By Elizabeth Piper and Elisabeth O'Leary LONDON/EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Britain's main opposition Labour Party lost less ground than expected in local elections on Friday and was leading the race for London's mayor, giving new leader Jeremy Corbyn enough ammunition to brush off his critics. Labour officials said the party's overall performance - though poor - was strong enough to stop any immediate challenge to Corbyn, who opponents criticise for pressing a leftist agenda that lacks broad appeal. Labour was forced into third place behind the Conservative Party in Scotland for the first time since the country was granted its own assembly, a crushing blow for a party which counted on it as a traditional stronghold for decades.
Syria's military denied Friday any involvement in air strikes that killed at least 28 civilians in a camp for displaced people near the Turkish border, state media said. "There is no truth in the information in some media that the Syrian air force targeted the displaced camp in Idlib province" on Thursday, the SANA news agency quoted the military as saying. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitor, said women and children were among the 28 civilians killed at the camp in the village of Al-Kammouna.
Pope Francis on Friday urged Europe to "tear down" the walls being built to keep out migrants and to create a radical new "social economy" serving the many not the few. Invoking the memory of the EU's founding fathers' pursuit of integration in the aftermath of World War II, the pontiff said they inspired because they had "dared to change radically the models" that had led to war. The comments came in a speech at the Vatican following the 79-year-old pontiff's presentation with the EU's Charlemagne Prize for his contribution to European unification.