Nation/World Briefs

U.S. city to require gun ownership

NELSON, Ga. – The City Council in a small north Georgia town voted Monday night to make gun ownership mandatory – unless you object.

Council members in Nelson, a city of about 1,300 residents 50 miles north of Atlanta, voted unanimously to approve the Family Protection Ordinance. The measure requires every head of household to own a gun and ammunition to “provide for the emergency management of the city” and to “provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.”

Not that every household must go out and purchase a firearm.

The ordinance exempts convicted felons and those who suffer from certain physical or mental disabilities, as well as anyone who objects to gun ownership. The ordinance also doesn’t include any penalty for those who don’t comply.

Afghan teenager fatally stabs U.S. soldier

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan teenager fatally stabbed an American soldier in the neck as he played with children in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Monday, as the U.S. death toll rose sharply last month with an uptick in fighting because of warmer weather.

Last week’s calculated attack shows that international troops still face myriad dangers even though they are increasingly taking a back seat in operations with Afghan forces ahead of a full withdrawal by the end of 2014.

6,000 Syrians killed in deadliest month yet

BEIRUT – March was the bloodiest month yet in Syria’s 2-year-old conflict with more than 6,000 documented deaths, a leading anti-regime activist group said Monday, blaming the increase on heavier shelling and more violent clashes.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the increased toll is likely incomplete because both the Syrian army and the rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s government often underreport their dead in the civil war.

The numbers, while provided by only one group, support the appraisal of the conflict offered by many Syria watchers: The civil war is largely a military stalemate that is destroying the country’s social fabric and taking a huge toll on civilians.

New York City subway ads warn about sodium

NEW YORK – Subway riders, after being cautioned about smoking, sugar and teen pregnancy, are getting a new message: Pass on the salt.

The city’s Department of Health launched an ad campaign Monday urging passengers to scrutinize the salt in packaged foods and choose those with less. The ad shows two loaves of bread and zooms in on the sodium line in their nutrition labels, showing that one loaf has more than twice the sodium of the other.

While the tone may be serious, the approach is relatively low key for a city that has shown subway riders photographs of a woman’s amputated fingers to illustrate the hazards of smoking; other subway ads featured a soda bottle pouring out what looks like globs of fat to tell people, “Don’t drink yourself fat.” Teen-pregnancy-prevention ads on many subway trains now feature a toddler crying and admonishing a hypothetical parent about comparatively low high school graduation rates among teens with their own children.

Drug maker loses India patent battle

NEW DELHI – India’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected drug maker Novartis AG’s attempt to patent an updated version of a cancer drug in a landmark decision that health activists say ensures poor patients around the world will get continued access to cheap versions of lifesaving medicines.

Novartis had argued that it needed a patent to protect its investment in the cancer drug Glivec, while activists said the drug did not merit intellectual property protection in India because it was not a new medicine. In response to the ruling, Novartis said it would not invest in drug research in India.

Associated Press