GLENDORA, Calif.

Wildfire forces evacuations in suburbs, razes five homes

A destructive wildfire above foothill suburbs northeast of Los Angeles was reduced to smoke and scattered flames Friday, and residents of almost all evacuated neighborhoods were told they could go home.

The fire erupted before 6 a.m. Thursday in the Angeles National Forest when Santa Ana winds hit a campfire that authorities said was recklessly set by three men. Gusts quickly spread flames into the city of Glendora, forcing evacuations there and in neighboring Azusa.

Five homes were destroyed and 17 other houses and structures were damaged.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Attack at restaurant kills 16 as Taliban step up violence

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Kabul restaurant filled with foreigners and affluent Afghans, while two gunmen snuck in through the back door and opened fire Friday in a brazen dinnertime attack that killed 16 people, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility within an hour of the attack against La Taverna du Liban, part of a stepped-up campaign of violence against foreign and government interests to send a message that the militants are not going anywhere as the U.S.-led coalition winds down its combat mission at the end of the year.

BEIRUT

Syrian regime proposes cease-fire in city of Aleppo

Syria’s government Friday proposed a cease-fire in the embattled city of Aleppo and a prisoner exchange with the opposition, a move that appeared aimed at presenting President Bashar Assad as a responsible partner less than a week before international peace talks.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition has yet to decide whether it will attend the peace talks set to open Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux. Members of the coalition gathered Friday in Istanbul to vote on the group’s participation, but the start of the meeting was delayed for at least 10 hours after dozens of representatives refused to show up.

– From news service reports