- - Sunday, April 22, 2012


KABUL — Afghanistan and the U.S. agreed on a much-delayed strategic partnership deal Sunday that is meant to govern the U.S. role in Afghanistan as international forces draw down and for decades afterward, the two governments said.

U.S. forces already have started pulling out, and the majority of combat troops are scheduled to depart by the end of 2014. But the U.S. is expected to maintain a large presence in the country long after that, including special forces, trainers and government assistance programs.

The agreement is key to the U.S. exit strategy in Afghanistan because it is expected to provide a road map for the remaining U.S. forces and funding.

It’s also important for the Afghan government as a way to show its people that the U.S. is not abandoning the country.


Muslim mob burns Catholic church in capital

KHARTOUM — A Muslim mob set ablaze a Catholic church frequented by Southern Sudanese in the Sudanese capital, witnesses and media reports said Sunday.

The church in Khartoum’s Al-Jiraif district was built on a disputed plot of land, but the Saturday night incident appeared to be part of the fallout from ongoing hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan over control of an oil town on their ill-defined border.

Sudan and South Sudan have been drawing closer to a full-scale war over the issues of sharing oil revenues.


Tymoshenko out of hospital, back in prison

KIEV — The saga surrounding the health condition of jailed Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko took another turn Sunday.

She was moved back to prison after one day in a hospital, where she refused treatment from state doctors.

Mrs. Tymoshenko, 51, the country’s top opposition leader, is serving a seven-year term on charges of abuse of office in a case that the West has condemned as politically motivated.

She needs treatment for intense pain because of a herniated disc, but the government has refused to give her adequate medical care for months, and negotiations on her treatment continue.


Suu Kyi’s party refuses seats over oath row

YANGON — Myanmar’s main opposition movement said Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of her party’s newly elected lawmakers will not attend Monday’s opening session of parliament because of a disagreement over the wording of the oath of office.

The opposition National League for Democracy is rejecting wording in the lawmakers’ oath that says they must safeguard the constitution, which they want to see amended in part because, they say, it places too much power in the hands of the military.

Ms. Suu Kyi’s absence was expected because the party had said it would not attend the assembly’s next session until the issue is resolved.


Police clash with striking protesters

DHAKA — Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas Sunday at stone-throwing opposition supporters protesting a politician’s disappearance.

The clashes happened in the northeastern city of Sylhet, the hometown of Elias Ali, who heads the local branch of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and who disappeared Tuesday.

His party has blamed security agencies and the government for his disappearance, and an 18-party opposition alliance enforced a daylong nationwide strike to pressure the government to find him.

The government has denied their claim, accusing his party of hiding him in order to create anarchy in the country.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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