- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Miami airport blamed in Blair plane scare

LONDON — British Airways blamed poor lighting at Miami airport for a safety scare involving a jumbo jet carrying Prime Minister Tony Blair and his family.

There were 343 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 747, which missed a runway exit on arrival from London about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, knocking over two runway lights and prompting police and emergency vehicles to rush to the scene.

A British Airways spokesman said the pilot landed exactly as he should have done but the turn off from the runway was not well lighted. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said they were investigating.

A spokesman for Mr. Blair said the prime minister was “absolutely fine” and “getting on” with his holiday.


Body thought to be U.S. climber’s

BEIJING — Searchers found a body that is thought to be one of two American climbers lost for more than a month on a remote mountain in southwestern China. The second climber was still missing and presumed also to be dead, a search coordinator said yesterday.

The team had not identified the body, which was partly buried by snow, said Arlene Burns, a friend of the missing climbers, Christine Boskoff and Charlie Fowler of Norwood, Colo.

Miss Boskoff, a top female climber, and Mr. Fowler, a well-known climbing guide and photographer, were reported missing after they failed to return to the United States on Dec. 4. The body was found at the 17,390-foot level on Genie Mountain.


Ex-owner of Yukos probed in spy death

MOSCOW — Russian prosecutors said yesterday they are investigating the likely role of a former owner of the Yukos oil company in the poisoning death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

They did not explain the basis for the accusations against Leonid Nevzlin, who is living in exile in Israel.

Mr. Litvinenko died in London on Nov. 23 after he was exposed to a rare radioactive element, polonium-210. In a deathbed statement, he accused President Vladimir Putin of ordering his killing.


Congress approves Calderon budget

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Felipe Calderon has surprised skeptics after his disputed election win and passed his first test in the deeply divided Congress by winning sweeping approval for most of his 2007 budget.

Mr. Calderon’s razor-thin July election victory was fought in court by leftists crying fraud, and he was badly heckled by opposition deputies at his Dec. 1 inauguration in Congress.

But Congress, where Mr. Calderon’s National Action Party has only about 40 percent of the seats, put up little resistance to his budget proposal. The modified package, Mexico’s second consecutive balanced fiscal plan after years of overspending, received final approval in Congress Saturday.


Abu Sayyaf leader dead, military reports

MANILA — Remains thought to be of the chief of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, who was the target of a monthslong U.S.-backed manhunt, have been found in the southern Philippines, the military said yesterday.

Khaddafy Janjalani is on a U.S. list of wanted terrorists with a $5 million bounty on his head for a series of beheadings, bombings and mass abductions. He remained elusive in the dense jungles of the southern Philippines, and earlier reports of his demise proved to be premature.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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