World news briefs: 12/28/13

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S. Sudan agrees to a cease-fire

JUBA, South Sudan -- South Sudan's government agreed Friday at a meeting of East African leaders to end hostilities against rebels accused of trying to overthrow the young country, but the cease-fire was quickly thrown into doubt because the head of the rebellion was not invited.

An army spokesman suggested the fighting could go on despite the announcement by politicians.

At the meeting in Kenya, South Sudan agreed not to carry out a planned offensive to recapture Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, which is controlled by troops loyal to Riek Machar, the former vice president vilified by the government as a corrupt coup plotter.

But no one representing Mr. Machar was at the Nairobi meeting -- a move possibly meant to deny him any elevated status that could also slow the search for peace. And Mr. Machar told the BBC that conditions for a truce were not ready.

3 soldiers killed in attack

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A car bomb targeting a military convoy on a major road in Kabul killed three coalition soldiers Friday, underscoring the continuing threat to foreign troops even as they assume a diminishing role in combat operations.

The blast, which also wounded at least six civilians, occurred in the eastern part of Kabul shortly after 1 p.m. Friday as a group of armored vehicles drove along the highway near the Camp Phoenix military base. The police and U.S. soldiers cordoned off the blast site in the hours after the attack, and officials provided only limited information about the damage.

Bomb kills 10 in Somalia

PARIS -- At least 10 people were killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Friday when a remote-controlled bomb exploded in a restaurant in the northwestern part of the Somali capital, government officials said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the explosion. The al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group based in Somalia with links to al-Qaida, has staged periodic attacks in the city. Although the al-Shabab did not immediately claim responsibility, local officials were quick to blame the group.

Egypt's Islamists protest

CAIRO -- Defying the widening crackdown against them, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood marched in cities across Egypt on Friday, protesting the government's decision to declare the group a terrorist organization and clashing with security forces in several places.

At least three people were killed in Cairo, Damietta and Minya on Friday, as officers fired tear gas and bird shot at protesters who threw rocks, burned tires and set fire to police vehicles.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, said it had arrested 265 people across the country, illustrating the government's resolve to move forcefully against the Brotherhood, the government's principal political opponent.

Also in the world ...

Turkish riot police blasted opposition protesters with water cannons, tear gas and plastic bullets in Istanbul on Friday. Some of the protesters threw rocks and firecrackers at police, shouting, "Catch the thief!" in reference to a widening corruption scandal gripping Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government. ... Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Thailand's powerful army chief, on Friday issued his strongest call yet for the nation's political rivals to overcome their bitter divide, refusing to rule out the possibility of a military coup as long as the conflict threatens to tear the country apart.


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