World briefing

London outage creates travel chaos

LONDON (AP) — British Airways canceled all flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

The airline said it was suffering a “major IT systems failure” around the world. Chief executive Alex Cruz said “we believe the root cause was a power-supply issue and we have no evidence of any cyberattack.”

He said the crash had affected “all of our check-in and operational systems.”

BA operates hundreds of flights from the two London airports on a typical day — and both are major hubs for worldwide travel.

Several hours after problems began cropping up Saturday morning, BA suspended flights up to 6 p.m. because the two airports had become severely congested. The airline later scrapped flights from Heathrow and Gatwick for the rest of the day.

The airline said it was working to restore services out of Heathrow and Gatwick beginning Sunday, although some disruptions are expected. It said it expected that London-bound long-haul flights would land on schedule Sunday.

The problem comes on a bank holiday weekend, when tens of thousands of Britons and their families are travelling.

Pope visits factory workers

GENOA, Italy (AP) — Pope Francis highlighted the struggles that workers face in a globalized economy with a visit Saturday to a troubled steel factory in Genoa, where he stressed how jobs give people a sense of human dignity and denounced those who exploit workers.

The visit put a focus on the plight of those whose lives have been made precarious by years of economic crisis, including in Italy where a high jobless rate, especially among young adults, has driven many to leave the country.

Speaking to 3,500 industrial workers, many in uniforms or hard hats, Francis distinguished what he called the “real entrepreneur,” a person who “shares the labors of workers and shares the joys of work” to create something together, from speculators who are not bothered when they fire workers in search of profits.

“One sickness of the economy is the gradual transformation of entrepreneurs into speculators,” the pontiff said. “The speculator doesn’t love his business, doesn’t love the workers, but only sees the business and workers as the means to make profit.”

He decried a political system that “sometimes seems to encourage” speculators, “not those who invest and believe in work.”

Francis also denounced those who claim that workers do their jobs only for the money, saying that “denies the dignity of work.”

18 killed in suicide car bomb attack

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least 18 people, mostly civilians, were killed Saturday when a suicide car bomber targeted a convoy of provincial security forces in eastern Afghanistan, an Interior Ministry official said.

Najib Danish, the ministry’s deputy spokesman, said the target of the bomber was a group of guards providing security for U.S. forces in Khost province, but most of the victims in the attack were civilians.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack in a media statement. Taliban insurgents have increased their attacks against Afghan security forces since announcing their spring offensive last month.

Syrians gain ground against IS

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops and allied militia have pushed back Islamic State militants and U.S-backed opposition fighters, gaining control of a large swath of territory in the country’s strategic southern desert, the government-controlled media and a war monitor said Saturday.

Also Saturday, the U.S.-led coalition leading the campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria’s northeast, acknowledged it has conducted airstrikes near the IS-controlled town of Mayadeen earlier in the week, targeting the group’s “propaganda facilities.” In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, the U.S.-led coalition said it is looking into reports the airstrikes killed over two dozen civilians, but added the claims were “unsubstantiated” and lacked “specificity or evidence.”