- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2005

VATICAN

Pope welcomes Chinese bishops

VATICAN — In another sign of warming relations with Beijing, Pope Benedict XVI gave a special welcome yesterday to a group of priests from China who attended his general audience.

The Vatican would not say whether the 28 priests were from the official Communist Party-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association or the underground church loyal to Rome.

But the Catholic news agency AsiaNews, which has close ties to the Vatican and has proved reliable on Vatican-China developments, said they were members of Beijing’s official church.

CANADA

Pilot in crash chose to land in storm

TORONTO — Toronto’s airport was under “red alert” because of the threat of lightning when an Air France jetliner landed in a fierce rainstorm despite having enough fuel to reach another airport — a decision that was made by the pilot, airport authorities said yesterday.

Investigators searching the wreckage of the Airbus A340 found the flight data and voice recorders, the so-called “black boxes,” said Steve Shaw, spokesman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. Officials hope the recorders will provide clues to what caused the aircraft to skid off a runway Tuesday at Lester B. Pearson International Airport and burst into flames.

All 309 passengers and crew escaped alive in an evacuation that took less than two minutes.

Brian Lackey, vice president of operations for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said Wednesday the jetliner had enough fuel to divert to Montreal or another airport, where the weather was better, but “that’s the pilot’s decision.”

SURINAME

Venetiaan re-elected for a third term

PARAMARIBO — Suriname President Ronald Venetiaan was re-elected yesterday for a third five-year term by a special assembly of parliament members and district councilors.

Mr. Venetiaan, 69, obtained 560 of a possible 891 votes in the assembly, called after he failed to win the required two-thirds majority in two indirect elections in the 51-seat parliament in July.

BRITAIN

Charges filed on link to transit bombers

LONDON — British police filed their first charges in the London terror investigations yesterday, accusing a 23-year-old man of withholding information about the July 21 transit bombers.

Police say that in the week after the attack, Ismael Abdurahman of southeast London had information he knew might help police capture suspects involved in “the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.”

He was charged under anti-terrorism legislation and is to appear at a hearing today.

BRITAIN

Two arrested in ax killing

LONDON — Two men wanted in connection with the suspected racist ax killing of a black teenager returned to Britain yesterday from the Netherlands and were immediately arrested, police said.

Anthony Walker, an 18-year-old student and a devout Christian, was left with the axe embedded in his skull in the assault near his home in Liverpool, northern England, on Friday night, an attack that has shocked Britain.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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