WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon is cheering the defection of a Syrian general and expressing hope that it triggers more high-level cracks in the regime.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby, said the U.S. considers the defection of Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlaas to be significant because he once was a member of the regime's inner circle. He is a son of a former Syrian defense minister who was friends with the father of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Kirby said he was unaware of any contact that U.S. authorities may have had with the general since he left Syria. It is not clear where Tlaas is.
TOKYO (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says time's running out on Syrian peace hopes and warns that the Syrian state could collapse.
Speaking in Japan, Clinton said Sunday that U.N. mediator Kofi Annan's acknowledgement that his peace plan is failing "should be a wake-up call for everyone."
She says last month was the deadliest for the Syrian people in the 16-month revolt against President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd). Clinton adds that the opposition "is getting more effective in defense of themselves and going on the offensive against the Syrian military."
Clinton says Assad's regime must acknowledge that its days are numbered.
She says there's "still a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria, but to the region."
TOKYO (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expressing hope that Pakistan's reopening of NATO supply lines into Afghanistan will lead to better U.S.-Pakistani relations.
Clinton met Sunday with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in Tokyo and told reporters both were encouraged by last week's agreement. Clinton's apology for NATO's November killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers ended Pakistan's seven-month freeze on the supply routes.
Clinton says the U.S. and Pakistan want to build on the momentum with greater counterterrorism and economic cooperation. She says she also discussed stalled Afghan reconciliation efforts with Khar.
Clinton spoke in Tokyo after attending a 70-nation Afghan aid conference. She, Khar and Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul will hold a three-way meeting later Sunday.
TOKYO (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is congratulating Libya for holding is first nationwide vote in decades. She says the U.S. stands ready to help the North African nation become a free and peaceful democracy.
Speaking Sunday in Japan, Clinton called the Libyan vote a "historic milestone."
She says that "after more than four decades of authoritarian rule, men and women from every corner of Libya are determining their own future"
She says it's the "will of the people, not the whim of the dictator."
Clinton acknowledges there is hard work ahead for Libyans to unify their country and ensure it becomes a peaceful, democratic state. The U.S. and its NATO allies helped Libyans oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year, and Clinton pledged continued American support to the country.
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's official state news agency says that President Mohammed Morsi will visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday in his first official foreign trip since being sworn in.
The announcement released by MENA comes after Morsi, who was the Muslim Brotherhood's party leader before being elected, met with Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Egypt on Saturday.
Morsi is the country's first democratically-elected president and first Islamist and civilian to take office in Egypt. He was sworn in last week.
MENA says Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah invited Morsi to strengthen relations. Ties between the two countries were good under ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi's visit, though, comes on the heels of a diplomatic spat between the regional powers over demands that Saudi Arabia release an Egyptian rights lawyer detained there for allegedly insulting the kingdom's monarch.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The central bank in Seoul says North Korea's economy grew for the first time in three years, thanks to a boost in agricultural production.
The Bank of Korea in South Korea said Sunday that the North's gross domestic product grew 0.8 percent in 2011.
The bank credits favorable weather and more use of fertilizer in boosting crop production in North Korea. It estimates the North's gross national income at $28 billion - compared to $1 trillion last year for South Korea.
The bank provides annual estimates of the North's economy by analyzing data gathered by South Korean government agencies. Pyongyang has not publicly released detailed economic data for decades.
The United Nations says North Korea continues to face chronic food shortages affecting two-thirds of the population.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- The leader of Greece's main opposition party has accused the country's three-party coalition government of wanting to sell Greece's resources and public companies on the cheap.
Alexis Tsipras, head of the Coalition of the Radical Left party, known as Syriza, told Parliament Saturday he was especially warning those who want to "grab state property on the cheap." He warned would-be buyers of state property that they might lose all their money and face criminal proceedings.
Tsipras proposes a moratorium on the payment of Greece's debt until the country, mired in a deep recession, returns to growth. He predicts his party will soon come to power because the coalition government will fail.
The newly-elected Parliament will stage a vote of confidence on the government at midnight on Sunday.
PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) -- Bulls thundered into and trampled several thrill-seeking runners as they raced down the dew-slicked cobblestone streets of Pamplona during the second day of the weeklong San Fermin bull-running festival but officials say no one was gored.
Dr. Ignacio Iribarren, a hospital spokesman, says that while many runners suffered minor cuts and bruises, only one person received medical treatment for a bruised back.
The second San Fermin feast day is usually one of the most crowded and traditionally features bulls from the Miura breeding ranch, some of Spain's largest and most fearsome fighting animals, and Sunday's run was completed in a fast time of two minutes, 27 seconds.
The festival in this northern city dates back to the late 16th century and is also known for its all-night street parties.
North Korea TV shows Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) -- Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh have taken the stage in North Korea during a concert for leader Kim Jong Un in an unusual performance featuring a cast of Disney characters.
Still photos aired on state TV Saturday show performers dressed as some of America's most memorable cartoon characters dancing and prancing as video of "Snow White" and "Beauty and the Beast" played on a massive screen behind the stage.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency says Kim and other top officials saw the performance by the new Moranbong band Friday. KCNA says Kim assembled the band a few months ago as part of a plan to "bring about a dramatic turn" in the arts under his new leadership.
Kim took power after father Kim Jong Il died in December.
3 Chinese miners rescued after 3 days underground
BEIJING (AP) -- China has pulled to safety the first three of about a dozen miners trapped underground for more than three days in a flooded coal mine pit.
A coal mine safety bureau official in central Hunan province who refused to give his name said the miners were lifted to the ground early Sunday in Leiyang city.
The official says flooding Wednesday trapped 16 miners underground. Eleven were confirmed alive on Saturday.
Xinhua News Agency says many of the remaining eight workers had suffered injuries and were receiving first aid treatment underground from medical personnel who had entered the pit with stretchers and equipment.
Xinhua says the flood in the coal mine occurred when 40 miners were working underground. Two dozen escaped.
Students march against Mexico's president-elect
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Tens of thousands of protesters are marching through Mexico's capital against President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, accusing his party of buying votes to help him win the country's presidential vote.
The protesters, including students, youths and leftists, accuse his long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party of giving out bags of groceries, pre-paid gift cards and other goods to voters ahead of Mexico's July 1 national elections.
The marchers carried signs reading, "Pena, how much did it cost to become president?" and "Mexico, you pawned your future for 500 pesos."
Mexico City officials put the size of the crowd that reached its central Zocalo plaza at 50,000.
Pena Nieto, who says the vote was clean and fair, won Sunday's election by almost 7 percentage points, according to the official count.
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