BELGIUM

Afghan progress seen

Afghan forces will soon start taking charge of security for three-quarters of the nationís 28 million people, NATOís top military commander said Wednesday, a milestone as the country assumes the lead for protecting the majority of its population. Adm. James Stavridis also said the training of the Afghan army and police was proceeding very well, despite attacks in which Afghan soldiers have turned their weapons on their U.S. and NATO partners.

ENGLAND

Panel advises cutting aid

A parliamentary committee said Thursday that Britain should ditch its pledge to commit 0.7 percent of gross domestic product on overseas aid by 2013 amid the countryís program of sharp spending cuts. The target wrongly prioritized spending over results, and could no longer be justified as Britain tries to cut its national debt, members of the House of Lords economic affairs committee said in a report.

POLAND

Crash questions persist

The twin brother of the Polish president who died in a 2010 plane crash in Russia claimed Wednesday that the accident is looking increasingly like an assassination and called on the European Union to investigate. Jaroslaw Kaczynskiís appeal comes amid a backdrop of deep suspicions over the crash by some Poles. The crash killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others on board.

MALI

Crowds support junta

Several thousand people took to the streets of Maliís capital in support of last weekís coup and to protest the possible use of force by Maliís neighbors, who are putting forces on standby in case the countryís military junta refuses to stand down. The coup has been divisive in Mali because many were fed up with President Amadou Toumani Toureís failure to contain a rebellion by Tuareg fighters in the nationís north.

Compiled from wire reports