- The Washington Times - Monday, August 17, 2009

BRITAIN

Files released on UFO sightings

LONDON | The deputy commander of a U.S. Air Force base in England was baffled by what he had seen: bright, pulsing lights in the night sky.

Britain’s defense ministry couldn’t explain it either, but concluded that the unidentified flying object posed no threat.

The National Archives on Monday released the government’s complete file on the “Rendlesham Forest Incident” of December 1980, one of Britain’s most famous UFO sightings.

It was among more than 4,000 pages posted online Monday documenting 800 reported encounters during the 1980s and 1990s. Over the past three years, the Ministry of Defense has been gradually releasing previously secret UFO papers after facing freedom of information demands.

Britain’s defense ministry has charted UFO sightings since the 1950s, when a Flying Saucer Working Party was established. More files are due to be released by the archives through 2010.

RUSSIA

Military jets collide in stunt

MOSCOW | Two Russian air force jets rehearsing aerobatic maneuvers collided Sunday near Moscow, killing one stunt pilot and sending one fighter crashing into vacation homes, a military official said.

The Su-27 fighters were part of the elite Russian Knights flying group preparing to perform at the MAKS-2009 air show, the largest and most important showcase for Russia’s aerospace industry.

The jets collided near Zhukovsky airfield, east of Moscow, where the air show opens Tuesday.

Air force spokesman Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said all three pilots involved ejected. He said rescuers recovered two in satisfactory condition but the third was killed.

FINLAND

Nuclear cargo dismissed as rumor

PRAIA | Finnish authorities dismissed talk Sunday that the Arctic Sea was bearing a cargo of nuclear material, as Russia and NATO joined forces in an international hunt for the missing vessel.

Jukka Laaksonen, head of the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, said firefighters conducted radiation tests on the ship — last reported off Cape Verde — at a port in Finland before it began a voyage full of intrigue.

But he dismissed as “stupid rumors” reports in British and Finnish newspapers that the ship could be carrying a “secret” nuclear cargo that could explain why it was attacked on the Baltic Sea before vanishing.

A report Saturday by Finnish police that the ship’s Helsinki-based operator, Solchart Management, had received a ransom demand for the Arctic Sea raised hopes for the its 15-strong Russian crew.

TURKEY

Briton expelled for insulting Ataturk

ANKARA | A Turkish court on Sunday ordered the expulsion of a teenage British tourist for “insulting” the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Police detained the 19-year-old after he climbed onto a monument of Ataturk in the Aegean resort of Marmaris, undressed and made “inappropriate” gestures, the report said.

The tourist, whose name was not disclosed, was handed over to a court, which released him after ruling that he should be expelled and banned from entering the country for five years, it said.

Turkey has a special law stipulating jail terms for insulting the much-revered Ataturk, who founded modern, secular Turkey on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in 1923 and served as its president until his death in 1938.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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