2 Americans’ bodies found at crash site

Search teams on Saturday found the bodies of two American crew members near where their military refueling plane crashed in the rugged mountains of Kyrgyzstan, while the third crew member was still missing, the emergencies minister of the Central Asian nation said.

The KC-135 plane crashed Friday afternoon about 100 miles west of the air base that the United States operates in Kyrgyzstan to support military operations in Afghanistan.

Officials at the U.S. Transit Center at the Manas base released no information on the cause of the crash.

Emergencies Minister Kubatbek Boronov said that Kyrgyz search teams found the two fragmented bodies Saturday morning and that they had not been identified. He said Kyrgyz rescuers and U.S. military personnel were searching for the third crewman and the flight recorders.

The plane was on a refueling mission when it crashed, a defense official in Washington said.

Residents described hearing the plane explode and seeing it break apart as it fell.

— Associated Press

Sports to be allowed at some girls’ schools

Saudi Arabian girls will be allowed to play sports in private schools for the first time, according to a decision announced Saturday, the latest in a series of incremental changes aimed at slowly increasing women’s rights in the ultraconservative kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s official press agency, SPA, reported that the schools may conduct sports activities in accordance with the rules of sharia, or Islamic law. The schools must provide appropriate places and equipment, and students must adhere to “decent dress” codes.

Sports lessons in government-run girls’ schools, as well as female sports clubs, remain prohibited.

— Associated Press

Minister removed for comment on gays

A junior Italian equal-opportunities minister was removed from her post Saturday, less than 24 hours after being sworn in to the new coalition government, after she said gay people invited discrimination by “ghettoizing” themselves.

The abrupt departure of center-right politician Michaela Biancofiore to another ministry was a fresh reminder of the fragility of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s fledgling left-right coalition.

Responding to criticism of her appointment by gay rights groups who accused her of making homophobic comments, Biancofiore told Italian newspapers: “For once, I would like to see gay associations, instead of ‘ghettoizing’ themselves . . . say something to condemn the recent spate of killings of women. All they do is defend their own interests.”

— Reuters

Iraqi premier’s group polls strongly in local elections: A coalition led by Iraq’s prime minister has won the largest single bloc of seats in seven of 12 provinces participating in local elections, and it tied in an eighth, although it failed to achieve a majority in any of the districts, electoral officials announced. Last month’s vote was for seats on local-level governorate councils and has no direct effect on national posts, but the results offer a glimpse into levels of support for Iraq’s political blocs heading into next year’s parliamentary elections. Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s coalition was the top vote-getter in Baghdad and in the southern oil hub of Basra.

Moldovan parliament’s new powers viewed dimly in Brussels: Moldova’s parliament gave itself powers to dismiss constitutional judges and change election rules, moves that officials in Brussels said would harm the country’s bid for closer ties with the European Union. Politicians passed the laws late Friday, in the latest round of maneuvering in a political crisis that has paralyzed legislation in the impoverished former Soviet republic for months.

Blasts kill 3 in Pakistani port city: Two explosions in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi killed three people near the office of a political party critical of the Taliban, a police officer said, heightening tensions ahead of the country’s historic election Saturday. The Taliban asserted responsibility for the blasts.

— From news services