Afghan forces hit on eve of Taliban talks — More than 40 people were killed across Afghanistan on Tuesday on the eve of talks between Afghan politicians and Taliban leaders in Moscow, as the militant group pursued a familiar tactic of intensifying its attacks before high-profile meetings. Thirteen Afghan soldiers were killed by Taliban fighters in Khost province, and 23 people, including Afghan special operations forces, police officers, civilians and militia members, died in western Ghor province. In northern Samangan, Taliban fighters nearly overran an Afghan military outpost, killing at least six Afghan police officers and soldiers, according to Afghan officials.
Pakistan’s army targets protesters — The Pakistani army has turned its sights on ending one of the last unbending sources of dissent to its power, an ethnic Pashtun rights movement known as PTM that has called the Pakistani security forces to account for extrajudicial killings and other injustices. Trying to stop a demonstration in the troubled region of Waziristan on Sunday, the security forces killed at least eight people, according to members of the movement who described the dead as unarmed and peaceful protesters. After months of threatening and arresting leading PTM figures, the army has made clear it will no longer tolerate the group.
Trump diverges from key adviser — In recent days, the disconnect between President Donald Trump and his national security adviser, John Bolton, has become public, sowing confusion around the world about America’s foreign policy, particularly on matters of war and peace. The disparity was on stark display during Trump’s four-day visit to Japan after he contradicted Bolton on high-stakes confrontations with both Iran and North Korea. The president declared that, unlike his national security adviser, he was not seeking regime change in Iran and he asserted that, contrary to what Bolton had said, recent North Korean missile tests did not violate United Nations resolutions.
Mexico charges ex-oil executive — The administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico has launched its first major anti-corruption prosecution, delivering on a central campaign promise by taking aim at corruption inside the ailing state-owned oil company. Bribery and tax fraud charges have been filed against Emilio Lozoya Austin, the former head of the state-run oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, who was a top ally of the former president, Enrique Peña Nieto, officials said Tuesday. Lozoya is accused of receiving bribes in connection with the oil company’s purchase of a fertilizer plant, the officials said.
Pope wasn’t aware of cardinal’s abuse — For nearly a year, Pope Francis remained mostly silent in the face of a searing accusation that he knew, and did nothing about, the sexual misconduct of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick — a silence that fueled criticism that he was tone deaf on sex abuse. But in an interview published Tuesday, just weeks after Francis issued the first law requiring that officials in the Roman Catholic Church report cases of clergy sexual abuse to their superiors, he denied the accusation. “About McCarrick I knew nothing. Obviously, nothing, nothing,” he said in the interview with a Mexican television network.
Gene-edited babies stir new interest, debate — Six months after a Chinese scientist was widely scorned for helping to make the world’s first gene-edited babies, he remains out of public view, and new information suggests that others may be interested in pursuing the same kind of work outside the United States. A fertility clinic in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai emailed scientist He Jiankui to seek training in gene editing, Stanford University bioethicist Dr. William Hurlbut said ahead of a speech Tuesday at the World Science Festival in New York. Hurlbut, whose advice He often sought, said He told him that scientists from multiple countries and families with inherited health problems had messaged support and interest in altering the genes of embryos to prevent or treat disease. Hurlbut gave The Associated Press an email he said the Dubai clinic sent to He in December, altered to hide the clinic’s name. “It reveals what eagerness there is out there to use this technology” and the need “for some sort of enforceable governance” of it, Hurlbut said. Jennifer Doudna, a University of California, Berkeley, co-inventor of the CRISPR gene-editing tool that He used, said that she also has heard of others who want to edit embryos.