World in brief: President softens anti-U.S. rhetoric

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck a milder-than-usual tone toward the United States in remarks Thursday, saying he did not want to “judge ahead of time” the policies of President-elect Barack Obama.

“We will wait and see what his administration will do,” Ahmadinejad said during a news conference in Tehran.

But the Iranian president repeated his sweeping demand that the United States change its behavior in order to decrease tension between the two nations. “Any government that comes to power in the United States should limit its influence to its own borders. The root of all problems and wars in the world is the unwanted meddling of the United States in world affairs,” Ahmadinejad said.

Kabul, Afghanistan

Copter crash kills top army general

A helicopter carrying one of Afghanistan’s most senior army generals and 12 soldiers crashed in bad weather Thursday, killing all aboard, the Afghan military said.

Taliban insurgents claimed to have downed the Russian-made chopper in western Afghanistan, but the military said in a statement that poor visibility caused the craft to slam into a jagged mountainside.

Much of Afghanistan is enveloped in rain and snow, which has been hampering military transport as well as civilian flights. The nation’s military relies largely on a poorly maintained fleet of aging Russian aircraft.

The general who died, Fazl Ahmad Sayar, was one of four regional commanders. He was in charge of army operations in the west of the country.

From wire reports

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