Student kills 2 at Moscow school
MOSCOW — A student opened fire in a high school in northern Moscow on Monday, killing a police officer and a teacher and holding two dozen other students hostage before being captured by police, a spokesman for Russia’s Interior Ministry said.
The shooting, which occurred at School No. 263 in the Otradnoye neighborhood, forced the evacuation of hundreds of students. Others remained inside the school and another one adjacent to it as police searched for the gunman. No students were injured.
“The school secretary came in, and she said not to let the children out,” said Maria Shukvina, a ninth-grader at the school. “Then I heard a loud bang, and she came back and told us to get our things and get out as quickly as possible.”
The spokesman said at least one other police officer was injured when the student fired from a window of a biology lab, where he had held the hostages. As of Monday afternoon, the identity of the student had not been disclosed, nor had any possible motive.
School shootings are rare in Russia, and the events Monday prompted unnerving comparisons in Russian news accounts to those that have occurred in the United States.
—Andrew Roth, The New York Times
Legal duo seeks role in new gay marriage cases
WASHINGTON — Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, the star legal duo who defied skeptics by successfully challenging California’s ban on same-sex marriage, are seeking to play a central role in the next round of marriage cases that appear to be on a fast track to the high court. But in doing so, they have touched off a debate over who gets the coveted job of arguing what could be a landmark gay rights decision.
Olson, a towering figure in the conservative legal movement, and Boies, a celebrated trial lawyer who argued against Olson in Bush v. Gore, say they would like to take on a pair of appeals looking to overturn laws in Utah and Oklahoma that prohibit gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
The push by the two lawyers to involve themselves underscores how suddenly and unexpectedly these cases have become the focus of both gay rights advocates and those who want to see the Supreme Court halt the wave of recent decisions that have undercut state bans on same-sex marriage.
The path to the Supreme Court has come much faster than anyone, perhaps even the justices themselves, expected. The Utah case, in which the state is appealing a lower-court ruling that said the state’s prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, will be argued on April 10 before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Denver. The same three-judge panel that hears the Utah case will hear arguments in the Oklahoma case a week later.
—Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times
Sudan orders Red Cross to halt its humanitarian operations
KHARTOUM, Sudan — The Sudanese government has ordered the International Committee of the Red Cross, which helps well more than 1 million people in conflict areas in Sudan, to suspend its operations in the country, the organization said Sunday.
According to the state-run Sudanese News Agency, the government determined that the group had not fulfilled the conditions for aid efforts.
“The ICRC has not met the state’s guidelines for humanitarian work, which has made us suspend its work until we reach an understanding,” Suleiman Abdelrahman, an official with the government’s aid commission, told the news agency.
In an interview, a representative of the Red Cross declined to elaborate on the source of the problem, but the group said it was in talks with Sudanese officials to resolve the matter.
The Sudanese government has long had confrontations with foreign aid groups operating on its soil. In 2012, Sudan expelled four aid agencies working in impoverished eastern Sudan, and the access of such groups to the conflict zones of South Kordofan state and Blue Nile state, where fighting erupted in 2011, has been restricted.
In 2009, Sudan expelled 13 Western aid organizations working in Darfur, shortly after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir, accusing him of committing mass atrocities there.
—Isma’il Kushkush, The New York Times
IMAX faces a threat in China over its technology
LOS ANGELES — “We’ve got the future under control,” contends OmniCorp, the giant technology corporation in “RoboCop,” a blockbuster remake set for release by Sony Pictures and MGM next month.
Imax, whose huge screens will play a 2-D version of “RoboCop” starting Feb. 12 in the United States, has a wary eye on the Chinese market, where the same film will open 16 days later, in 3-D, on a competing set of large screens.
That will happen with the support of a government-owned company, China Film Group, which both controls the import of films to China and oversees the competing large-screen system. The issue is especially sensitive for Imax: Not only could competitors in China cut into its potential market share there, but Imax has charged in several courts that the Chinese system relies on technology that was stolen from its offices in Canada.
Imax’s misappropriation claims are centered on Gary Tsui, a former Imax software engineer who is accused of taking the company’s technology and using it to found or provide engineering help to low-cost Chinese rivals.
—Michael Cieply, The New York Times