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AP News in Brief at 5:58 p.m. EDT

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm •  Published: April 24, 2014
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Afghan government guard opens fire at Kabul hospital, kills 3 American doctors, wounds nurse

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — 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.

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Ukraine launches operation against insurgents in the east; Russia ramps up military exercises

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — 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.

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Tiny Pacific nation sues world's 9 nuclear-armed powers, demanding disarmament action

NEW YORK (AP) — 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. There are hopes that other countries will join the legal effort, he said.

The countries targeted also include Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. The last four are not parties to the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but the lawsuits argue they are bound by its provisions under "customary international law." The nonproliferation treaty, considered the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament efforts, requires negotiations among countries in good faith on disarmament.

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FDA takes light approach to regulating e-cigarettes as it waits for science to catch up

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government's move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.

Most everyone agrees a ban on selling them to kids would be a step forward. But health and public policy experts can't say for certain whether the electronic devices are a good thing or a bad thing overall, whether they help smokers kick the habit or are a gateway to ordinary paper-and-tobacco cigarettes.

The proposed rules, issued Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration, tread fairly lightly. They would ban sales to anyone under 18, add warning labels and require FDA approval for new products.

Some public health experts say a measured approach is the right one. They think that the devices, which heat a nicotine solution to produce an odorless vapor without the smoke and tar of burning tobacco, can help smokers quit.

"This could be the single biggest opportunity that's come along in a century to make the cigarette obsolete," said David Abrams, executive director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the American Legacy Foundation.

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Israel halts US-brokered peace talks in response to Palestinian reconciliation deal

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel broke off Mideast peace talks and brought the U.S.-brokered process to the brink of collapse Thursday, protesting a reconciliation agreement between the Western-backed Palestinian Authority and the militant group Hamas, the Jewish state's sworn enemy.

Israel's Security Cabinet made the decision during a marathon emergency meeting convened to discuss the new Palestinian deal. The rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah announced the reconciliation plan Wednesday, meant to end a seven-year rift.

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