Military grounds fleet of drones after crash

Israel’s military has grounded a fleet of high-altitude surveillance drones after one was downed over the Mediterranean Sea.

The military says it intentionally crashed the unmanned aircraft late Saturday because of a malfunction.

The military would not say how many aircraft were grounded. The planes will stay down while an investigation is conducted.

A defense official said the drone was the Israeli-made Heron 1, which flies at high altitudes and can stay in the air for about 45 hours straight. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

Last year, a larger Heron TP drone crashed on a routine flight.

Israel is a world leader in drone technology. Palestinians say Israel uses drones to fire missiles, but Israel has never offered a confirmation.

— Associated Press

Iran denies guards killed 10 migrants

Iranian border guards killed 10 Afghan migrants and wounded eight when hundreds tried to illegally cross into Iran in search of work, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said Sunday. Iran denied the allegation.

Details of the incident Friday in Afghanistan’s northwestern Farah province were sketchy and often contradictory. An Interior Ministry statement said 300 Afghan laborers tried to cross into Iran illegally, looking for work. Iranian border guards opened fire, it said, killing 10.

The ministry also blamed its own border guards for allowing the laborers to cross, even though they had neither visas nor passports. Two Afghan border guards were dismissed and could face charges of neglect of duty, the ministry said.

Iran’s chief of border guards, Gen. Hamid Sharafi, denied that Afghan migrants were shot at, according to the semiofficial Iranian Students’ News Agency.

Several wounded laborers who arrived at the Farah district hospital for treatment also reported dead compatriots and said that as many as 21 laborers were taken away by the Iranian border guards, said Abdul Rahman Zhawandai, a spokesman for the Farah provincial governor.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a roadside bomb killed a district prosecutor in southern Helmand province, where Taliban insurgents roam with relative ease in much of the countryside.

No one asserted responsibility for the killing, but the Taliban has stepped up assassinations in recent months, attacking government and security officials whom it accuses of being traitors.

— Associated Press

the vatican
Pope Francis names
several new saints

Pope Francis on Sunday gave the Catholic Church new saints, including hundreds of 15th-
century martyrs who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, as he led his first canonization ceremony in a packed St. Peter’s Square.

The “Martyrs of Otranto” were 813 Italians who were slain in the southern Italian city in 1480 for their refusal to heed Turkish invaders’ demands to renounce Christianity after they overran the citadel.

The approval for sainthood for the martyrs was decided upon by Francis’s predecessor, Benedict XVI, in a decree read at the ceremony in February during which the then-pontiff announced his retirement.

Shortly after his election in March, Francis called for more dialogue with Muslims, and it was unclear how the granting of sainthood to the martyrs would be received. Islam is a sensitive subject for the church, and Benedict stumbled significantly in his relations with the Muslim community.

— Associated Press

Taiwan warns Philippines over fisherman’s death: Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou threatened to recall his representative to the Philippines and freeze work applications should its neighbor fail to respond within 72 hours to requests for an apology after the fatal shooting of a fisherman last week. Taiwanese fishing vessel Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28 was hit by at least 32 bullets last week after a Philippine patrol boat opened fire 164 nautical miles southeast of Taiwan’s southern tip, in waters north of the Philippines.

Exit polls show Bulgaria’s former ruling party winning vote: Bulgaria’s former ruling party, Gerb, won early parliamentary elections in the European Union’s poorest country, according to two exit polls. Gerb, led by former prime minister Boyko Borissov, took 31.1 percent of the vote, compared with 27.1 percent for the Bulgarian Socialist Party, according to the polling company Alpha Research, state television said Sunday. Gerb tallied 31 percent to 25.3 percent for the Socialists, according to a poll by Sova Harris, Bulgarian National TV said.

Gunfire attacks kill 4, wound 3 in Iraq: Iraqi officials said Sunday that two gunfire attacks in and near Baghdad killed four people and wounded three. A police officer said gunmen in a speeding car opened fire on an outdoor vegetable market in Mishahda, a town about 20 miles north of Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounding three. Also, drive-by shooters killed a police officer driving his car in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Shaab, authorities said.

— From news services