Khin Maung Win,AFP/Getty Images
Cyclone victims receive aid in Dedaye, Myanmar, on Wednesday.

Myanmar: U.N. chief arrives

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Myanmar early today on the diplomatic mission of a lifetime — persuading the ruling generals to let in a torrent of foreign assistance for millions of cyclone victims.

"We must do our utmost for the people of Myanmar," the U.N. chief told reporters on the eve of his departure from Bangkok, Thailand, for Yangon.

By the junta's own count, at least 134,000 people are dead or missing from Cyclone Nargis, which swept through the country's heartland May 2-3. The U.N. says up to 2.5 million survivors are hungry and homeless and there are worries about disease outbreaks.

Afghanistan: U.S. shelves plan

The U.S. Defense Department said Wednesday it has shelved a plan to take greater control in parts of Afghanistan where NATO is in charge after the Dutch and British agreed to extend their commands.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the Netherlands and Britain will stay in control in southern Afghanistan for a full year, rather than in months, as the military alliance fights a stubborn Taliban insurgency.

The European allies agreed to the new arrangement in recent conversations with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Morrell said.

Georgia: Ruling party winning

TBILISI — Partial returns Thursday and an exit poll showed President Mikhail Saakashvili's ruling party heading for a strong majority in Georgia's parliamentary election, drawing a challenge from his opponents.

A dispute over results could set the stage for another round of political squabbling that has spilled into Tbilisi's streets repeatedly over the past year, but a late-night opposition rally fizzled.

The election was seen as a test of the pro-Western leader's commitment to democracy, crucial to his aim of bringing the former Soviet republic into NATO.

Kenya: Deadly 'witch' hunt

NAIROBI — A group of up to 300 young men killed 11 people who were accused of being witches and wizards in western Kenya, in some cases slitting their throats or clubbing them to death before burning their bodies, officials said.

The gang moved home to home through two villages, using a list of suspected witches and wizards and the kind of spells they were believed to have cast on the community, said Ben Makori, a local councilor.

"The villagers are complaining that the (suspected) wizards and witches are making the bright children in the community dumb. These (suspected) witches are not doing good things to us," he told The Associated Press.

Mexico: Donkey leaves jail

TUXTLA GUTIERREZ — A Mexican donkey has been freed from jail.

The Televisa network on Wednesday showed "Blacky" gobbling food from a bucket after spending three days in a jail that normally holds people for public drunkenness and other disturbances.

Blacky was jailed for biting and kicking two men near a ranch outside Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas state.

Officials freed the donkey after its owner paid a fine.

Venezuela: U.S. accused

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused the United States on Wednesday of using anti-drug flights for spying — and said that fighter jets are ready to defend Venezuela's sovereignty.

Chavez said a U.S. Navy plane that flew into Venezuelan airspace during a purported anti-drug mission was actually involved in reconnaissance.

"They are spying, even testing our capacity to react," Chavez said in a televised speech. "We are not going to allow the violation of our sovereignty."