- - Sunday, December 5, 2010

FRANCE

Court to rule on Concorde crash

PARIS | A decade after a supersonic Concorde jet crashed in a fiery wreck outside Paris soon after takeoff, killing 113 people, a French court will rule Monday on who, if anyone, is to blame.

The trial that started in February in Pontoise, northwest of Paris, reopened old questions over whether European engineers — or an American company, Continental Airlines — was responsible for the July 2000 crash of the European jet that symbolized elegance in trans-Atlantic air travel.

The verdict is expected sometime after 9:30 a.m. EST Monday.

RUSSIA

Off-course satellites plunge into Pacific

MOSCOW | Three Russian satellites crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday after a failed launch, media reported, in a setback to a Kremlin project designed as a rival to widely used U.S. navigation technology.

Russian news agencies reported that the satellites went off course and crashed near Hawaii after blasting off from Russia’s Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

A spokesman at the space agency Roscosmos could not confirm media reports but said the satellites had deviated from their planned course after a Proton-M rocket launcher malfunctioned.

“It was an unplanned situation,” said the spokesman. He declined to give further details.

Interfax news agency quoted an aerospace industry source as saying that the carrier veered from course, bringing the upper part of the rocket with the satellites into an incomplete orbit and causing them to fall back into the atmosphere.

GREECE

Suspected anarchists among 6 arrested

ATHENS | Police in Greece have arrested six people — two of them suspected radical anarchists — after finding a large haul of guns and explosives in various hide-outs, officials said Sunday.

The suspects, who are ages 21 to 30 and include a woman, were caught after police raids on Saturday in the capital, the port of Piraeus, the western town of Agrinio and the island of Crete, police Chief Lefteris Oikonomou said.

Two of the suspects already were wanted by police in connection with a radical anarchist group, Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, that was behind a parcel bomb campaign against European leaders and embassies uncovered last month.

THE NETHERLANDS

5 suspected pirates face hijacking charges

THE HAGUE | Dutch prosecutors say they have launched a criminal investigation into five suspected Somali pirates accused of hijacking a South African yacht and plan to prosecute them in the Netherlands.

A national prosecutor’s office statement said the five men are being held on the navy ship Amsterdam, whose crew arrested them last month.

The men, ages 20 to 30, were being transported to the Netherlands on Sunday.

The yacht Choizil was hijacked and off the coast of Tanzania and later run aground by pirates on Nov. 7.

A South African husband and wife were taken to land and are still being held hostage, but the skipper remained on board and was later picked up by the French navy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports