World briefing

Passenger stops bus abyss plunge

VIENNA (AP) — Austrian police say a passenger in a bus with 23 others on board narrowly averted tragedy after the driver lost consciousness, helping stop the vehicle at the point when it was already hanging over an Alpine abyss.

A police statement says the driver fainted Saturday as the bus carrying French tourists was heading downhill from a pasture nearly about 6,600 feet above sea level, east of the city of Innsbruck.

It then gathered speed, repeatedly banging into the mountainside lining the road.

The passenger dashed forward and applied the brakes. That, and a guide rail piercing the front of the bus, brought it to a halt, but only after the front end was already jutting over a 330-foot precipice.

Police say 10 people needed medical help, of whom four were hospitalized.

Nationalists seek to allay concerns

BAUTZEN, Germany (AP) — Leaders of the nationalist, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany pledged Monday to use their third-place election finish to conduct robust but “constructive” opposition, and sought to allay fears raised by Jewish groups and others about their entry into parliament.

However, long-running cracks at the top of the party, known by its German acronym AfD, erupted in public when co-chairwoman Frauke Petry — one of AfD’s best-known faces but sidelined over recent months — stormed out of a press conference.

That left three other top party leaders chuckling and smirking, but briefly speechless.

“An anarchic party … can be successful in opposition, but it cannot make voters a credible offer for government.” Petry said, adding she wouldn’t join AfD’s parliamentary caucus.

She walked out of the room without taking questions.

Co-chairman Joerg Meuthen apologized “on behalf of the party” for the episode, saying it was “not discussed with us,” before moving on.

Persistent leadership infighting so far has failed to do the party significant harm.

Germany’s mainstream parties have all ruled out teaming up with AfD, which is one of six caucuses in the new parliament after winning 12.6 percent of the vote.

Including the seat Petry won, it has 94 of the 709 seats.

Co-leader Alice Weidel told reporters their plan was to provide “constructive opposition.”

“We have a very clear mandate from the voters, and there is no time to waste,” she said.

Saudi fired following textbook flap

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A senior Education Ministry official in Saudi Arabia has been fired after high school students opened their textbooks to find an image of Yoda from the “Star Wars” films seated next to a Saudi king.

The image produced by Saudi artist Abdullah Al Shehri, known as Shaweesh , shows the late King Faisal, who was foreign minister at the time, signing the United Nations Charter in 1945 with the diminutive green Jedi master seated to his right.

Education Minister Ahmed al-Eissa described it as an “unintended mistake” and wrote on Twitter that new versions of the textbook were being printed.

State-linked Okaz news website says Undersecretary for Curricula and Educational Programs Mohammed al-Harthi was dismissed from his post Monday and that the ministry will establish a new process for reviewing textbooks.