- - Sunday, July 22, 2012

KABUL — Two Americans were among three foreign civilian contractors working for NATO killed Sunday when a man in an Afghan security force uniform turned his weapon on them, an Afghan official said.

The shooter was killed in the attack in the west of the country, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement, without giving further details or naming the nationalities of the victims.

An Afghan official who requested anonymity said he knew two Americans had been killed in the attack and they had been shot by an Afghan man in a police uniform in a military training center near the Herat airport.
The number of “green-on-blue” attacks — in which Afghan forces turn their weapons against their Western allies — has escalated this year.

The latest deaths would take the green-on-blue toll this year to at least 29 in 19 such attacks.


Longtime dissident dies in auto accident

HAVANA — Cuban activist Oswaldo Paya, who spent decades speaking out against the communist government of Fidel and Raul Castro and became one of the most powerful voices of dissent against their half-century rule, died Sunday in a car crash. He was 60.

Paya and a Cuban man described by media as a fellow activist, Harold Cepero Escalante, died in a one-car crash in La Gavina, just outside the eastern city of Bayamo, Cuban authorities said. A Spaniard and a Swede also riding in the car were injured.

Cuba’s International Press Center told the Associated Press that witnesses said the driver of the rental car lost control and struck a tree. Police are investigating.


Heavy rain kills 10 in Beijing

BEIJING — The heaviest rain to hit Beijing in six decades killed at least 10 people and left cars and buses submerged, and 10 other storm deaths were reported elsewhere as China braced Sunday for more downpours.

The rain Saturday night knocked down trees in Beijing and trapped cars and buses in waist-deep water in some areas. In Tongzhou district on the capital’s eastern outskirts, two people were killed by collapsed roofs, one person was fatally struck by lightning and a fourth person was electrocuted by a fallen power line as he helped neighbors escape, the government’s Xinhua News Agency said.

One man in Beijing died when his car was trapped in deep water near the city center, the newspaper Beijing News said.

Elsewhere, six people were killed by rain-triggered landslides in Sichuan province in the west, Xinhua said, citing disaster officials. Four people died in Shanxi province in the north when their truck was swept away by a rain-swollen river.

On Sunday, the government warned of more storms during the ensuing 24 hours for China’s northeast, the port city of Tianjin east of Beijing, Inner Mongolia in the north, Sichuan and neighboring Yunnan province, and Guangdong and Hainan provinces in the southeast.


Ex-finance minister elected president

NEW DELHI — The candidate from India’s governing Congress party, former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was declared the winner Sunday in voting for the country’s president, a largely ceremonial position.

Election official P.K. Agnihotri said Mr. Mukherjee, 76, had received more than twice as many votes as his rival in Thursday’s balloting by national and state legislators.

“I express deep gratitude to the people for electing me to this high office,” Mr. Mukherjee said, ensuring he would try to justify the people’s trust.

His rival, Purno Agitok Sangma, conceded defeat before the counting was complete Sunday.

Mr. Mukherjee and Mr. Sangma, a former speaker of Parliament, were competing to succeed India’s first female president, Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Mr. Mukherjee is to be sworn in Wednesday.


Jordan vows to secure border with Syria

AMMAN — Jordan vowed to take “all necessary measures” to secure its border with Syria as fighting near the frontier sparked a new influx of thousands of refugees Sunday.

“The recent development forces Jordan to take all necessary measures to protect the northern region as well as national security from any kind of infiltration,” Information Minister Samih Maaytah said.

His statement came after a Cabinet meeting to discuss “developments and events in Syria as well as their impact on Jordan.”

A Jordanian security official said that opposition fighters from the Free Syrian Army had tried to seize control of the Nassib border crossing Saturday but failed after fighting with the Syrian army.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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