In brief: Pro-Palestinian activists intercepted

JERUSALEM – Israeli navy commandos Saturday intercepted a ship carrying about 30 pro-Palestinian activists as it tried to break through a maritime blockade of the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Israeli military officials said that after the ship refused to alter its course toward Gaza, soldiers took control of the vessel and directed it toward the Israeli port of Ashdod. No injuries were reported.

It was the latest attempt by activists to bring attention to Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. Among the passengers were parliament members from Greece, Norway, Sweden and Spain, activists said.

Rain forces holy site to evacuate pilgrims

PARIS – Rescue teams helped hundreds of pilgrims to the Roman Catholic shrine in Lourdes escape waterlogged hotels on Saturday after heavy rains led the Gave River to overrun its banks – and even wash up into the town’s famed grotto, where many Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.

The regional government said 427 people had been evacuated as authorities warned of forecasts for more rain.

Visits to the grotto were temporarily suspended.

Luxembourg royalty wrap wedding gala

LUXEMBOURG – Under a canopy of soldiers’ drawn swords as church bells tolled, Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg and Belgian Countess Stephanie de Lannoy emerged smiling Saturday from the tiny duchy’s Notre Dame Cathedral after wrapping up a two-day wedding gala with a religious ceremony.

The church wedding of Prince Guillaume – the 30-year-old heir to the throne and Luxembourg’s grand duke-to-be – and the Belgian countess drew a top-drawer guest list. It came a day after a civil ceremony at Luxembourg City Hall.

Stephanie plans to renounce her Belgian citizenship in order to one day become Luxembourg’s grand duchess.


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