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Muslim marchers demand departure of French troops

Dozens of Muslims marched down the streets of Bangui on Tuesday to demand the departure of French troops, who were deployed to Central African Republic this month to try to pacify fighting, and have instead been accused of taking sides in the nation's sectarian conflict.

The marchers, almost all of them young and male, began their demonstration in the Kilometer 5 neighborhood, a mostly Muslim section of the capital that has been the scene of clashes with French forces.

It marks a dangerous turning point for the more than 1,600 French soldiers sent to the country, who were initially cheered by the population. Residents ran out to greet the arriving troops, waving tree branches, and holding up pieces of cardboard emblazoned with welcoming messages. That was before French President Francois Hollande bluntly said that the country's Muslim president needed to go, and before French forces were accused of disarming only Muslim fighters and ignoring the Christian militias that have infiltrated the city. - AP

Ex-tycoon seeks Swiss visa

Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has applied for a Swiss visa less than a week after being released from decadelong imprisonment in Russia, officials said Tuesday. Khodorkovsky submitted the request for a three-month visa at the Swiss Embassy in Berlin, Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Stefan von Below said. Khodorkovsky's sons go to school in Switzerland, and he has business ties there. But spokesman Christian Hanne denied that the Swiss visa request was an indication of where the 50-year-old planned to settle.

- AP


Regions granted self-rule

The United Nations envoy to Yemen said Tuesday that the country's political representatives had signed an agreement that draws a new political map for Yemen, giving its regions self-rule. Jamal Benomar said the new agreement "paves the way for establishing a unified state, on the basis of federalism and democracy." The agreement comes as strong secessionist movement has widespread support in the country's volatile south. - AP