France: Crash kills children

ALLINGES — A train slammed into a bus carrying schoolchildren at a railroad crossing in the French Alps on Monday, killing seven children and injuring 24 people, regional officials said.

The bus was carrying 50 middle-school students, five adults and a driver on a field trip to a historic village on the shores of Lake Geneva, according to the gendarmes service in the Haute-Savoie region. The collision ripped off part of the bus' rear and caused its roof to cave in.

Gambia: Gays targeted

BANJUL — Authorities in Gambia have arrested two Spanish men for allegedly making "homosexual proposals" to taxi drivers, police said Monday.

The arrests come less than three weeks after Gambia's president ordered homosexuals to leave the West African country and threatened in a nationally televised speech to "cut off the head" of anyone discovered to be gay.

The Spanish nationals were taken into custody Friday after the taxi drivers reported being solicited by them, a police spokesman said. He declined to give further details.

Mexico: Mayor shot dead

MEXICO CITY — The mayor of a small town in western Mexico was forced from his car and shot dead, officials said Monday.

Marcelo Ibarra was traveling with his wife and two children late Sunday when the men stopped their car, forced Ibarra to get out and shot him in the head, said Magdalena Guzman, the spokeswoman for the Michoacan state Attorney General's Office.

Ibarra died on the way to the hospital, but his wife and children were unharmed.

Ibarra was mayor of Villa Madero, one of many small towns caught in a nationwide battle between drug traffickers and the Mexican army.

Russia: Media bill criticized

MOSCOW — Russia's new president urged parliament Monday to scrap a bill widely seen as restrictive to the media.

In a letter to the lower house of Parliament, the text of which was released by the Kremlin, President Dmitry Medvedev criticized the proposed legislation and warned that it could hurt media freedom.

"The bill's provisions could only create obstacles to the normal functioning of mass media," Medvedev said in the letter. He advised the State Duma to dump the bill, which allows authorities to suspend and close down media outlets for libel and slander.

Syria: N-inspectors allowed

Syria will allow in U.N. inspectors to probe allegations that a remote building destroyed in an Israeli airstrike was a nuclear reactor built secretly with North Korean help, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday.

The invitation signaled the start of an international fact check of U.S. and Israeli assertions that Damascus had tried to build a plutonium-producing facility under the radar of the international community. It could turn into a wider probe of possible secret Syrian nuclear sites.

Syria has denied wrongdoing, asserting the attack destroyed a non-nuclear military building. Syrian officials in Damascus did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.