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4 U.S. service members killed

KABUL — Four U.S. service members were killed Wednesday in separate attacks in Afghanistan, NATO said, underscoring the dangers facing Americans as President Obama intensifies efforts to stabilize the country in its ninth year of war.

The deaths raised to 14 the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year, according to an Associated Press count. They also came on the same day the U.N. released a report showing the number of Afghan civilian deaths has been on the rise.

One American service member was killed in fighting with insurgents in eastern Afghanistan while the other died of wounds suffered in a roadside bombing in the south.

NATO said the two other American troops died in a bomb blast Wednesday, but disclosed no other information.

Christians' use of 'Allah' controversial

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A church official says burglars have ransacked the office of the lawyers who are fighting for Christians' right to use the word "Allah" to refer to God in this Muslim-majority country.

The Rev. Lawrence Andrew says staff of lawyer S. Selvarajah found locks were broken when they came to the office Thursday. He says the drawers were ransacked and papers strewn over the floor. The staff and police are checking on whether anything was stolen.

He says it appears to be "a kind of intimidation maybe."

Selvarajah and police could not immediately be reached.

On Dec. 31, a high court ruled on a petition by Andrew that a Catholic publication can use "Allah" as a translation in its Malay language edition. The government has appealed the ruling.

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