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France to pull 1,000 troops from Afghanistan: Sarkozy

President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday that France would withdraw a quarter of its 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, becoming the latest NATO power to downsize its combat mission in the war-torn country. The French leader announced the withdrawal after jetting in on a surprise visit…

Pakistan PM snubs US by declaring China ‘best friend’

BEIJING (AFP) – Pakistan’s prime minister declared China his country’s best friend in an apparent dig at Washington as he was to begin a visit to China on Tuesday with US ties tested over Osama bin Laden’s killing. Yousuf Raza Gilani’s trip follows the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader by…

Former Pres. Carter to visit Cuba, push for release of US contractor Gross

HAVANA (Reuters) - Former President Jimmy Carter, returning to Cuba for the first time since a groundbreaking 2002 trip, will start a three-day visit on Monday to discuss troubled U.S.-Cuba relations and the fate of imprisoned U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross. Although just 90 miles of water separate the two Cold War enemies, Carter, 86,…

Bush’s Swiss visit off after complaints on torture

GENEVA (Reuters) – Former U.S. President George W. Bush, under fire from human rights group over allegations of ordering torture, has canceled a visit to Switzerland where he was to address a Jewish charity gala. Bush was to be the keynote speaker at Keren Hayesod’s annual dinner on February 12…

US military’s presence in Afghanistan may extend after 2014, Biden says

KABUL – US Vice President Joe Biden stressed Tuesday that his country’s troops could stay in Afghanistan after 2014 if Afghans want them to, on day two of a surprise visit to the war-torn nation. Speaking after talks with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Biden said: “We’re not leaving if…

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