Egypt curbs future military tribunals

CAIRO - Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament on Sunday approved a ban on the country's next president from sending civilians for trial by military tribunals, but preserving that power for the military itself.

The measure would curb the powers enjoyed by the deposed President Hosni Mubarak, who used the military tribunals to refer opponents, especially Islamists.

The law retains the current wide-ranging powers for the military to send civilians to military tribunals. Activists have been campaigning against that practice by the ruling generals who took over from Mubarak in February last year.

Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef said the new measure fails to protect civilians and civilian justice system from the military. - AP

Sudan leader hails tie to South

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudan's president says the conflict with Southern Sudan will not affect close relations between the two peoples. Omar al-Bashir's comments Sunday come days after his government accepted an African Union plan to resume talks with South Sudan, after recent fighting nearly brought the two nations back to the brink of war.

South Sudan's military says Khartoum's bombing of border areas has continued despite its acceptance of the plan. South Sudan won independence from Sudan last year, but the two sides have not agreed on borders or sharing of oil revenue.

Bashir said the recent fighting won't change the "deep-rooted" relations with the people of the South. He has said before that Sudan must liberate the southerners from its regime. - AP

Armenian voters go to the polls

YEREVAN, Armenia - Armenians voted for a new parliament Sunday in an election that the nation's president hoped would give him a majority among the lawmakers.

President Serge Sarkisian's Republican Party was expected to win, but it was aiming for more than half of the seats to avoid having to form a coalition. The voting also was seen as a test of public support for Sarkisian, who comes up for reelection next year. Results were expected Monday.

Armenia is the smallest of the former Soviet republics, with about 3.3 million people. - AP

Nigeria attacks leave four dead

People believed to be members of a militant Nigerian Islamic sect killed four people and wounded 10, including two soldiers, in two attacks in Maiduguri, capital of the northeastern state of Borno, a military official said Sunday.

A trader was shot dead in the town's Gamboru Market, while four women and two girls were injured in a bomb blast near the market, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, spokesman for the Joint Task Force in Borno, said by phone from Maiduguri.

In another attack, three were killed and four, including two soldiers, were wounded at a wedding ceremony in the town, Musa said. - Bloomberg News