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WORLD BRIEFS


SYRIA: Rocket attack in Damascus

Rocket-propelled grenades reportedly struck a Damascus office of President Bashar Assad's Baath Party before dawn Sunday in the first attack of its kind in the capital. Responsibility was claimed by military defectors calling themselves the Free Syrian Army. The Turkey-based defectors appear to be taking the lead in the rebellion. They claim to have killed or wounded 20 soldiers and regime loyalists in a Damascus suburb this weekend. Meanwhile, the regime continues to kill protesters by the dozens. Human rights groups say 387 civilians have been killed since Damascus agreed in principle Nov. 2 to a proposal by the Arab League.


AFGHANISTAN: Protesters rip U.S., Karzai

More than 1,000 university students in Jalalabad blocked a main highway to Kabul on Sunday to protest any agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain after a planned transfer of authority in 2014. More than 2,000 tribal elders and dignitaries in a loya jirga over the weekend endorsed negotiating a security pact with Washington, though they also backed conditions set by President Hamid Karzai, including the end of night raids and complete Afghan control over detainees. The protesters denounced any agreement that would keep U.S. troops in the country, blocking the road to Kabul and shouting "Death to America. Death to Karzai."


WEST BANK: Abdullah entering talks

Jordan's King Abdullah will make a rare visit to the West Bank on Monday, weighing in on behalf of the Palestinians' statehood drive, officials said. Abdullah, an outspoken critic of the diplomatic deadlock with Israel, will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Sunday, Abbas hosted U.S. envoy William Burns, who was due Monday in Jerusalem to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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