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News Wrap: British Prime Minister David Cameron Visits Egypt

February 21, 2011 at 6:08 PM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The bloodshed in Libya rattled the oil markets. Prices surged on fears of chaos in one of the world’s largest oil-producing states. The cost jumped $4 in New York trading, back above $90 a barrel. U.S. stock markets were closed for Presidents Day.

British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Egypt today, the first world leader to do so since President Mubarak resigned. Cameron told officials in Cairo he wants to help ensure a genuine transition to civilian rule takes place. He did not meet with members of the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, activists planned new demonstrations tomorrow against old guard elements in the interim government. And Egypt’s top prosecutor called for freezing Mubarak’s foreign assets.

There were no signs of major protests in China after the government there moved Sunday to stop rallies before they could start. Police detained dozens of activists following online calls to demonstrate in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other major cities. Security men also dispersed hundreds of onlookers. In addition, dozens of activists were rounded up, and the Chinese government censored some Internet postings.

In Afghanistan, at least 30 people were killed by a suicide bomber in the north. The attacker blew himself up in Kunduz Province outside a government office. At least 40 people were wounded. Many of those killed were waiting in line to get government I.D. cards. The area has seen an increase in attacks in recent months.

Also today, a NATO soldier died in southern Afghanistan, the 55th this year.

And a suicide car bomber in Iraq killed at least 12 police officers. The car detonated near their station in Samarra, north of Baghdad. More than 22 people were wounded there. The police battalion had been called in to protect Shiite pilgrims returning from a religious ceremony.

There was word today an American being held in Pakistan had been working for the CIA. The New York Times and others reported Raymond Davis was a contractor helping to track militants. Davis has been held since he shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore. He said they were trying to rob him. The U.S. insisted again today that Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be released.

Japan has begun a search for human remains at a Tokyo site linked to biological warfare during World War II. The excavation at a former army medical school could prove the Japanese army’s Unit 731 experimented on prisoners of war. Historians have said the unit’s victims may have numbered 250,000, most of them Chinese.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.