** US, South Korea Sign Military Cooperation Pact**
Military officials say the United States and South Korea have signed an agreement giving American troops an expanded role in protecting the South from North Korean provocation.
The pact was signed Friday by South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Jung Seun-jo and the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, General James Thurman.
Under the Combined Counter-Provocation Plan, U.S. forces will be able to aid South Korean troops in retaliating to any military aggression from North Korea.
Previously, South Korean forces were in charge of any military action against the North and U.S. troops would engage only if a full-scale war broke out.
** UN Chief Condemns Rebel Seizure in CAR**
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the seizing of power by rebels in the Central African Republic and is calling for the "swift restoration of constitutional order."
Seleka rebels took control of the capital, Bangui, on Sunday, forcing President Francois Bozize to flee. Witnesses reported heavy fighting in the city and said rebels had taken over the presidential palace.
Mr. Ban said in a statement he is deeply concerned about reports of human rights abuses and looting in Bangui, "including of United Nations property."
He said an agreement between the government and the rebels signed in January remains the best way to ensure peace and security. That deal calls for Mr. Bozize to remain in power until his term ends in 2016, with an opposition member named prime minister.
The rebels, who began their offensive in December, accuse the president of breaking the agreement.