World Briefs / Insider attack kills Americans

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- A man in an Afghan army uniform turned his weapon on American trainers working with him in the country's east on Saturday, killing three of them, while an attacker with a grenade killed an Italian soldier in the west, officials said.

The shooting in Paktika province was the latest in a string of so-called "insider attacks" in which Afghan forces open fire on their own comrades or international troops. An Afghan soldier opened fire during an argument, killing two American service members and one U.S. civilian, according to the provincial governor's office. The foreigners returned fire and killed the Afghan soldier, who had no known connection to the insurgency.

In the western province of Farah, meanwhile, an Italian soldier was killed in a grenade attack on an armored vehicle.

Saturday's deaths brought to 15 the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan this month.

Mandela lung infection

JOHANNESBURG -- South Africans on Saturday said their thoughts were with former President Nelson Mandela, who was in "serious but stable" condition after being taken to a hospital to be treated for a recurring lung infection.

Mr. Mandela, who is 94 years old, was treated in a hospital several times in recent months, with the last discharge coming on April 6 after doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia and drained fluid from his lung area. He has been particularly vulnerable to respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment under apartheid.

Mr. Mandela helped end white racist rule and became the country's first black president in all-race elections in 1994.

Koreas begin talks

SEOUL, South Korea -- Government delegates from North and South Korea began preparatory talks today at a "truce village" on their heavily armed border aimed at setting ground-rules for a higher-level discussion on easing animosity and restoring stalled rapprochement projects.

The meeting at Panmunjom, where the truce ending the 1950-53 Korean War was signed, is the first of its kind on the Korean Peninsula in more than two years. Success will be judged on whether the delegates can pave the way for a summit between the ministers of each country's department for cross-border affairs, which South Korea has proposed for Wednesday in Seoul. Such ministerial talks haven't happened since 2007.

Dozens die in bus blaze

BEIJING -- An unemployed man intent on killing himself set off an explosion that engulfed a bus in flames and killed 47 people in the southeastern city of Xiamen on Friday, according to reports Saturday by state-run news organizations.

The reports identified the man as Chen Shuizong, who was about 60 and impoverished.

Also in the world ...

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif summoned U.S. Embassy officials Saturday to formally protest continued drone strikes on Pakistani soil, just hours after a suspected missile attack killed seven people in a tribal area in the country's northwest. ... Sudan's official news agency says the country's president, Omar al-Bashir, on Saturday ordered the closure of pipelines exporting South Sudanese oil. ... Eleven people were killed and 38 wounded when protesters clashed with a militia at its base in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, the state-run LANA news agency reported.

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