World Briefs: Talks stall on reopening Afghan supply routes

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PAKISTAN

The U.S. team that tried for more than a month to negotiate a reopening of blocked Pakistani supply routes into Afghanistan is coming home without an agreement, U.S. officials said Monday.

The U.S. recalled the team after the top Pakistani general refused to meet with a top Pentagon official.

“We remain ready to conclude this agreement as soon as Pakistan is ready,” said U.S. Embassy spokesman Robert Raines in Islamabad.

Officials in Washington and Islamabad would not detail what led to the break in the talks, but a senior U.S. official familiar with the negotiations said the Pakistanis were holding out for an apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a U.S. airstrike.

Pakistan closed the key supply routes in November in retaliation for the air assault that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The U.S. has insisted it will do no more than express regret for the deaths and will not apologize.

RUSSIA

Authorities move against Putin protesters

MOSCOW — Russian investigators searched the apartments of several protest leaders and ordered them to come in for questioning, making it difficult if not impossible for them to lead a mass demonstration Tuesday against President Vladimir Putin on a key Russian holiday.

Mr. Putin has taken a harder line against the opposition since returning to the presidency in May, seemingly no longer willing to tolerate the peaceful protests that drew tens of thousands onto the streets of Moscow ahead of the March election that handed him a third term.

A measure he signed into law on Friday raises fines against those who take part in unauthorized protests 150-fold, to nearly the average annual salary in Russia. Tuesday’s protest has city approval, but any actions that violate the allowed location and time could give police a pretext to make arrests.

Opposition activists predict the government crackdown on dissent and the anger it has fueled will bring out more protesters on Tuesday, a patriotic holiday called Russia Day, commemorating June 12, 1990, when Russian lawmakers declared independence from the Soviet Union.

EGYPT

Mubarak accuses jailers of trying to kill him

CAIRO — Egypt’s ousted President Hosni Mubarak, now serving a life sentence over protester killings, said the authorities “want to kill” him in jail as his health deteriorates, his lawyer told AFP on Monday.

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