Two pilots have been injured and another is missing after two helicopters crashed while battling wildfires in eastern Spain. The first helicopter crashed near the Forata reservoir near Valencia, said a spokeswoman for local emergency services, who said that its pilot was missing. Another helicopter crashed in the Sierra Martes; its two pilots were taken to hospital. Both helicopters were among 40 battling a fire that broke out last Thursday near Cortes de Pallaand, leading to the evacuation of some 3,000 people.
Eighty-five Syrian soldiers, including three colonels, have defected and fled to Turkey with their family members, making a total of 224 individuals, a Turkish government official said. A Syrian activist and Free Syrian Army sources told Reuters that a general was among the defectors, though the Turkish official stated there were no generals. Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber also reported that a general was present and said that the defectors and their families had been sent to Apaydin camp in the Hatay province. Most of the troops are believed to have served in the restive Homs province.
A French Rafale fighter jet has crashed into the Mediterranean Sea during a joint French-American naval drill. The pilot managed to eject and was picked up by the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle. The incident happened during a mock fight with a US F-18 jet. In the past few years there have been several incidents involving France’s flagship jet fighter. In 2009 two Rafale jets collided during a training flight killing both pilots and in 2010 a Rafale jet crashed during a mission near Pakistan.
A drunken bus driver has attacked and chewed the face of a woman in the city of Wenzhou in south-east China, local reports say. The woman was driving her car, when the intoxicated man came onto the road and stood in front of her, blocking her way. He then climbed onto the hood of the vehicle and started hitting the windscreen. The woman got out of the car and tried to escape, but the man leapt on her and wrestled her to the ground. He then started chewing her face. Bystanders tried to pull the man away from the victim, but he was able to resist and continued to chew the woman’s face. Only police were able to stop the man and take him into custody. The woman was taken to hospital, and doctors say she will need plastic surgery to repair her lips and nose. In Florida in May a naked man chewed the face of a homeless man before being shot by the police, while in Texas, a man crawled and barked before attacking and eating his neighbor’s dog. In all cases, the men were intoxicated with drugs.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc has agreed to plead guilty for marketing drugs for unapproved uses, according to court filings. The US unit of GSK will pay $3 billion to settle “the largest case of healthcare fraud in US history,” Reuters reports. The settlement which reportedly includes $1 billion in criminal fines and $2 billion in civil fines, resolves a seven-year investigation of the company’s marketing practices for three drugs. In a charging document filed on Monday, Glaxo admits to illegally promoting Paxil for children and adolescents, wrongfully marketing Wellbutrin for weight loss and purposes other than those approved by US regulators.
The head of Germany's domestic intelligence service resigned on Monday. Heinz Fromm admitted that his agency had shredded files on a neo-Nazi cell that had targeted immigrants. Germany's security services have been criticized over their handling of the “National Socialist Underground” (NSU), which went undetected for more than a decade. The group reportedly murdered 10 people, mostly Turkish immigrants, Reuters said. German lawmakers say there was no suggestion that Fromm had ordered the destruction of the files. They said, however, that he was responsible for others' failures.
A bomb has killed a traffic policeman and wounded eight people in western Baghdad, officials say. The roadside bomb missed a police patrol that was travelling through an intersection in the Mansour neighborhood, AP reports. A traffic policeman nearby was killed and eight passers-by wounded in the blast.
NATO has no intention of intervening in Syria, the alliance’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday. A political decision on the country’s conflict is still possible, he said at a monthly press briefing. Itar-Tass also quoted him as saying that the alliance will not think it necessary to set time limits to achieve a political decision.
Turkish warplanes have bombed Kurdish rebel hideouts in northern Iraq. Turkey's military said on Monday that suspected rebel positions in the Mount Qandil area were bombed last week. Positions in the Zap region across the Turkish border were also targeted, AP reports. Kurdish rebels use bases in northern Iraq for attacks on Turkish targets.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signed three new “counter-terrorism” laws on Monday, the official SANA news agency said. One law stipulates that a state employee convicted of “any act of terrorism,” including providing material or moral support to terrorist groups, will be fired. The second law provides for jail terms of 10 to 20 years with hard labor for any act of violence or kidnap for ransom, AFP said. Members of parliament debated the laws last week.
Egypt’s foreign policy under new President Mohamed Morsi will be more open than previously, the country’s outgoing Ambassador to Russia, Alaa el Hadidi, said on Monday. The Egyptian government under the former President Hosni Mubarak was “oriented towards certain world powers,” the diplomat said in Moscow. Egypt would have a new government, constitution and parliament by the end of this year or by early 2013, El Hadidi believes.
An Afghan official in the eastern Logar province says a NATO air strike has killed three civilians. Din Mohammad Darwesh, the provincial spokesman, said NATO forces came under fire from insurgents in the Charkh district on Monday morning. They reportedly called in an air strike and the bombardment killed three shopkeepers. NATO spokesman Maj. Martyn Crighton says initial reports show there were no civilian deaths in Charkh on Monday, AP reports. The strike was called on insurgents who were planting a bomb, he said, adding that a number of them were killed.
Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby has called on the fragmented Syrian opposition to unite during a meeting in Cairo. He addressed nearly 250 members of the Syrian opposition on Monday at the first such gathering hosted by the Arab League, AP reports. Syrian opposition groups on Sunday rejected a UN-brokered peace plan for a transitional government, saying President Bashar al-Assad must not be allowed to join it.
A pro-government Somali militia group has rescued four aid workers kidnapped by gunmen from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya last week. The Ras Kamboni militia group pursued the kidnappers and caught up with them on Monday morning about 60 kilometers inside Somalia in the village of Alu Gulay, AP said. Ras Kamboni's leader, Ahmed Madobe, said one of the kidnappers was killed, and the other three escaped.
Police in Myanmar have arrested 30 people in connection with the vigilante killing of 10 Muslims after sectarian violence erupted in Rakhine state. On June 3, the Muslims were beaten and killed in the incident which sparked clashes between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. Many of the Muslims are not recognized as citizens.
A rocket fired from Lebanon wounded two Syrian border police on Monday, Lebanon's General Security agency said. “Gunmen fired a rocket from Buqaya, in Lebanese territory, towards Syria, hitting a Syrian immigration post and wounding two border police,” the statement said, as cited by AFP. Buqaya, in the Akkar region, is 185 kilometres north of Beirut. It was the first time that General Security has reported a shooting into Syrian territory.
A Saudi diplomat kidnapped by Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen appealed to the Saudi King to meet his abductors’ demand for the release of women prisoners. Abdallah al-Khalidi, Saudi Arabia's deputy consul in the port city of Aden, reiterated his appeal to King Abdullah in a new video posted on Sunday in an internet forum used by Al-Qaeda members. The diplomat appeared in good health, Reuters reports. “Don't forget me, my fate is linked to those women's,” he said. The women, who are being held by Saudi security services, are relatives of Al-Qaeda fighters.
Palestinian police have arrested more than 150 people during a crackdown on illegal weapons dealing in the West Bank. Targets in the new campaign include gunmen linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, AP reports. The operation focuses mainly on the district of Jenin and began several weeks ago after gunmen shot at the house of the district governor. Dozens of weapons were seized.
The UK Ministry of Defense have confirmed that three British soldiers have been killed by a man dressed in an Afghan police uniform. The incident on Sunday reportedly came at Check Point Kamparack Pul in Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Two soldiers served with the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and one with the Royal Corps of Signals. Their deaths bring to 218 the number of foreign troops killed so far this year.
At least 79 people have died and 2.2 million forced to leave their homes during flooding over the last week across India's northeast. Assam state, which borders Bhutan and Bangladesh, has been worst hit with the massive Brahmaputra River breaching its banks, AFP said. Extensive flooding has also hit the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. More than 500,000 people are sheltering in relief camps.
A C-130 plane supporting firefighting missions crashed in the southwest corner of South Dakota, according to US military Northern Command. The plane went down at about 0000 GMT on Sunday, as it was fighting the White Draw forest fire near Edgemont. Officials handling information for White Draw say search and rescue crews were working at the crash site, without giving further details.
Israel carried out an air raid in the Gaza Strip early Monday, the army said in a statement. It added the raid targeted “a group of terrorists preparing to fire rockets against south Israel,” the AFP reports. The target was hit, according to the army. However, Palestinian witnesses said the strike in the Deir al-Balah region in the central Gaza Strip caused no casualties or damage.
Mohamed Morsi, the newly-elected president of Egypt, has ordered that cases of protesters detained since the last year’s revolution be reviewed, MENA news agency reports. A special commission consisting of members of the military, the Interior Ministry and a general prosecutor will review the cases and release those not involved in any criminal activities. This comes after hundreds of demonstrators marched to the presidential palace on Sunday to demand that Egypt’s first democratically-elected president release the detained protesters.