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WORLD IN BRIEF: Karzai vows to end Afghan corruption

Karzai vows to end Afghan corruption

KABUL -- President Hamid Karzai promised to stamp out corruption. The image suggested otherwise. Standing at Karzai's side on Tuesday were his two vice presidents -- both former warlords widely believed to have looted Afghanistan for years.

Reform is a tall order in a country awash in drug money. Afghans pay bribes for everything from driver's licenses to police protection, and the elite all too often treat state property as their own.

''Right now 85 percent of the government is corrupt,'' said Ahmed Shah Lumar, a businessman in the southern city of Kandahar. He said bribery, extortion and other corrupt practices extend ''from the very small person'' in government to the very top.

Africans end boycott of UN climate talks

BARCELONA, Spain -- African countries ended a boycott of meetings at U.N. climate negotiations on Tuesday, after winning promises for more in-depth talks on how much rich nations need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Due to the Africans' demands, most of the rest of this week's talks in Barcelona will be devoted to discussing carbon-cutting pledges rather than other issues including carbon offsets and action by developing countries, said John Ash, chairman of the negotiations on emissions.

Clinton diverts to Egypt for peace talks

CAIRO -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a hastily arranged stop in the Egyptian capital Tuesday to consult with a longtime Arab ally amid indications of a shifting U.S. strategy for getting Israel and the Palestinians back to peace negotiations.

Instead of returning to Washington, as scheduled, after attending an international conference in Marrakech, Morocco, Clinton flew to Cairo and held late-night talks with Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian intelligence chief. She was due to meet Wednesday with President Hosni Mubarak before returning to Washington to brief President Barack Obama.

Egypt and other Arab nations reacted with strong concern to remarks Clinton made in Jerusalem on Saturday. She caused a stir when she said with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at her side that his government's offer to restrain settlement activity in Palestinian areas was unprecedented.

-- From wire reports