Mexico

45 bodies found in clandestine graves

MEXICO CITY — Officials confirmed the discovery of up to 45 bodies at clandestine burial sites in Mexico, with an estimated 30 cadavers found in one spot in the northern state of Sonora and 15 buried under the patio of a multifamily house on the outskirts of Guadalajara in Jalisco state.

The Sonora state prosecutor’s office said in a statement Saturday that it had sent forensics experts to accompany a volunteer search group that helped discover what was estimated to be 27 sets of human remains in a field near the city of Cajeme. Late Sunday, the volunteer group, Guerreras Buscadoras (Warrior Searchers), said it had found three more sets of remains.

Clandestine burial sites have been used by drug cartels in Mexico to hide the bodies of executed rivals or kidnap victims. While hundreds of such sites date back to the 2010-2016 drug war, some are more recent.

On Monday, prosecutors in Jalisco said they were led to the patio burial site in Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, earlier this month by an anonymous tip that bodies might be buried there. Jalisco state prosecutor Gerardo Solis said that the process of finding the bodies of one woman and 14 men had taken more than a week and that the cadavers had apparently been buried weeks ago.

Somalia

US airstrike kills top IS group leader

A United States airstrike killed a senior leader of the extremist rebels of the Islamic State in Somalia group involved in attacks in northern Somalia, U.S. military and a Somali official said Monday.

The U.S. Africa Command said in statement that it carried out an airstrike near Xiriiro, a village in northern Somalia’s semi-independent Puntland state on Sunday, killing Abdulhakim Dhuqub, the deputy leader of the Somali extremists linked to the Islamic State group.

Dhuqub was responsible for the daily operations of the extremist group, planning attacks and getting resources, said the U.S. military statement.

The airstrike targeted the vehicle carrying Dhuqub, said the statement. No civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike, according to the U.S. military.

Germany

Ex Volkswagen CEO charged with fraud

FRANKFURT — German prosecutors charged former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and four others with fraud in the emissions cheating scandal that has helped turn many Europeans against diesel engines and accelerated the push toward electric cars.

Prosecutors said Monday that Winterkorn knew about the scheme since at least May 2014 and failed to put a stop to it.

That contradicted his claim that he didn’t learn about it until shortly before U.S. investigators announced it in September 2015. Winterkorn resigned as CEO five days later.

VW has admitted installing software in its diesel cars that turned on pollution controls when vehicles were being tested and switched them off during everyday driving. That made it look as if the cars met tough U.S. limits on harmful pollutants known as nitrogen oxides.

In all, some 11 million cars worldwide were equipped with the illegal software.

The 71-year-old Winterkorn and the others, whose names were not released, face six months to 10 years in prison if convicted of aggravated fraud involving serious losses.

France

Man sent to prison for Holocaust denial

PARIS — An extreme-right Frenchman has been convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for denying the Holocaust and was ordered jailed.

His lawyer in the complex case was fined.

A Paris court on Monday convicted Alain Soral, 60, for publishing on his internet site the conclusions of the lawyer, Damien Viguier, in an earlier case. Viguier, fined $5,650 for his conclusions, which were deemed to have negated the Holocaust, said on Soral’s site that they were appealing the conviction.

Neither was present at the court. An arrest warrant for Soral was issued.

Denying the Holocaust is a crime in France.

The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism praised the ruling, saying the decision to impose a prison sentence on Soral, convicted in the past, shows the “exceptional character” of the decision.

Israel

New moon mission vowed after 1st crashes

JERUSALEM — The Israeli start-up behind last week’s failed lunar landing has vowed to create a second mission to steer a privately funded spacecraft onto the moon.

Morris Kahn, Israeli billionaire and chairman of SpaceIL, the nonprofit that undertook the botched lunar mission, says he’s already formed a task force of engineers and donors that will build another spacecraft. He called the new mission a lesson in persistence for “the younger generation.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press