Associated Press
Tiny snake curls up on a quarter.

Puerto Rico: Tiniest snake

SAN JUAN — A U.S. scientist said he has discovered the globe's tiniest species of snake in the easternmost Caribbean island of Barbados, with full-grown adults typically stretching less than 4 inches long.

S. Blair Hedges, an evolutionary biologist at Penn State University whose research teams also have discovered the world's tiniest lizard in the Dominican Republic and the smallest frog in Cuba, said the snake was found slithering beneath a rock near a patch of Barbadian forest.

Hedges said the tiny-title-holding snake, which is so diminutive it can curl up on a U.S. quarter, is the smallest of the roughly 3,100 known snake species. "Leptotyphlops carlae" will be introduced in the journal "Zootaxa" today.

El Salvador: Staying in Iraq

SAN SALVADOR — President Tony Saca says El Salvador will send its 11th contingent of troops to Iraq.

The 280 troops will replace soldiers carrying out humanitarian and reconstruction work in Kut, a city south of Baghdad.

Saca has sent troops to Iraq since 2003. El Salvador is currently the only Latin American country with a military presence in Baghdad.

Greece: Girlfriend beheaded

ATHENS — A 31-year-old man killed his girlfriend on the Greek island of Santorini on Sunday, beheaded her, then fled in a patrol car, a local official said.

During the ensuing chase, the man was shot five times by police and ran over two women doctors who were riding a motorcycle before he was caught, the official said.

The man was a cook at a local restaurant.

Norway: Lightning hits 91

OSLO — A lightning bolt struck 91 auto racing fans at a racetrack in Norway Sunday, and 45 people were taken to hospital with minor burns, police said.

The lightning hit a hill where spectators at the rallycross were sitting. Rallycross is a form of sprint-style automobile racing on a closed circuit.

The race, a national championship, was called off after the incident.

Georgia: Children at border

TBILISI — The breakaway republic of South Ossetia began sending hundreds of children across the border to its Russian ally on Sunday amid increasing violence between the republic and Georgian government forces.

A spokeswoman for the the separatist South Ossetian government said the children were in constant danger and were evacuated. But a Georgian government minister disputed that and said they were going to summer youth camps.

Venezuela: Jets for 'defense'

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says 24 Sukhoi fighter jets have been delivered to Venezuela — and are ready to defend his country from "imperialist" aggressions.

Chavez claims the U.S. Navy's Fourth Fleet poses a threat to Venezuela, and he's vowing to push forward with a multibillion-dollar arms buildup aimed at dissuading a possible U.S. military strike.

"They're for defensive purposes, we're not going to attack anybody," Chavez said Sunday of the Russian-made jets.

West Bank: Asylum denied

RAMALLAH — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday refused to grant West Bank asylum to forces who fled weekend faction fighting in Hamas-ruled Gaza, despite fears for their safety.

Abbas ordered nearly 200 fighters back to Gaza from Israel, insisting a Fatah presence must be retained in the territory, which has been controlled by Hamas since a violent takeover in June 2007. Fatah is not prepared to write off Gaza, and Abbas also fears that an entrenched Hamas there could export rebellion to the West Bank, where he rules.