World briefs: 11/11/12

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ANKARA, Turkey -- A Turkish military helicopter carrying soldiers on a mission against Kurdish rebels crashed because of bad weather on Saturday, killing all 17 onboard, officials said.

Thirteen soldiers and four military crew members were killed in the crash in a mountainous part of Pervari district in Siirt province, in southeastern Turkey, where the rebel Kurdistan Worker's Party is fighting for self-rule.

President Abdullah Gul said the soldiers were on their way "to help their friends" in an operation against the rebels who have escalated attacks in recent months, adding the incident would not deter Turkey from its determination to fight the rebels.

The provincial governor, Ahmet Aydin, blamed the crash on heavy fog and ruled out an attack by the rebel group.

27 die in prison riot

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- A shootout between rioting prisoners and security forces at a prison in Sri Lanka's capital killed at least 27 inmates, while police said Saturday that they arrested five prisoners who had managed to escape and were searching for others.

Another 42 people were wounded in the clashes Friday between inmates and army and police commandos that broke out after the rioting prisoners broke into the armory and briefly took control of at least part of the Welikada prison in Colombo. The situation at the prison had returned to normal by Saturday morning.

Gay-marriage opposition

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican is digging in after gay marriage initiatives scored big wins last week in the U.S. and Europe, vowing to never stop insisting that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

In a front-page article in Saturday's Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See sought to frame itself as the lone voice of courage in opposing initiatives to give same-sex couples legal recognition.

Arms deal in jeopardy

BAGHDAD -- Iraq is reconsidering plans to buy more than $4 billion in arms from Russia, officials said Saturday, throwing the proposed purchase into question just weeks after it was announced.

The turnaround follows the ouster of Russia's defense minister earlier last week, and allegations by Iraqi lawmakers and local media that the pending deal is tainted by graft.

Violin dealer sentenced

VIENNA -- Dietmar Machold, one of the world's leading dealers in multimillion-dollar violins until he declared bankruptcy in November 2010, was sentenced to six years in prison Friday by Vienna's Criminal Court.

Machold, 63, was accused of misappropriating instruments consigned for sale by submitting them as his own to Central European banks to secure large loans. His ex-wife and her mother were each sentenced to one year of probation as accomplices.

Also in the world ...

Legislators in Jamaica unanimously approved two bills Friday that will allow casinos to be built on the island for the first time. ... Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank missile Saturday at an Israeli jeep patrolling the border with Gaza and the Israelis fired back into the Palestinian territory, killing four civilians.

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