THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Car bombs and mortars have exploded close to the hotel where chemical weapons inspectors are staying in the Syrian capital in recent days, but officials said Thursday there is no way of knowing if the team is being deliberately targeted. Malik Ellahi, a senior official at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told a small group of reporters at the organization's headquarters the latest "mortar incident" happened late Wednesday close to the team's Damascus hotel. That followed car bombs and mortars detonating close to the hotel on Oct. 12. By Mike Corder. Moved 400 words.


LONDON — What many commuters choking on smog have long suspected has finally been scientifically validated: air pollution causes lung cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared on Thursday that air pollution is a carcinogen, alongside known dangers such as asbestos, tobacco and ultraviolet radiation. The decision came after a consultation by an expert panel organized by IARC, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, which is based in Lyon, France. By Maria Cheng. Moved 630 words.

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LONDON — American actor Ben Foster is cycling into the lead as Lance Armstrong in a new movie about the disgraced American cyclist. Director Stephen Frears said filming started Wednesday on the untitled project, and Foster is already proving to be a champion in the saddle. Moved 130 words.


LONDON — Prince Charles has warned pension fund managers to move beyond short-term thinking or risk creating a "miserable future" for coming generations. In a pre-recorded speech delivered Wednesday night, he said the current system of investing pensions with an eye toward quarterly profits will not work for Britain's aging population. Moved 130 words.


PARIS — Hundreds of teenagers are erecting barricades outside their schools and marching through Paris to protest police expulsions of immigrant families. Anger erupted this week over the treatment of a 15-year-old Kosovar girl, detained in front of classmates on a field trip. The government says her family had been denied asylum and was no longer allowed to stay in France. AP Photos. Moved 130 words.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Police in Bosnia have detained eight Serb men suspected of taking part in looting, expulsions and killing of civilians during the country's 1992-95 war. The prosecutor's office in Bosnia said Thursday the men were arrested in the eastern town of Rogatica where the alleged crimes were committed in September 1992. Moved 130 words.



LONDON — A day after the U.S. Congress stepped back from the abyss and avoided a potentially disastrous default, investor relief was checked Thursday by concerns over the cost of Washington's drawn-out political battle. Even though Congress has agreed to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling and end a 16-day partial government shutdown, the relief rally that started on Wall Street on Wednesday has largely petered out. The dollar was down sharply and stock markets drifted lower. By Pan Pylas. Moved 735 words.


LONDON — The head of Britain's child poverty and social mobility commission says having a job no longer offers a sure route out of poverty, and the government must do more to help low-paid workers. Lawmaker Alan Milburn says that while past policies focused on helping welfare recipients get work, the missing piece of the government's "policy jigsaw," is how to help people squeezed by stagnant wages and rising costs. Moved 130 words.