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WORLD IN BRIEF: Karzai remarks raise questions about war

Karzai remarks raise questions about war

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai has interfered in corruption cases and even threatened to join the Taliban if foreigners didn’t stop meddling.

Now he is demanding that the U.S.-led coalition begin reducing its military operations and stop what the military believes is its most successful tactic — night raids against suspected Taliban commanders.

It’s the latest in a series of rifts between the international community and the mercurial president, who leads an impoverished nation that is growing tired of foreigners as 130,000 troops battle a stubborn insurgency.

Although both sides tried Monday to downplay the dispute, Karzai’s remarks renewed questions about the direction of the war just days before NATO prepares to unveil a new strategy that will keep troops in combat until at least 2014.

Car bombs kill commander in north Iraq

BAGHDAD — A prison commander and his body guard were killed on Monday when twin car bombs detonated outside a residential complex housing prison guards and staff in northern Iraq, officials said.

The Badoosh prison, on the outskirts of Mosul, holds convicted insurgents, al-Qaida militants and criminals from across Iraq. Although it was not immediately clear who was behind the blasts near the prison complex, the facility is known for a poor security record.

Police and hospital officials in the northern city of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad said the parked, explosives-laden vehicles went off as the commander of the Badoosh prison, Lt. Col. Hussein al-Jibouri, was heading to work on Monday morning. He was killed in the blast, along with one of his bodyguards.

Shanghai apartment blaze kills 42

SHANGHAI — Fire engulfed a high-rise apartment building under renovation in China’s business center of Shanghai on Monday, killing 42 people and sending residents scrambling down scaffolding to escape, city authorities said.

The official Xinhua news agency cited a witness saying the fire began when building materials had caught alight. The blaze spread to scaffolding and then to the 28-story apartment block itself, which houses a number of retired teachers, it said.