- - Thursday, August 2, 2012

CAIRO — Egypt’s new prime minister pledged Thursday that his new 35-member Cabinet would be a “people’s government,” and called on Egyptians to rally behind it and the nation’s newly elected president in the face of “grave challenges.”

The U.S.-educated Hesham Kandil also confirmed that Hosni Mubarak’s defense minister of 20 years, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, will retain the post.

Field Marshal Tantawi led the military generals who took over from Mubarak when the president stepped down nearly 18 months ago following a popular uprising.

The new government was sworn in Thursday. It is the first since Mohammed Morsi, a longtime Muslim Brotherhood leader, was inaugurated in June as Egypt’s first freely elected president.

The new Cabinet’s line-up appeared aimed at allaying worries that Islamists will monopolize power in the government — three Brotherhood members were given ministries and several members of the outgoing, military-backed government will retain their posts, including the foreign and finance ministers.

Still, the line-up fell far short of the unity government that Mr. Morsi had initially said he would put together, bringing together political factions. Instead, the members were largely technocrats.


Pakistan receives $1.1 billion from U.S. to fight militants

KARACHI — Pakistan said Thursday it had received $1.1 billion from the United States for its fight against Islamist militants, the first installment of its kind since December 2010.

Washington released the funds after Pakistan and the U.S. on Tuesday signed an agreement governing NATO convoys traveling through Pakistan into Afghanistan until the end of 2015.

The fund, which is designed to reimburse Pakistan for the cost of counterinsurgency operations, paid $8.8 billion to Pakistan from 2002 to 2011.


U.S. sends more military aid as terrorist threats increase

Growing concerns about persistent terrorist threats from splintered al Qaeda groups across Africa have triggered an increase in U.S. military funding and more focus on a handful of African nations.

Already this year, the Pentagon has poured more than $82 million into counterterrorism assistance for six African countries, with more than half of that going to Uganda, and much of the rest going to Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti — all key allies in the fight against the al Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabab in Somalia.

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