New monarch takes oath, speaks before parliament

Spain’s newly proclaimed King Felipe VI said in a speech before parliament Thursday that he loved his country with all his heart, calling Spain a “great nation.”

“I will always have the common good (of the country) in mind,” he said.

King Felipe VI swore an oath in parliament shortly after receiving a ceremonial sash from his father, Juan Carlos, representing the receipt of the command of the country’s armed forces.

Prince Felipe became the new Spanish monarch Thursday in the wake of the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos. The 46-year-old crown prince became King Felipe at midnight.

GWANGJU, South Korea

Five face negligence counts in South Korean ferry case

The chief operator of the sunken South Korean ferry and four employees are to appear in court to enter pleas on charges that their negligence caused the April sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

Kim Han-sik, CEO of Chonghaejin Marine Co., and four employees will enter pleas at a preliminary hearing Friday at Gwangju District Court.

Prosecutors indicted them on charges of professional negligence and violating a law on safe maritime navigation.


Construction gets underway on largest optical telescope

Astronomers in Chile blasted away the top of a mountain Thursday during a ceremony to mark the start of work on what they say will be the world’s largest optical telescope.

The 9,800-foot Cerro Armazones mountain is to be the home of the European Extremely Large Telescope. The blast to level the summit loosened about 5,000 cubic meters of rock.

The ceremony was presided over by officials at the European Southern Observatory in northern Chile.

The telescope will have a 128-foot mirror, and the astronomers are calling it “the world’s biggest eye on the sky.”

They say it will help advance the study of planets around other stars, supermassive black holes and “the exploration of completely unknown realms of the Universe.”

Officials expect the telescope to be completed by 2024.

TIRANA, Albania

Police claim control over marijuana-producing village

Albanian police say they have taken control of a lawless southern village after four days of armed resistance from gangs that turned it into the country’s largest illegal marijuana producer.

Police said Thursday that officers have established control throughout Lazarat,140 miles south of the capital Tirana.

Police said they have seized and destroyed some 13 tons of marijuana and 80,000 plants, and found “considerable quantities” of weapons and ammunition in houses. Thirteen suspected gang members have been arrested.

—From news service reports