Ecuadorean plane disappears in Colombia
BOGOTA, Colombia An Ecuadorean Boeing 727 disappeared in Colombia’s Andes mountains yesterday, and fog hampered search efforts for the plane carrying 92 passengers and crew, which had taken off from Quito, Tame airline and Colombian officials said.
Air-traffic control lost contact with Tame Flight 120 in Colombian airspace after it had asked to land in the Ecuadorean city of Tulcan, near the Colombian border, Tame said.
The flight regularly circles into Colombian territory to maneuver around snow-capped mountain peaks.
Colombian air force and civil aviation department helicopters focused search efforts around the Colombian volcano Cumbal, with a peak of 15,626 feet but said foggy conditions were hampering the patrols.
No legal help on divorce, pope says
VATICAN CITY Pope John Paul II yesterday urged lawyers and judges not to take part in divorce cases, decrying divorce as a “festering wound” that has devastated society.
The pontiff said his remarks applied to all divorce cases, not just those involving Roman Catholics.
The permanence of marriage is part of the divine, natural order and applies to everyone, he said.
He made the comments during an address to the Roman Rota, a Vatican court that handles annulments, a process by which the church effectively declares that a marriage never took place.
The Roman Catholic Church does not recognize divorce, only annulments.
Electric power cut on communications base
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia Top military commanders rushed to Russia’s Far East yesterday after the local power company briefly pulled the plug on a crucial space-communications base for failing to pay its electricity bill.
Living on a shoestring since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian armed forces have run up enormous power bills and have been the frequent target of humiliating blackouts.
The latest conflict erupted last week, when a local energy firm disconnected some navy and air force sites, and then over the weekend, when a space tracking center that liaises with spy satellites and the International Space Station was blacked out.
Kremlin warns U.S. radio over Chechnya reports
MOSCOW A Kremlin spokesman warned the U.S.-funded Radio Liberty yesterday that officials will closely monitor its coverage of the war in Chechnya and may take away its license if they see a pro-rebel bias.
In an interview with the daily Gazeta published yesterday, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, President Vladimir Putin’s top spokesman for Chechnya, said the government has a “guarded” attitude toward Radio Liberty’s plan to broadcast in the Chechen language because of its past coverage of Chechnya, which he said was biased and had justified separatist actions.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, nonprofit corporation that receives funding from the U.S. government.
Bible distributor gets two years in China jail
BEIJING A Hong Kong businessman who brought thousands of Bibles to a banned Christian group in China was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison, a Hong Kong religious leader said.
Li Guangqiang was convicted of illegally running a business, said the Rev. Chan Kim-kwong, executive secretary of the Hong Kong Christian Council. Mr. Chan said he learned of the sentence from Chinese sources that he wouldn’t identify.