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In brief: Syria cease-fire off to shaky start

Beirut – A U.N.-sponsored plan to end the violence in Syria got off to a rocky start Tuesday, with Syria’s foreign minister claiming that soldiers had begun to pull out of urban areas while anti-government activists charged that military operations were continuing throughout the country.

Tuesday’s death toll appeared to be substantially lower than Monday’s, but U.N. Syria envoy Kofi Annan expressed disappointment that the Syrian government had not pulled troops from urban areas as promised. He said intelligence he’d been given showed that government forces were moving toward “other areas which have not previously been targets.”

But he also said it was “too early” to declare the cease-fire plan a failure and said he hoped his peace plan would be implemented by Thursday.

Extradition OK’d for terror suspects

Paris – Europe’s human rights court ruled Tuesday that Britain can send a radical Muslim cleric and four other suspects to the United States to face terrorism charges in a case that has been closely watched as an indicator of whether tough U.S. prisons could influence extradition policy.

The court said Britain would not violate EU human rights rules by extraditing the suspects, who could face life sentences in a maximum-security prison.

The long-running legal battle centered on Mustafa Kamal Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, considered Britain’s most recognizable extremist, thanks in part to his fiery rhetoric and hook for a hand. He has long been a figure of tabloid newspaper scorn.


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