Iraq plans passenger flights to no-fly zones
BAGHDAD Iraq will resume domestic flights in defiance of the no-fly zones the United States and Britain have been policing since shortly after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the official Iraqi News Agency reported yesterday.
The agency, quoting Transport and Communications Minister Ahmed Murtada Ahmed Khalil, said the flights to Basra in the south and Mosul in the north will start Nov. 5 and that Iraqi Airways has started selling tickets.
Such flights would mark the first Iraqi challenge to the no-fly zones with civilian planes. The U.S. military has said Iraqi military planes have violated the no-fly zones with quick forays in and out hundreds of times since December 1998.
Divers recover eight Kursk bodies
MURMANSK, Russia Fighting harsh weather in the Barents Sea, Norwegian and Russian divers recovered eight more bodies from the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk, a navy spokesman said yesterday.
The divers had pulled the remains out of the shattered vessel and brought them to the surface over the weekend, said Capt. Vladimir Navrotsky, spokesman for the Russian navy’s Northern Fleet. The bodies were still on the divers’ mother ship, the Regalia, because a storm prevented helicopters from flying out from the mainland to carry them to shore, Capt. Navrotsky said.
That brought to 12 the number of bodies retrieved so far in the risky operation. In all, 118 seamen perished when the Kursk was shattered by an explosion and sank on Aug. 12.
Separatists blamed for car-bomb deaths
MADRID A car bomb exploded in the Spanish capital yesterday, killing a Supreme Court judge, his driver and his police escort and wounding 35 in the bloodiest attack blamed on Basque separatists since they ended a cease-fire in December.
The 44-pound bomb hurled jagged glass and metal around an upper-middle-class neighborhood of northeastern Madrid, shattering windows for blocks. The driver of a passing bus suffered severe injuries and 34 other bystanders were cut, scorched or bruised. Several cars were gutted.
The slain judge, 69-year-old Jose Francisco Querol, worked for a military section of Spain’s Supreme Court. He held the rank of general and was due to retire next month, judiciary officials said.
Britain deploying force off Sierra Leone
LONDON Britain said yesterday it will deploy an amphibious force, including a helicopter carrier, off the coast of Sierra Leone in November.
The deployment of 500 troops was a gesture of support for U.N. peacekeeping operations, which Britain nonetheless has declined to join in the war-ravaged West African country. U.N. officials, stung by India’s decision to pull out of the force and then by Jordan’s intention to withdraw as well, are struggling to find troops to expand operations in Sierra Leone.
The Royal Navy’s amphibious ready group includes the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, the landing ship HMS Fearless, three Royal Fleet auxiliary vessels and 42 Royal Marine Commandos.
Storm ravages Europe, kills eight
LONDON A powerful storm barreled across western Europe yesterday, ravaging ancient oaks, grounding flights, cutting power to more than 100,000 homes and snarling traffic. At least eight persons have been killed.
The Eurostar train service, linking London with Paris and Brussels, was out of commission, and France’s famous high-speed trains limped along at half-speed as winds gusting up to 90 mph tossed trees onto highways and rail lines.
Scores of flights were canceled at London’s Heathrow airport the world’s busiest for international travel and also at Gatwick outside London, Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle.
The wild weather spawned a pair of tornadoes, a rarity in Britain. Both hit trailer parks on England’s southern coast, one in the town of Bognor Regis late Saturday and a second early yesterday in nearby Selsey.