An AN-22 military aircraft has crashed in central Russia, killing at least 11 pilots who were onboard as passengers. The plane was flying from the city of Voronezh when it disappeared from radar screens late Tuesday, a source at a law enforcement agency told ITAR-TASS news agency. Police are currently searching for the plane.
The Mexican city of Guadalupe no longer has police - the last officer, a 28 year-old policewoman, has been kidnapped and her house set on fire. Starting this past June, Erica Gandara had been patrolling the city with a population of 9000 people on her own since all her colleagues died or resigned after an unsuccessful struggle against drug dealers. Guadalupe, which is located 5 km from the US border, is said to be the world’s most lawless city. The military has been sent to Guadalupe to investigate the kidnapping and keep the city secure. Earlier this October, 14 policemen in the city of Los Ramones, with a population of 6,000 people, resigned due to the onslaught of crime.
The US is gradually restoring air traffic, which was disrupted by a heavy blizzard. The snowfall hit the East Coast on December 26, causing massive cancellations of flights within the region. Many East Coast airports had to completely shut down and service is still limited in most of them. Thousands of passengers from some 4,000 cancelled flights are stranded in airports, as all flights are fully booked due to the Christmas period and there are no vacant seats. Though the airline companies are trying to use larger aircraft to clear the passengers from the airports, restoring the transportation system back to normal will take several more days.
Re-elected Belarus’ president Aleksandr Lukashenko has appointed a new prime minister. The previous prime minister was sacked after seven years of heading the government. Four of five deputy prime ministers resigned, as well.Newly appointed Mikhail Myasnikovich, 60, is an old ally of the president. He worked in the presidential administration of Belarus and was Lukashenko’s aide for special assignments till 2001, when he headed the National Academy of Sciences. According to country’s constitution, a new president should appoint a new government. Aleksander Lukashenko was re-elected as president for the fourth time on December 19. He has been ruling the country for 16 years, since 1994.
The presidents of three African countries, Sierra Leone, Benin, and Cape Verde, have arrived in the Ivory Coast to demand president Laurent Gbagbo step down. The UN declared that Gbagbo’s contender, Alassane Ouattara, won November’s runoff but Laurent Gbagbo refuses to admit defeat. The regional block of west African states have threatened to use force if Gbagbo refuses to step down.
Two guards and a passer by have been shot dead in a bank robbery in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. It is reported that sharp-witted bank-robbers have stolen about $1 million. They allegedly pretended to be young parents walking with a baby’s pram near an armored van, but as soon as guards with the money bags left the bank, the attackers opened fire on them. According to police, they could have been hiding the assault rifles in the pram. A criminal case for murder and robbery has been opened. The bank’s management has not yet confirmed the amount of money stolen.
At least 80 people have been injured after an Israeli passenger train caught fire in the town of Shfayim near Tel Aviv, AP reported on Tuesday. Only one of them was seriously hurt. The rest suffered from light burns, cuts, bruises and smoke inhalation while escaping the blaze. Israel Railways believe the fire started in the rear engine, due to a fuel leak.
A third suspected US missile strike has hit Pakistan's northwestern tribal area near the Afghan border, killing nine people, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Tuesday. Officials say it hit vehicles carrying alleged members of a well known militant group. Two other strikes in the North Waziristan region on Tuesday killed eight. The area is a stronghold for Pakistani Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants who carry out cross-border attacks against US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Somali pirates have released a German-owned chemical tanker after receiving a $5.5 million ransom on Monday. The ship with a crew of 22, which included 19 Indians, two Bangladeshis and a Ukrainian, was hijacked in May 2010 by pirates armed with automatic guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The ransom was paid on Sunday; the crew was reported to be safe and well. Pirates often attack merchant ships in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden making tens of millions of dollars in ransom.
India’s Home Ministry has sounded Tuesday a countywide terror alert, fearing terrorist attacks ahead of the New Year. Police were ordered to take tougher control in India’s major cities after receiving reports about a potential terror strike by a Pakistan-based militant group. Indian authorities take terror threats seriously after the Mumbai massacre, which killed 166 people in 2008.
23 tribal elders who recently met with the Pakistani army chief have been abducted by Taliban insurgents in South Waziristan, intelligence officials said Tuesday. A Taliban spokesman said it was a warning to civilians that militants are still strong in the region, despite anti-insurgent operations. Intelligence officials said the militants lured the victims to a town bordering North Waziristan and then kidnapped them.
At least five people have been killed and 15 have been injured in bomb explosion at the University in Karachi, Pakistan, Itar-Tass reported on Monday. The bomb, activated by cell-phone, went off in the university’s cafeteria where a lot of students and professors usually gather, police said. No organization has claimed the responsibility for the attack yet. Being Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi is a frequent target for terrorist attacks.
Haiti’s cholera death toll has risen to 2,707 people, the Haitian Health Ministry announced Tuesday. The World Health Organization fears that the number of victims of the outbreak that started in mid-October may reach 400,000 in next few months. More than 128,000 people have contracted the disease so far. The Caribbean country is fighting the cholera outbreak amid political crisis and the deadly aftermath of the earthquake that claimed over 250,000 lives in January.
Iran has executed a man convicted of spying for Israel, Iranian media reported, quoting the Iranian prosecutor’s office. Ali Akbar Siadat was hanged Tuesday after being found guilty of providing Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, with information on Iranian missiles. Investigators believe that Siadat had been working for Israel for six years and received US$77,800 in return. On Sunday, Iranian media announced that another alleged spy for Israel had been sentenced to death.
Hundreds of people have been forced to flee their homes on Tuesday due to flooding and heavy rain across north-eastern Australia. Severe floods have shut down around 300 roads across Queensland, including two major highways to the state capital, Brisbane. The closures cut off towns and frustrated holiday travelers. The authorities have declared several towns disaster zones. The rain has also caused US$403 million worth of damage to crops across the state.
Three people have been found dead following Monday’s blast at an oil refinery in Russia’s Transbaikal region. Two more people remain unaccounted for.
The explosion occurred on Monday at a refinery which houses some 2,000 tons of oil. The men killed in the blast are said to be Chinese nationals.
A bomb detonated inside a residential building in the city of Nalchik, in Russia’s North Caucasus region, killing one person, ITAR TASS news agency reported.
According to preliminary data, the man killed in the blast was working on constructing a home made bomb
The White House said it was "deeply concerned" by the guilty verdict delivered on Monday to former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the US is "troubled by the allegations of serious due process violations and what appears to be an abusive use of the legal system for improper ends,” after Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev were convicted of embezzlement.
Belgrade District Court has sentenced Mihalj Kertes, former director of Serbia’s Federal Customs Administration who served under Slobodan Milosevic to eight years in prison for embezzling state funds.
The court found that between 1994 and 2000 Kertes had misappropriated more than $85 million by depositing the funds in foreign bank accounts.