World briefing

Ex-soccer head part of Auschwitz

BERLIN (AP) — The German soccer federation says its former president Felix Linnemann was directly responsible for sending several hundred people to be murdered at the Auschwitz extermination camp.

The DFB said on Friday that Linnemann, who led the federation from 1925 to 1945, was directly involved in the registration of Sinti and Roma as the head of the Hannover Criminal Police control center, which was the preliminary stage for their deportations to Auschwitz.

Several hundred people are said to have been deported to the extermination camp and killed there on the basis of a direction signed by Linnemann.î

Monday marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and the DFB has been promoting and supporting Holocaust Memorial Day.

“This year, since more than 20,000 Sinti and Roma murdered in Auschwitz are also being commemorated in addition to the many Jewish victims, we feel a special responsibility,” DFB President Fritz Keller said, referring to Linnemann’s actions.

Sudanese government signs deal

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s transitional government Friday signed a preliminary peace deal with one of several rebel groups that had fought the government of ousted authoritarian president Omar al-Bashir for years.

In a ceremony in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, the interim Sudanese government agreed on a framework for peace with the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North. Deputy chief of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Gen. Mohammed Hamadan Dagalo, signed the agreement along with Malik Agar, head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, a rebel group active in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions.

Rebel groups and the government have until Feb. 14 to ink a comprehensive peace deal.

Juba has hosted and mediated Sudan peace talks since October. The signing was attended by South Sudan President Silva Kiir, whose own country gained independence from Sudan in 2011 following decades of civil war.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in fighting in Sudan’s multiple insurgencies, including in the restive western Darfur region. That’s where al-Bashir brutally repressed an uprising in the early 2000s. Since then, the International Criminal Court has sought to arrest al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and genocide.

Top EU officials sign Brexit deal

BRUSSELS (AP) — The leaders of two of the European Union’s main institutions on Friday signed the divorce agreement governing Britain’s departure from the bloc next week, sealing the penultimate step in Brexit at a ceremony held without media access.

European Council President Charles Michel tweeted photos of the overnight signing with the president of the EU’s powerful executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in the presence of their Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Both institutions rejected repeated media demands for access to what is a small but legally significant step marking the first time a member state has ever left the world’s biggest trading bloc. Time stamps on the official photos show that the ceremony took place at around 2 a.m. local time.

ìCharles Michel and I have just signed the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU, opening the way for its ratification by the European Parliament,î Von der Leyen tweeted about six hours after the signing.