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World in brief: Bombs kill two NATO soldiers

Tue., Jan. 26, 2010

KABUL – Bomb strikes killed two NATO soldiers – a Briton and a Norwegian – while a rocket attack at the major international military base in southern Afghanistan wounded eight other international troops, officials said Monday. Bulgaria’s defense minister was at the base but was not injured.

The violence came three days before a London conference on Afghanistan that is expected to focus on a government plan to reintegrate Taliban militants willing to lay down their arms.

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, said the Taliban could be part of a peace agreement if an influx of 37,000 foreign troops succeeds in bringing stability to the country.

An Afghan government plan to offer jobs, vocational training and other economic incentives to tens of thousands of Taliban foot soldiers willing to switch sides will be discussed at the Jan. 28 international conference in London.

El Salvador will work with Lobo

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes says he will re-establish ties with neighboring Honduras when president-elect Porfirio Lobo is sworn into office.

Funes said “we will start the process of normalizing relations” following Lobo’s inauguration on Wednesday. Funes was elected on the ticket of the leftist FMLN party formed by former Salvadoran rebels.

The term of ousted President Manuel Zelaya ends on Wednesday.

Three detainees sent to Slovakia

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department said three Guantanamo Bay detainees have been transferred to the government of Slovakia.

They are the latest of more than 570 prisoners moved from the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba to at least 38 countries since 2002.

The government provided little information about Sunday’s transfer and is withholding their names at the request of Slovakia for security and privacy reasons. The Guantanamo prison still holds 193 detainees.

Ex-president charged in U.S.

NEW YORK – Alfonso Portillo, the fugitive former president of Guatemala, was charged in the United States on Monday with using foreign banks to launder millions of dollars plundered from charity and government coffers.

Portillo, 58, is accused of “converting the office of the Guatemalan presidency into his personal ATM,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of New York said in a statement.

The disgraced politician already was facing embezzlement charges in his own country. Authorities there on Monday declared him a fugitive after dozens of soldiers and police officers raided five of his properties but didn’t find him.


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