Iran seizes British

oil tanker, state

media says

Iran’s

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

says its navy has captured the British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz, according to Iran’s state-run Press TV.

Two U.S. defense officials also told CNN that the tanker had been seized, with one of them saying that it was taken by Iran.

A U.K. government spokesperson told CNN Friday that the U.K. is “urgently” looking into the incident. “We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” the spokesperson said.

The ship’s seizure is yet another in an accelerating series of recent maritime episodes involving Iran.

On Thursday, the U.S. Navy destroyed an Iranian drone using electronic jamming, a U.S. defense official told CNN. The crew of the USS Boxer took defensive action against the Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle after it came close to the US naval ship, the official said.

Israeli archaeologists find ancient mosque in Negev desert

Archaeologists working in Israel’s Negev desert have discovered an ancient rural mosque, thought to be one of the earliest in the world.

The mosque, which dates back to the 7th or 8th century BC, was discovered by researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority as they prepared to build a new neighborhood in the southern Israeli Bedouin city of Rahat.

The archaeologists said in a statement that large mosques from the period have been found in Mecca and Jerusalem but that it was rare to find such a building in the area, which is north of the city of Beer Sheva.

Researchers excavated the remains of a rectangular open-air mosque with a prayer niche facing south toward Mecca The mosque, they said, would be “a rare discovery anywhere in the world” and was likely to have been used by local farmers.

Magazine to give out ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers to readers

A Polish news magazine has announced plans to distribute stickers proclaiming an “LGBT-free zone” to its readers.

The right-wing weekly publication Gazeta Polska said it will include the stickers, which feature an image of a black cross over a Pride flag alongside the inflammatory slogan, in its next issue.

The stunt has sparked outrage from many inside the country and was criticized by the U.S. Ambassador to Poland.

“I am disappointed and concerned that some groups use stickers to promote hatred and intolerance,” Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher said on Twitter on Thursday. “We respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on the side of values such as diversity and tolerance.”

— From wire reports

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