WASHINGTON – The U.S. has reached an agreement with the Afghanistan government to transfer the Parwan Detention Facility to Afghan control, the Pentagon said Saturday, two weeks after negotiations broke down over whether the U.S. would have the power to block the release of some detainees.
According to a senior U.S. official, a key element to the agreement is that the Afghans can invoke a procedure that ensures prisoners considered dangerous would not be released from the detention center. The agreement also includes a provision that allows the two sides to work together to resolve any differences. The official lacked authorization to discuss the details of the agreement publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Transfer of the Parwan detention center on Monday is critical to the ongoing effort to gradually shift control of the country’s security to the Afghans as the U.S. and allies move toward the full withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014.
Afghans demanded control of the center, but U.S. officials have worried that the most threatening detainees would be freed once the U.S. transferred control. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday as officials finalized the agreement after days of intense negotiations.
Putin critic found dead in England
Boris Berezovsky, a self-exiled and outspoken Russian tycoon who had a bitter falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found dead in southeast England on Saturday. He was 67.
In recent years, the one-time Kremlin powerbroker-turned-thorn-in-Putin’s-side fended off verbal and legal attacks in cases that often bore political undertones – and bit into his fortune.
The cause of Berezovsky’s death was not immediately clear, and Thames Valley police said it was being treated as unexplained. The police would not directly identify him, but when asked about Berezovsky by name, they read a statement saying they were investigating the death of a 67-year-old man at a property in Ascot, a town 25 miles west of London.
No agreement on Cyprus talks
Cyprus officials and international representatives ended torturous negotiation in the early hours of today with no agreement on a plan to raise money the island nation needs to qualify for a bailout package. Talks are set to resume later today in Brussels, but time is running out: Failure would mean Cyprus could declare bankruptcy in just two days and possibly have to exit the eurozone.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Finance Minister Michalis Sarris will travel to the Belgian capital early Sunday. A viable plan must be cemented before finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro currency meet in Brussels in the evening.
Legendary figure in bodybuilding dies
Joe Weider, a legendary figure in bodybuilding who helped popularize the sport worldwide and played a key role in introducing a charismatic young weightlifter by the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the world, died Saturday. He was 93.
Weider’s publicist, Charlotte Parker, told The Associated Press that the bodybuilder, publisher and promoter died of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.
Weider popularized bodybuilding and spread the message worldwide with such publications as Muscle & Fitness, Flex and Shape. Schwarzenegger himself is the executive editor of Muscle & Fitness and Flex.
He created one of bodybuilding’s pre-eminent events, the Mr. Olympia competition, in 1965, adding to it the Ms. Olympia contest in 1980, the Fitness Olympia in 1995 and the Figure Olympia in 2003.
Mexican police find 2 caches of bodies
Authorities say the bodies of seven men were found in plastic chairs placed along the side of a street in the drug cartel-plagued Mexican state of Michoacan, while another seven people were killed in the neighboring Guerrero.
Michoacan’s Attorney General’s Office said in a statement Saturday that the seven bodies had bullet wounds and had been placed individually in the sitting position in chairs near a traffic circle in the city of Uruapan. The office did not provide a motive for killings.
In Guerrero state, authorities said armed men burst into a bar in Ciudad Altamirano and opened fire late Friday. Four civilians and three off-duty federal agents were killed.
Ex-inmate tied to Colorado killing
Colorado investigators on Saturday said for the first time that a former prison inmate who was killed in a gunfight with Texas authorities is a suspect in the death of Colorado’s state prison system chief.
The evidence gathered in Texas after the death of Evan Spencer Ebel provided a strong, strong lead in the death of Colorado Department of Corrections director Tom Clements, El Paso County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer said Saturday.
Kramer also confirmed Ebel had been a member of the 211s, a white supremacist prison gang in Colorado.
2 sky divers die after Florida jump
Authorities say a sky-dive instructor and a student who jumped separately have died in Florida.
The sky divers, both men, were part of a jump Saturday in Zephyrhills, about 30 miles northeast of Tampa. Authorities say the plane took off about 10:30 a.m. and 22 people jumped. When only 20 returned, authorities started a search.
The bodies were located about 7:30 p.m. in a wooded area south of the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport. They were found near each other.