled by not choosing a showstopper to sing in the final round.

The judges, however, don’t have a voice in who ultimately wins the competition. That will be up to the «American Idol» viewing audience, whose decision will be revealed on Wednesday’s grand finale.

The Fox reality show made full use of the boxing theme throughout Tuesday night’s match, which kicked off with ring announcer Michael Buffer crying out his catchphrase «Let’s get ready to rumble!» HBO’s fight commentator Jim Lampley was shown in clips throughout the show, saying things like «in a three round fight, you want to pace yourself.»

The fight analogy only went so far.

«You’ve gotta have a desire to win and you’ve got to hate your opponent,» judge Simon Cowell advised before the first round of competition.

But the verbal handshake before the fight was a friendly one, with Archuleta saying Cook was «awesome» and Cook responding that Archuleta was the most consistently nice person in the competition.

Archuleta, who won the coin toss prior to the show, had decided to go second in front of the 7,000 people at the Nokia Live Theater in Los Angeles.

In the first round, the singers sang tunes selected for them by record mogul Clive Davis, whose record company, 강진출장안마 Sony BMG, will hand out a contract to the «American Idol» winner.

Cook kicked off the round with a solid performance of U2’s «I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.» All the judges thought he was in fine voice, with Cowell calling his performance phenomenal.

Archuleta followed with Elton John’s «Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,» which Jackson called flawless.

«Taking everything into account, Round 1 goes to Archuleta,» said Cowell.

The singers chose songs from the top 10 songs in the annual «American Idol» songwriting contest.

Cook broke out his electric guitar for «Dream Big» by Emily Shackleton and Archuleta sang the ballad «In This Moment» by Ryan Gillmor. Of the two, Cowell thought Archuleta chose the better song and gave the round to him.

The third round was the decisive one, at least according to Cowell.

Cook decided to go with a song he hadn’t sung before, Collective Soul’s «The World I Know.» He accompanied himself on acoustic guitar for the soulful ballad. Jackson said it was the perfect song for him, but Cowell pointed out it wasn’t the kind of showstopper that would win the contest.

«You should have sung ‘Hello’ or ‘Billie Jean’,» Cowell said, referring to songs that had won Cook praise earlier in the season.

«It was the wrong choice in the competition,» Jackson conceded, «but it’s a good song.»

«The way that I was looking at it was, why do something I’ve already done. For the record, I completely understand what you’re saying,» Cook said.

Archuleta delivered the final blow by singing John Lennon’s «Imagine,» the song that got him noticed in week 2 of the competition.

«Tonight I think we’ve witnessed one of the great finals,» said Cowell. «Here’s the difference in my opinion: you came out here tonight to win and what we have witnessed is a knockout.»

The evening wrapped with a live performance of season 2 winner Ruben Studdard singing this season’s elimination song, Kenny Loggins’ «Celebrate Me Home.»

Tomorrow night, after the viewer votes are tallied, Cook and Archuleta will know which one of them will celebrate their win as this season’s «American Idol.»

By Judy Rosen

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Alan Alda on «brainy» new show and favorite M.A.S.H. episode

【함평출장마사지】Ø7Øx7575xØØ77(CBS News) Alan Alda has done it all. He’s stared in movies, television shows, on Broadway and is an accomplished author. The Renaissance man has many awards including six Emmy’s to his name.

Alda has now turned his focus to science as the host of the PBS special «Brains on Trial.» The two-part series airs on Wednesday and explores how neuroscience can affect criminal cases.

For 파주출장안마 the longest time, the brain was a big, dark mystery, but neuroscience has come such a long way and some scientists believe they can tell if people are lying by putting them in a functional MRI machine. However, others believe the technique is not ready to be used in court rooms.

«One of the things I found out doing the show is that there are a lot of very smart people in the justice system and in science collaborating and trying to figure out what’s the best course to take, what’s the most cautious course to take,» said Alda on «CBS This Morning: Saturday.» «So that it doesn’t hurt justice, but in a way might make things more just all the way around.»

Alda may be an actor, but his passion has been in the scientific field for over a decade. He founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University to train scientists in communication as well.

Professor Alan Alda teaches scientists how to speak

Alda is most well-known for his 11-year stint as the wise-cracking Dr. Hawkeye Piece on M.A.S.H. He told «CBS This Morning: Saturday» co-host Anthony Mason that his favorite episode of the series was one that included a gold jeep.

«There was one where we were playing a joke on the Frank Burns character and we painted a jeep gold. And Wayne Rogers and I said to each other, where did we get gold paint in Korea? This is ridiculous,» explained Alda. «And anytime a story line came up that really didn’t seem credible to us, we would look at each other and say ‘gold jeep,’ but it didn’t always help to say that.»

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The Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective, also confirmed the airstrikes

BEIRUT — U.S.-led coalition warplanes carried out as many as 30 airstrikes overnight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in and around the group’s de facto capital in northeastern Syria, activists said Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes targeted ISIS positions in the city of Raqqa as well as the Division 17 air base, which the militants seized earlier this year from government forces.

The monitoring group, which relies on a network of activists inside Syria, reported at least 30 coalition strikes in all. The Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective, also confirmed the airstrikes. Neither group had casualty figures.

There was no immediate confirmation from the U.S. military.

More in The fight against ISIS

Raqqa has been the site of heavy bombardment by Syria government forces as well. Activists say 95 people, including many civilians, were killed in strikes there by Assad government air force bombings last week.

The American-led coalition began targeting ISIS in Syria in September, expanding an aerial campaign already hitting the extremist group in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials say two separate bombings have killed seven people in the capital Baghdad.

Police officials say a bomb exploded on Sunday near a small restaurant, killing four people and wounding nine others in northwestern Baghdad. A separate bomb blast near a wholesale fruit and grocery market killed three people and 군산출장안마 wounded 12 others in a southern Baghdad suburb.

Medical officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Iraq sees near-daily bombings and other attacks mainly targeting Shiite neighborhoods, security forces and Sunnis allied with the government. The attacks are often claimed by the Sunni extremist group ISIS, which seized much of northern and western Iraq in a summer offensive.

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