World and Nation Briefs
Guard opens fire at Kabul hospital
KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan government security guard opened fire Thursday on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said.
The shooting at Cure International Hospital in western Kabul was the latest in a string of deadly attacks on foreign civilians in the Afghan capital.
Two of the dead Americans were a father and son, Health Minister Soraya Dalil said, adding that the third American was a Cure International doctor who had worked in Kabul for seven years.
Dalil said an American nurse was also wounded in the attack. Their colleagues at the hospital performed surgery on the shooter, who was wounded during the course of the attack, officials said.
The attacker served in the Afghan Public Protection Force and was assigned to guard the hospital, District Police Chief Hafiz Khan said. He said the man’s motive was not yet clear. The APPF is an armed security force under Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior that was created to protect foreign organizations that hire them.
Ukraine operation prompts response
SLOVYANSK, Ukraine — Russia announced new military exercises Thursday involving ground and air forces near its border with Ukraine, swiftly responding to a Ukrainian operation to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country’s tumultuous east.
The Ukrainian move, which killed at least two people, brought new threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who denounced it as a “punitive operation.”
“If the Kiev government is using the army against its own people, this is clearly a grave crime,” Putin said.
His statement and the announcement of new military maneuvers by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sharpened anxiety over the prospect of a Russian incursion into Ukraine. Russia’s foreign minister warned a day earlier that any attack on Russian citizens or interests in eastern Ukraine would bring a strong response.
The Russian exercises were quickly denounced by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who called them “dangerously destabilizing” and “very provocative.” If such activities escalate, they will make it more difficult to find a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine, Hagel said, speaking in Mexico City.
Nation sues 9 nuclear-armed powers
NEW YORK — The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is taking on the United States and the world’s eight other nuclear-armed nations with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that they meet their obligations toward disarmament and accusing them of “flagrant violations” of international law. The island group that was used for dozens of U.S. nuclear tests after World War II filed suit Thursday against each of the nine countries in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. It also filed a federal lawsuit against the United States in San Francisco, naming President Barack Obama, the departments and secretaries of defense and energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The Marshall Islands claims the nine countries are modernizing their nuclear arsenals instead of negotiating disarmament, and it estimates that they will spend $1 trillion on those arsenals over the next decade.
“I personally see it as kind of David and Goliath, except that there are no slingshots involved,” David Krieger, president of the California-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, told The Associated Press. He is acting as a consultant in the case.
Franco speaks about selfies
NEW YORK — James Franco says his recent Instagram postings of him in bed — alone or not — are his way of sharing a “very kind of intimate portrait” of himself and to get people talking.
“It’s not like I’m exposing myself or anything,” he said in an interview Thursday.
Franco calls selfies and Instagram phenomena “that I am just playing around with like everybody else” to see what kind of reaction it evokes. He says when he takes pictures of himself, “It’s almost like it’s connected to you” and that by putting “that intimate space out there it’s kind of this new thing that we’re all getting used to.”
He also says that it “obviously causes a lot of stir,” noting that he was being asked about the photos by reporters.
The actor, author and director wrote in a New York Times essay last December titled “The Meanings Of The Selfie” that he has “become increasingly addicted to Instagram” and acknowledged that he has “been accused of posting too many of them.”
– The Associated Press