SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

US signs deal to

share cost of troops

South Korea and the United States struck a new deal Sunday that increases Seoul's contribution for the cost of the American military presence on its soil, overcoming previous failed negotiations that caused worries about their decadeslong alliance.

South Korea last year provided about $830 million, covering roughly 40 percent of the cost of the deployment of 28,500 U.S. soldiers whose presence is meant to deter aggression from North Korea. President Donald Trump has pushed for South Korea to pay more.

On Sunday, chief negotiators from the two countries signed a new cost-sharing plan, which requires South Korea to pay about 1.04 trillion won ($924 million) in 2019, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the U.S. assured South Korea that it is committed to the alliance and has no plans to adjust the number of its troops in South Korea.

 

WASHINGTON

Trump defends work

ethic after leak

President Donald Trump is pushing back against criticisms that a leak of his private schedule suggests he is not working hard, tweeting that it "should have been reported as a positive, not a negative."

He also suggested that when the term "executive time" appears on his schedule, it means he is "generally working, not relaxing."

Axios obtained three months of his private schedules, which revealed that he spent 60 percent of his time in executive time, a term coined by former chief of staff John Kelly for unstructured time in Trump's day. That time often coincides with when Trump is on Twitter.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the leaker's identity should be known this week.

 

MINNEAPOLIS

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

announces 2020 bid

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Sunday joined the growing group of Democrats jostling to be president and positioned herself as the most prominent Midwestern candidate in the field, as her party tries to win back voters in a region that helped put Donald Trump in the White House.

"For every American, I'm running for you," the three-term senator told an exuberant crowd gathered on a freezing, snowy afternoon at a park along the Mississippi River with the Minneapolis skyline in the background.

 

RICHMOND, VA.

Lawmaker weighs

impeaching official

Virginia lawmakers on Monday will reluctantly face the unprecedented prospect of impeaching the state's second most powerful leader as they struggle to address revelations of past racist behavior and allegations of sexual assault roiling its highest levels of office.

At least one lawmaker said he will try to pursue impeachment of Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax after two women accused Fairfax of sexual assault in the 2000s. Fairfax has vehemently denied the claims and called for authorities to investigate.

There's little sign of broad appetite for impeachment, but the Legislature is swirling with questions about lines of succession and the political fallout for Democrats.

Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, both Democrats, are embroiled in their own scandal after acknowledging they wore blackface in the 1980s. 

 

ADDIS ABABA, EGYPT

Egypt's el-Sissi to

head African Union

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has been elected chairman of the African Union at the continental body's summit in Ethiopia.

El-Sissi told the summit he would focus on security on the African continent.

 

MADRID

Thousands join

right-wing rally

Tens of thousands of people joined a right-wing rally in Spain's capital Sunday to demand that Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez step down for his handling of the Catalonia region's secession crisis.

Many in the crowd assembled in Madrid's Plaza de Colon waved the national flag and chanted slogans in support of Spain's security forces along with calling for the Socialist prime minister's resignation.

The conservative opposition Popular Party and the center-right Citizens party organized the rally, which far-right parties backed.

 

BELFAST, N. IRELAND

Chimps make ladder,

escape Belfast Zoo

Zookeepers say a group of chimpanzees used branches weakened by a storm to make a ladder and escape from their enclosure at the Belfast Zoo.

Video filmed Saturday by visitors to the Northern Ireland zoo showed several primates scaling a wall and perching atop it, with one walking down a path outside the enclosure.

Zookeeper Alyn Cairns said told the BBC, "They're intelligent primates and know they're not supposed to be out of their enclosure, so got back in themselves."


Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires