Afghanistan

10 officers killed in ‘insider attack’

An Afghan policeman turned his weapon on fellow officers as they were sleeping in their quarters near a checkpoint in the country’s south, killing 10, a provincial spokesman said Tuesday. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the incident, the latest so-called “insider attack” involving a soldier or a policeman. The bodies were discovered at a checkpoint in Chinarto district on Tuesday, according to Dost Mohammad Nayab, the spokesman for the governor of Uruzgan province. The shooter fled the scene after the attack late Monday, taking all the weapons and ammunition from the checkpoint, Nayab said. Last week, a policeman shot dead nine comrades at a checkpoint they were manning in Dehrawad district, also in Uruzgan province. On the same day, Jan. 18, another policeman killed four fellow security forces at a checkpoint in Lashkar Gah, the capital of southern Helmand province.

Sri Lanka

Seized African ivory destroyed

Sri Lankan authorities on Tuesday began destroying a shipment of African ivory seized three years ago, following a ceremony at which Buddhist monks gave the slaughtered elephants blessings for a better rebirth. The ivory was traced to northern Mozambique and Tanzania and has been valued by Sri Lankan customs at more than $2.5 million. Officials said the ivory, which was seized at Colombo’s port, was being transported to Dubai through Kenya and Sri Lanka. The destruction took place in an elaborate ceremony in Colombo attended by politicians, officials and diplomats. The 359 tusks weighing a total of 3,370 pounds were crushed by machines into smaller pieces that will later be burned to ash in high-temperature ovens at a cement factory. Before the crushing, Buddhist monks chanted blessings to make merit for the elephants so they could have a better rebirth.

Romania

Assistance offered to Moldova

Romania offered Moldova emergency economic aid and a loan of $65 million on Tuesday in hopes of preventing economic collapse and keeping the impoverished ex-Soviet republic on a pro-European course. Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said that to get the money, Moldova will have to reform its justice system, fight corruption, sign a draft agreement for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, and appoint a new central bank governor. The offer from Romania comes as Moldova stands on the edge of economic collapse following the disappearance of more than $1 billion from three Moldovan banks, one eighth of the nation’s annual GDP.

ITALY

Nude statues hidden from Iranian

A decision by Italian officials to cover up ancient nude statues to not offend Iran’s visiting president is drawing ridicule in Rome. Ahead of a news conference Monday with Premier Matteo Renzi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, wooden panels were erected around some Roman statues in Rome’s Capitoline Museums. When images of the cover-up made the Italian media Tuesday, politicians from across the spectrum decried and derided the decision. The museum says the premier’s office wanted the statues along Rouhani’s path to the news conference covered up. Renzi’s office declined to comment. Renzi and Rouhani spoke in a room featuring the famed bronze statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, fully clothed.

Compiled from wire reports.