In brief | Nation & World | 4-5-14


Fort Hood gunman had argument with other soldiers before opening fire on Texas Army base

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Fort Hood soldier who gunned down three other military men before killing himself had an argument with soldiers in his unit before opening fire, and investigators believe his mental condition was not the “direct precipitating factor” in the shooting, authorities said Friday.

The base’s commander, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, made the remarks about Spc. Ivan Lopez’s health a day after officials said his mental condition appeared to be an underlying factor in the attack.

On Friday, Milley said that an “escalating argument” precipitated the assault.

Also Friday, Lopez’s father said his son had struggled with the recent deaths of his mother and grandfather and the stress of being transferred to a new base.

Lopez’s father, who shares the same name, said his son was receiving medical treatment but was a peaceful family man and a hard worker.

After Fort Hood rampage, experts say there is no practical way of preventing attacks

DALLAS — After three mass shootings at military bases in the U.S. over the last five years, security experts say the sad truth is that there is probably no practical way of preventing members of the armed forces or civilian employees from carrying guns onto big installations like Fort Hood.

The kind of searches that would have prevented Army Spc. Ivan A. Lopez from driving onto Fort Hood with a pistol in his car and killing three fellow soldiers would paralyze access to a major post and create huge traffic jams among the tens of thousands of workers commuting to and from their jobs, officials and experts said.

Cuban media tout revelations of ‘secret Twitter’ as confirmation of US hostile intentions

HAVANA — Revelations of a secret U.S. government program to set up a cellphone-based social network in Cuba are being trumpeted in the island’s official media as proof of Havana’s repeated allegations that Washington is waging a “cyber-war” to try to stir up unrest.

The findings of an Associated Press investigation, published Thursday, featured prominently on multiple Cuban state TV newscasts and occupied a full page in Communist Party newspaper Granma on Friday. They also were to be the focus of the nightly two-hour news analysis show “Mesa Redonda,” or “Roundtable.”

State news agency Prensa Latina recalled a Jan. 1 speech in which President Raul Castro warned of “attempts to subtly introduce platforms for neoliberal thought and for the restoration of neocolonial capitalism.”

“Castro’s denunciations of the U.S. government’s destabilizing attempts against Cuba were corroborated by today’s revelation of a plan to push Cuban youth toward the counterrevolution, with the participation of a U.S. agency,” Prensa Latina said.

U.S. officials defended the program as being in line with the mission of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which oversaw it.

Ships seek missing Malaysian plane’s ‘black boxes’ as mystery passes 4-week mark

PERTH, Australia — Four weeks after the Malaysia Airlines jet vanished, two ships deployed sound locators Friday in the southern Indian Ocean in a desperate attempt to find the plane’s flight recorders before their signal beacons fall silent.

Officials leading the multinational search for Flight 370 said there was no specific information that led to the underwater devices being used for the first time, but that they were brought into the effort because there was nothing to lose.

The air and sea search has not turned up any wreckage from the Boeing 777 that could lead searchers to the plane and perhaps its flight data and cockpit voice recorders, or “black boxes.”

By wire sources