international news briefs

Over 1000 Afghans protest possible pact to keep US troops in Afghanistan

More than 1,000 university students blocked a main highway in eastern Afghanistan on Nov. 20 to protest any agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in the country after 2014, reported the Winnipeg Free Press.

An assembly of more than 2,000 tribal elders and dignitaries, known as a loya jirga, endorsed negotiating a security pact with Washington over the weekend. The assembly also backed a series of conditions set out by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, including an end to night raids by international troops and complete Afghan control over detainees.

The protesters in Jalalabad city denounced any proposed agreement that would keep U.S. troops in the country. The current agreement is based on a transfer of authority that would see the U.S. troops out of Afghanistan in 2014.

British woman to attempt solo ski across Antarctica

A 33-year-old British woman is preparing for a historic solo trek across Antarctica, reported the Winnipeg Free Press.

Felicity Ashton was waiting at a base camp for the weather to improve on Nov. 20 in order to begin her long journey on skis.

Ashton said she has been preparing herself mentally in addition to her physical training.

She aims to become the first person to cross Antarctica alone using only muscle power. If she manages to complete the journey as planned by late January, she would also set a record for the longest solo polar mission by a woman, with a total of about 70 days.

Egyptian elections on track despite protests

Egypt’s rulers say they are committed to holding parliamentary elections as planned despite ongoing protests, reported CBC News.

Hundreds flooded back to Tahrir Square — the place where the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak began — after army troops and police launched an assault to evict protesters on Nov.20.

Following an emergency meeting, the military council released a statement lauding police for refraining from using excessive force.

“The government is committed to holding elections on schedule, and that the current tension aims to postpone or cancel them to put a stop to the building of the state’s institutions,” said the statement.

The nation’s parliamentary elections are slated for Nov. 28.