- - Thursday, October 25, 2012

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL — The U.S. military said two of its service members have been killed in an apparent insider attack by an Afghan police officer.

The U.S. force in Afghanistan said in a statement that a man wearing an Afghan police uniform turned his weapon on U.S. service members in Uruzgan province.

U.S. forces spokeswoman Air Force Maj. Lori Hodge said the attack happened before noon Thursday.

She declined to give further details and said it was not clear yet if the attacker was an enlisted police officer or an insurgent disguised as a police officer.

The statement said the attack is being investigated.

CHINA

Military reshuffle ahead of power change

BEIJING — China’s defense ministry announced Thursday further reshuffling of the top military bosses, reflecting bargaining among the country’s top leadership ahead of a power transfer next month.

The heads of four top army departments were changed, with the new appointees certain to gain a position on China’s highest military body, the Central Military Commission.

Zhang Youxia, 62, a general thought to have close ties with Xi Jinping, who is set to take over as leader of China’s ruling Communist Party next month, became head of the Armaments Department, which oversees weapons procurement.

The appointment clears a path for the department’s previous head, Chang Wanquan, 63, to become a vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. Gen. Chang is considered to be a protege of outgoing Communist Party leader Hu Jintao.

The position of vice chairman traditionally ensures a seat on China’s Politburo, a group of 25 people who oversee the ruling Communist Party.

The Politburo is set for a major reshuffle at the party’s congress next month.

JAPAN

Tokyo governor quits to form political party

TOKYO — Tokyo’s outspoken, nationalistic governor said Thursday that he is quitting after nearly 14 years in office to form a new political party ahead of expected national elections.

Shintaro Ishihara, who recently played a key role in reviving a bitter territorial dispute with China, told a news conference that he wants to fix the nation’s fiscal and political problems.

He blamed the central government and bureaucrats for obstructing policies he believes would benefit the country.

“We must change the inflexible rule of the central government bureaucrats,” he said, comparing their influence to the dictatorial rule of the shogun.

Mr. Ishihara, 80, angered China this year when he proposed that Tokyo buy and develop a cluster of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea/Sea of Japan controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

The national government responded by buying some of the islands from their private owner, saying it would not develop them.

Mr. Ishihara is renowned for his outbursts against China, North Korea, foreigners, immigrants, women and even the French language. He once told reporters he “hates” the American icon Mickey Mouse for not having the “unique sensibility that Japan has.”

PAKISTAN

Activist girl’s dad vows she’ll return to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — The father of a 15-year-old Pakistani activist girl who was wounded by a Taliban gunman vowed Thursday that she would return home after finishing medical treatment abroad despite new insurgent threats against her.

Since she was shot Oct. 9 in northwestern Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai has become a hero at home and internationally. Her work in speaking out against Taliban atrocities and advocating for girls’ education has long been respected and known beyond her native Swat Valley.

The comments by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, were recorded by Pakistani state television. He is expected to fly soon to Britain to see his daughter, and it was the first time he has spoken publicly since the shooting.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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