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Six policemen killed in blast

Six policemen have been killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan.

Mohammad Ibrahim, the police chief in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province, said the blast happened when the officers' vehicle ran over a roadside bomb.

The victims were members of the Afghan Local Police, a village defence unit which is overseen by the Interior Ministry.

Also in the south, a member of Afghanistan's top religious council was assassinated yesterday in Tarin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province.

Provincial police spokesman Fareed Ayal said a gunman shot Abdul Samad dead as he was driving his car.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the assassination.

Pope book out by Christmas

The Pope says he hopes his latest book on Jesus will help bring people closer to Christ.

Jesus' Infancy is due in bookstores by Christmas and is the third in Benedict XVI's trilogy on the life of Christ.

Benedict writes in the foreword: "I hope that this little book, notwithstanding its limits, might help many people in their path toward and with Christ."

Corden in new comedy deal

Award-winning star James Corden has signed a deal to star in a new six-part comedy-thriller series for BBC2.

Recently-married Corden wrote the series -- called The Wrong Mans -- with Gavin & Stacey pal Mathew Baynton, who will also co-star in the half-hour episodes.

In the tale, to be filmed next year, office workers Sam (Baynton) and Phil (Corden) become caught up in a criminal conspiracy after stumbling across a ringing phone at the scene of a horrific car crash.

Life on Mars? No, it's debris

NASA says a small bright object detected on Mars is likely a piece of plastic from the Curiosity rover.

The six-wheel spacecraft captured an image of the puzzling object Monday after scooping up Martian sand and dust over the weekend.

The space agency says the plastic bit that fell off the rover is "benign". While plans are continuing to identify it, Nasa says it is not "Martian material".