Mount Etna volcano erupts; airspace briefly closed
ROME | Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, has erupted, sending up a towering plume of ash visible in much of eastern Sicily.
Etna's eruptions aren't infrequent, although the last major one occurred in 1992.
Catania airport said the eruption Saturday forced the closure of nearby airspace before dawn, but authorities lifted the order in early morning.
Several inhabited villages dot the mountain's slopes, but evacuations weren't necessary despite the lava flow.
Syrian Kurds capture border crossing with Iraq
BEIRUT | Syrian Kurdish gunmen on Saturday seized a major border crossing with Iraq from al-Qaida-linked groups following intense infighting between rebel groups that raised concerns of a spillover, activists and an Iraqi official said.
The latest violence coincided with a visit by the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Iran, a staunch ally of President Bashar Assad's government, to press efforts for international peace talks aimed at ending the civil war, now in its third year.
The Kurdish militiamen captured the Yaaroubiyeh post in northeast Syria after three days of clashes with several jihadist groups there, including Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
An Iraqi intelligence official confirmed that Kurdish rebels now held the crossing point — one of two main crossings with Iraq — adding that Baghdad brought reinforcements to the area to prevent any spillover of violence.
Kurdish groups control a large swath of northern Syria, and they are suspicious of Islamic groups who have moved into predominantly Kurdish areas in the chaos of the civil war. Clashes between their fighters and jihadists in northern and northeastern areas of Syria have killed hundreds of people in the past months.
Saudi women drive in protest with little problem
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia | More than 60 women across Saudi Arabia claimed they drove cars Saturday in defiance of a ban keeping them from getting behind the wheel, facing little protest by police in their push for easing restrictions on women in the kingdom.
The campaign's message is that driving should be a woman's choice. The struggle is rooted in the kingdom's hard-line interpretation of Islam known as Wahabbism, with critics warning that women driving could unravel the very fabric of Saudi society.
Though no laws ban women from driving in Saudi Arabia, authorities do not issue them licenses. Women who drove on Saturday had driver's licenses from abroad, activists said.
Tens of thousands flee India flooding; 39 dead
NEW DELHI | Days of torrential rains have unleashed floods in southeast India that have killed dozens of people and forced the evacuation of more than 70,000 others from hundreds of low-lying villages.
As of Saturday, 39 people had died in flood-related incidents in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states since the rains began Monday, according to officials quoted by the Press Trust of India. Many drowned when swept away by surging waters or were killed when weakened walls collapsed onto them.
Hundreds of villages were inundated and crops were being ruined in the so-called Rice Bowl of India.
Railway services have been suspended along routes where tracks were submerged or damaged.