Tornado hits Havana; 3 dead, hundreds hurt

Neighborhood brigades and teams of government workers hacked at fallen trees and hauled chunks of concrete out of collapsed homes Monday as the Cuban capital attempted to recover from what officials called the strongest tornado to hit Cuba in nearly 80 years.

Three people were dead and hundreds injured, at least 12 in critical condition, after the tornado touched down overnight in three neighborhoods across eastern Havana.

Members of the Provincial Defense Council of Havana said 90 homes collapsed completely and 30 suffered partial collapse.

A quarter of the city’s roughly 2 million people were without power Monday afternoon, and more than 200,000 people had lost water service.

Miguel Ángel Hernández of the Cuban Center for Meteorology said the tornado was a Category F3, with winds between 155 and 199 mph. Other meteorologists told state media it may have been even stronger.

The tornado was the strongest to hit Cuba since Dec. 26, 1940, when a Category F4 tornado hit the town of Bejucal, in what is now Mayabeque province, officials said. It also appeared to be the first tornado to hit the capital in at least as many years.

— Associated Press

Rare blast kills 6 in port town of Mokha

A rare blast in the port town of Mokha, controlled by the internationally recognized government of Yemen, killed at least six people and wounded more Monday, local officials said.

Once a thriving coffee-exporting hub, Mokha is now a naval base for the United Arab Emirates, which is allied to the Saudi-backed government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. It is among the few towns conceded by Houthi rebels since war started in 2015.

Local officials said the blast was thought to have been caused by a motorbike bomb and might have been carried out by al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.

— Reuters

Greek bishop convicted over comments against gays: A Greek court has convicted a prominent Orthodox Church official of violating laws against racism and abusing his office over an anti-gay blog posting. Amvrossios, bishop of Kalavryta and Aigialeia in the southern Peloponnese region, received a seven-month sentence, suspended for three years. Amvrossios urged readers in his 2015 posting to "spit upon" homosexuals, adding: "They are not human beings, they are rejects of nature." The three-judge court in the southern town of Aigio unanimously found against the bishop, who is one of the most conservative in the powerful Church of Greece.

Dutch refuse request to accept 47 rescued migrants: The Netherlands refused an Italian request to take in 47 migrants on a humanitarian ship that is being blocked from Italian ports, saying there was a need to distinguish between genuine refugees and economic migrants. The Sea Watch 3, run by a German humanitarian group and flying a Dutch flag, rescued the migrants off the Libyan coast more than a week ago. Since then it has been buffeted by high winds and 23-foot waves. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the ship should go either to France, which he has accused of shirking its responsibilities on the migrant issue, or to the Netherlands. The Dutch Security Ministry said it would not take in any in the group until there was a long-term accord on distinguishing refugees from economic migrants.

Bahrain court upholds life terms for dissent leaders: Bahrain's highest court upheld life sentences for a prominent Shiite cleric who led the country's now-outlawed opposition party and two of his colleagues after their earlier acquittal, continuing a years-long crackdown on all dissent in the island nation. Sheikh Ali Salman, a central figure in Bahrain's 2011 Arab Spring protests and secretary general of the barred al-Wefaq party, is already serving a nine-year prison sentence. The Court of Cassation's ruling continues an imprisonment that U.N. experts have criticized as "a breach of his fundamental human rights." The case against Salman and his colleagues, both abroad, involves allegations the men spied for Qatar amid the 2011 protests.

Toll rises to 12 in Mexican shootout: Mexican authorities said they have found two more bodies from a shootout in Guerrero state, raising the death toll to 12. State security spokesman Roberto Álvarez said the dead were found near where the others were killed Sunday. He said the clash was between two groups of apparent civilian community police.

— From news services