AFGHANISTAN
U.S. general apologizes for hospital bombing

The new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan apologized Tuesday to the people of Kunduz for an attack last year on a hospital in the northern city that killed 42 people.

Army Gen. John Nicholson traveled to the city to meet local leaders and relatives of those who died in the Oct. 3 attack.

A U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship opened fire on the hospital, run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, in what Nicholson called a “horrible tragedy.”

More than a dozen U.S. military personnel have been disciplined for mistakes that led to the sustained attack. A U.S military report on the hospital attack is expected to be released within days.

A separate U.S. report obtained last fall said the aircraft fired 211 shells at the hospital compound over 29 minutes before commanders realized their error and ordered a halt.

Afghan officials had insisted that Taliban fighters, who had overrun the city on Sept. 28, were using the hospital as a base from which to attack Afghan forces. No evidence has been found to support those claims.

Doctors Without Borders ceased operations in Kunduz after the attack and has yet to return. The hospital was the only trauma facility in the region.

— Associated Press

MALAYSIA
Possible MH370 debris found in South Africa

Malaysia’s transport minister said Tuesday that a piece of debris containing part of an aircraft engine manufacturer’s logo was found on the southern coast of South Africa and will be examined to determine whether it is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

“Based on early reports, there is a possibility of the piece originating from an inlet cowling of an aircraft engine,” but further examination and analysis are needed, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.

Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

Neels Kruger, a South African archaeologist, was walking along a lagoon on Monday afternoon near the town of Mossel Bay when he spotted the debris and alerted the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

An Australian-led search in
the southern Indian Ocean, where the plane is thought to have crashed, has found no trace of the jet. A piece from one of
the plane’s wings was found washed ashore on France’s Reunion Island in July.

Two more possible pieces of debris, discovered recently in Mozambique, are being examined by an international investigation team in Australia.

— Associated Press

Liberia closes part of border with Guinea over Ebola fears: Authorities closed a portion of Liberia’s northern border with Guinea and plan to expand the cordon amid a resurgence of Ebola. Guinea had been on track to be free of Ebola transmission this month, but two new cases emerged. The new outbreak has prompted fear in Liberia, which has lost more than 4,000 people to the deadly virus and has been declared Ebola-free twice only to find more cases.

French court says Sarkozy phone taps are legal: France’s highest court ruled that wiretaps of phone conversations between Nicolas Sarkozy and his main attorney are legal, paving the way for an eventual corruption trial against the former French president that could hamper his bid for reelection. Sarkozy is expected to seek the conservative nomination to run for president next year. He is under preliminary charges of corruption and influence-peddling based on information gleaned from phone taps in 2013 and 2014.

Tunisia again extends state of emergency: Tunisia has extended for three months the state of emergency declared after a November suicide bombing in the country’s capital that killed 12 members of the president’s security detail. It was the third time the state of emergency has been prolonged since the attack, which has been linked to the Islamic State militant group. The North African country is also fighting extremists on its borders with Libya and Algeria.

Incumbent reelected in Republic of Congo: Officials in the Republic of Congo said provisional results show that President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who has ruled for more than 30 years, has won reelection. Officials with knowledge of the results said Sassou-Nguesso received more than 60 percent of the vote. Sunday’s election came five months after a constitutional referendum removed term and age limits that would have barred the 72-year-old from running.

Ivory Coast arrests 15 in beach attack: Ivory Coast authorities have arrested 15 people in connection with an attack claimed by al-Qaeda that killed
19 people at a beach resort this month, a state prosecutor said. They were still seeking the suspected ringleader, whom prosecutor Richard Adou named as Kounta Dallah. Gunmen shot swimmers and sunbathers before storming into several hotels in the town of Grand Bassam on March 13. Eleven Ivorians, including three soldiers, died in the shooting rampage. The rest were foreign nationals, including four French citizens.

— From news services