- - Monday, June 25, 2012

ISLAMABAD — Militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan and killed 13 Pakistani troops, beheading seven of them, the Pakistani military charged Monday.

Outraged, Pakistan’s new prime minister said he would protest to the Afghan president.

The border skirmish is a new sign of tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, two uneasy neighbors. Pakistan has complained that militants use parts of Afghanistan for sanctuary to stage attacks inside Pakistan.

That claim helps Islamabad counter frequent U.S. and NATO complaints that militants behind much of the violence in Afghanistan come from Pakistan.

Pakistani military officials said in a statement Monday that militants from Afghanistan crossed the border in the northwestern Pakistan’s Upper Dir region Sunday night and clashed with Pakistan forces on a patrol.


Cyprus seeks financial bailout

NICOSIA — Cyprus on Monday became the fifth eurozone country to request financial aid from its partners in the troubled European currency union as it struggles to shore up its banks, which took heavy losses on Greek debt.

The island nation’s government said in a terse statement that it required assistance following “negative spillover effects through its financial sector, due to its large exposure in the Greek economy.”

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou wouldn’t say how much Cyprus would ask for from the European bailout fund, saying the amount will be subject to negotiations in the coming days.

The 27 leaders of the European Union are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Analysts estimate the sum would likely be around $6.2 billion but could go as high as $12.5 billion. That’s a fraction of the bailouts given to the other EU countries: Spain has asked for as much as $125 billion for its banks.


President moves into Mubarak’s old office

CAIRO — Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president-elect, moved first thing Monday into the office once occupied by his ousted predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, and started work on forming a government even before he had a clear picture of what he could do after the ruling military stripped most of the major powers from his post.

The country breathed a sigh of relief that at least the question of who won the presidential runoff had been resolved Sunday after the first free and fair elections in Egypt’s modern history.

People returned to work a day after a panic that sent many home early for fear that violence might erupt when the winner was announced.


N. Korea slams U.S. use of flag in war drills

SEOUL — North Korea on Monday called the use of its flag during U.S.-South Korean military drills last week a serious provocation and evidence of U.S. hostility that justifies the growth of Pyongyang’s nuclear arms program.

The statement from an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman came on the 62nd anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce, leaving the Korean Peninsula still technically at war.

Animosity between the rival Koreas and between Pyongyang and Washington has deepened since a North Korean rocket launch in April that Seoul and Washington called a cover for a test of banned long-range missile technology.

The U.S.-South Korean drills Friday were the allies’ biggest since the Korean War, and South Korean military officials called them a warning to North Korea.

A huge North Korean flag on a hill disappeared behind flames and smoke as South Korean jets and U.S. helicopters fired rockets. The flag wasn’t hit.


New finance minister falls ill, resigns

ATHENS — Greece’s designated finance minister resigned Monday after being rushed to the hospital Friday, the prime minister’s office said.

Vassilis Rapanos, chairman of the National Bank of Greece, had been named finance minister last week in the country’s new three-party coalition government.

But he was taken ill before he could be sworn in Friday and has been in the hospital ever since.

Mr. Rapanos has sent a letter of resignation to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

The startling development came as Germany tamped down expectations that this week’s European Union summit would emerge with any significant action on Greece as the debt-strapped nation’s two key politicians struggled with health problems.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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