In brief: Protesters climb Eiffel Tower
Paris – Two Greenpeace activists climbed the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday to demand the release of members of the environmental group who have been in detention in Russia for more than a month.
The activists climbed to the second floor of the 1,063-foot-high steel structure, where they set up a tent and a banner marked “Free the Arctic 30” and “Militants in prison, climate in danger.”
Police eventually dislodged them after three hours, during which time the tower, which receives between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors a day, was closed to the public.
The protest comes ahead of a visit to Russia this week by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
NATO troops face ‘insider’ attacks
Kabul, Afghanistan – A man in an Afghan soldier’s uniform was killed and a NATO service member wounded Saturday, officials said, in the latest in a series of so-called insider attacks that have fueled distrust at a time when international forces are handing off more national security responsibilities to their Afghan counterparts.
Lt. Col. LaTondra Kinley, a spokeswoman for the NATO-led coalition, said international troops were attacked by a man in an Afghan uniform who was subsequently killed. The reason for the attack, including whether it was ideologically motivated or the result of a personal dispute, was under investigation, she said.
It was the fourth such attack in the last few weeks. Attacks by Afghan servicemen on their NATO colleagues reportedly have accounted for 15 international troop casualties this year and about 15 percent of all foreign deaths in 2012.
Prisoners hanged in retaliation for killings
Tehran – Iran hanged 16 prisoners Saturday in apparent retaliation for the killing a day earlier of 14 border guards in an ambush along the nation’s rugged southeast frontier with Pakistan, Iranian news agencies reported.
The condemned prisoners were linked to groups “hostile to the system,” said the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
The executions were “in response” to the killing Friday of the guards during a cross-border ambush in Saravan township in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, Fars reported.
Iranian officials did not confirm reports that a group called Jaish ul-Adl, or Army of Justice, had claimed responsibility for the killing of the 14 border guards.