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In brief: Deal aims to end Sudan violence

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Leaders from north and south Sudan signed an agreement on Monday to demilitarize the disputed central region of Abyei and allow an Ethiopian peacekeeping force to move in, said a former South African president who is helping lead peace talks.

Thabo Mbeki said Monday’s agreement provides for the full demilitarization of Abyei, a fertile land near major oil fields that both north and south claim as their own.

The agreement comes three weeks before the south is set to secede from the north and create the world’s newest country.

Greek protests cause blackouts

ATHENS, Greece – Greece was hit by rolling blackouts Monday as employees at the main power utility began 48-hour rolling strikes to protest the company’s privatization, part of austerity plans needed to avoid a national debt default.

The sell-off of state assets in the power company is a major step in a $71 billion privatization drive that must be completed by 2015.

Beatriz upgraded to hurricane

MIAMI – The National Weather Service says Tropical Storm Beatriz has reached hurricane strength, as its heavy rains and strong winds have begun pounding resort beaches on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Authorities closed the popular tourist ports of Acapulco and Manzanillo ahead of the hurricane’s arrival.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Beatriz is expected to brush over Mexico’s southwestern coast before heading back out to sea.

Accounts conflict about Mubarak

CAIRO – Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was treated last year for cancer in his gallbladder and pancreas, and may be suffering a recurrence that spread to his stomach, his defense lawyer said Monday. However, two senior Egyptian medical officials – one of them the head of Mubarak’s team of doctors – said he does not have the disease.

Mubarak, 83, has been hospitalized since early April. He is set to face trial in August on charges he ordered the killings of protesters during the 18-day uprising that ousted him on Feb. 11.


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