View overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil....the iconic Christ statue is at the right.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States is condemning a deadly Taliban attack in Afghanistan, saying there is "no possible justification" for killing people who worked to help Afghans achieve a brighter future.
The U.S. also is renewing its call for the Taliban to lay down its weapons and begin peace talks with the Afghan government.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says such a move is the surest way to bring a peaceful end to the conflict in Afghanistan.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for Friday's attack on a popular restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital and largest city. At least 21 people, including three American citizens and two Canadians, were killed.
The Taliban said the attack was in retaliation for an Afghan military operation earlier in the week.
NEW: Bomb kills 15 paramilitary troops in NW Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- Police say a bomb exploded in a vehicle carrying security forces inside an army compound in a restive region of northwestern Pakistan, killing 15.
Police official Inyat Ali Khan says the vehicle was hired by the paramilitary Frontier Corps. It was part of a convoy that was about to leave the military base in the town of Bannu in the North Waziristan tribal area.
Khan says another 20 were wounded in the Sunday blast, and the death toll could increase.
North Waziristan is considered a safe haven for al-Qaida linked militants. Pakistani troop convoys often are hit by roadside bombs, but blasts inside a compound are rare.
ISTANBUL (AP) -- The main, western-backed Syrian opposition group has voted in favor of attending next week's peace conference aimed at ending the country's bloody civil war.
The Syrian National Coalition's media office said that of 73 voters on Saturday, 58 voted in favor of attending the conference.
The Coalition was under huge pressure from its Western and Arab sponsors to attend the peace talks, scheduled to open Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux.
Many Coalition members were hesitant to attend a conference that has little chance of success and will burn the last shred of credibility the group has with powerful rebels on the ground, who reject the talks.
The Syrian government has already said it will attend the talks.
Food enters Syria's main Palestinian refugee camp
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- A Palestinian official says food supplies have begun entering a besieged rebel-held Palestinian refugee camp in Syria's capital for the first time in months.
Anwar Raja, a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, said the first batch of supplies entered the Yarmouk camp on Saturday.
Yarmouk is one of the areas hardest hit by food shortages in Syria. Residents there say 46 people have died since October of starvation, illnesses exacerbated by hunger or because they couldn't obtain medical aid.
Raja had no immediate word on how many supplies entered the camp. He said much of the material was carried "on the shoulders" of PFLP-GC members and committees in the camp.
PFLP-GC members are fighting against Syrian opposition fighters who control most of the camp.
Clashes, bombings kill 6 people in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi authorities say clashes between militants and government troops as well as two bombings at marketplaces have killed six people.
Police and hospital officials say one bomb exploded Saturday inside a market in Baghdad's Madain area, killing three people and wounding nine others.
They added that a double bombing near a market In the northern city of Kirkuk killed one and wounded 15.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.
Hospital officials said that overnight clashes between security forces and militants in Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad, left two people dead.
Iraqi security forces and allied Sunni tribesmen have been trying to recapture territories overrun by al-Qaida in western Anbar province, including Fallujah and parts of Ramadi city.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- A team of international inspectors have arrived in Iran ahead of the Islamic Republic opening its nuclear program as part of a landmark deal struck with world powers.
Iranian state television said the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived Saturday. Its report said nuclear engineer Massimo Aparo will lead the team, which will visit Natanz and Fordo, Iran's uranium enrichment facilities.
The deal takes effect Monday. Under it, Iran will limit its enrichment of uranium in return for some Western sanctions to be lifted. The deal will last for six months as Iran and the world powers negotiate a final deal.
The West fears Iran's nuclear program could allow it to build an atomic weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Turkish police break up Internet protest
ISTANBUL (AP) -- Riot police in Istanbul have used water cannons against hundreds of people protesting a government plan to expand controls over the public's use of Internet.
Police did that Saturday to prevent a protest march down a main street to denounce the draft bill that would allow Turkey's telecommunications authority to block websites accused of privacy violations without a court decision.
Critics say that would expand the government's already tight grip on the Internet. The government rejects accusations of censorship, saying the move aims to protect privacy.
The measure comes as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government is fighting a corruption probe targeting people close to him.
Hundreds of people held a similar protest in Ankara on Saturday. No violence was reported.
BERLIN (AP) -- President Barack Obama has told German television that he will not allow U.S. spying to damage relations with Germany and other allies.
Obama made the pledge in an interview with Germany's ZDF television broadcast Saturday night. The interview appeared to be aimed at repairing the damage to U.S. relations with Germany and other countries following reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had monitored communications of European citizens and had even listened in on Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone.
Obama says he has built a close relationship with Merkel and could not allow U.S. surveillance operations to damage that trust.
Obama, according to a simultaneous German translation of his remarks, says that "as long as I am president of the United States, the German chancellor need not worry about that."
2 UK men charged with going to Syria for terrorism
LONDON (AP) -- Two men appeared in London court on Saturday charged with traveling to Syria intending to commit acts of terrorism.
Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed -- both 21 and from Birmingham, central England -- were arrested at Heathrow Airport on Monday after arriving on a flight from Turkey.
The men are accused of traveling to Syria on or before May 15, 2013, via Istanbul, Turkey, "with the intention of committing acts of terrorism" and preparing to engage in acts of terrorism.
They appeared Saturday at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, and were remanded in custody until Jan. 31, when they will appear at London's Old Bailey Court.
Police have said the case is not connected to the arrest on Friday of another 21-year-old from Birmingham on suspicion of attending a terrorist training camp in Syria.
European officials are concerned about domestic threats posed by fighters returning from Syria. British intelligence officials say they have seen "low hundreds of people" from Britain go to Syria to fight.
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Libya's official state news agency says gunmen have kidnapped two Italians working for a telecommunications company in eastern Libya.
The agency reports their driver says masked gunmen forced the Italians out of the vehicle at gunpoint on the road between the cities of Derna and Tobruk on Friday.
A colleague tells the agency the abducted worked for a private cable company that does works for the Communication Ministry. The motive for the kidnapping isn't clear.
Elsewhere, a military official says three soldiers were killed in clashes in the restive southern city of Sabha, a stronghold for former loyalists of late dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The official says four soldiers were wounded in clashes that continued for the second day Saturday after an earlier truce failed.
Earlier this week, fighting in Sabha killed 31 people. The city was one of the last to fall under rebel control during Libya's civil war.
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's election committee says 98.1 percent of voters have approved a new, military-backed constitution in the first vote since a coup toppled the country's president.
Egypt's High Election Commission said Saturday that 38.6 percent of the country's more than 53 million eligible voters took part in the two-day poll. Officials say 20.6 million voters cast ballots, with some 20.3 million votes counted after eliminating those voided.
This is the first vote since the military removed Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohammed Morsi, following massive protests in July. Officials view the vote as key in legitimizing the country's military-backed interim government and its plan for parliamentary and presidential elections.
But Morsi's supporters and his outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group boycotted the vote and have alleged the results were forged. The Brotherhood has vowed to keep up their near-daily protests.
US air base at issue in Japan mayoral election
TOKYO (AP) -- A small-town election Sunday on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa is being closely watched from Washington to Tokyo as a referendum on long-delayed plans to move a U.S. air base to the community of 62,000 people.
Incumbent Mayor Susumu Inamine opposes the move. He faces pro-relocation candidate Bunshin Suematsu in the Nago city election.
The incumbent vows to block construction by denying permits for the project.
The U.S. and Japan agreed in 1996 to move the Marines Corps Futenma air station to Nago from a more congested part of Okinawa, but many Okinawans want the base off their island completely.
Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which supports the move, is wooing voters with promises of additional development funds for Nago.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- The iconic statue of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro has been damaged during a storm.
Officials said Friday that the right thumb was chipped, apparently by a lightning strike Thursday night.
The middle finger of the right hand had been chipped during a storm last month.
The 125-foot (38 meter) Christ the Redeemer statue sits atop a steep mountain and is often hit by strikes.
The statue underwent a $4 million renovation in 2010 to repair badly eroded parts of its face and hands.
The Archdiocese of Rio manages the statue. Father Omar Raposo tells Globo Radio that repairs will soon be made.
He says the church has a stock of the same stone originally used to build the statue, which was erected in 1931.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- An attack by a school of carnivorous fish has injured at least 10 people bathing in an Argentine river in the last 48 hours.
The attack took place in the Parana River in Rosario some 300 kilometers (186 miles) northeast of Buenos Aires. Seventy people who were cooling off from high temperatures were also injured here in late December by the same piranha-like fish. They included seven children who lost parts of their fingers or toes.
The latest attack by the "palometas" was confirmed Saturday. They've been described by the local director of lifeguards as "a type of piranha, big, voracious and with sharp teeth that can really bite."
Experts say unusually high temperatures during the Austral summer and lower numbers of species such as caiman that preyed on the fish could be causing the attacks.