Afghanistan: Taliban surrender

KABUL — A senior Taliban leader has surrendered to Pakistani authorities and another insurgent commander was killed by a British airstrike in southern Afghanistan, British officials announced Tuesday.

A suicide bomber blew himself up earlier in the day in the Afghan capital, wounding three civilians, while clashes in the country's west prompted U.S.-led forces to use airstrikes on Taliban militants, officials said.

Lt. Col. Robin Matthews, a spokesman at the British Defense Ministry in London, said Mullah Rahim, the most senior Taliban leader in Afghanistan's Helmand province, gave himself up to Pakistani officials Saturday.

India: Vote of confidence

NEW DELHI — India's government survived a bruising political battle to win a confidence vote Tuesday, reviving a landmark nuclear energy deal with the United States that is at the center of an emerging partnership between the world's two largest democracies.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress party fought hard to secure victory and appeared to cut backroom deals when all else failed.

Italy: 'No chastity belt'

ROME — Italy's top criminal court has upheld the sexual assault conviction of a man who argued that the victim's jeans prevented the attack. The court provoked outrage a decade ago by ruling that it was impossible to rape a woman wearing jeans.

The Court of Cassation rejected an appeal by a 37-year-old man convicted by a lower court for sexually assaulting a teenager. The man said that it would have been impossible for him to carry out the attack because the girl had been seated and wearing jeans at the time.

The court said that jeans were "no chastity belt."

Russia: Alliance sought

BARVIKHA — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, visiting Moscow to pursue weapons and energy deals, on Tuesday called for a strategic alliance with Russia to protect his country from the United States.

Chavez has repeatedly accused Washington of plotting an invasion to destabilize his government, despite U.S. denials.

The alliance would mean "we can guarantee Venezuela's sovereignty, which is now threatened by the United States," Chavez told reporters shortly after his arrival in Moscow.

Sudan: Foreigners at risk

A senior Sudanese official warned Tuesday that aid workers and peacekeepers might not be safe in Darfur if an arrest warrant is issued for the country's president on genocide charges.

Bona Malwal, an adviser to President Omar al-Bashir, told reporters in Nairobi, Kenya, that the government would not be able to guarantee the "well-being" of international staff helping to feed and protect millions of Sudanese and said the government might withdraw their visas.

Malwal did not specify where the danger would come from, but he said the Sudanese government regarded the request for an arrest warrant for al-Bashir from the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court as an attempt by European powers to recolonize Africa under the cloak of promoting human rights.

Ukraine: Poisoning probe

KIEV — President Viktor Yushchenko was summoned for questioning Tuesday into his nearly lethal poisoning four years ago, and he said the ongoing investigation would produce some "very unpleasant" surprises.

Yushchenko fell gravely ill during the 2004 presidential campaign while he was a leading opposition candidate. He was later diagnosed with massive dioxin poisoning, which disfigured his face.

The probe has been under way since 2004, but no charges have been filed.

Yushchenko has said he knows who organized the crime, though he refuses to provide more detailed information.

Zimbabwe: Pressure mounts

Europe turned up pressure on Zimbabwe's president to share power with the opposition, toughening sanctions Tuesday against Robert Mugabe just as his ruling party was to begin talks with its chief rival mediated by South Africa.

Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met face-to-face Monday for the first time in 10 years and agreed to formal talks about power sharing after three months of state-sponsored electoral violence.