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The World in Brief: Pandemic party probe wraps up in U.K.

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | May 20, 2022 at 3:47 a.m.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for the House of Commons for the weekly Prime Minister's Questions in London, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Pandemic party probe wraps up in U.K.

LONDON -- Britain's Metropolitan Police told Prime Minister Boris Johnson he faced no further action over lockdown-breaching gatherings at his official residence and other government sites, after the force said Thursday it has concluded its investigation into politicians' parties that violated the country's coronavirus restrictions.

Police said they issued a total of 126 fixed-penalty notices to 83 people for gatherings that took place on eight dates between May 2020 -- at the height of the first wave of the U.K.'s pandemic -- and April 2021. Some people received multiple fines.

Johnson apologized last month after he revealed that he was among dozens of people who paid a police fine for attending lockdown-breaching parties and gatherings. That made him the first British leader to be sanctioned for breaking the law while in office.

Johnson's spokesman said Thursday he will not be receiving any more fines on top of the one he has already paid.

Israeli rifle a focus in death investigation

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli military has identified a soldier's rifle that may have killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but said it cannot be certain unless the Palestinians turn over the bullet for analysis, a military official said Thursday.

The confirmation marked a small sign of progress in the investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot on May 11 while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian officials, along with fellow journalists who were with Abu Akleh, have said Israeli troops stationed nearby killed her. The Israeli army says she was shot during a battle between troops and Palestinian gunmen, and it cannot be determined who fired the fatal bullet without a proper analysis.

Israel has called for a joint investigation with the Palestinians. But the Palestinians, who have the bullet, have refused, saying they don't trust Israel. They say they are conducting their own investigation and are ready to cooperate with any country except for Israel.

The military earlier this month released the results of a preliminary investigation that offered two possible causes of death. It said that in one scenario, she may have been hit by Palestinian gunfire during a fierce shootout with Israeli troops.

Spain, Portugal report more monkeypox

MADRID -- Health officials in Spain reported seven cases of monkeypox and Portugal updated its number of confirmed cases to 14 Thursday as an outbreak of a viral disease typically limited to Africa expanded in Europe.

In Spain, all of the reported cases to date involved men in Madrid, officials said. Health officials are currently testing another 22 suspected cases, said Antonio Zapatero of the regional health department.

"It's possible that more cases will emerge in the coming days," Zapatero told Spanish radio network Onda Cero.

Officials said all of the cases identified so far were mild and that the infections appeared linked to close contact among two chains of transmission. No details were given as to whether the men had traveled to Africa or whether the cases were connected to other reported cases across Europe.

Portuguese authorities said Thursday that the 14 cases confirmed in the country all were reported in the area surrounding the capital city of Lisbon.

Militants fire on sailboat off Yemen coast

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A Hong Kong-flagged racing sailboat that carried its skippers to victory in multiple contests around the world came under attack Thursday off the coast of war-torn Yemen, with its crew reportedly targeted by militants who fired warning shots and threatened them with rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

The Lakota, a 62-foot trimaran recently purchased by famed French yachtsman Philippe Poupon, found itself attacked off the coast of Hodeida. The attack began Thursday morning, when three ships carrying militants in civilian clothes chased the vessel, according to a European Union naval force in the region.

The militants fired some 20 warning shots and displayed assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the EU force said. One assailant boarded the Lakota as well, though he jumped overboard after realizing there was no money on the vessel and that he was far from his comrades' ships, said Capt. Miguel Lorente Navarro, a spokesman for the EU force.

Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, told reporters that the vessel involved was the Lakota. Lloyd's List Intelligence identified the ship as the trimaran, or a three-hulled racing vessel, as did the EU force.

Dryad said that those on board had escaped into international water. Satellite-tracking data from analyzed by The Associated Press showed the Lakota just west of the Hanish Islands in the Red Sea between Eritrea on the African continent and Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula.


  photo  In this photo issued by UK Parliament, Britain's Labour party leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via AP)
  photo  In this photo issued by UK Parliament, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, May 18, 2022. (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via AP)

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