August 30, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: U.N. leader criticizes Iran on human rights


Tehran, Iran – The U.N. chief jolted his Iranian hosts for a nonaligned nations meeting Wednesday by pointing out “serious concerns” in Tehran’s human rights record and urging cooperation with the world body to improve freedoms.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had signaled he would not shy away from criticism of Iran during his visit to the Nonaligned Movement gathering in Tehran, but the sharp comments appeared to catch Iranian officials off guard just hours after his arrival.

“We have discussed how United Nations can work together with Iran to improve the human rights situation in Iran. We have our serious concerns on the human rights abuses and violations in this country,” he told a news conference as he sat next to Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, who frowned at the remarks.

‘Insider’ shooting kills 3 NATO troops

Kabul, Afghanistan – A gunman in an Afghan army uniform killed three Western troops, the NATO force said Thursday. That brought the number of “insider” shooting deaths in August to 15, the most in a single month since the start of the war nearly 11 years ago.

Coalition officials said in a statement that the shooting took place Wednesday in southern Afghanistan. A Pentagon spokesman said the victims were not Americans.

Afghan and Western officials have been working urgently to try to prevent more insider shootings, in which members of the Afghan security forces turn their guns on Western troops who are helping to train them.

Preventive measures being taken include planting intelligence officers within Afghan battalions to watch for signs that someone might be preparing to attack Western counterparts. On the NATO side, troops nationwide have been ordered to keep a loaded magazine in their weapons at all times so they can quickly fire back in the event an Afghan turns on them.

Wounded Americans are CIA, official says

Mexico City – A Mexican official said Wednesday that two Americans wounded in a shooting attack by federal police on a U.S. Embassy vehicle are employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, and acknowledged they have returned to the United States.

On Tuesday, the Mexican navy issued a statement saying the Americans were visiting a training course being held in a rural, mountainous area south of Mexico City. Some local press had previously said the Americans were acting as trainers or instructors.

On Tuesday, President Felipe Calderon promised a “thorough investigation with all rigor and severity” would determine whether the shooting was a case of mistaken identity or a purposeful attack.

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