Britain: Dave Clark singer dies

LONDON — Mike Smith, the lead singer of the Dave Clark Five, has died, two weeks before the British Invasion band was to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the U.S., The Associated Press reported. He was 64.

Smith died of pneumonia today outside London, AP said, citing the band's publicist.

The Dave Clark Five burst onto the rock scene in the mid-1960s with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and Animals. Their hits included "Glad All Over," "Catch Us If You Can" and "Bits and Pieces."

Canada: NAFTA warning

TORONTO — Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday the United States should not reopen talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement as the two U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls have proposed.

Harper warned that reopening trade negotiations could lead to Canada raising some matters of its own.

"If any American government chose to make the mistake of reopening (NAFTA) we would have some things we would want to talk about as well," Harper said.

Canadian trade minister David Emerson said Wednesday it would be unwise for the U.S. to re-negotiate NAFTA because it has a good deal when it comes to accessing Canada's oil.

Israel: Conflict widens

JERUSALEM — Palestinian militants in Gaza fired at least eight imported, Katyusha-style rockets on Thursday at Ashkelon, on the Israeli coast, in what Israeli officials said was a serious broadening of the conflict.

Ashkelon has been an occasional target of these longer-range rockets, but never of so many in one day. The attack scored a direct hit on a house there for the first time.

The rocket attacks came on the second day of deadly Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. These attacks killed at least 19 Palestinians, among them four young boys, Palestinian hospital officials said.

Italy: Ferrari ring busted

MILAN — Italian financial police have busted a ring of counterfeiters who built fake Ferraris and sold them for as little as $30,000 a car, officials said Thursday.

Authorities have confiscated 14 fake Ferrari Modena 360s — seven sold and seven under construction — in an operation reaching from Palermo to Milan, said Guido Geremia, head of the Palermo unit that led the investigation.

Investigators do not know how many of the cars have been sold in the past — but Geremia said the buyers knew the cars were fakes and were clearly seeking to impress unknowing neighbors with the sleek-bodied speed machines.

"That is the only reason," he said.

Turkey: Gates faces resistance

ANKARA — Turkish leaders on Thursday resisted calls by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for a swift end to Turkey's offensive against Kurdish guerrillas, offering no timetable for withdrawing their troops from northern Iraq.

Gates came here to the Turkish capital with a stern message that the Turkish offensive in the mountains of northern Iraq should wrap up within days. But after three hours of meetings with senior civilian and military leaders on Thursday, Gates said he had received no assurances on when the offensive would end.

In fact, Turkey's minister of defense, Vecdi Gonul, implied that because of "winter conditions," the progress of the military campaign to destroy the infrastructure of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK for its initials in Kurdish, could be slow.

Gates said he was still confident that Turkish leaders understood the concerns of Bush administration officials: that the offensive could be prolonged, bloody and — ultimately — ineffective.