Inside Politics

WHITE HOUSE

Obama apology won’t end Afghan violence

A White House spokesman said that President Obama wasn’t suggesting his apology to Afghanistan for Koran burnings would end the violence there, after two more U.S. service members were killed Thursday.

“Nobody has suggested that violence has ended in Afghanistan in general or in reaction to the unfortunate incident involving the inadvertent, unintentional burning of religious materials,” presidential press secretary Jay Carney told reporters traveling with Mr. Obama on Air Force One.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama told ABC News that his apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai had “calmed things down” after a week of anti-America protests in that country. Less than a day later, the International Security Assistance Force announced that two more U.S. soldiers had been killed, bringing the total of ISAF personnel killed to six in the past two weeks.

Conservatives have criticized the president for apologizing for the Koran burnings while not asking for an apology for the killings of U.S. troops.

The latest U.S. troops to fall victim to the violence were in the southern part of the country Thursday when two men, one of whom may have been an Afghan soldier, opened fire. Officials said two of the three gunmen were killed.

On Feb. 25, two other U.S. military advisers were killed at the Afghan Interior Ministry. Earlier that week, an Afghan soldier fatally shot two U.S. troops during a protest.

Republican presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and others have criticized Mr. Obama for offering what they said was a needless apology.

The burned copies of the Koran were found in a garbage pit on a U.S. air base near Kabul. In a letter to Mr. Karzai, Mr. Obama called the burnings “inadvertent” and said those responsible would be held accountable.

NORTH CAROLINA

Judge sets April trial in Edwards case

GREENSBORO — The delayed campaign-finance trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards is now scheduled to begin in April.

U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles ruled Thursday in Greensboro that jury selection will begin April 12, with the presentation of evidence to start April 23. Judge Eagles expects the trial to last about six weeks.

Mr. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of using campaign money to cover up an affair during his unsuccessful 2008 presidential candidacy.

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